Photos by: Evan Johnson
Direct To explores the treasures found off a direct flight from a local airport. Here we explore Vashon Island — just a non-stop flight from the Santa Barbara Airport or the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle, Washington.
Secluded island living on Vashon Island has long captivated artists and nomads throughout the Pacific Northwest as a refreshing haven, yet today, a growing number of people are trading out their city homes for the sequestered living island life has to offer. As the Puget Sound’s largest island, sitting only 13 miles long, Vashon can be reached by ferry from Seattle or Tacoma, the ride complete with majestic views of the Pacific Ocean and Mt. Rainier.
Its quaintness is reflected through scenes of sheep grazing roadside pastures, endless farmland and park trails that run from lush island hills to glimmering stony beaches. One of the more popular landmarks is Point Robinson lighthouse on Maury Island, connected to Vashon, established in 1885. Surrounding the lighthouse is a 10-acre shoreline park and marine conservancy along with housing quarters for those who wish to spend a few nights on the shore. A view from the front porch guarantees skyline and vista views, and an abundance of marine life that begets orca sightings.
Outdoor activity and exploration are bountiful on Vashon. Take kayaks out in Quartermaster Harbor, the narrow bay between Maury and Vashon, or Jensen Point Park for a day’s picnic. And with island life comes beach options — and Vashon does not disappoint. Tucked away on the northside of a beautiful estuary, Lisabeula Park is a rocky, remote and quiet beach option for peaceful camping and illuminating sunsets, and there’s Fern Cover for more wooded beach strolls and birdwatching.
Traversing inland, Vashon’s tiny downtown, which locals refer to as “Uptown,” reveals its true heart and community. Uptown flourishes with farmers’ markets, local breweries and wineries, small shops and art galleries like Northwest native art gallery Raven’s Nest, and Gather, showcasing local Vashon artists. The Vashon Bookshop, an independent bookstore dedicated to highlighting authors from Vashon and the greater Pacific Northwest, has become a sought-out destination for visitors curious about those who have come from and remain on the island. Whether taking the ferry to Vashon’s annual Strawberry Festival or flying in for a day, the joys and experiences that come with Vashon’s off-the-grid charm will keep any guest longing for more.