Vashon Island is a small island located in Puget Sound in Washington State, USA. It is part of King County and is situated between Seattle and Tacoma. The island is approximately 13 miles long and 8 miles wide, and has a population of around 10,000 people.
Vashon Island is known for its rural character and natural beauty, with forests, beaches, and farmland covering much of the island. The island is also home to a vibrant arts and culture scene, with numerous galleries, studios, and theaters showcasing the work of local artists and performers.
The economy of Vashon Island is based primarily on agriculture, with local farmers producing a wide variety of crops, including berries, vegetables, and livestock. Tourism is also an important industry on the island, with visitors drawn to its natural beauty, outdoor activities, and cultural attractions.
Access to Vashon Island is by ferry, with regular service from the mainland at both the north and south ends of the island. The island is a popular destination for day trips or weekend getaways, offering visitors a chance to experience a slower pace of life and connect with nature and local culture.
Let’s explore the best things to do on vashon island:
Explore the Beaches on Vashon Island
Vashon Island is home to several beautiful beaches that offer visitors a chance to explore the island’s coastline and enjoy the natural beauty of the Puget Sound. Here are a few beaches you might want to check out:
- Point Robinson Park: This beach is located on the eastern shore of Vashon Island and offers stunning views of Mount Rainier. Visitors can explore the beach, climb the lighthouse, and take a walk along the nature trail.
- KVI Beach: KVI Beach is a popular destination for families, as it offers a large sandy beach with calm waters for swimming and playing. It’s also a great spot for picnicking and watching the sunset.
- Dockton Park: Dockton Park is a popular spot for fishing and crabbing, as well as for launching kayaks and paddleboards. Visitors can also explore the beach and take a hike along the trails in the park.
- Lisabeula Beach: Lisabeula Beach is a quiet and secluded beach located on the south end of the island. It’s a great spot for beachcombing, birdwatching, and enjoying the peaceful surroundings.
- Maury Island Marine Park: This park is located on the southern end of Vashon Island and offers visitors a chance to explore a rocky beach and a small cove. It’s a great spot for hiking, picnicking, and watching wildlife.
No matter which beach you choose to explore, be sure to follow Leave No Trace principles and pack out all your trash to help keep these beautiful places clean and pristine for generations to come.
Visit the Vashon Farmers Market
The Vashon Farmers Market is a great destination for anyone who loves fresh, locally grown produce, handmade crafts, and delicious food. Here are a few things you can expect to find at the market:
- Fresh Produce: The market offers a wide variety of fruits and vegetables that are grown by local farmers on Vashon Island and the surrounding area. You’ll find everything from seasonal berries and greens to root vegetables and pumpkins.
- Handmade Crafts: The market features a variety of handmade crafts such as jewelry, pottery, textiles, and woodworking. You’ll find unique items that make great souvenirs or gifts for friends and family.
- Delicious Food: The market is home to several food vendors who offer a variety of delicious treats such as baked goods, sandwiches, soups, and more. You’ll also find vendors selling local honey, jams, and other specialty food items.
- Live Music: The market often features live music from local musicians, which adds to the festive atmosphere of the event.
- Community Gathering: The Vashon Farmers Market is a great place to meet locals and other visitors to the island. You’ll find a friendly and welcoming community atmosphere that makes the market a fun and enjoyable destination for everyone.
The Vashon Farmers Market is held on Saturdays from April to December and is located at the Vashon Village Green. It’s a must-visit destination for anyone who loves fresh, locally grown food and handmade crafts.
Go Hiking or Biking
Vashon Island has many trails and paths that are perfect for hiking or biking. Here are a few of the top destinations for outdoor recreation on the island:
- Shinglemill Creek Trail: This trail is a moderate 3-mile hike that takes you through a beautiful forested area with views of Shinglemill Creek. You’ll also see several species of birds and other wildlife along the way.
- Fisher Pond Trail: This trail is a 1-mile loop that takes you around Fisher Pond, a peaceful and scenic spot that’s popular with birdwatchers. You’ll also see several species of plants and trees, including cedar and fir.
- Vashon Maury Island Audubon Trail: This trail is a 1.6-mile hike that takes you through a wetland area that’s home to a variety of bird species. The trail is flat and easy, making it a great option for families with young children.
- Dockton Forest Trail: This trail is a 4-mile loop that takes you through a dense forested area with views of the Puget Sound. You’ll also see several species of wildlife, including deer and coyotes.
