Vashon Island Getaway
If you like long walks on the beach, a hike through a forest, gathering fresh produce from farmers markets, or art gallery hopping, then you might want to consider a getaway visit to Vashon Island, the heart of the Puget Sound.
Only reachable by boat, we took the 20 min ferry ride from Fauntleroy in West Seattle, and arrived to our lovely accommodations. We dined at delicious restaurants, shopped at quaint boutiques, went on a couple hikes, drove the island for some amazing panoramic views, and can’t wait to return to discover more of this bucolic island.
Sharing our favorites list of things to do, where to stay and dine on Vashon Island.
THINGS TO DO
There’s plenty to do on this island and it’s easy not to do anything and just relax and enjoy the natural beauty during your Vashon Island Getaway.
DRIVE THE ISLAND:
One of the best things we did is drive the 13-mile long Vashon Island to explore its little towns, farms, harbors, coasts and views. We started in downtown Vashon and continued along the Westside Highway to Vashon Hwy SW, then continued to the charming little town of Burton, and then passed Quartermaster Harbor to Dockton, and then Pt. Robinson Park before making our way back north to downtown.
HIKES & WALKS:
There are dozens of trails on the island through forests, parks and along the coasts. We walked Luana Beach near Point Robinson Lighthouse, and also walked part of the Highpoint Trail. There are other trails including the Burton Loop, Fern Cove/Shinglemill Creek, Fisher Pond Preserve, Agren Park, Island Center Forest, Paradise Valley Loop Trail/Judd Creek, Frog Holler Forest, Dockton Forest, Spring Beach, Lost Lake, and Christensen Pond Preserve.
There are about 50 miles of shoreline on Vashon-Maury Island with a variety of beaches – sandy spits to rocky beaches with driftwood. We visited a few of these beaches and can’t wait to return to visit more — Dockton Park, KVI Beach, Gold Beach, The North End, Lisabuela Park, Maury Island Marine Park, Point Robinson Beach and Lighthouse.
Rent an electric bike to ride the country roads, mountain bike, road bike some of the island trails, learn how to sail (Bruce Haulman Sailing Program), or a kayak to glide through the harbors.
This is a must to do as you visit Vashon Island. Harder to do as it gets cold but if the sun is out, make sure to get out and view the fall scenery all around the island. Erin at Vashon E-Bike is an excellent guide and can recommend the best route for whatever time permits or your heart desires. We did a 16 mile tour with various small hills, stopped midway for a lunch and headed home. It was a highlight for all riders and the turbo boost can make any experienced rider look like a pro going up hill.
Kayaks can be rented at Burton Beach, and the water there and at Dockton Park gets warm and is very swimmable in the summer. There are stand up paddle board rentals (Vashon Adventures), golfing (Vashon Golf & Swim), paddle board rentals (Fat Cat Paddleboarding) and yoga (Island Yoga Center).
RELAX & GET PAMPERED:
For massage and skin care, we heard that Vashon Bodywork is a good place to make an appointment. Also, Becalm is a recent addition to the body work scene on the island. Specializing in acupuncture and Chinese medicine, Karin Nelson, LAc, opened her Vashon practice after working in Seattle for over 20 years. For a healthy and relaxing treat, schedule an acupuncture treatment or foot bath, or a massage by Melissa Moen, LMP.
On the first Friday of every month, shops and galleries open with art exhibits and live music plays, and you’ll want to check the events at the Vashon Center for the Arts. Gather is an art gallery in town with 100% local art, and there are several other galleries to enjoy, as well. The Chamber of Commerce, Vashon Allied Arts and Vashon Events are great resources for things to do during your visit to Vashon.
There is an island farmers’ market between April – December (Saturdays) and June – September (Wednesdays), but throughout the year, you can find farm stands that are sprouting throughout the island with bountiful fresh produce. Visit Vashon Beachcomber website, click here, for a map of the island farm stands – Forest Garden Farm, GreenMan Farm, Vashon Farmlet, Pink Tractor Farm, Hogsback Farm, Plum Forest Farm, Cornerstone Farm and Dairy, La Biondo Farm & Kitchen, Limping Duck Farm, Burton Hill Farm & Diary, Pacific Potager, Pacific Crest Farm, Sun Island Farm, Island Meadow Farm.
