After a year of stress brought about from meticulous planning, changing, thinking, working, adjusting, accommodating, etc. (COVID threw a wrench in about every corner of our lives), we were ultimately looking for a small escape from the city and a weekend of mental peace. And our trip with Cabana was just, *perfectly* that.

Being a traditionally meticulous planner who organized every Summer weekend by the hour, I couldn’t wait to take a serious break. Upon arrival on Lopez Island, our weekend bucket list consisted of hitting a local bakery, taking a few hikes, and using recommendations for everything else from locals. About halfway through the first day, we fittingly began referencing the island ‘Slow-pez’ for the perfectly quaint ‘go-slow’ way about it. It was just what we were looking for.

I’ve outlined our 5 biggest takeaways and recommendations for where to go and what to do to build your own relaxing weekend on Lopez Island.

Ferry ride to Lopez Island
Ferry views

Listen to the locals

There’s a reason why everyone waves to each other here - they’re friendly! Cabana’s intriguing design and interior architecture are showstoppers for those passing by and a natural conversation starter to connect with others. Ask questions, get to know the area, see what businesses you can support while you’re there - traveling is much more enriching and memorable when you take advice from those who live there and really get to know them.

A few recommendations:

Holly B’s Bakery
Southend Market
Lopez Island Farmers Market
Visitor center for printed maps

Both photos taken about 30 seconds before a friendly local curiously approached us to peek in from afar and ask what the van was all about.

Peace with Spontaneity

Like mentioned previously, travel by the seat of your pants here and you’ll be happily surprised. A couple “walking buddies” celebrating their ten years of friendship recommended we stop by a family store to grab fresh goat cheese… We took their advice, dropped everything and drove right there. Not only was it an adorable little dairy shop, but the owners encouraged us to spend time browsing their barn which was full of, you guessed it, goats (and extra friendly cats). Pure joy.

A few roadside stops:

Sunnyfield Farm
The views from Bayshore Road

Adorable contact-less honor system with Venmo or cash options

Take a hike (multiple!)

We were delightfully surprised by the Lopez Island trails. The best way I could describe the setting is if you stuck coastal Maine on to the edge of Vermont - precious farmland with happy cows and plenty of sheep, rocky shores with quirky trees, lush and green, and full of nooks and bays. Trails were short and sweet with views that genuinely packed a punch (more than I expected)! Bring snacks for picnics, you won’t regret it.

A few favorites:

Shark Reef Sanctuary
Iceberg Point
Spencers Spit
Watmough Bay Trail
Fisherman Bay Spit Reserve

Iceberg Point
Shark Reef Sanctuary
Fisherman Bay Spit Preserve

Make time for the sunset

With an island so small, it only takes a few minutes to find a spot to pull over and enjoy the views (the magic of Cabana and Vanlife). Make sure you’ve got your local goodies on-hand and table pulled out to make the most out of it too.

Recommendations:

Fisherman’s Bay
Plenty of roads to pull off on!

Relax

One of my favorite splendors of the entire trip was the combination of exploration with the comfort and ease of natural social distancing. With outdoor hikes and the van as our primary basecamp, we felt comfort in knowing that we could enjoy a new setting without the stress of the unknown (hotel elevators, cab rides, concierge desks, other guests).

Take the time to enjoy Netflix from the bed - and a view of the water. Enjoy getting lost and purposely taking a road you’ve never been down - because you can see a donkey at the end of it. Relax knowing that the weekend is unapologetically yours.

Cabana somehow made me feel like this 3 hour excursion from the city dropped me in a European countryside. We could have hopped across the San Juans throughout the weekend but ultimately felt like our goals of peace and quiet could be achieved best by staying put! By the end of it, it felt like an adorable storybook memory we’ll cherish for a long time.

Thank you Lopez Island locals for your kind and embracing nature! Thank you Cabana for the perfect escape.

For more from Kelsey Bumsted, visit her website or follow her on Instagram @kelseybum

Want to see more of the San Juan Islands? Check out Cabana's San Juan long weekend itinerary.