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Lummi Island, one of the San Juan Islandsmarker, lies at the southwest corner of Whatcom County, Washingtonmarker, USAmarker, between the mainland part of the county and offshore San Juan Countymarker. The Lummi Indian Reservation is situated on a peninsula east of the island, but does not include Lummi Island. The island has a land area of 23.97 kmĀ² (9.255 sq mi) and had a population of 822 as of the 2000 census. The population nearly doubles in summer when property owners from both Canada and the U. S. arrive for summer fun and relaxation. The island is accessible by a 22 car ferry, the "Whatcom Chief" run by the county. It is 6 minute passage from Gooseberry point on the mainland to the island. On the island there is one general store, two restaurants, several bed and breakfasts, a small library, post office, fire station, one church, a Boys & Girls club and a vintage 1919 elementary school. The Beach Store Cafe is a popular local hangout with a small bar and serves seafood and traditional cafe fare. The Willows Inn serves more expensive fare with seasonal treats from island farms and fishers. The historic Lummi Island Congregational Church sets next to its quiet, wooded cemetery. Lummi Island is best known for its unique reefnet salmon fishery, eclectic population of artists, picturesque seascapes and rural setting. Its narrow, scenic and winding roads are popular with bicyclers. A popular trail to Lummi Mountain takes hikers through the Baker Preserve to stunning high views of the San Juan and Gulf Islands. Hikers on the trail are required to obtain a free permit issued by the Lummi Island Heritage Trust.

The island was originally called Sa nam a o ("High Mountain") and Skallaham by the native Indians. In 1792 Spanish explorers dubbed it Isla de Pacheco, and it was later known as McLoughlin Island. In 1853, the U.S. National Geodetic Survey charted the island as Lummi, naming it after the tribe. It is believed the name comes from luminara, referring to the bonfires the Spanish saw upon arrival and whence the tribe also took their name, though there are also theories that it is derived from a native word or phrase.


The island hosts the annual Lummi Island Reefnet Festival and a weekly farmers market in the spring and summer.

Lummi Island is also home to a large number of artists who, on Memorial Day, Labor Day, and the first weekend of December, conduct studio tours.


  1. Island Vacation Rentals: Lummi Island History
  2. Friends of Island Library: A Very Brief History of Lummi Island and the Islanders, 1998

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