Vashon Island is the perfect quick getaway from Seattle!
Seattleites are lucky to have several gorgeous islands nearby that are easily accessible via our ferry system. Popular destinations such as Bainbridge Island and the San Juan Islands attract hordes of visitors, but today we’re talking about an underrated gem: Vashon Island.
Vashon enjoys a slower pace of life amidst unspoiled nature, wineries, and a quaint downtown hub full of amazing restaurants and charming shops. Best of all, Vashon Island is only a 20-minute ferry ride from Seattle! If a day trip isn’t enough for you, you could book a stay at a bed and breakfast or AirBnB and enjoy a rejuvenating weekend.
Our Vashon Island guide has two parts: how to get there and things to do. Read on for everything you need to know before visiting Vashon Island!
How to get to Vashon Island
Getting to Vashon Island from Seattle is easy. You can take the ferry from the Fauntleroy Terminal in West Seattle, or the Vashon-Seattle water taxi from Pier 50 (keep in mind the water taxi does not operate on weekends, FYI).
There’s just one important thing to keep in mind: transportation once you’re on the island. The water taxi from downtown Seattle is walk-on only, i.e. no cars. We highly recommend driving onto the ferry in West Seattle so you have a car on Vashon. Public transportation (including ride shares such as Uber and Lyft) is scarce on Vashon Island, and downtown Vashon is about five miles away from the northern ferry dock.
If you don’t have a car, you could bring your bike onto the ferry or water taxi and get around the island that way. Otherwise, plan ahead for your island transportation before you set out.
Things to do on Vashon Island
1. Eat, drink, and shop in downtown Vashon
Vashon is a foodie destination in its own right. Popular restaurants include May Kitchen for Thai food, Snapdragon for coffee, pastries, and vegetarian bites, and The Ruby Brink or The Hardware Store for hearty New American fare and drinks.
You’ll find all of the above eateries in the downtown hub, clustered together with thrift stores, bookstores, gift shops, art galleries, and more.
2. Go on a winery tour
Vashon is home to several excellent wineries as well as breweries. You can plan your tasting tour by consulting the full list and map of the island’s various tasting rooms on the Vashon Island Chamber of Commerce website.
3. Have a picnic at Point Robinson Lighthouse
Point Robinson Lighthouse is located on the eastern shore of Maury Island, which is connected to Vashon. The sandy beach, historic lighthouse, picnic tables, and stunning views make this a great spot for a picnic on a sunny day.
4. Visit Lavender Hill Farm
Lavender Hill Farm on Vashon Island is a small but beautiful destination. The farm is kid-friendly and dog-friendly, and you can pick your own lavender! Trust us, it smells heavenly. The 2023 lavender season runs from June 15 through July 23.
5. Hike in Maury Island Marine Park
Maury Island is connected to Vashon and has a stunning park with over a mile of shoreline. As you hike the three-mile trail, take in views of Mount Rainier, Puget Sound, the Cascade Mountains, and wildlife such as blue herons, bald eagles, and orca.
6. Rent a paddle board, kayak, or bike for an outdoor adventure
Want some help coordinating an outdoor adventure on Vashon Island? You can use Vashon Adventures to rent kayaks, paddle boards, e-bikes, and even campsites with camping gear. You can book a guided or self-guided adventure of your choice for yourself or with a group!