Lopez Island is the third largest island in the San Juan Islands.
Compared to its larger neighbors Orcas Island and San Juan Island, Lopez has a more bucolic charm. It is relatively flat and most of it remains quite undeveloped. This is a conscious decision by local residents, who prefer a rural lifestyle, even if it means forgoing modern conveniences such as phone service, and being underpopulated enough to be considered flyover space by the pilots at Whidbey Island Air Force Base. Many residents rely heavily on local agriculture, as high prices make it cost-prohibitive for many residents to eat imported food out of season.
- 1 Washington State Ferries, ☏ , toll-free: . Ferries travel from Anacortes, Orcas Island, Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, and Shaw Island. The ferries are extremely crowded on weekends, so try to avoid, if possible, heading to the island on Friday night/Saturday morning or coming back on a Sunday.
- Kenmore Air, toll-free: , fax: , reservations@KenmoreAir.com. Kenmore Air seaplanes make several flights daily from downtown Seattle's Lake Union to seven locations in the San Juan Islands including Lopez Island. Kenmore Air Express also offers daily land plane service between Seattle's Boeing Field/King County International Airport (BFI IATA) and Friday Harbor Airport (FRD IATA). Complimentary shuttle transfers are available to/from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA IATA) for passengers on either Kenmore Air service. A quick and spectacular, though not cheap, way to arrive. $75-139.
Bring a car on the ferry. While the roads are great for cycling, you won't want to bike the whole way to the South End. There is an island taxi service but it is not reliable.
Be sure to check out Odlin Park and Spencer's Spit, located near the ferry landing, Otis Perkis beach, near Fisherman Bay, and Agate Beach, on the South End of the island. Also on the South End are such local favorite spots as Watmough Bay and Aleck Bay.
Lopez Island features some of the best natural parks and preserves in the San Juan Islands. Locals and tourist enjoy spending their time hiking, biking and kayaking. The locals are very community orientated. The library, community center, and grange feature events each week from concerts to guest speakers. Lopez is a place to escape the busy world and appreciate nature and community. Locals ask that you stay on the marked hiking trails and practice leave no trace.
Some of the island's businesses include:
- Island Books. A book store
- Island Styles. A clothing store
- Larkspur. A store focusing on island-made handmade goods, including Elizabeth Snapp's Barnacle Bags, of Etsy fame.
- Blossom. A small organic grocery store
- Red Apple Markets Lopez Island Market. The main grocery store, now with a monopoly on liquor sales with the closing of the Lopez Island Liquor Store.
- Deja Vu. A consignment clothing store
- Heavenly Fudge Factory. A confectionary
- Chimaera Gallery. An art gallery
Lopez Island has few restaurants:
- Isabel's Espresso. A local favorite and a great place to catch the Island Vibe
- Lopez Coffee Shop. Family run coffee shop that makes wonderful drinks.
- Holly B's Bakery. A great bakery. This favored spot of the island's visitors is open mostly during the summer.
- Vita's Wildly Delicious Cuisine. A to-go gourmet deli and wine shop inspired by the owners' Francophilic bent.
- Ursa Minor. An upscale, farm-to-table dining experience.
- The Islander Resort. A hotel with a bar and a mediocre restaurant.
- Haven. One the water, fun menu, village location
- The Galley restaurant. Attached to the bar, featuring fried foods and a few healthier entrees.
- The South End Restaurant. Formerly Islandale Store, in the Islandale building on the South End.
All restaurants serve drinks on Lopez but The Islander Resort, Galley bar and Haven have a dedicated bar. Vita's is a gourmet deli and wine bar. You can buy wine by the bottle or glass. The grocery store has a large selection of beer, wine and Liquor but closes early.
The island features two hotels. The Edenwild Boutique Inn is a small hotel located in Lopez Village and is open year-round. Most of the island's shops and restaurants are walk-able from this location. A bike and kayak rental shop is located onsite that also offers rentals and whale tours. The Islander Resort features a pool, restaurant/bar, marina and proximity to kayak and bike rental shop. Mackaye Harbor Inn is the only B&B on the island and is open during the spring and summer months. Most lodging on the island requires reservations. Vacation home rentals require that their owners' post a County Vacation Home Permit in their listing to be a legal accommodation.