If you’re in the market, so to speak, for a fun family vacation or even just a romantic getaway, you might want to think about Vashon Island. Now, it’s located in the Northwest of the United States in King County, Washington.
However, even if the trip winds up being a very long one, experiencing the island life that Vashon Island has to offer is something that you will remember for the rest of your life. With that said, what is there really to do on the island?
While we’re clearly not going to detail each and every activity to do on the island, we do want to talk specifically about five of them that the island’s famously known for. And when you type in vashon island things to do on Google, the following five will almost always be detailed in some capacity:
- Cycling around the island
- Kayaking at Jensen Point
- Do some winery and brewery taste testing
- Visit the Point Robinson Lighthouse
- Enjoy one of the ferry rides
Most of those activities, you might be thinking, you can do anywhere else in the world. Such is true, but it’s the ambiance and atmosphere of the island that makes those activities all the more better.
1. Cycling around the island
We’re not here to say that Vashon Island is the most popular cycling destination in the world, but it’s certainly a very popular one. One of the main reasons why, past the aforementioned atmosphere of the island, is due to the diversity of the cycling that you can partake in.
For example, if you wanted to ride in town, many businesses around the island will offer spaces for your bike and maybe even dedicated bike racks. If you wanted to ditch town and go more into the open road, you can do that too.
Of course, dedicated bike lanes are going to be few and far between. The good news is many of the roads on Vashon Island offer wide and comfortable shoulders. Some waterfront roads will be a lot narrower, though, so be cautious on those roads if you choose to cycle on them.
What you’ll also hear and read about Vashon is that it’s very hilly. For biking, this can be both a good and bad thing. It offers a more challenging experience at times, but then you get the joy of having so many hills to ride downhill on. All in the meanwhile, you can enjoy the gorgeous rural scenery that the island offers.
If you’re more into mountain biking, though, the island has you covered there too. Many terrific trails can be accessed, and not all of them are incredibly demanding.
2. Kayaking at Jensen Point
Vashon Island is an island after all, and that means that it’s surrounded by water. It was almost guaranteed that we’d make mention of the kayaking experiences that the island offers. Specifically, kayaking at Jensen Point provides you with a terrific means of enjoying all the island has to offer.
Vashon Adventures is the destination where you’d go to rent out a kayak or even a SUP, and it’s located at the Jensen Point boathouse. This allows you to explore the protected waters in Quartermaster Harbor. Guided tours are offered, and moonlight tours are even sometimes offered, getting an entirely different experience overall.
However, you can also just go out and enjoy the waters with options of two-hour, four-hour, and full-day reservations. Single and tandem kayaks are offered, as well as SUPs too. This one just seems like a no-brainer as what better way to enjoy an island than to explore the waters surrounding it.
Oh, and if you do plan on doing this or any other kayaking, for that matter, you might want to make sure that you have a really good pair of kayaking shoes. It’ll make the experience even better!
3. Do some winery and brewery taste testing
Much like cycling and kayaking, it’s not as if Vashon Island is unique in the idea of taste-testing wineries and breweries. As with the other two, though, the island does offer a unique experience with it.
In fact, wine tasting has become very popular on the island thanks to some award-winning wineries and the fact that there’s such a diverse style of wines with their own flavors to try out. It’s not just the wine that gets all the attention, however, as there are also two fantastic cideries on the island.
Vashon has a long agricultural tradition, and it shows partly by the number of pear and apple orchards that are present on the island. So, if wine isn’t your thing, you can always stop for some great-tasting cider (if the time is right).
Past wineries and cideries, you also can’t forget about the breweries on Vashon. Much like the other two, what you’re going to get by visiting them is unique-tasting beer and possibly even some really good cocktails (depending on where you go).
Then again, if alcohol or fancy-tasting drinks aren’t really your thing, we’re more than certain you could also find a nice cup of coffee on the island. It doesn’t always have to be fancy, are we right?
4. Visit the Point Robinson Lighthouse
We don’t want to discredit the previous three fun activities as they really take advantage of the beauty and experience that Vashon Island offers. However, this is an actual exclusive thing that you can do while visiting the island.
The Point Robinson Lighthouse has a very rich history behind it and is a historical landmark that still acts as a working navigational aid. If you’re into history or even just enjoy visiting historical landmarks of this nature, it might be in your best interest to book a tour if you plan to visit the island.
Now, tours aren’t offered at all times and are offered every Sunday in the summer (which starts on Mother’s Day and goes until mid-September). Booking tours at other times requires calling “Captain Joe,” and you can find the information you need here.
What’s also cool is besides being able to climb to the top of the lighthouse (which is probably not going to be as brutal as climbing to the peak of Mt. Everest), you can also book a time to stay at the keeper’s quarters as they’re available for weekly rentals.
To top the experience off, there’s also a gift shop in the historic garage that you can go shop in, and also quite a few trails around Point Robinson Lighthouse that offer amazing views. In other words, if you could care less about the lighthouse, there are still other reasons to either make a day out of a trip there or even a longer stay.
5. Enjoy one of the ferry rides
Two things we want to point out here. One, this is kind of cheating. Two, this is technically not something to do on the island. The reality is the only way to reach Vashon Island is to take a ferry. Unless you have a vehicle that can drive on water, a ferry is how you’ll get there.
Yet, the ferry ride to reach the island is a part of the overall experience of visiting it. Many people go on ferry rides just for the experience of them alone. However, if you don’t like being on the open water but still want to visit the island, this might be the part you dread the most.
No matter, the ferry rides (there are a few different options available) offer fantastic views and plenty of space. Yet, wait times can be a thing. Doing some research beforehand, as the ferry ride might not require reservations, to find out wait times could potentially save literally hours of waiting.
There truly are many Vashon Island things to do, but we’re confident if you took the time to enjoy all the activities listed above that you would end up with a truly remarkable and amazing vacation to the island.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that the only way to get such an experience is to do the activities we listed above. You may not like kayaking, biking, taste-testing alcohol, and stuff of that nature. No problem because even if you utterly hated everything we pointed out, we only discussed five things.
There are plenty of other fun things that you could do on Vashon Island, so don’t think the island will be a bust if you got nothing out of this post.
Speaking of vacations and trips, if you live in or close to Vancouver, the weekend getaway options that you have are quite diverse. Don’t believe us? Hmm, then why don’t you go ahead and check out that link to see what we’re talking about. Enjoy Vashon Island for any of you who are planning on going soon! We wish we were going too!