- Island Center Forest: This forested area is home to several hiking and biking trails, including the 2.5-mile Bluff Trail and the 3.5-mile KVI Beach Trail. The trails offer stunning views of the island’s forests and coastline.
- Burton Peninsula Park: This park offers several miles of hiking and biking trails, including the 1.2-mile Sunrise Trail and the 1.3-mile Burton Loop Trail. The park also offers stunning views of Quartermaster Harbor.
Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll through a wetland area or a challenging hike through a dense forest, Vashon Island has something to offer outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels.
Visit the Island’s agricultural heritage and natural beauty
There are several farms on the island that offer visitors a chance to experience the island’s agricultural heritage and enjoy fresh, locally grown produce. Here are a few farms you might want to check out:
- Nashi Orchards: This orchard is home to several varieties of heirloom apples, pears, and Asian pears. Visitors can take a tour of the orchard, learn about the different varieties of fruit, and sample some of the farm’s delicious products.
- Island Meadow Farm: This farm offers a variety of fresh produce, including berries, greens, and root vegetables. Visitors can also purchase fresh eggs and meats from the farm’s pasture-raised animals.
- Sun Island Farm: This farm offers a variety of organic produce, including tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. Visitors can also purchase fresh flowers and other farm products.
- Camp Sealth Farm: This farm is operated by the CampFire organisation and offers a variety of produce and farm products, including honey and eggs. Visitors can also participate in farm tours and educational programs.
Take a Scenic Drive
Vashon Island offers visitors many opportunities to take a scenic drive and enjoy the island’s natural beauty. Here are a few of the best routes for a scenic drive:
- Vashon Highway: This is the main road that runs north-south through the island and offers beautiful views of the Puget Sound and the surrounding forests. The road passes through several small towns and villages, including Vashon and Burton, where visitors can stop and explore local shops and restaurants.
- Cove Road: This road follows the eastern shoreline of the island and offers stunning views of the Cascades and Mount Rainier on a clear day. The road passes through several small communities and offers opportunities for beachcombing and exploring tidal pools.
- Westside Highway: This road follows the western shoreline of the island and offers views of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. The road passes through several scenic areas, including Point Robinson Park and Lisabeula Park.
- Wax Orchard Road: This road runs through the southern part of the island and offers views of the island’s farmland and agricultural areas. Visitors can stop at the various farms and farm stands along the way to sample local produce and products.
- Quartermaster Drive: This road follows the northern shoreline of Quartermaster Harbor and offers stunning views of the harbor and the surrounding forests. The road passes through several small communities and offers opportunities for beachcombing and exploring tidal pools.
No matter which route you choose, a scenic drive on Vashon Island is a great way to take in the island’s natural beauty and explore its unique communities and attractions.
Visit Local Art Galleries
Vashon Island is known for its vibrant arts community, and there are several art galleries on the island where visitors can view and purchase works by local artists. Here are a few of the top art galleries on Vashon Island:
- Vashon Center for the Arts: This non-profit organization hosts several exhibitions throughout the year, featuring the work of local and regional artists in a variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture, photography, and more.
- The Hardware Store Gallery: This gallery is located in a historic building in downtown Vashon and showcases the work of local and regional artists. The gallery features a rotating selection of exhibitions and also hosts artist talks and other events.
- VALISE Gallery: This artist-run gallery features the work of local and regional artists in a variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture, and mixed media. The gallery also hosts workshops and other events throughout the year.
- Heron’s Nest Gallery: This gallery is located in the heart of the island’s arts district and features the work of local artists in a variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture, and ceramics. The gallery also hosts special exhibitions and events throughout the year.
- Snapdragon Gallery: This gallery is located in the historic Burton Masonic Hall and features the work of local and regional artists in a variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture, and jewelry. The gallery also hosts regular artist talks and other events.
Visiting these art galleries is a great way to experience the island’s vibrant arts community and support local artists.
Go Kayaking or Paddleboarding
Vashon Island is a great place for kayaking and paddleboarding, with several waterways and shorelines to explore. Here are a few places to rent kayaks or paddleboards and launch from on Vashon Island:
- Jensen Point Boathouse: Located on the eastern shore of Vashon Island, this boathouse offers kayak and paddleboard rentals and is a popular spot for launching watercraft.
- Vashon Adventures: This outfitter offers kayak and paddleboard rentals, as well as guided tours of the island’s waterways. Visitors can explore Quartermaster Harbor, Colvos Passage, and other scenic areas.
