Lodges and Glamping

How to Fall in Love with Glamping at Lakedale

Lakedale Resort is one of the best places to camp with kids in Washington.
Take a moment to sit in an Adirondack chair and enjoy the glassy lake at Lakedale Resort. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

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

Best Place to Camp with Kids in Washington

Nestled in a quiet forest a quick 10-minute drive from the Friday Harbor Ferry terminal, Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes on San Juan Island tops my family’s list as the best place to camp with kids in Washington.As I sit on my private deck along the shores of their emerald lake, the tiniest of twinkles reminds me this isn’t a postcard.

On its glassy surface, the evergreen forest reflects in one of the three lakes at the Lakedale Resort. I have all that’s necessary for relaxation on the San Juan Islands, Washington’s getaway just an hour away by ferry.Lakedale Resortoffers oodles of family amenities like kids crafts, free loaner bikes, paddle boats for rent, Ping-Pong and tetherball, just to name a few.

Lakedale Resort provides free loader bikes and is the best place to camp with kids in Washington.
With free loaner bikes, my kids hopped on to discover Lakekdale Resort on their own. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

What My Kids loved at Lakedale Resort

  • The free loaner bikes
  • The laid-back atmosphere with lots of activities.
  • They tried out a paddle board and a row boat, both for rent by the hour.

What I loved at Lakedale Resort

  • Utility sink to wash dishes.
  • Complimentary breakfast at the mess tent for canvas cabins and cottages guests.
  • Amazing bed with a chandelier above in our cottage.
  • A private bathroom with a shower in our cottage.

LakedaleResort for Families

Enjoy family fun at Lakedale, the best place to camp with kids in Washington.
My kids found a ton of fun at Lakedale Resort on San Juan Island. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

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 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 never felt crowded even though it was full.

My Canvas Cottage at Lakedale Resort

Enjoy the deck of the Canvas Cottage, one of the best places to camp with kids in Washington.
With a large deck on the water, we enjoyed dinner al fresco at our Canvas Cottage. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

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. Looking at it from my king-sized bed dressed with flannel bedding with lots decorative throw pillows made me forget I was camping.

I melted into the foam mattress and I don’t think I even turned over. A pair of bedside tables outfitted with lamps shaped like branches held my summer reading. I found a battery-operated lantern and a flashlight to use along with a battery-operated alarm clock. Close to the bed was an additional outlet for charging my phone.

The kids want to go camping but Mom doesn't want to sleep on the cold, hard ground in a STICKY tent. Find a canvas cottage with a chandelier in Washington with a comfy bed to make everyone happy.


The front of our cottage overlooked the lake with a large deck inches off the water. With a wall of bug netting we left the front open for our entire stay. Just an incredible view to wake up to first thing in the morning.

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

Lakedale Resort canvas cottages feature bathrooms, the best place to camp with kids in Washington.
Behind the king-sized bed is the spacious bathroom. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

The canvas cottage is spacious and includes a rectangular table with four chairs that sits on a decorative rug. I found two chairs on the deck and another picnic table outside.

The Bathroom Situation at Lakedale Resort

My canvas cottage’s bathroom featured a jumbo shower head with hot water in a large and bright room. The bathroom area included a dressing area with a full-length mirror with hangers along a closet rod and a storage console.

Enjoy a hot shower in the canvas cottage at Lakedale Resort, the best place to camp with kids in Washington.
A hot shower is a must for me when I’m glamping. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

My canvas cottage included plenty of towels for my family along with a signature line of toiletries including shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion and hand wash. The mirror over the sink provided plenty of light to apply make up along with a hair dryer and a low-flow toilet. The bathroom lacks heat and a bathtub though I didn’t need either.

Family Fun at Lakedale Resort

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

Kids enjoy crafts at Lakedale Resort, the best place to camp with kids in Washington.
My kids found the Activities Tent packed with crafts before I did. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker


After the Activities Tent, my kids ran to the General Store while I checked in at the lodge. At Lakedale Resort’s general store, my kids found ice cream, hotdogs and the stuff to make our campfire change colors.

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 giant chess set, a volleyball net, horseshoes, bocce ball and a Ping-Pong table.

With a three lakes on property, it’s hard to choose between the paddle board, the rowboat, the paddle boat, the single or double kayak, all for rent by the hour. Life vests are available too.

What to Eat at Lakedale Resort

The canvas cottages and canvas cabins feature a fire pits with attached grills for cooking up meals. I brought my camp stove and made hot dogs for dinner 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.

Enjoy a campfire at Lakedale Resort, the best place to camp with kids in Washington.
Pack the marshmallows for s’mores for the kids. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

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

Guests in the Canvas Cottages and Canvas Cabins are welcome to enjoy the complimentary Breakfast Tent. I found an area stocked with a full selection of continental breakfast delights, like oatmeal, fresh fruit and assorted breakfast breads.

More than Glamping 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 offers 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.

Family Fun in Washington

Explore Lime Kiln State Park while on San Juan Island.
Lime Kiln State Park features a lighthouse and offers whale watching from the beach. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

During our visit to Washington, we explored the San Juan National Historical Park with two separate camps on the island. Along with national park sites, we whale watched at Lime Kiln State Parkand picked lavender atPelindaba Lavender.

For national park lovers, Olympic National Park offers days of family fun with mountain meadows, tide pools and rainforest trails along with historic lodgesin the nearby Olympic Peninsula. My kids loved Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument as well.


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Know Before You Go:

  • I didn’t have cell service at Lakedale.
  • Make a reservation for the Anacortes Ferry during the summer and arrive early.
  • Bring another lantern, it gets dark and its nice for the deck at night.
  • I found a utility sink located outside of the shower house, making clean up dinner dishes a snap.
  • My kids used their sleeping bags on the trundle and day bed.

Catherine Parker has a passion for travel and seen all 50 U.S. States. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting architectural and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a pair of 100-year-old houses. She shares her life with her three kids and her husband.

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