Imagine: a seaside cabin overlooking a calm bay. Island mountains in the distance. You wake up to the sounds of songbirds in the surrounding forest and head down for a morning soak in a hot tub next to a rushing waterfall. You spend the day beach-combing, relaxing, swimming, and maybe take a kayak tour of the surrounding area. Eat dinner at a great farm-to-table (the farm is on the property) restaurant. Go to sleep. Wake up, repeat. Tell yourself that this is normal. Well, at least it's the new normal for you here at the Doe Bay Resort & Retreat on Orcas Island.
Cabin, tent, hostel, & yurt choices
Spread across a large, forested, waterfront property, the resort has tent sites, yurts, cabins and a hostel. The cabins come in all shapes, sizes, and configurations. Every imaginable combination exists - oven, no oven, electricity, no electricity, deck, no deck, and on and on. Need a cabin that sleeps 18? They've got it.
Tent and yurt sites vary mostly by location. Some are tucked away in the woods like hidden hobbit houses. Others are right on cliffs overlooking the bay. All have cute little signs with their name that we couldn't help but take pictures of! Be prepared and know what site you booked - yurts & tent sites don't have electricity or water and fires are not allowed. Some cabins have it all, others keep it simple. There's bathrooms, showers, water, and a guest kitchen nearby. Also, rumor has it there'll be a few 'glamping' sites available soon.
The cafe, general store, & guest kitchen
We were off adventuring and didn't make it in time to try the Doe Bay Cafe. We missed out. Word on the island is the food is creative, fresh, and local. Many of the ingredients are grown on the property. Make sure to stroll the farm grounds to see where dinner is coming from. The cafe also hosts regular live music and open mic nights.
The general store is right next door with all kinds of dinner choices for back at your cabin or tent site. There is beer, wine, & cheese with lots of organic and local items on the shelves. They've got gifts, sun-block, toothpaste, basically everything you forgot.
As we mentioned before, campfires and/or cooking stoves are not allowed at your site so the community guest kitchen, fire pit, and BBQ grill is where the magic happens. At first I thought it would be a hassle to cook at the guest kitchen. Would I have to wait in line? After using the kitchen I decided that every campground (and hotel) should have one. It really gives you options with meal preparation you wouldn't have otherwise. Grill out, use a regular stove or oven, wash dishes, store ice cream in the freezer (with your name on it) for later. It works.
Sauna and soaking tubs
One of the best reasons to stay at Doe Bay is the sauna & 3 soaking tubs. All guests have access to this secluded spa. Day passes are also available if you're not staying the night at the resort. Be aware that clothing is optional, however, don't let it be a deterrent. The sauna & tubs are secluded, beautiful & well maintained. They're located right next to a rushing waterfall that empties into a shallow cove below. Gorgeous.
The million dollar view
The heading says it all. Views from the property look out towards a San Juan Island-Northwest paradise. Add a palm tree in the foreground and you'd swear you were in Hawaii. Mountains, sea, islands, green, blue, gorgeous. Don't tell Disney or they might attempt a hostile takeover. Trails circle the property and take you through meadows, forest, over bridges, and along side streams, beaches, and coastline.
Things to do
Relax. Catch a cab into town. Explore nearby Moran State Park. Kayak on your own. Kayak with a guide. Soak. Swim. Bike. Take a yoga class. Get a massage. Play guitar on the porch. Grill out. Play volleyball. Explore tide pools at low tide. Get married. Rock out at the annual Doe Bay Festival. SUP. Read a book. Get a massage. Take pictures. Enjoy.
We had a great time staying at the Doe Bay Resort. Since we sail & kayak we are always on the lookout for places on the water. Doe Bay has anchoring potential on a calm day and is an excellent launch site for kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding. Planning a multi-day paddling trip in the San Juans? Book a Doe Bay Resort yurt, arrive by kayak after a long day on the water, soak in the tubs, grill out dinner, head out the next day…or stay for a week…maybe check the rates on staying forever?
~Paul & Amber
The Doe Bay Resort & Retreat, reviewed by Everyone's Travel Club on 5/12/13.
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