Dragon’s Head Cider, Maury Island Winery, Nashi Orchards, Palouse Winery, Andrew Will Winery. Seattle Distilling makes fabulous spirits: vodkas, gins, whiskies and is offers tours and tastings. It is located on the “main highway” just north of Minglement, so is readily accessible.
- Try a Dreamwork or Sand Play private session with Jungian therapist and learn how to analyze your dreams and life. Contact Adam Stone, MA, AAC, MHP Call: (206) 450-3372 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- One-of-a-Kind Wooden Bowls – Visit Bowls and watch wood maker create a wooden bowl out of local wood, then buy one to take home. phone: 425-698-0247 email: email@example.com
- See what’s blooming at the Lavender Hill Farm, click here
- Tour the Point Robinson Lighthouse: contact 206-463-9602
- Art Lessons painting, photography, drawing, ceramics classes can be arranged – fees vary. Contact: Artist Lisa DeFaccio call: 206-498-4359 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
FESTIVALS & EVENTS:
Visit the Vashon Chamber of Commerce website, click here, for a listing of things to do on the island. Great resource to find information on art exhibits, garden, solar, farm tours, Strawberry Festival, bike trails, equestrian events, fishing, hiking trails, beach combing, picturesque Point Robinson Lighthouse tours, Island Center Forest or Dockton Park Trails for mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking or jogging. Horses can be boarded nearby, riding lessons or trail rides can be arranged and riding on the beach is wonderful.
WHERE TO STAY
“There are places that feed your soul. That clear your mind. That bring you back to what’s really important. For us, that’s Vashon Island,” – Lodges on Vashon
We stayed a couple nights on Vashon Island and highly recommend the Lodges on Vashon Island and an Air BnB owned by island artist Lisa DeFaccio. There are bed & breakfasts, cottages, and even the keeper’s quarters at the Point Robinson Lighthouse where you find accommodations.
Here are our favorite places to stay that would be perfect for any Vashon Island Getaway:
We stayed one night at Lodges at Vashon Island and loved it! Located just a few blocks from downtown Vashon….only a 5 mins walk.
Christine Goering, General Manager, shares, “The Lodges on Vashon are in the heart of Washington’s lush Vashon Island, where modern style meets Mother Nature. Relax in the Pacific Northwest green. Wander around town. Discover a Saturday farmers market or rejuvenate over coffee – everything moves a little slower on the island.”
The Lodges: Modern & new – each contemporary lodge features state-of-the-art, keyless-entry technology, a king-size bed, gas fireplace, flat-panel television, high-speed Internet and thoughtfully designed bathrooms. Everything from soaps to coffee, are sourced from some of the best artisans on the island. You can choose from the Meadows or the Courtyard Lodges (sleeping 2-4 people) – some lodges are pet-friendly.
We stayed in the #15 courtyard lodge with a kitchenette, deep soaking tub with bath salts. During our stay, we relaxed in every room, slept peacefully, played board games, read books, and sipped on locally brewed coffee.
The Lodges offer two beautifully designed communal spaces — the Public House and the cozy outdoor Pavilion.
Good to know – there’s an event space, the Cottage, located just off the main property that can be reserved for private events and are ideal for an intimate wedding party, office retreat or any other group occasion.
Reservations at: email@example.com or call: 206-693-3750
2. Point Robinson Lighthouse – Keeper’s Quarters:
Vacation in one of three historic rentals at Vashon Park in a beachfront house (sleeps 4-8). Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call #206-463-9602
We stayed in a off the beaten path air bnb on the southern part of the island (Maury Island connected to the main island) for a night with panoramic water views! It’s a loft on the waterfront of the island.
Here’s the description – A 700 sf 2-story cottage on waterfront property with Puget Sound and Mt. Rainier views. Beach access (stairs/trail) w/ gorgeous fire pit, bbq, hammocks. Loft w/queen bed & a 26″ wide daybed,full sz sofa sleeper on main fl. Kitchenette, wood stove. Cozy, rural, quiet and comfortable! Pets welcome but must be leashed and not left alone in the loft ($40 pet fee applies).
