We spent the Memorial Day weekend camping and biking on Lopez Island (one of the San Juan Islands). It’s not far from Seattle – a 2h drive and a 40min ferry ride – but I had never been there yet. It’s a very popular destination for weekend get-aways, and all the state park campsites were full up. We got lucky and were able to secure a spot at a nicely situated private campsite.
We left Seattle on a very rainy and cold Friday morning … not the best start for a weekend of outdoor activities. Luckily, the further north we drove, the better the weather became. By the time we reached the ferry station in Anacortes, it was a pleasant mix of sun and clouds; we barely minded that our ferry run was canceled and we had to wait 1h for the next one.
The crossing is very scenic, passing by a number of smaller uninhabited islands. Altogether, there are 457 islands in the San Juans, though few are large enough to be permanently inhabited.
Lopez Island is one of the smaller islands, about 12 miles long and 3 miles wide. There’s just one tiny village – the rest of the island is beautiful coastline, rolling farmland, and of course a large number of residences of retirees, seeking the slower-paced island lifestyle. Perfect conditions for a weekend of relaxed biking and exploring.
Here are just a few of the things we encountered while touring the island:
A whimsical exhibition of island art in a rural garden setting; deer peacefully grazing in the residential gardens (guess why all the vegetable gardens were surrounded by 7ft fences); spring lambs (this one was affectionately known as ‘Lamburger’); unexpected exotic birds by the roadside; seals relaxing in the sun; beautiful beaches.
On our way back to Seattle we stopped at a great little antique store we spotted in Anacortes. They had a great selection, unlike so many other antique stores that are more reminiscent of a yard sale. We were particularly smitten by some of the nice wrought iron gates and fencing they had (a lot of it sourced from New York) – it could look very nice in our garden.