Beautiful Weekend Getaway to Lopez Island

If you live in Washington, chances are you’ve heard of the San Juan Islands. The islands are between Washington State and Vancouver Island, Canada. Surrounded by scenic shorelines, mountain vistas, endless Evergreen Trees and beautiful views. This is definitely a place to visit for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

The three most popular islands are Orcas, (where my husband and I went for our mini honeymoon – read about that trip here), San Juan and Lopez Island. About a 2 hour drive north from Seattle, you’ll head to Anacortes to catch a ferry and will then experience one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the state (seriously, the views are incredible!). I highly recommend making a ferry reservation so you are guaranteed a spot to board. Depending on which island you choose to visit, the ferry lasts about 45 minutes to an hour and a half.

My husband and I initially planned our trip to Lopez Island for our friends wedding. Being the planner that I am, I booked us a place to stay last year when we received the save the date in the mail. Unfortunately due to COVID-19, the wedding was rescheduled. We still had our reservation booked. So we decided…why not? Let’s keep our reservation and go there anyway since we’d never been. We also decided to bring our pup Edgar to make this trip a little family weekend getaway.

We stayed at a quaint Garden Cottage next to Lopez Center. If we ever go back to Lopez Island, I will definitely be booking this spot again! The charming cottage was within walking distance to the beach, the farmers market (which we quickly realized is the place to be Saturday morning) and close to the main restaurants. We spent our time at the cottage sunbathing in the garden and listening to the sounds of nature while drinking mimosas.

When we got off the ferry, the first thing we noticed about Lopez Island is how flat it is. This makes it a great place for bike riders who want to explore the island without a car. You could even do this as a day trip – bring your bike on the ferry no reservation needed, bike around and then catch the ferry back that night. We brought our bikes on this trip but didn’t bike around as much as we wanted since we had Edgar. The one time we brought him with us on a short bike ride, he saw a bunny and zoomed away racing as fast as he could trying to catch it (luckily he didn’t but I did end up chasing after him in a panic).

Lopez Island aka Bunny Island is full of so many bunnies! Tommy and I saw over 100 hopping in the fields, crossing the roads and burring themselves in burrows. Edgar especially enjoyed watching (and chasing) them.

Not only are the roads perfect for bikers and the endless bunnies surrounding the fields great for nature lovers, but Lopez Island also offers many trails with family friendly hikes. Tommy and I went to IceBerg Point in the morning which is a short trail that takes you out to a gorgeous cliff surrounded by water. We even saw a couple of sea lions. In the evening we went to Shark Reef to catch the colorful sunset that lite up the evening sky.

Overall if I had to pick between Orcas and Lopez, I prefer Orcas Island. It felt like there was more energy compared to the Lopez Island vibe, which is definitely more laid back and slow paced. The restaurants and stores close very early. The main grocery store closed at 7:30pm and the ice cream shop closed at 5pm. I don’t know if this is their COVID-19 hours or if this is the norm. There isn’t as much to do on Lopez Island but that is typically the reason people travel there in the first place. To relax and unwind, which we definitely did.

Sunshine, the smell of salt water, sand in our toes, garden flowers, beautiful views and our pup running around in absolute heaven made Lopez Island a great little weekend getaway.

Orcas Island Mini Honeymoon

If you are getting married and thinking about planning a later honeymoon (a couple of weeks/months after your wedding) I definitely recommend it!

My husband and I got married in the middle of August 2019 (because August is one of the few guaranteed months of sunshine in Seattle) and decided to postpone our honeymoon until my winter break in December. We did this for a couple of reasons:

1. Timing- I moved to a brand new elementary school and needed some time to unpack my boxes and set up my classroom before starting school in September. Also we went to 5 (I think?) other weddings this year and had one to go so we wanted to wait until we were done with the wedding and could just focus on us.

2. Weather- Seattle summers are beautiful so we wanted to be here to enjoy them instead of traveling during that time. We chose Thailand for our honeymoon and it’s rainy season in August so another reason to wait.

3. Convenience- Orcas Island is so close (about 3 hours to get there with ferry) and so beautiful! Also, adding a mini moon is basically like going on two honeymoons and who wouldn’t’ love that. 🙂

Here is what we did!

Day 1: We caught the morning ferry, ate some ferry chowder and drank some beers, went to a lavender field on the island (because summer 2019 I couldn’t get enough lavender), checked into our hotel at Rosario Resort and Spa and settled into our room. We went to the spa that night and had dinner nearby.

Day 2: Drove to Moran State Park in search of a short hike. We went to Orcas Island about 8 years ago on a weekend getaway when we first started dating and wanted to try a different hike than the one we previously did. This was a mistake because we ended up on this 11+ mile hiking trail and had to turn around after about an hour in (I was not so fun to be around). We decided to drive up to the view point and explore the tower instead since we had never done this. Later we went to town and explored the shops. Went to the outdoor pool (even though it was pretty chilly) and drank a ton of margs. Then had a bomb dinner at Mijitas Mexican Restaurant.

Day 3: It was pouring down rain so we did what anyone would do on a rainy day…go to the local museum and learn about the log cabins. Oh and more importantly we found a place to go wine tasting, Orcas Island Winery. 🙂 Later we had a “picnic” (really we just brought some bottles of wine) outside our hotel room near the beach and watched the sun go down. We had another bomb dinner at the hotel restaurant that night.

Day 4: We decided to go on another hike (one we were prepared for with a better view) and went to Turtleback Mountain. It was beautiful! We met a sweet couple who was celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary and I told Tommy we have to come back here on our 40th. We took the afternoon ferry home, stopped at Snow Goose Produce in Mt. Vernon for the biggest ice cream cones (homemade waffle cones, over 50+ flavors, seriously just so amazing) and then heading back to Edmonds to pick up our pup.

Again, I would definitely recommend a mini moon before taking a big honeymoon trip after a wedding! Easy to travel to, easy to plan, less time off work, something else to look forward to after the wedding, and still an amazing weekend away with the hubby to soak in the newlywed bliss.