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Sail Away: Our Top 3 Favorite Destinations Via Ferry


Now that it’s o-fish-ally summertime, it’s time to decide how and where to spend your precious summer days. One of our favorite ways to spend the summer in the PNW is by visiting one of the many destinations accessible by Washington State Ferries (because swimming is something we leave for the fish!). Need an adventure? Here are a few of our favorite places to visit, and while you’re on the ferry be sure to grab a cup of Ivar’s famous Clam Chowder to enjoy with those Puget Sound views. 

@wsdot on Instagram

Vashon Island:

After taking a 20-minute ferry ride, from West Seattle, you will reach beautiful Vashon Island. Here you can walk through scenic parks, stroll the miles of shoreland and immerse yourself into the fun culture of the town of Vashon. Known as the “Heart of the Sound,” locals and visitors enjoy the relaxing vibe of the island and the various activities available. From quaint shops and art galleries, historic sites and local restaurants, and places to hike or bike, there’s plenty to do on Vashon! And if you’re lucky enough to be there from July 19 to 21, don’t miss the Strawberry Festival

@_alyssasignh on Instagram, Vashon Island

Bainbridge Island:

Another fin-tastic destination you won’t want to skip is Bainbridge Island! From art, events and historic attractions, to drinking and dining, there is something for everyone in your family to enjoy. The Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, named one of “America’s Best Small-Town Art Museums” by Travel + Leisure in 2014, offers collections from Puget Sound artists, with major exhibits rotating three times a year. The calendar abounds with holiday events and the rich history of the island is found throughout museums, memorials and parks. Bainbridge Vineyards, a certified B Corporation due to its high social and environmental standards, is open for tastings of estate wines from island-grown grapes. So plan a visit!  

@bainbridgeisl on Instagram, Lytle Beach at Bainbridge Island

San Juan Islands:

Perfect for a day-cation or a full weekend getaway, the San Juan Islands are a beautiful escape! Of the more than 100 islands in the San Juans, three are easily accessible on a Washington State Ferry: Lopez Island, Orcas Island, and San Juan Island. Whether you are by yourself, with some friends or the entire family, there are plenty of things to keep you busy. Disconnect from reality on Lopez Island while shopping in the local bookstores and galleries, go whale watching on the waters of Orcas Island, or enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and biking on San Juan Island. Whatever Island you choose to explore, you’ll leave happy as a clam!

@thehandsome_nomad on Instagram, Orcas Island

If you plan to take a Washington State Ferry to one of these spots, make sure to keep these few tips in mind:

  • Wait times: double check what the typical wait times and schedules are before heading to the ferry terminal; there are a lot of Seattleites eager to get out of the city and to the islands!
  • Check pricings and specials: save yourself a few extra bucks by looking online for any specials (and use the other cash for a cup of chowder while you’re on the ferry!)
  • Plan ahead: make a reservation online to secure a spot on the ferry for your day of fun

Summer is the perfect time for an island getaway. We hope with these destinations in mind you are able to experience a summer filled of day trips, weekend explorations, and family fun!