Updated: Jul 24
Things to do on Lummi Island really depend on the time of year you visit. It’s nestled in the same region as the Canadian Gulf Islands and the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington state, so the weather is a big factor to consider when planning your day. If weather permits, by all means, get outside. The Salish Sea provides so many opportunities to explore on the water so boating, kayaking, crabbing, fishing and paddle boarding are great ways to enjoy the scenery.
Visiting the San Juan Islands? Visit nearby Whidbey Island
With wildlife being so abundant, booking a kayaking tour or a whale watching excursion during high season is a must. If the island is blanketed in the gray, soggy weather its known for, you can take refuge in one of the few artist’s studios or galleries, grab an artfully crafted cocktail by the wood-burning fireplace at the Willows Inn, or book a wine tasting at the Artisan Wine Gallery. As mentioned in our Lummi Island Travel Guide, some of the more traditional sightseeing opportunities can feel limited if you go during the off-season. But it’s important to remember that a trip to Lummi Island can also be a celebration of slow, deliberate travel that so often goes overlooked. Traveling can, and should, be just as much about creating opportunities to savor a slowdown and reset ourselves.
here are the absolute best things to do on Lummi Island in Washington.
1. Go hiking at Baker Preserve
The Baker Preserve is an astounding inclined hike that is so worth the effort to get there. You will climb to a staggering 1,060 feet (323 meters) in just over a mile and a half (2.4 kilometers) through what can only be described as the location inspiration behind the children’s movie FernGully. It feels like a land of fairies and wise old trees, lending their wisdom to those who speak their native tongue. There are reaching and curling branches shooting across a thick, velvet canopy that just seems to pulsate with life. The trail itself is well-marked and tightly packed with leaves and pine needles, making it slippery in some places. You’ll walk around waist-high ferns, across fallen logs that are dotted by brightly colored mushrooms and some scurrying wildlife. It is just plain magical.
Once you make it to the overlook, you’ll peer out across the Rosario Straight and the San Juan Islands in an unending vista where the sky meets the sea. The sun sparkles on the water, creating a reflective mirror, and there are eagles swooping in and out of their perches in the tree line below. It is stunningly serene and makes you feel tiny and larger than life all at the same time. If you’re looking for something a little less intensive, the Curry and Otto Preserves are great for a stroll through nature.
2. Comb the Lummi Island Beaches
There are three, small public beaches, which is why it would behoove you to book a waterfront rental with private beach access. Lummi Island Beach Access is right next to the ferry dock with a deck and tide pool access with views of Mount Baker. It’s a good place to sit on the bench and watch the Whatcom Chief glide back and forth across the bay.
They’ve also got a staircase you can use to get to the stone tidelands below the observation deck. A more traditional beach experience can be found at Sunset Beach just across the road from the Willows Inn. With easy-to-find parking, it’s a sandy, rocky mixture that would be perfect for a couple of beach chairs or even a thick blanket. This beach is on the west side of the island, so stick around to watch the sun go down.
Church Beach and Labyrinth, behind a quaint little white church, also has the best parking as it’s the shared parking lot with the Lummi Island Congregational Church. A winding path through the woods leads you to a whimsical tree tunnel covering easy to manage steps. You can’t see where it’s taking you through the thick tangle of branches, which is part of the charm, but it spits you out onto a woodland pebble shoreline. Each of these beaches are different, so see them all and bring your supplies in and out with you if you plan to spend some time there.
One bonus beach you should see is Legoe Bay, but there’s a caveat. The shoreline along Legoe Bay is private, but the road is not, and it’s a great place for a mindful stroll along the lapping waterline. It’s lined with wood-shingled sheds, fishing equipment, boats and massive piles of driftwood in a picturesque nod to the perfect briny fishing village. It is a striking location for sunset photos, and you may get lucky, like we did, and watch the local fishermen pull their boats in.
3. Visit the Lummi Island Farms
You’ll also want to visit the farms and taste the wine. We’ve told you about Full Bloom Farm and Loganita Farm in our Lummi Island Travel Guide, but you should add Nettles Farm to the mix and make sure you go visit them all for yourselves. Imagine a field full of vibrant, feathery peonies in June or walking through a private oasis of produce and edible flowers grown exclusively for one of the best restaurants in the United States. You can schedule a tour of Loganita Farm right from the Willows Inn front desk.
4. Try a wine tasting on Lummi Island
These farms are part of what makes Lummi Island so special. As is the Artisan Wine Gallery which specializes in offering international selections from as far as South Africa, Argentina and Australia, but also stocks a good supply of more local bottles from Washington and Oregon. The wine tastings are organized on the weekends and are a great way to spend a few hours in the afternoon. If wine isn't really your thing, the hundred year old Taft's Bar inside the Willows Inn offers an impressive array of craft cocktails that you can enjoy by the wood-burning fireplace.
5. Check out the Lummi Island artists
Last, but not least, see the art. The bucolic island is home to artists of various mediums who almost certainly gain inspiration from the natural glory surrounding them. There are galleries and studios you can visit at different times of year, but our favorite was much more informal- an unexpected sculpture garden overlooking the water along Seacrest Drive. The Mount Baker and sea views are the perfect backdrop for Wayne Chaudiere’s steel and stone creations that are made from salvaged material.
So you've heard Lummi Island is home to one of the best restaurants in the United States and you're wondering what it's really like. We went to the famed Willows Inn restaurant for our anniversary, and have lots to say about our experience with the James Beard Award-winning Chef Blaine Wetzel.
More things to do on Lummi Island
Ashley Oñoz-Wright has been a travel writer and editor based in Las Vegas, NV for the last 10 years and is a regular contributor for Manifesting Travel, Modern Luxury, Sophisticated Living, Greenspun Media Group, Vegas.com and LasVegas.com. She holds a degree in Sociology & Anthropology from DePauw University.