- Burton Beach Park: This park on the eastern shore of the island offers a boat launch and a small beach area for launching kayaks and paddleboards.
- Dockton Park: This park on the southern end of the island offers a boat launch and access to the water for kayaking and paddleboarding.
- Point Robinson Park: This park on the eastern shore of the island offers a small beach area for launching kayaks and paddleboards, as well as scenic views of Mount Rainier and the Puget Sound.
No matter where you choose to launch from, kayaking or paddleboarding on Vashon Island is a great way to experience the island’s natural beauty and explore its waterways.
Visit the Point Robinson Lighthouse
The Point Robinson Lighthouse is a historic landmark on Vashon Island and is well worth a visit. Located on the eastern shore of the island, the lighthouse was built in 1915 and has been in continuous operation ever since. Today, the lighthouse is operated by the Coast Guard and is a popular destination for visitors to the island.
Visitors to the Point Robinson Lighthouse can take a tour of the lighthouse and learn about its history and operation. The lighthouse also features a small museum with exhibits on the history of the area and the role of lighthouses in maritime navigation. Visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse tower for panoramic views of the Puget Sound and Mount Rainier on a clear day.
In addition to touring the lighthouse, visitors can also explore the surrounding Point Robinson Park, which features a beach area, picnic tables, and a playground. The park is a popular spot for picnicking, beachcombing, and watching the ferries and boats passing through Colvos Passage.
Overall, visiting the Point Robinson Lighthouse and Park is a great way to experience the history and natural beauty of Vashon Island.
Explore the Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie
The Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie is a must-visit destination for coffee lovers on Vashon Island. This small-batch coffee roastery and café has been roasting coffee on the island for over 30 years and is a local favorite.
Visitors to the Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie can take a tour of the roastery and see how coffee is roasted and packaged. The tours are led by knowledgeable staff who can answer questions about the roasting process and the different types of coffee they offer.
The café at the Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie is also a great place to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee. They offer a wide variety of coffee drinks, as well as pastries and other baked goods. Visitors can sit inside the café or outside on the patio and enjoy views of the surrounding gardens.
In addition to coffee, the Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie also offers a selection of teas and coffee-related merchandise, such as mugs, t-shirts, and coffee beans to take home.
Overall, a visit to the Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie is a great way to experience the island’s local flavor and support a small, family-owned business.
Attend Local Events
Vashon Island is home to a vibrant arts and culture scene, and there are many local events and festivals that take place throughout the year. Here are a few examples of events that visitors can attend on Vashon Island:
- Strawberry Festival: This annual festival takes place in July and features live music, arts and crafts vendors, a carnival, and a classic car show. The festival celebrates the island’s history of strawberry farming and is a beloved tradition on Vashon Island.
- Vashon Sheepdog Classic: This annual event takes place in September and features sheepdog trials, where trained dogs compete to herd sheep through a course. The event also includes food vendors, arts and crafts vendors, and live music.
- Vashon Island Farmers Market: This weekly farmers market takes place on Saturdays from April through October and features local produce, artisanal foods, and handmade crafts. The market is a great place to meet local farmers and artisans and support the island’s small businesses.
- Vashon Island Visual Artists Studio Tour: This annual event takes place in December and showcases the work of local artists in their studios. Visitors can explore the island and meet artists working in a variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture, and jewelry making.
- Vashon Island Holiday Bazaar: This annual event takes place in December and features over 100 local vendors selling handmade crafts, jewelry, and artisanal foods. The bazaar is a great place to find unique gifts for the holiday season.
Overall, there are many events and festivals on Vashon Island that showcase the island’s local culture and community. Visitors to the island can experience the island’s unique character by attending these events and getting to know the local people and businesses.
In conclusion, Vashon Island is a unique and charming destination that offers visitors a variety of exciting activities and experiences. From exploring the island’s natural beauty to immersing oneself in its rich cultural heritage, there is no shortage of things to do on Vashon Island.
Some of the top activities to consider include hiking through the island’s lush forests and coastal trails, kayaking along its scenic shorelines, exploring its quaint towns and villages, and sampling the delicious local cuisine at its many restaurants and cafes. Additionally, visitors can attend local events and festivals, browse through art galleries and boutique shops, or simply relax and soak up the island’s laid-back vibe.
Overall, whether you are seeking adventure, culture, or relaxation, Vashon Island is an excellent choice for a memorable vacation or day trip.