Recently, while planning a week-long trip to the San Juan islands, I grew pretty frustrated about the lack of budget lodging that was immediately searchable. There are some reasonably prices options, but the majority ask for a 2+ night minimum rental. I went on a 3 night searching frenzy and came up with the following list of places to stay in the San Juans for under $150 a night. All information is based on peak July/August travel dates and I was generally searching for queen beds when available. I hope this is helpful to someone.
Doe Bay – camping, cabins, yurts, hostel rooms and beds, soaking tubs, kayak rentals
I’ve stayed at Doe Bay twice, once in a yurt, once in the private room attached to the dorm. Doe Bay has positives and negatives. The greatest positives being manageable prices, THE VIEW, soaking tubs if you really enjoy this, the good cafe, a kitchen if you want to cook for yourself and save $, and general simplicity. Negatives being very used facilities, high price for cabins with minimal amenities, and every now and then the cafe isn’t so great and just feels overpriced.
The Seattle/Puget Sound edition of the Chinook Book carries a coupon for 1st night full price, 2nd night half off, 3rd night free. Since the Chinook Book is only $20 and you are bound to save over $100, it is worth picking up the book. www.doebay.com
The Lodge on Orcas – House turned into a hotel, hostel, camping grounds. Twin or Queen rooms are $89 / night. King suite is $149 / night. They do not advertise it on their website, from what I saw, but they do advertise on Airbnb.com that you can camp in the yard and use all facilities for $40/night. http://thelodgeonorcasisland.com/
Golden Tree Hostel – Dorm beds for $35 / night, private room with shared bath for $80 / night, primate dome in yard $85 / night.
North Beach Inn– Studio and 1 bedroom cabins for $150/night.
Moran State Park – $12 to $37 a night for a campsite Click for State park site for Moran camping
Obstruction Pass State Park – First come first serve primitive camp sites for $12 a night. No showers. Near the town of Olga. You must walk about a half mile from parking to the campsites. This is good because it keeps the number of people down, but you must prepare how to get your camping things to the site in a couple trips. Sites are near the water, atop a small ridge. Nice beach, would be great to kayak into.
West Beach Resort – cottages, camping
Old fashioned and on the Western edge of the island, great for fishing and crabbing. Cottages are over $200 / night, but canvas tent cabins with beds are $ 109 / night. Campsites are $ 37 – 49 / night. http://westbeachresort.com/
“Yurt on Horse Farm with Wood Stove” – This looks like a beautiful setting and the owner is a wild mustang trainer. $65 night, although she also charges a $30 cleaning fee at the end of your stay. Yurt on Horse Farm Airbnb webpage.
“Lofty Private Studio Apartment”- Another Airbnb listing, $70 / night, double bed, minimum two night stay unfortunately. Lofty studio Airbnb webpage.
Lopez Lodge – Near the water in the center of Lopez Village. $80/night room for 2 people, $110/night rooms for up to 4. The Saturday farmers market is an excellent way to soak up Lopez Village.
Lopez Farm Cottages – Standard tent sites for $45: I recommend getting one of the sites A, B, or C as they are tucked away and have a nice little shower house and coffee stand. The shower even has two showerheads. Made-up campsites which included a real mattress in a tent are $85. Cottages are $180+ unfortunately. http://www.lopezfarmcottages.com/
Odlin County Park – Standard campsites, 6 are at the beach, others in forested area, no showers. More of the RV crowd, but access to the beach, sunsets, and cheap price are worth it. $20 – 25 / night.
Spencer Spit State Park – Standard campsites for $12 – $37 / night.
San Juan Island
Wayfarer’s Rest Hostel – hostel beds at $35/night, cabins at $80/night (including a really funky boathouse), bike rentals too. I have stayed in a hostel room, nothing fancy, but clean and manageable, easy reservations.
Guemes Island – Guemes Island Resort website: http://www.guemesislandresort.com/ Very similar to Doe Bay on Orcas Island.
Lummi Island – good listings on airbnb.com
Sucia Island – North of Orcas Island, accessible only by boat, no ferry service. We paddled out there with a tandem kayak rented from Outer Island Expeditions. They recommend strongly against this passage for beginner paddlers. If you hit the right time of the month with low winds, it can be very easy paddling. The island is gorgeous with many coves and bays to explore. Seals, eagles, otters, oh my. Campsites $12/night, first-come basis. Docks for motorized or sail boats, many people bustling around in busy summer months, but still delivers that special, we could only get here by boat and we are off the mainland feeling.