A few miles north of Bellingham is Lummi Island, a small, tranquil island that was named one of 28 “Best Secret Islands on Earth” by Travel & Leisure magazine in 2011. Not a tourist destination in the traditional sense, Lummi offers a relaxing retreat for food enthusiasts and nature lovers. This is where you’ll find a vibrant artist community living on “island time” and enjoying every minute of the laid-back lifestyle.
Quiet, tree-lined country lanes traverse the island, making biking or walking the obvious recreational activities, but outdoor and cultural options are varied, and a great meal is never far away.
In the summer months, find a spot to watch reef netters hard at work in the bay. Wild Pacific salmon reef net fishing is a traditional Pacific Northwest salmon-fishing method and has been practiced for centuries by Native American tribes using cedar canoes and cedar nets to catch wild sockeye and other wild Pacific salmon.
The world-famous Willows Inn offers accommodation and gourmet fare that is both seasonal and local.
Visit one of three preserves protected by the Lummi Island Heritage Trust. The Otto and Curry preserves are both perfect for a casual walk, but the real hidden gem is the Baker preserve, offering a short but vigorous hike up a steep and winding trail with a great payoff – an overlook with breathtaking views of the San Juan Islands.
If introspection is what you’re seeking, the Lummi Island Congregational Church welcomes the public to the beach behind the church, as well as a secluded stone labyrinth for walking meditation. Lounge in the sand and rocks at Sunset Beach on West Shore Drive, where you may be able to watch reef netters catching salmon, or come around sunset for your best bet at watching orcas swim by.
On your way home, try your luck at the Silver Reef Hotel Casino Spa on the road back to I-5. Silver Reef offers several restaurants, including an award-winning steak house and wine room. Overnight accommodations make it a great base from which to travel. Stock up at the Lummi Bay Market with your winnings from the casino.
To get to Lummi Island, take the Slater Road exit from I-5 and head west 3.2 miles to Haxton Way. Turn south on Haxton Way and drive seven miles to the Gooseberry Point ferry dock.
The Whatcom Chief ferry runs at least once an hour throughout the day. A vehicle and driver fare is $14 round trip, and each passenger or pedestrian ticket is $8.
Lummi Island provides a beautiful backdrop for visitors to find relaxation and peace among the wildflowers native to the island, such as camas, lupine, fireweed and wooly sunflowers.
For more information, visit lummi-island.com.
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