Vashon Island or Vashon-Maury Island is an island near Seattle in the Puget Sound region, the largest island in Puget Sound south of Admiralty Inlet. There are no bridges to connect the island with the mainland, a big factor contributing to the island's relative isolation and rural character.
- Island Center Forest, 10612 SW 188th St, Vashon, WA 98070 (several trailheads are located on different sides of the park). Ten miles of multi-use trails lead visitors through 440 acres of consisting of forested stands, meadows, the Mukai Pond and the Meadowlake wetlands which form the headwaters of Judd Creek. Island Center Forest is habitat to a variety of wildlife, including more than 70 bird species.
Vashon Island is accessible by ferry, boat and plane. Ferry terminals are located on the northern and southern ends of the island. There is also a small municipal airport.
- The Heights Dock at Point Vashon on the northern end of the island has ferry service to Southworth, Fauntleroy, and even a foot ferry that goes directly downtown Seattle. Vehicle and passenger service is offered to Fauntleroy Terminal in West Seattle and Southworth and passenger only service is offered to downtown Seattle.
- The Tahlequah Ferry Terminal on the southern end of the island has ferry service to Point Defiance in Tacoma.
- Vashon Municipal Airport (FAA Identifier: 2S1), ☏ . small airport for private planes
Vashon Island is extremely convenient when exploring Puget Sound located between major harbors in Tacoma, Seattle and the Kitsap Peninsula. However not much guest moorage is available so its best to plan ahead.
- Quartermaster Marina, 23824 Vashon Hwy SW, ☏ . The marina has little guest moorage but it is available.
- Quartermaster Yacht Club, ☏ . just north of the marina, has facilities available to members of reciprocal yacht clubs first 48 hours is $.25 per foot.
Most people experience the island by car with the Vashon Hwy SW being the main north south travel route through the island, however don't be afraid to get off this road and experience the less traveled side roads, especially roads that offer views of the water.
Although Vashon is popular with bicyclists, the hills can be intimidating for inexperienced riders and the sometimes tight roads make sharing the road a challenge. The Vashon Highway has ample space for bikers along its shoulder however due to the large amounts of car traffic this might be less desirable for some bikers.
Vashon offers many parks and beaches open to the public
- Blake Island State Park (located in Puget Sound between Seattle and the Kitsap Peninsula and north of Vashon Island). Vashon Island is a popular launching point for this nearby state park that was the birthplace of Chief Seattle and still offers Native American dancing for visitors.
- Bike in a Tree (Near the corner of Vashon Highway and SW 204 St). A bike swallowed up in a tree. This is the actual bike in a tree woven into the story "Red Ranger Came Calling" by Berkeley Breathed
- Robinson Point Park and Lighthouse, 3705 SW Pt. Robinson Rd., Dockton, WA. A 10 acre shoreline park with a lighthouse. There are a few hiking trails and picnic tables. The keeper's quarters of the lighthouse have been restored and are available for weekly rental.
Sea kayaking can be a rewarding way to explore the islands miles of coastline allowing the paddler a closer and slower look at their surroundings and making Vashon one a popular areas to kayak in Puget Sound. Thick forests of majestic pine and deciduous trees and hundreds of creeks and estuaries dot the coastline. Harbor Seals, Otters, Sea Lions, Bald Eagles and Blue Herons are common sites while the occasional viewing of an Orca or Grey Whale is not out of the question.
Organized trails offer overnight camping options and maps of appropriate and scenic travel destinations.
- Cascadia Marine Trail. This inland sea trail is a National Recreation Trail and designated one of only 16 National Millennium Trails by the White House. Suitable for day or multi-day trips, the Cascadia Marine Trail has over 50 campsites to visit. People can boat to the campsites from many public and private launch sites or shoreline trailheads Vashon Island.
- [formerly dead link] Vashon Island Kayak Center, 8900 SW Harbor Dr, ☏ . Season Rentals May through September, lessons and group excursions.
Scuba diving the cold waters of Puget Sound takes a bit more gear and training than other warm water locations, but the rewards are incredible. The area contains some of the best diving in the world and many areas are accessible from the Vashon Island. Many dive sites are completely covered with colorful sea creatures that defy description. Giant Pacific Octopus are common, along with friendly wolf eels. Colorful sponges, sea cucumbers, sea stars, soft corals, anemones and fish can be seen on nearly every dive. The state offers a guide to parks with launch sites HERE
The town of Vashon has a large variety of stores that would appeal to the average tourist including many arts and crafts made by locals.
- Vashon Pharmacy, 17617 Vashon Hwy SW (Town Center), ☏ . M-F 9AM-7PM Sat 9AM-6PM Sun 11AM-1PM. It's not just a pharmacy. Vashon Pharmacy is more like a huge gift shop.
- The Hardware Store Restaurant, 17601 SW Vashon Hwy (SW corner of Bank Rd. and the Highway), ☏ . A nice restaurant in the oldest commercial building on Vashon
- The Red Bicycle, 17618 Vashon Hwy SW (In the middle of town, in the blue and red building), ☏ . Formerly known as Bishop's, The Red Bicycle is a local hangout with decent beer and live music on the weekends
- Sportsman's Inn Pub & Eatery, 17611 Vashon Hwy SW (In the middle of town, on the west side of the main highway. A footballer player is painted on the sign and is hard to miss. Islanders call the location), ☏ . Islanders call this location Sporties. It is a bar commonly filled with members of the elderly community.
- Artist's Studio Loft Bed and Breakfast, 16529 91st Avenue SW. Peaceful quiet retreat $119-215.
- [formerly dead link] Pt. Robinson Keepers' Quarters, 3705 SW Pt. Robinson Rd., Dockton, WA, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. $975-1580/wk.
- Vashon Library, 17707 100th Avenue SW, ☏ . Vashon Island is actually within King County and benefits from King Counties well developed library system and has many resources available including wifi.