Weekend Trip to Lopez Island
My husband and I spent this last summer fixing up our home. Earlier this year we agreed to forgo a nice summer vacation and instead, spend the vacation funds for projects that were awaiting completion. It was money well spent and we were so happy to finally get them done. But we also missed reconnecting and relaxing on the now-missed vacation. We decided to look around for some local places that we could get away for a weekend and not spend too much in the process. I’ve always wanted to visit the San Juan Islands so we scoped out a few potential spots and decided to give Lopez Island a try. Lopez didn’t seem to be one of the most popular islands, or at least, we couldn’t find tons of information on it. That was exactly what we wanted though. A quiet spot that we could relax at without giving thought to much else.
To get to Lopez, you travel through Deception Pass and on into Anacortes, where you board the ferry that takes you over to the Island. We decided that we’d explore Deception Pass first, then stay the night in Anacortes on Friday, before we headed to the Island on Saturday.
Deception Pass State Park is absolutely beautiful. We parked right after crossing the bridge and took a trail that leads down to the beach. There are all sorts of trails that meander through the Park so it’s a fun little hike with plenty of sites to take in.
f you have some time, I’d suggest taking a jet boat tour with Deception Pass Tours. Rides start from $35 per person which includes a one-hour ride through the waters of Deception Pass. They also offer whale watching tours in various seasons.
After exploring the park and waterfront, we headed over to Ship Harbor Inn. This is a cute little inn located at the top of the hill above the ferry terminal and just minutes from historic downtown Anacortes. The inn was charming with its white exterior and red metal roof. Although it’s not right on the water, the rooms are affordable and they have vistas with adirondack chairs that look over the puget sound vistas. Since its so close to the historic district, we ventured through old town Anacortes and did a little window shopping.
On Saturday morning we boarded the ferry and landed on Lopez in about 30 minutes. I’m a bed and breakfast type of girl so we booked reservations at the MacKaye Harbor Inn Bed and Breakfast. I highly recommend this place. If you can, try to get the master suite on the top floor called the Harbor Suite—it’s well worth it. It’s a bit more pricey but there is a private sitting area where you can look out at the ocean while enjoying a glass of wine or two. Whatever room you choose, all of them very nicely outfitted with either a private en suite bathroom or a designated bathroom of its own.
You will love the owners Mike and Robin. They are the epitome of why I love bed and breakfast’s so much. They are beyond hospitable and the food, well, let’s just say I had avoided the scale when I got home. Robin makes this apple pie that's made from zucchini called mock pie. I’m not going to lie... I had two helpings. It was that good! When you visit with them it’s like visiting with an old friend. They are both the kindest people and it’s evident they love what they do. They know everything about the island and will tell you what places to check out based what you like.
Lopez Island ended up being just what we needed. Right after we got off the ferry, people started waving at us as we drove by. Then we noticed it happened everywhere. When a car passed by, they’d always wave with a big smile. We found this to be such a friendly, welcoming place.
The town of Lopez is pretty small, so if you are looking for a place to go shopping, this isn’t it. But if you are looking for a place to relax, take in nature, go on a few hikes, or do nothing at all, this is perfect.
Although we had an amazing breakfast at MacKaye’s B&B, we couldn’t help but visit Holly B’s Bakery. The bakery has been around for over 40 years. I’d recommend their world famous cinnamon rolls, but really, anything there is amazing.
Isabel’s Espresso is located right next door so it makes for a convenient spot to grab your coffee right after you choose a delicious pastry to go with it at Holly B’s. I loved that Isabel’s Espresso only uses organic milk and coffee—that catered to the inner Seattleite in me.
We noticed people of all ages riding bikes and hiking all around the island. The speed limits are slow which attracts quite a few cyclists. As a cyclist myself, I didn’t mind this and because the island is small and there’s not need to be rushing around anyway.
Since it was our first time exploring the island we stuck to our car and drove to each spot. It doesn’t take too long to see all the main attractions. Our favorite spot is Watmough Bay. You hike about a half mile of flat trail through breathtaking old growth forest that opens to a bay with dramatic rock cliffs on both sides. This is a photographer's dream. In fact, there were people with drones trying to capture the best shot when we were there.
Shark Reef Sanctuary was another fun spot. Although we didn’t see any sharks, there was plenty of animal life including seals and otters. It’s tucked away on the west side of the island, where a short 10-minute walk through a forest will lead to a rocky shoreline with stunning views over the water.
Dogs are allowed on most all trails as long as they are on a leash. In fact, most of the island was dog-friendly island so next time I’ll bring Bear, my newly adopted German Shepherd/Lab mix.
This was a perfect two-day stay. You can be as active as you would like; riding bikes, hiking, renting kayaks. Or you can easily do absolutely nothing but curl up with a warm blanket and your favorite book. The island is relaxing and peaceful. The views are spectacular and if you explore a bit, you’ll go home with some lovely photos to share. It was a well-needed trip and I look forward to going back again.
Written by Brea Wilder