The bathroom, eating space, kitchenette, and wood stove are on the main floor and the sleeping area is upstairs in the open loft. The Loft has a spectacular view of the water. There is a queen bed and a narrower 26″ wide daybed upstairs that work for a small adult or child, and a full-sized sleeper sofa on the main floor. There is space to sleep at the beach, on the bulkhead,in a tent in the summer if you have one to bring along ($20/person, including children, additional per night after two people). There are stairs to the south facing, Mt. Rainier view beach. Orcas sometimes visit, seals and otter pass by, and there are eagles perched in the trees most the time. The property is fairly remote, quiet and private, and the beach is lovely for walking and beach fires. Point Robinson Lighthouse/Park is a 7 minute walk along the road or beach.
Good to note: If the loft is booked, consider the two other guest spaces on the 40 acre property: The Coach House at Wildwood (sleeps 4) and Wildwood Barn Studio (sleeps 2). They have separate private beach access for walking or relaxing on beach blanket. Click on the icons near Loft & Beach on the map to see photos, availability and pricing.
The Loft and bluff yard are available for celebrations of up to 65 people (weddings, reunions, family celebrations, birthdays, photo shoots, etc.) May – September 30. Inquire for availability and pricing. The adjoining property, Vashon Field and Pond, can accommodate groups up to 500 and has on-site parking.
The entire 40 acre property is available for events for up to 500 people year round: weddings, reunions, birthday celebrations, film/photoshoots, etc. The exteriors and interiors created by owner Lisa DeFaccio have been featured in The Seattle Times Pacific Magazine, Country Living Magazine, Sunset books, in catalogs (Cutter & Buck most recently) and in film including Anthony Bordain’s “No Reservations” (aired Nov. 19, 2017 on the Pacific Northwest show). Celebrities have chosen to be married on the property – it is truly a stunning place to be! We are very familiar with how to coordinate details of large and small productions and events to assure your time here is a success and exactly as you want it to be.
WHERE TO DINE
RESTAURANTS: There are a variety of restaurants on Vashon – Thai, Mexican, Chinese, American and one of the best bakeries in the Pacific Northwest! Here’s a list:
May Kitchen: If you like Thai food, you’ll LOVE May Kitchen. The Stranger claims “The Best Thai in Seattle is on Vashon” and Global Adventuress says “The best Thai food in the USA is on Vashon.”
Just a few years ago, Chef May Chaleoy thought Vashon needed a Thai restaurant, so she and her husband Tom Schwaegler opened May Kitchen, right on the main street in downtown Vashon. We loved every dish we ordered – spring rolls for appetizers and several curry dishes to try. Don’t miss! The memorable Pad Thai demonstration that was delivered on a banana leaf-wrapped parcels of noodles mixed in tamarind sauce, blended tableside with bean sprouts, chilies, banana flowers & chives….and the fried bananas with coconut ice cream for dessert.
Bramble House, Gravy, Bar Pure Organic Juicery, Snapdragon – called Vashon’s ‘Home Sweet Home’ where you’ll delight in bakery goods & good homemade cooking!, Sugar Shack, The Hardware Store, The Red Bicycle, and Zombiez.
Try Zamorana for the best island tacos (order the pork tacos!)
COFFEE & MORE: Glass Bottle Creamery, Vashon Baking Co., Vashon Island Roasterie & Minglement (at the corner of Cemetery Rd. and Vashon Hwy).
If you’re further south, visit Burton Coffee Stand and Cafe Luna (1/2 block west of the 4 way stop in town) where you’ll find espresso, muffins, etc.
Check the local Visitor’s Bureau Schedule for Farm to Table Dinners with Live Music (Various venues in town)
Global Adventuress would like to thank Lodges at Vashon Island and Lisa DeFaccio for hosting us during our stay. Mays Kitchen for hosting us for one of the best Thai dinners we’ve ever had. Vashon E-Bike for graciously hosting us on one of the best rides of our life!
Recommendations on what to do – thanks to our hosts and some locals we met who shared their favorite things to do.