Although Lopez is the first island on the Washington State Ferry route from Anacortes to the San Juans, it’s only 15 miles long and often overlooked as a destination. With mostly forests and rolling farmland, visitors like to come for the trails and parks and beaches, and it’s considered by most as the best biking island. The lifestyle is slow and relaxed.
The San Juan Islands Visitor Bureau website says,” You won’t find rental cars, public transportation, stoplights, mopeds, a movie theater or a shopping mall.” There are other places to find those big city things. Maybe that’s why Lopez remains a secret to so many people.
Unofficially known as “The Friendly Isle,” Lopez got its nickname due to the locals waving at passing cars. It can be confusing at first, until you realize that’s just what they do around here. The locals are an eclectic mix of artists, entrepreneurs, musicians, fisherman and craftspeople, who like things quiet, but still have fun with events like the annual “Tour de Lopez” bike ride.
Retired writer and island resident, Brian J. Cantwell wrote in the Seattle Times that people refer to Lopez as “Slow-pez.” The town of Lopez Village is the relaxed heartbeat of the island with a post office, general store, library and a few shops, galleries and restaurants.
By far the most active and largest place to stay and dine is the Lopez Islander Resort on Fisherman Bay. It features vacation rental homes, a hotel, RV parking, camping spaces and a 64-slip marina. And, if you’re tired of all that biking, hiking and waving, the Islander’s Tiki Lounge is a great spot to unwind and take in the scenery.