Island hopping in Washington State

Island hopping in Washington State

Wednesday, 15 May, 2024 0

Cruisers take note: The Port of Seattle is the perfect jumping off point to explore more of the State of Washington.

Visitors in Seattle or those looking for some pre- or post-cruise adventure can take a day trip from Seattle by ferry to one of the many islands of Puget Sound.

Each island has its own unique charm, with plentiful nature and interesting communities.


Bainbridge Island

Bainbridge Island offers a mix of outdoor activities and artistic experiences, making it one of the best Seattle day trips by ferry. Start at Blackbird Bakery with pastries and coffee before heading out to explore the island, which is where pickleball was invented. Visitors can give the game a go at Founders Courts, where they have open play every Monday to Thursday morning. Foodies should grab lunch at Ba Sa for tasty Vietnamese bites followed by tea at Bainbridge Apothecary and Tea or take a hike through the scenic Grand Forest or Bloedel Reserve. Before leaving town, stop by to meet Pia the Peacekeeper Troll, a massive sculpture created by artist Thomas Dambo.

How to get there: Ferries to Bainbridge Island depart from the Seattle Ferry Terminal and the ride takes roughly 35 minutes. Find current ferry schedules here. It is also possible for visitors to get back to Seattle without taking the ferry, by driving along the Kitsap Peninsula, across the Narrows Bridge in Tacoma, and back to Seattle via Interstate 5.


Vashon Island

Similar in size to Bainbridge, Vashon Island is located to the south between Seattle and Tacoma and offers a blend of outdoor beauty, roadside farm stands and art. Visitors should start their day by exploring Point Robinson Lighthouse, and see the whimsical Oscar the Bird King Troll sculpture, another creation by artist Thomas Dambo. Next, explore Dockton Park’s trails and Forest before heading to Vashon Island Coffee for some pastries and coffee.

How to get there: Ferries run regularly from Seattle to Whidbey Island. Check the Mukilteo/Clinton Ferry Schedule here to plan your day.


Whidbey Island

Whidbey Island has plenty of activities for nature lovers and history buffs alike. Head to Deception Pass State Park, where the North Beach provides the best view of the iconic bridge. For a quieter hiking experience, explore the Ala Spit County Park Trail, a lesser-known trail that avoids crowds. Then head over to Oak Harbour to enjoy the colorful Murals by Allgire Project, before exploring historic Coupeville, where visitors will discover independent shops and scenic views. Don’t miss the hundreds of starfish under the pier. The scenic Admiralty Head Lighthouse is also located near Coupeville.

How to get there: Ferries to Vashon Island depart from the Fauntleroy terminal in West Seattle, check the Washington State Ferries website for ferry schedules. If visitors want to see another Thomas Dambo troll, they should stop by Lincoln Park before or after a trip to the island. You can also reach Vashon via the Point Defiance / Tahlequah ferry route in Tacoma. 

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TravelMole Editorial Team

Editor for TravelMole North America and Asia pacific regions. Ray is a highly experienced (15+ years) skilled journalist and editor predominantly in travel, hospitality and lifestyle working with a huge number of major market-leading brands. He has also cover in-depth news, interviews and features in general business, finance, tech and geopolitical issues for a select few major news outlets and publishers.

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