Just when you think San Juan Island in Washington is amazing, you find out it has a triathlon and it like changes everything!
I mean really; the perfect resort hosting the perfect race. Could it get any better for a triathlon family? I think not. We learned about the triathlon on a recent trip to Lakedale Resort. Although we were not on San Juan Island during the race, we spent time exploring the course and it is beautiful. My triathlete said he not only wants to train there, but come back to race. I say, YEAH!
San Juan Island
First, let’s talk about San Juan Island. Located in Washington State, it’s a short, beautiful ferry ride from the mainland. It is actually one of about 172 islands known as The San Juan Islands, but you can only get to four by ferry service. The island is amazing both inland and along the coastline. Many species of whales call the area home throughout the year, as well as many other sea animals and birds.
The island is a natural playground with kayaking, biking, whale watching, and more happening. When visiting the area, we highly suggest you visit some of the other islands located among the San Juan Islands like Orcas. The sunsets on the island are priceless, watching it set over the Haro Straight and Vancouver. Fair warning – when kayaking or watching the sunset turn off your cell service unless you have a Canadian plan, as we found you are so close, roaming charges may start.
Let’s talk food, a favorite topic of mine and always a huge part of any trip for me. On San Juan Island, it is local and it is amazing. There are selections of cuisine and restaurants for all tastes and all budgets. We usually ate one meal out and then cooked in the kitchen in our cabin or on our grill the rest of the time.
San Juan Outfitters
The Island has many companies that offer adventures to whale watch, camp on a different island, or kayak. We called Brian at San Juan Outfitters for two main reasons. First, when we were asking around, his outfit was the one that kept coming up. Second, we like to explore with people who love to explore; we want to be with experts and they delivered. San Juan Outfitters has naturalists as their guides who have a love for area. All three of the guides we explored with had degrees in the field and spend their time off exploring other parts of the world.
We went out for a whale watching and full day kayaking trip. I am not sure which I enjoyed more – the sea lions we discovered, the 30 or so whales we saw, or the excitement in our crew when we put the microphone in the water and heard a small group talking about their goosebumps when they spotted whales from all three of the pods in the area, J, K and L.
We had about 25 people on our boat and the naturalist walked among us telling us what to look for and what we were seeing. Such a pleasure compared to a few of the boats around us, where we could hear the loud speaker of the captain making announcements.
But, just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, we went on a full-day trip (a little over 5 hours) with the San Juan Naturalist, Jacob, by kayak.
My triathlete and I were in a double kayak and there were two other couples with us. Jacob was so knowledgable and not only did we see so much, but we had a beautiful day on the water and I feel as though I have a greater appreciation for the Pacific NorthWest and world in general. It was a magical day.
Now, let’s talk about Lakedale Resort. Lakedale Resort is the host of the Three Lakes Triathlon and Marathon located in the middle of the island. Whether traveling to San Juan for the race or for vacation, we highly recommend staying at Lakedale. By now, you all know how we feel about staying on property for a race, it rocks! But, Lakedale is different. Lakedale is special.
You know that fancy brochure we all get from Bicycle Adventures and we say when we retire from triathlons we will go on one of those great looking trips. Well, they stay many times a year at Lakedale for their trips. But, let me tell you why I love it there.
First, there are many types of options for lodging. They have single and family campsites that are beautiful and many are on one of the three lakes. Then, there are canvas tents on platforms fully loaded, except with no ensuite bathroom; you share the tent bathhouse, which was good sized and clean. From there they have Glamping Canvas Cabins, fully loaded with ensuite bath and a fancy chandelier. The lodge has 10 rooms and there is a lake house big enough to for a large family or group of friends.
We stayed in one of the log cabins. It was a beautiful, large, 2 bedroom/2 bath with the best stocked kitchen we have ever had and it also included a fire pit and grill. And, I should also let you know there are a few RV sites and a very cool airstream you can stay in.
Lakedale serves breakfast for lodge guests and has a “mess tent” with a beautiful breakfast you can use for canvas tent stays. There is no lunch or dinner service, BUT the general store sells all you need for lunch or dinner, including kabobs and s’mores kits. We had breakfast twice with Mary Anne at the lodge and it was like being at home. Mary Anne is a wealth of knowledge about the island and the food is not just delicious, but real food, prepared beautifully. My husband loved it because it reminded him of breakfast at home. Freshly prepared egg scrambles and whole milk Greek yogurt with Mary Anne’s homemade granola were two of our favorites.
The activities on property are endless, like you need a full week at least! We did not get enough time on the property in our three days and will be heading back this next year! On the property, there is an activity tent full of free and small fee activities, including rock painting and tie-dying. You can grab a pole and head out to catch the big one out of one of the three lakes, enjoy one of the many water activities, including a variety of boats (no motor boats), or head out on a pedal boat. There are bikes you can rent or you can hang out at one of the beaches on the over 80 acres of property. You also have to do one of our favorite activities called sit, relax, and chill.
Whether you are looking to do the triathlon, marathon, or just want to go to San Juan Island, any time of the year is perfect in our book!
Disclosure: I was provided with lodging at Lakedale Resort and trips with San Juan Outfitters for my review. I was not paid for this article. All opinions are definitely my own.