Home Destinations Seattle Day Trip: Vashon Island

Seattle Day Trip: Vashon Island

by Leanne
Vashon lighthouse

Vashon lighthouse

Vashon – Maury Island is one of my favorite destinations around Seattle. It is less than an hour away {give or take, depending on ferries, etc} from the city, but it feels like worlds away with a much slower pace and very few crowds. Even though we are surrounded by islands in the Puget Sound, Vashon is one of the few places in Washington I have found that runs on “Island Time”. You may be able to see Seattle across the water during your visit, but while you’re there you are transported back to small town life and all the joys that come from slowing down your pace a bit.

Vashon deer crossing road

Vashon deer crossing road

Because of the slower pace, I recommend getting started from Seattle as early as you can to avoid shops and diners closing early while you’re still exploring. Since there can be traffic with games and other events in South Seattle, an early schedule will mean you can soak in all you can of Vashon before you have to leave.

Vashon bench

Vashon bench

Getting there

Unlike other islands in the Puget Sound, Vashon-Maury is truly an Island and can only be reached by ferry. To get there from Seattle, you catch the ferry at the Fauntleroy Terminal in beautiful and scenic West Seattle. It caught us off-guard the first time we visited because we didn’t realize you pay at the Fauntleroy Terminal upfront for both passageways to and from the island and the total for our carload was more than we expected to pay. Our way back home was a pleasant surprise when we realized there was no ticket booth on the other side to slow the ferry line down and that higher priced ticket on the way there easily ends up equaling out in the end.

Vashon Ferry

Vashon Ferry

Because this is one of the smaller routes, be sure to check the ferry schedule before your voyage, especially during the off-season. If you can handle the 5 mile route from the ferry into town, biking across the ferry will immediately win you bonus points from the locals, offer an even more scenic vacation and will save you some cash in the end, too.

Once officially on “Island Time”, you should head to downtown Vashon via Vashon Hwy SW that leads directly into town. This is where you will find most of the stores, restaurants, cafes and more to explore the town. During your drive, you should keep an eye out for deer and other animals that will come right up to the roadways. The deer along the side of the road made Vashon even more magical to my nature-loving kids, and they couldn’t believe that they weren’t scared off by our presence as we explored.

Vashon deer

Vashon deer

Once you hit town, you can park your car or bike and walk to most everything easily. If you’re lucky, you will also catch the Vashon farmer’s market right in town that has local crafts, cheeses, wine, veggies, and more. The market runs from 10-2 Sat year-round, and 2-5 Wed Jul 16 – Oct 15 and you can find it at Vashon Hwy. S.W. at Bank Rd. S.W.

Vashon island fun

Vashon island fun

Must do and see on Vashon Island

The Country Store & Farm is Vashon’s original organic nursery and farm store. It carries name-brand clothing, shoes, unique plants & gardening supplies. Stop in to see their selection of NW specialty foods and gifts and then check out the grounds a bit – it’s a photographer’s dream! The Country Store Vashon 20211 Vashon Hwy SW Vashon, WA 98070-6025

Vashon poppies

Vashon poppies

Island Market Foods/Vashon Thriftway is so much more than a grocery store. After the main stores close, it is the place to shop on Vashon Island and they have all sorts of stuff that make it fun to visit over and over again. Located in the heart of town, just a few minutes from either the North or South end ferry dock, it’s quick in and out or you can make it take hours, like my kids do. 9740 SW Bank Rd Vashon, WA 98070

Giraffe Home Decor and Gifts with a Soul Fair Trade. Specializing in local and eco friendly and known for their amazing gift selection, Giraffe is really fun to check out on each visit. 17626 Vashon Highway SW Vashon, WA 98070

Raven’s Nest Art Gallery is a charming Northwest Coast Native Art Gallery & Gifts, exhibiting original art, limited editions and reproduction gift items.

The Hardware Store. While I have many favorite places to eat in Vashon, I love The Hardware Store {yes, that’s a restaurant} for dinner. The restaurant serves upscale American food with a full bar, great wine, and even has a local Art Gallery inside. The Hardware Store Restaurant 17601 SW Vashon Hwy Vashon Island, WA 98070-0369

Vashon love bag

Vashon love bag

Zombiez. For a fun lunch or quick burger, I love Zombiez. Self-professed fast ”Slow Food” diner, Zombiez has a fun atmosphere, a collection of family games you can play while you wait, free ice cream for kiddos, and a great menu of traditional burgers as well as specialty fare.  Zombiez 17705 Vashon Hwy SW Vashon Island, WA 98070

Family fun on Vashon Island

Point Robinson Park. One of my favorite places on earth is the beach at Point Robinson Park. Take the trail down to the beach and you will find a tiny lighthouse with sandy beaches that stretch all around the point. My kids love that they usually have driftwood piled up to make tiny shelters all along the beach, which they promptly move into each time we visit. Across the water, you will see gorgeous views of Mt. Rainier and the mainland Seattle and Tacoma. There are free lighthouse tours 12-4 Sun during the summer, but we have never made that happen. If you are interested in scheduling one, you can make an appointment at 206-463-6672. Rumor has it that you can rent the Keepers’ Quarters by calling 206-463-9602, but we haven’t tried that, either.

Vashon Point Robinson

Vashon Point Robinson

Electric bicycle rentals, tours & sales is there to save the day if you weren’t able to bring your bicycle with you. Rent some for the family and cruise around Vashon Island at an even slower pace. 17205 Vashon Hwy SW C-2 Vashon Island, WA 98070

Events and more. Check out the Vashon event calendar to see what is happening on the islands during your visit. You can see all the events in the works here.

Vashon beach kids

Vashon beach kids

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3 comments

Tabitha Black June 17, 2018 - 12:45 pm

I can’t believe I have never visited Vashon Island and I’m only a ferry ride over. Will have to make it over there this summer for sure, it looks like the perfect town!

Reply
Leanne June 20, 2018 - 8:14 pm

It is so much fun – I highly recommend it!

Reply
25+ things to do in Seattle in the spring - Rave & Review April 30, 2019 - 9:07 pm

[…] much slower pace and very few crowds. Even though we are surrounded by islands in the Puget Sound, Vashon Island is one of the few places in Washington I have found that runs on “Island Time”. You may be able […]

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