Kids love camping! To them it’s a playground in the woods with s’mores. They’re ready to go, but like a lot of Moms, you need a roof, a real bed, some electricity and a bathroom with hot water to enjoy yourself. I completely understand. What if I could give you all that, would you consider it? What if I told you this campsite had a chandelier? Yes, that’s right, a chandelier in your cabin and someone will bring a fleece-lined toe warmer just before bedtime. It’s glamping and it’s not the camping you remember from scouts.

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Lakedale Resort offers families a quiet place to reconnect that caters to kids on San Juan Island in Washington. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker / National Parks TravelingMom

As I sit on my private deck along the shores of an emerald lake, the tiniest of twinkles reminds me this isn’t a postcard. The evergreen forest that surrounds me reflects on the glassy surface on one of three lakes at the Lakedale Resort. Behind me, I have all that’s necessary for relaxation on San Juan Island, Washington’s getaway just an hour away by ferry.

Nestled in a quiet forest and a quick 10-minute drive from the ferry terminal, Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes is my family’s favorite campground. A quiet resort that offers lots of amenities for families like kids crafts, free loaner bikes, paddle boats for rent, Ping-Pong and tetherball–just to name a few.

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Name your boating pleasure–with paddle boats, kayaks, row boats and paddle boards, I found a boat for every kid. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker / National Parks TravelingMom

I love camping with my three kids, I just hate pitching a tent. My kids scurry like woodland mice when the tent comes out. At Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes, I got all the camping l love, like making s’mores and listening to the frogs on the lake, without the hassle of a tent or sleeping on the cold, hard ground.

What My Kids Loved at Lakedale Resort

  • My kids, 8, 12 and 13 loved the laid-back atmosphere with lots of activities.
  • They loved the free bikes they could borrow.
  • They tried out a paddle board and a row boat, both for rent by the hour.

What Mom Loved at Lakedale Resort

  • Complimentary breakfast at the mess tent for glamping guests.
  • Utility sink to wash dishes.
  • Amazing bathroom and king-sized bed in our canvas cottage.

Misses of Lakedale Resort

  • No cell service, Wi-Fi available at general store only.
  • Bathroom isn’t heated, though not a problem during the summer.
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From the deck of our canvas cottage, my kids could fish while I enjoyed a moment to read a book. Of course, we had to have dinner out on the deck too. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker / National Parks TravelingMom

The Details:

The Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes is 5 miles from the Friday Harbor Ferry Terminal. It features a 10-room lodge, two pet-friendly log cabins, canvas cabins and cottages, a vintage Airstream trailer and standard camping and RV sites.

Lakedale Resort has three lakes with swimming beaches though it doesn’t have a swimming pool. It’s quiet resort so I let my older kids explore on their own.

The resort is heavily treed so I didn’t see the RV or tent campsites from my site and Lakedale Resort didn’t fell crowded even though it was full. Though conveniently located on the main road on San Juan Island, all I heard during my stay was kids playing and frogs croaking.

I stayed at the Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes in July.

The Canvas Cottage:

The centerpiece of my canvas cottage ($$) was the chandelier. I never knew I needed a chandelier while camping until I had a chandelier while camping. I especially loved looking at it from my king-sized bed dressed with a flannel duvet and shams and lots of decorative throw pillows.

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My canvas cottage features a king-sized bed, a day bed with a trundle and a dining table with four chairs along with a full bathroom. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker / National Parks TravelingMom

I melted into the king-sized bed outfitted with a foam mattress, and I didn’t stir the whole night. That’s a Mom Miracle since anything will wake me. A pair of bedside tables outfitted with twig-shaped lamps held my summer reading. I found a battery-operated lantern and a flashlight to use along with a battery-operated alarm clock. I found an additional outlet close to the bed to charge my phone.

The front of our cottage overlooked the lake with a large deck inches off the water. With a wall of bug netting that faces the lake, we left the front open for our entire stay. I love waking to an incredible view to first thing in the morning.

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My canvas cottage at Lakedale Resort has several extras like a chandelier, decorative throw pillows and a rug. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker / National Parks TravelingMom

The canvas cottage includes a daybed outfitted with a trundle underneath. A cocktail table sits in front of the daybed and holds the extra bedding for the kids. I also found a coat rack and a decorative fireplace with a remote control.

