Best Northwest Lake Getaways: Soap Lake

Dive in, the water's fine!

July 2017

By: Niki Stojnic, Max Rose
Seattle Magazine

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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.

Insider Tip
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.

GETTING THERE: Soap Lake is in the middle of Washington state, approximately 25 miles north of Moses Lake and about a three-hour drive from Seattle.

Click here for more directions and nearby airports.

The Coordinates
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