Best Northwest Lake Getaways: Soap Lake
Dive in, the water's fine!
By: Niki Stojnic, Max Rose
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Photo: Tegra Stone Nuess
Soap Lake gets its name from the foam created by the mineral-rich waters
Quirky, historic and...therapeutic? That's Soap Lake in a nutshell, where mineral-rich waters with purported healing qualities have been attracting visitors for decades. Local Native American tribes came here, and settlers built a health resort (known back then as a sanatorium) in the early 1900s.The lake's name comes from the water's propensity to foam up, giving it a soapy appearance and feel.
Soap Lake, a sleepy spot with tourist-town aspirations (townsfolk have been in a lather to construct a giant lakeside lava lamp for years---it remains unbuilt), has an avid fan base that includes Eastern Europeans and Russians. Visitors come here for the soothing waters and healing mud: Slather it on and then bake in the sun to get the full skin-soothing treatment.
Book your stay at the historic Soap Lake Natural Spa and Resort, which pipes in the Soap Lake water so you can enjoy it inside at your leisure; the attached restaurant, Don's, serves classic steak and seafood fare, with some Greek dishes included in the mix. The real local find, however, is nearby Mom's European Food & Deli, a haven for Russian bites, from salamis to authentic borscht.
Depending on your interests, you'll either avoid or embrace the carnival-like atmosphere of the annual motorcycle rally, usually held during the third week of July. Or go caving with the kids 7 miles north at Lenore Lake Caves, created by ice age floods and featuring plenty of scenery and wildlife.
Soap Lake is in the middle of Washington state, approximately 25 miles north of Moses Lake and about a three-hour drive from Seattle.
for more directions and nearby airports.
Soap Lake Natural Spa and Resort, 236 Main Ave. E; 800.524.0558
Mom's European Food & Deli, 331 Main Ave. E; 509.246.1121