Twelve fun things to do when visiting Roche Harbor

We just returned from a crazy fun weekend in Roche Harbor. No matter how many times we visit, this place never loses its magic or fails to amaze me. The town is so quaint and between the crystal blue sea water and Victorian architecture there are views to take in a plenty.

One thing I love about visiting Roche Harbor is that there very much is an island time vibe upon arriving. There is a calm across the docks and though activities are a plenty, there are more there if you want them. It is absolutely a place to go clear your head and enjoy a calm peaceful day at your leisure, however you want!

Though relaxing is always my #1 priority while there, I now have a list of things I enjoy doing SO MUCH while visiting that I wanted to share them with you. I hope that there are a few that make you feel inspired to plan a visit and try for yourself!
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Photo Jul 26, 1 42 16 PM
Nothing but sunshine and crystal clear water on my morning walk in Roche Harbor. What a beautiful place!

Breakfast at the Lime Kiln cafe

Though a cup of coffee and a simple pastry while enjoying the morning marina air are really all I need, the breakfast at the Lime Kiln Cafe is so good that while on the island, I have to stop there at least once. What makes it so great? Local ingredients. Big, thick slices of toast made fresh at the local bakery. It’s honestly so good that even just some eggs, bacon and an English muffin are my go-to and totally hit the spot, but from the scrambles to eggs Benedict you truly can’t go wrong.

Go crabbing

There are crab to catch galore in this harbor! If you didn’t come prepared, no worries! They sell crab pots and all the accompanying gear you need at the Roche Harbor General Store. And yes, I mean everything you need straight down to a crabbing license! On our last visit the crabbing was great so my hubs and I grabbed two licenses so we could bring home plenty (you are limited to 5 keepers per day per license). Night one we straight boiled and ate them right at the dock. It was the most fresh and delicious crab I have ever had… we didn’t even add seasoning or butter and it was so good.

Roche Harbor Crabbing 2
Look at this fantastic crab catch my coworkers and I had right in the harbor! They were cooked within 15 minutes of being caught and the flavor was unreal.

Shop for Roche Harbor swag

There are adorable shops galore in Roche Harbor! Upstairs above the Lime Kiln there is a clothing store where you can find some cute everyday items, pajamas, athletic wear, and Roche Harbor logoed gear too. During the day local vendors put on a tiny street fair with art, jewelry and other misc. items for you to shop from. My personal favorite is the gift shop attached to the hotel lobby – I always find the best logo-ed Roche Harbor swag there! This last trip I grabbed items for everyone in the family from the 9month baby to my 40 year old hubby and it was awesome stuff across the board. It was hard to pass up the jewelry and kitchen stuff but this time, I managed!

Cruise and check out the yachts

This is an incredible marina to walk and take in the amazement of all the yachts. There are multi-million dollar yachts that frequent this marina… the kind that it takes a full time crew and captain to operate. Jaw dropping to see in person! My favorite thing is to take the dinghy for a cruise to check them out by water. If you don’t have a boat with you, you can always kayak to see them, or simply walk down the docks.

Roche Harbor Mega Yachts
The largest yachts are kept at the very end of the docks. We love taking dinghy rides to go check them out!

Go paddle boarding/kayaking

Right at the main dock there are kayak and paddle board rentals. I love to grab a paddle board simply to have the ability to float, relax, and enjoy the serenity of the place and sun.

Roche Harbor Paddling
My mini and I out on a sunset paddle in the harbor

Attend colors ceremony at sunset

The colors ceremony is a special event that occurs nightly as marina staff honor and bring in the flags for the evening. I love the Roche Harbor colors so much… I think it is a nostalgia thing. It feels like you are going back in time decades and the tradition being upheld is so fantastic. They also make special announcements for the day and end with a cannon blast (you have been warned, haha). I love watching colors by water on a dinghy (just boat over to the main dock) or you can just walk out on the bridge between the resort and marina for a fantastic view.

Grab an ice cream and walk the docks

Just outside the Roche Harbor General Store is a fantastic little coffee and ice cream stand called “Beachtree Ice Cream and Espresso”. If there is one time I allow myself the calories for the summer, it is surely is on a hot summer day in Roche Harbor! Of course, this is a tradition my daughter especially loves too, and we will grab a cone and walk the marina or head up into the gardens and enjoy on a park bench. The perfect place for the perfect summer treat.

Roche Harbor Gardens 2

Photo Apr 19, 9 38 34 AM
My sweet little babe and I enjoying the views her first visit when she was only 8 weeks old!

Pamper yourself at the spa

If there ever was a place to treat ‘yo self, I think it is while vacationing in Roche Harbor! Do yourself a favor and book a spa appointment. Keep the island vibe going and relax deeply with a massage… then go watch the sun set over the docks and soak it all in.

Snack on a fresh doughnut

The Lime Kiln Cafe has already been mentioned for their fantastic breakfast, but that isn’t the only thing they are known for! They actually have scratch made doughnuts that are world famous. First thing in the morning you can walk past and smell the dough as it’s being fried – you won’t be able to resist! Do yourself a favor and grab one… calories don’t count on vacation!

Fresh made that morning!
A view of the Lime Kiln from across the dock

Go for a hike

The Roche Harbor website actually has a great outline of hikes and trails outlined. There are even more if you brought your boat and have the ability to travel to other parts of the island! Views are a plenty.

Join a whale watching tour

The one thing I love about the San Juan Islands is the plentiful wildlife. It is the kind of place that gives you hope for the world an amazing ecosystems that still exist and it is truly special to watch it all in action. I have done some whale watching tours and personal cruising and exploring, and in this area never come up short! Orcas, porpoises, bald eagles, sea lions… you name it and it is out there for you to see. There is a whale watching tour you can embark on right out of the Roche Harbor marina, or you can venture to Friday Harbor for a different perspective.

Roche Harbor Orca Whale Spotting
My daughter’s first trip to Roche Harbor we spotted Orca whales just around the corner outside the harbor! I did a terrible job taking pictures of them however, so this picture of me wanting to take pictures of them is all I have, haha!

Relax and enjoy the serenity

Most importantly, while in Roche Harbor just relax and take it all in! The views are breathtaking. The salt water in the fresh air truly is good for the soul. Take it all in at your own pace and leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. We absolutely love Roche Harbor for this vibe and hope you give it a try and feel the same way too!

Roche Harbor Marina Sunset.jpg
A true no-fliter Roche Harbor sunset!

Have you ever been to Roche Harbor before? And what was your experience like? If you are planning a trip please do not be shy to comment with questions – I would love to help!

X.O. – Abbey Co.

What is an amazing trip without a great camera to snap pics with? Most these are taken with my Nikon DSLR or my iPhone 8 Plus.


Nikon Coolpix B500 Wi-Fi Digital Camera (Red) with 64GB Card + Case + Flash + Batteries & Charger + Tripod + Strap + Kit

Abbey Co. Seattle is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. I am not sponsored by any of these products, but am bringing you info on how to purchase them because I LOVE THEM!!!

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