The canvas cottage is spacious and includes a rectangular table with four chairs that sits on a decorative rug. My family ate here instead of outside.

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The bathroom in my canvas cottage features a shower with hot water, vanity lights over the sink and a hair dryer. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker / National Parks TravelingMom

A large and bright bathroom features a shower with a rain shower head and lots of hot water. The bathroom area includes a dressing area outfitted with a full-length mirror, a closet rod with hangers and a console with a storage rack.

My canvas cottage included plenty of towels for a family along with a signature line of toiletries including shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion and hand wash. The mirror over the sink has plenty of light to apply make up along with a hair dryer and the bathroom features a low-flow toilet.

Activities at Lakedale Resort

Lakedale Resort has kids in mind for the summer season. My kids found the activities tent before I did. Stocked with free crafts as well as crafts for purchase, like tye-dye t-shirts or birdhouses, it’s the home base for kids at Lakedale Resort. A schedule of activities is available at the general store.

glamping, San Juan Islands for kids, Lakedale Resort

My kids found the activities tent before I did; stocked with free crafts and crafts for purchase like tie-dyed t shirts. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker / National Parks TravelingMom

The kids ran to the general store next while I checked in at the lodge. At Lakedale Resort’s general store, my kids found ice cream, hot dogs, and a packet of crystals to make our campfire change colors.

With a three lakes on the property, it’s hard to choose between the paddle board, the rowboat, the paddle boat, the single or double kayak. Life vests are available for the kids at the general store along with the boat rental.

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I found lots of activities for the kids at Lakedale Resort on San Juan Island. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker / National Parks TravelingMom

My kids borrowed complimentary bikes from a rack in front of the general store. They explored the resort by bike and found a gaming area with a volleyball net, horseshoes, bocce ball, chess and a Ping-Pong table.

Dining at Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes

All the canvas cottages and canvas cabins feature a fire pit with an attached grill for cooking up dinner. I brought my camp stove and made hot dogs and saved the fire pit for s’mores.

My site also included a round table with an umbrella next to the fire pit. I used the rectangular table with four chairs inside of the canvas cottage to eat and I used the round one for cooking.

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S’mores might be the best part of a camping trip. Put your chocolate and graham crackers on aluminum foil to melt the chocolate to make the gooiest s’more. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker / National Parks TravelingMom

Don’t feel like cooking? The general store has some grab-and-go items in their cooler, like sandwiches and wraps. They also make hot dogs and pizza. In the morning, I found a full coffee bar and hot pancakes.

Other Facilities at Lakedale Resort

Lakedale Resort features a 10-room lodge for adults-only that’s open year-round. I found two log cabins at Lakedale Resort, one sleeps six and the other sleep ten; both are pet-friendly.

The canvas cottages feature bathrooms and king-sized beds and Lakedale Resort has seven. The canvas cabins include a queen-sized bed without electricity or bathrooms and Lakedale Resort has 14.

Tent camping and RV sites are available along with one vintage airstream. All the camping options are open from April 1 until September 30.

Fun on San Juan Island

My family has a lot of energy so we wanted to explore. San Juan Island has several options like the San Juan Island National Historical Park. With two separate locations, the American Camp and the English Camp, visitors can learn all about the land dispute of 1859.

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Check in at the Lime Kiln Point Lighthouse for the most recent sightings of a resident orca whale pod. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker / National Parks Traveling Mom

In between the two National Park Service locations, I found the premier location to scout for orca whales, Lime Kiln State Park. A quick hike from the parking lot, sometimes visitors can see a pod of orca whales from the shore. Check in at the lighthouse for the most recent information about sightings.

Tips from a TravelingMom:

  • Make a reservation for Washington State Anacortes Ferry and arrive early.
  • Bring another lantern, it gets dark and it’s nice for the deck at night.
  • I found a utility sink located outside of the shower house, making clean up a snap.
  • My kids used their sleeping bags on the trundle but bedding is provided.
  • Bring a dollar store net for the kids to play in the water.