Glamping is a hot trend in family vacations right now. My family tried it for the first time a few weeks ago during our trip to the wild and beautiful San Juan Islands in Washington State. We stayed at Lakedale Resort – a fun, family-oriented resort just a few minutes’ drive from Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.
My kids loved glamping at Lakedale Resort. Will it be right for your family? Read on.
What is glamping?
Glamping is “glamorous camping.” It’s a compromise for those of us who love the outdoors, but don’t love traditional camping. Glamping is also a good alternative if you are traveling to a remote destination like the San Juan Islands where it may not be practical to bring all your camping gear with you.
At Lakedale Resort, you have a variety options to fit your needs:
- traditional tent and RV sites
- Airstream trailer
- canvas cabins
- canvas cottage, with private bathroom
- log cabins
- lodge – a quiet oasis reserved for guests ages 16 and older
We stayed in one of the canvas cabins, which allowed us to pack for a hotel and sleep in comfort, but enjoy the things I love most about camping. Our canvas cabin had a queen size bed and futon – just enough space for our family of four. All bedding is provided, and since summer nights can be chilly in the San Juan Islands, hot water bottles will be delivered to your tent each evening. It was warm on the night we were there, so we didn’t need them.
Other than the comfortable sleeping arrangements, our glamping experience reminded me a lot of traditional camping. We had a camp fire in front, surrounded by chairs and a picnic table where we roasted s’mores with supplies from the general store. We were surrounded by the pleasant sights, sounds and smells of nature. There were several other canvas cabins near ours, but only a few were occupied and it was very quiet on the night we were there.
Another thing that reminded me of traditional camping was the communal bathrooms, which were clean and modern. Fresh water is scarce on the San Juan Islands, so we received two shower tokens (5 minutes each) per person per night. The bathrooms are not very far from the canvas cabins, but the walk feels long in the middle of the night. If that is a concern, you may want to consider a canvas cottage or log cabin, which have private bathrooms.
Breakfast in the mess tent is included with the canvas cabins. It is served buffet style and includes pancakes, hot and cold cereals, bagels, muffins, hard boiled eggs, fresh fruit and more.
Lakedale Resort is surrounded by three lakes, which practically makes it an island. Guests can swim, boat or fish in the lakes. You can rent kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddle boards, paddle boats or row boats. The best swimming area is shown in the photo above. The shallow roped-off area is good for young children, while the floating dock farther out is fun for more confident swimmers.
The lakes are stocked with fish, and you can bring your own gear or rent it from the Lakedale general store. No fishing license is required, but you will need to pay a $5 per day fishing fee to the resort.
Lakedale Resort makes a good base for all your adventures in the San Juan Islands. However, Lakedale Resort offers so many fun family activities, you’ll want to save time just to relax and play at the resort. My family spent a free morning playing giant chess, ping-pong, Jenga and other lawn games at Lakedale. I’m not much of a chess player, so I wasn’t too surprised when my 8-year-old bested me in a game.
Lakedale Resort also provides supervised craft project for kids during the day. Projects cost about $10-$15 each and there are some fun ones to choose from, including tie dyed Lakedale tees, birdhouse painting and make-your-own stuffed animal (like Build-a-Bear).
Reunions and Events
Lakedale Resort loves groups! The resort is large enough to accommodate the diverse needs of everyone in your group, but small enough that nobody can get lost for long. Lakedale Resort has a lovely outdoor special event space surrounded by the lakes and forests of San Juan Island, reserved especially for family reunions, weddings and other large events.
Disclosure: My family was hosted by Lakedale Resort for the purpose of review. We received no additional compensation and all opinions are my own.
Planning a trip to the San Juan Islands?
You may also enjoy
- Whale Watching with San Juan Excursions
- Our Washington destination page
- Our British Columbia destination page
- Our Washington for Families Pinterest board