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To stay on Orcas or San Juan Island...????

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Seattle, Washington
posts: 135
reviews: 9
To stay on Orcas or San Juan Island...????

Hello,

Planning my annual trip to Seattle for the 16th or 17th year in a row now but want to do something we haven't done in the past and that's spend some time on one of the San Juan Islands. Not sure which would be best for us though even after reading alot of the posts today. We will be leaving from Seattle with a rental car after spending a week there and getting on the ferry in Anacortes on a Tuesday morning. We will spend 4 nights on the island. Oh yeah... we will be there the 1st & 2nd weeks in September.

Here's part of my concern with planning this trip... I have recently been diagnosed with Celiac Disease and am assuming I won't have many safe food options while on a small island so we are going to have to rent a vacation home/condo/cabin so I can cook our meals and not have the risk of me ruining our vacation. Need help with whether I should stop at Whole Foods in Seattle before getting on the ferry or are there good grocery store options on the islands? Are there any "safe" gluten free restaurants on either island you could recommend? I have to be very careful as to not get cross contamination though. Have this so severely I can't even be in a kitchen where I might breathe in flour dust so that's why I feel like I should probably cook rather than chance it unless someone with CD knows of a good safe place. I have spent alot of time looking at rentals today and although I would like some seclusion with a waterview I also would like to be somewhat close to things to do. How far of a drive is it from the west side of San Juan Island to Friday Harbor? If I am understanding correctly the best views are on the west side of the islands. Is this correct? Is Friday Harbor as easy to walk as let's say Victoria? We would like to rent mopeds and bikes but would also like to shop, kayak, take scenic drives between the islands and maybe even fish. Are there many shops on Orcas? I'm having a tough time getting a feel for the communities. Are they anything like Bainbridge where you can easily walk the shopping district in an afternoon and be done seeing everything? Is 4 nights too many? Sorry for all the questions... lol! Sounds like I want to be entertained and go-go-go while I'm there but would actually like to have some optional down time too. Spent a week in a cabin last year on Mt Rainier with no tv and no cell and it was bliss!

Thanks in advance for any help and suggestions. I greatly appreciate the time you all put in to help us confused travelers! ;-)

J

Tacoma, WA
posts: 2
21. Re: To stay on Orcas or San Juan Island...????

Thanks to all for the great information! Seattle_Addict - it is nice to see you have relocated to the PNW! I really appreciate your taking the time to post about the gluten free options at restaurants. How did you know that fish tacos are one of my favorite foods?? The zip line does look amazing - I think I noticed that it is for kids 8 and up, and my 6-year old niece is petite anyway -- but looks like fun for the adults (at least 3 of us, one of the adults is my Mom, and she is much less adventurous)! The little one will be 4 not 2, by the way, if that makes any difference. I also appreciate the feedback about the whale watching tour with kids. We'll have to think about that... We are hoping to find a vacation rental on a beach, or at least on the water. I can't believe I've lived in Tacoma for 6 years and haven't been to San Juan Islands yet! I can't wait!

Thanks again,

Jen

p.s. To Seattle_Addict, In case you are not aware, Anthony's Fish Bar at SEATAC and at Pier 66 (I think it's 66) often have corn tortillas and they make awesome rockfish tacos with the most amazing mango-kiwi salsa. I think I have taken every one of my visitors to Pier 66 and they all have loved it. The Anthony's restaurants also have a pretty extensive gluten-free menu. The fish bars are extremely reasonable and fast.

San Francisco
posts: 260
reviews: 4
22. Re: To stay on Orcas or San Juan Island...????

here is the company we used to rent a home on Orcas Island. It was awesome and the owner of the cottages couldn't have been nicer. She let us stay a little bit longer because we wanted to attend a local fair.

Orcas Island Bayside Cottages

65 Willis Lane

Olga, Washington 98279

Phone: (360) 376-4330

It's also fun to see what the local libraries are offering in terms of events. Those can be super fun for the kids and a great way to connect with the community.

I think the zip line is okay - kayaking is a much better thing to do for adventure while in the islands. I only mentioned it because of the kids.

Also, i noticed folks recommended Duck Soup restaurant on San Juan island and even though it is a 'fancy' restaurant, if you can get an outside table then you can watch your kids if they go back and forth from the restaurant to the little pond area and play for some brief interludes.

california
posts: 16
23. Re: To stay on Orcas or San Juan Island...????

Jen, I came across this message board and it's been so helpful. We are planning our first trip to the San Juan Islands, and I've been concerned about the food for myself. I am gluten and dairy free, plus i have many other food limitations. Did you find much that you could eat in the restaurants? Did you end up staying on Orcas or San Juan Island? At this point, we're planning on staying on Orcas at a cottage. I'd love to hear how your trip went!

thanks, Diane

california
posts: 16
24. Re: To stay on Orcas or San Juan Island...????

Jen, I came across this message board and it's been so helpful. We are planning our first trip to the San Juan Islands, and I've been concerned about the food for myself. I am gluten and dairy free, plus i have many other food limitations. Did you find much that you could eat in the restaurants? Did you end up staying on Orcas or San Juan Island? At this point, we're planning on staying on Orcas at a cottage. I'd love to hear how your trip went!

thanks, Diane

Green Valley...
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
posts: 16,765
reviews: 45
25. Re: To stay on Orcas or San Juan Island...????

CaliforniaDianed, see posts 1 and 20 for many details and options with re: which island might be best for you (and family?).

26. Re: To stay on Orcas or San Juan Island...????

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