A Weekend Trip to Vancouver via San Juan Island

My younger brother came to visit me in Seattle this summer. A little bit about Martin: he is a 17 years old, senior in high-school, living in Germany. It was Martin’s first trip to the USA, so of course, my husband and I planned a couple of interesting and fun things to do with him in the Seattle area. But when Martin got here, we spontaneously decided to add Canada to his itinerary and visit Vancouver B.C.

Since I moved to Seattle a year ago, I wanted to visit Vancouver and experience the city that is often part of the Best-Cities-To-Live worldwide rankings. In 2017 it ranked No. 5  as the city with the best quality of life out of 23 global cities. Vancouver is Canada’s most ethnically diverse city and after this trip, certainly the most beautiful in my view.

Vancouver by hemstockfilms
Photo credit: Hemstockfilms

Our trip to Canada didn’t start with a drive straight to Vancouver but with a detour. We decided to stop in the San Juan Islands and visit family members who were vacationing there that weekend. The ferry ride from Anacortes (about 2 hours north from Seattle by car) ferry terminal to San Juan took us about an hour. The ride cost roughly $13 for an adult and $6 for a young adult. On the ferry, we killed time catching up on childhood stories and taking silly selfies.

Arriving at the Ferry dock in the San Juan Islands, I took in a deep breath of that wonderful salty island fresh air. Although we weren’t so far from the city, it felt like a different world.

Our hosts on the island had this great idea of letting us sleep in tents in their yard. I played my urban-girl-doesn’t-camp card and was able to sleep inside the house on the couch while my companion boys had to experience the real camper life.

The view I woke up to was magical. You can see Canada from our friend’s living room. But I can’t speak for the boys’ view from the tent, haha.

After a few cups of coffee in the morning our stomachs began to rumble and demanded breakfast, so we drove downtown on a quest for traditional American breakfast.

We found the perfect spot at the Lime Kiln Café that had a casual, counter-style service, at the end of the Roche Harber dock. My German brother enjoyed the traditional pancakes including famously house made doughnuts for desert. Based on the sounds he made consuming the food, I think, he liked American breakfast. I had avocado toast and the rest of our tour group had diverse breakfast combinations.

We explored some of Roche Harber before we head out to catch the mid-day ferry back to Anacortes. But on the way to the ferry terminal, we decided to make one final stop. How could we have almost forgotten to try local oysters on an island in the Pacific Northwest? And so we landed at the Westcott Bay Shellfish Farm.

We actively participated in our meal, selecting freshly harvested shellfish from tanks, shucking and slurping them on-site at a picnic table. The oysters were phenomenal – super fresh and tasty. I think I’m speaking for the group saying that we all loved this rare island experience.

After this “light” snack, we boarded our ferry back to the mainland.

All in all, we had a short but sweet and beautiful stay in the San Juan Islands. I’m happy we got to explore this gorgeous place and look forward to coming back, maybe next summer, to stay for a little bit longer.

Day 1 – Outfit No. 1

Supreme white tee (buy here)

Levi’s 501 straight leg jeans

Silver Birkenstock sandals

Burberry sunglasses (new collection here)

Back on the road and after two hours of driving further north, we arrived in Vancouver.


We checked in at the Delux Hotel. I’m not going to spend too much time describing the hotel since it wasn’t delux at all – pretty standard and far away from downtown. If you want to visit Vancouver, I’m recommending to search for good hotel deals far in advance. Of course, you can also look into Airbnb offers since hotels in downtown are insanely expensive.

After the check in, we drove downtown with a plan to indulge in Chinese food. M and I have been craving authentic Chinese food since we moved to the USA from China. Occasionally, we would find an authentic Chinese restaurant in the US that serves Gong Bau chicken, but for Vancouver, a city with such a huge Chinese population, we had higher expectations.

We ended up splurging on exquisite Chinese fine dining at the Chang’An restaurant, enjoying Chang’an Roasted Duck with House Made Special Tofu and Deep-Fried Eggplant as the main course. We were convinced to have made the right restaurant decision by seeing how many non-Asian guests were dining at this restaurant besides us: two people. We concluded our fine dining experience with a stroll on Sunset Beach Park. Which is walkable distance from Chang’An.


Day 1 – Outfit No. 2

Levi’s 501 straight leg jeans

Marc by Marc Jacobs red striped long sleeve (similar things here)

Red leather handbag from a street market in Florenze

Knit blazer in navy (even a cooler model here)

White sneakers from Nike (here)

Day two in Vancouver began with an Asian breakfast at the Honolulu café, a very affordable option for folks who appreciate Cantonese breakfast experiences and enjoy some good porridge. As for me, after living in Beijing for three years, the latter is one thing I could never bring myself to like.


Energized and ready to take on beautiful British Columbia, we drove to Stanley Park. This park is so huge and beautiful, filled with trails, viewpoints, and many other attractions. Our group started off with a mini train ride. Ok, I have to admit, the main target group for this attraction were kids but we had fun anyway – riding in the miniature cars and listening to historical facts of this park’s natural habitat.


After the ride, we took a short hike to Prospect Point, where Vancouver’s beauty unfolded in front of us.

Day 2 – Outfit

Levi’s Womens The Every Day Skirt (buy here)

Nike baseball hat (buy here)

The rest of the outfit is the same as the day before

Of course, I couldn’t resist buying a cheesy souvenir like this Vancouver sweat-shirt. But it’s actually super soft and comfy and can be worn at home or to bed once it gets cooler.


It was Sunday afternoon when we hit the road. Trying to make it back to Seattle in a timely manner. What a trip! It was sweet and short but exciting and fun at the same time. I’m definitely going back to Vancouver for a longer weekend trip next time and recommend you to do the same.


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