Set along the scenic shoreline of Mitchell Bay on San Juan Island, Snug Harbor Resort feels like a world away from the bustle of Seattle. The voyage to get there includes a ferry ride through the San Juan Islands, setting the stage to disconnect from the fast lane and reset to island time.
The resort began its transformation in 2010 and is complete with 17 upscale cabins and three waterfront suites all with fully equipped kitchens. There’s a marina where guests can hop aboard a whale-watching boat, chat with marine biologists, or set out for a day with a sea kayak tour company as well as a small store and coffee shop. For those who want a no-fuss paddle day, check out a non-motorized watercraft of choice – kayak, canoe or stand-up paddleboard, which are all are complimentary – to explore the bay.
Budget Level: Upscale to Luxe (rates from $200 to $549 per night, depending on the season)
Lodging Type: Small hotel (17 cabins and three waterfront suites)
What You Need to Know
Log cabins and suites are strategically placed to take full advantage of the natural setting, with a handful of cabins a mere 50 feet from the water’s edge. To check-in, guests follow a path through a landscaped yard outfitted with fire pits, picnic tables, and Adirondack-style chairs which are perfect for quiet mornings with your favorite caffeine boost or a more jovial gathering in the evening. Guests receive a warm welcome at reception and before you head to your room, note the hours of the coffee shop in case morning calls for something special and peruse the store for any forgotten sundry items (wine, cheese, snacks). Accommodations are well-appointed with full kitchens, gas fireplaces (though there's no A/C), flat-screen televisions, gas grills, and private decks.
The property, which is off-the-beaten-path from island’s main towns of Friday Harbor and Roche Harbor, is all about shifting gears into a slower pace. And, with private decks, a lawn to laze about on a sunny day and fire pits to gather around, guests are encouraged to do the same.
Who Will Love It
Couples on a romantic escape and multi-generational families will love this property. With free use of non-motorized watercrafts and a never-ending supply of wood for the community fire, you’ll see all ages out on the water and returning to roast s’mores or have a cocktail next to the fire.
Who Might Not
If you like to be within walking distance of restaurants, shops, and attractions, you’ll want to stay in Friday Harbor or Roche Harbor.
Outdoor and adventure enthusiasts will love the ease of using the resort’s stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, and more. What's more, you can catch your own crab off the dock with the resort's crab pots (when in season) and use the outdoor crab cookers. All you need to do is buy a fishing license and bait before you arrive.
Wifi, parking, an exercise room, crab pots, two bicycles, non-motorized watercrafts, and beachside fire pits with an endless supply of wood are all included in your stay.
Fees and Extra Costs You Should Know About
Gifts and select groceries are available for purchase in the store, as well as coffee and snacks in the coffee shop.
How to Get a Deal
The off-season winter months are the best times to save. Look out for deals on the property's website. Active military and teachers receive a 20% discount year-round.
In the Neighborhood
Within 10 minutes of the resort are four main attractions. Lime Kiln Point State Park is considered one of the prime viewing spots to see whales in the state, and visitors from all over the world come here. Bring lunch and set up at one of the many picnic tables near the shoreline to make a day of it. Lime Kiln Lighthouse is also a whale research center. During the summer months, researchers are on hand to answer questions about marine wildlife and resident orca whales. From mid-May to September, the lighthouse offers tours on Thursdays and Saturdays from 7 p.m. to dusk.
Three other must-see stops are English Camp, a camp owned by the British Royal Marine Light Infantry during the mid-1800s, the 20-acre outdoor San Juan Island Sculpture Park ($5 donation). John S. McMillin Memorial Mausoleum is a 15-minute hike from the park, and it's on the National Register of Historic Places. For a memorable meal made with local ingredients, visit Duck Soup in Friday Harbor.
From Seattle, Kenmore Air flies to the marina at Roche Harbor and Friday Harbor, as well as the Friday Harbor Airport. San Juan Airlines flies to both marinas from Bellingham and Anacortes, and Friday Harbor from Everett. Alternatively, there are airports in Bellingham, Everett, and Seattle, and each offer car rental options. If you choose to drive, expect three- to four-and-a-half-hours travel time depending on the location and the ferry ride.
The Bottom Line
If you love connecting with nature and having private accommodations with fully-equipped kitchens, the resort is the perfect place.