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Lummi Island, Washington

Relax in rural tranquility, kayak, dine on local fare, and explore Nettles Farm.

A farmer harvests lavender on Lummi Island, Washington, picture
Photo credit
Photo: Marjorie McBride
Photo caption
A farmer harvests lavender at Pheasant Valley Farms on Lummi Island, Washington.

The most accessible of the enchanting San Juan Islands, Lummi is a nine-mile stretch of tranquillity populated with locavores, organic farmers, artists and craftspeople, salmon netters, and recreational crabbers, all just six minutes by car ferry from Gooseberry Point near Bellingham, Wash. Drivers and bicyclists find 20 miles of easygoing roads; the top island speed is 35 mph.

  • Watch the Whatcom Chief ferry cross Hale Passage as you picnic outside the butter yellow Beach Store Cafe, where Northwest draft beers and local wines accompany a casual menu that includes sockeye salmon tacos and burgers of island-raised beef. (360) 758-2233,
  • On the west shore, the white steeple of Lummi Island Congregational Church presides over a pebbly beach. Follow wooden steps for views sweeping to Orcas Island. 3913 Legoe Bay Rd.
  • Amenities at the century-old Willows Inn, a rambling Northwest bungalow, run from cozy dormer windows and fireplaces to bocce courts and a spa. The capacious deck is ideal for orca watching. From $135. (888) 294-2620,
  • At Willows Inn Restaurant, nightly prix fixe dinners ($50) give way to an à la carte menu on Sundays. A top treat: Puget Sound spot prawns, kept in a saltwater tank and cooked to order in a shower of chopped garlic. (888) 294-2620,
  • Everything at Nettles Farm—the rows of ruffly lettuces and striped tomatoes, the Mangalitsa pig—supplies the Willows Inn kitchen. Visitors can work the soil, enroll in a poultry workshop, glean gardening tips from the resident farmer, and brew cups of soothing nettle tea.
  • Michael Oppenheimer of Windy Hill Art uses rope, chimes, glass, and wood in 12 kinetic sculptures that are almost always in motion. Call ahead. (360) 393-2683,
  • Elakah Expeditions launches kayak trips along the rocky shore. You can find petrified palm trunks, spot bald eagles, watch rhinoceros auklets diving in the surf, and then picnic on Lummi Rocks, a grassy speck southwest of the big island. (800) 434-7270.


This article was first published in July 2010. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.