I have been living in the San Juan Islands in Washington state for a few years now. And whenever I want to just relax and read a book, I just pack up my bicycle and take the ferry on over to our beautiful Lopez Island. Laid back living on Lopez Island consists of a peaceful bike ride, followed by whale watching and a great book.
Lopez Island is one of the larger islands in the San Juans, and yet only 2,400 pople live here. Most of Lopez has long meandering farms with beautiful scenic beaches.
I generally like to ride my bicycle at a quick pace, but here on Lopez, I just find a slower gear and enjoy the scenery. Funny, the folks here call Lopez Island “Slow-Pez”, and after being here for a few hours, I can see why. Lopez is mostly flat with an occasional hill or two, making it perfect for casual bike riding.
For those of us who are lucky enough to live in the San Juans, Lopez Islanders have a reputation of waving at anyone who passes by. I got my first wave within a few hundred feet after getting off the ferry boat by a friendly lady in an old pickup truck. Have you ever noticed that when you are out in the country side of anyplace in the world, just about everyone will give you a friendly wave?
Small Town Atmosphere with great food
There’s only one town here on Lopez, and it’s simply named The Village. They have a delicious ice cream store named the Just Heavenly Fudge Factory, where they make their own ice cream and fudge. It’s a perfect place to unwind after a bike ride. The owners are a pair of little old ladies that will tell you everything there is to know about Lopez.
My favorite restaurant on Lopez is a small place right next to the ice cream store, named Bucky’s. It’s less expensive than the other restaurants, and their food is excellent. I ordered the special of the day and was very surprised at how delicious their cajon mahi fish tacos were. They were probably the best fish tacos I have ever had. They have a wonderful deck out back too.
Where to stay
I’d suggest staying at a place you find on AirBnB. Some of my friends run an AirBnB on Lopez Island, and in the nearby towns of La Conner and Anacortes. The folks that make their homes available are really nice people, and most of them are retired. They are just good folks up here.
The Washington State Ferry system is a bargain, and you can get here quickly if you take the ferry from Anacortes, but you can also get there from Friday Harbor (another one of my favorite places). They also have a very small airport, or if you have your own sea-worthy boat, they have a nice dock there. Once you are on the island, you can either drive your car, or you can do what I do, ride your bike.
Buying a home on Lopez
Many of the folks that have homes have lived here for 20 years or more. If you are looking for a home with a view, it’s going to cost you. Some of my friends that live on Lopez wish they lived in nearby Anacortes, because the only way off Lopez Island is by Ferry boat. It takes a special kind of person to live on a small island of just 2400 residents. A person who enjoys laid back living and enjoys waving at the folks they meet on the country roads.