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  • John Cassidy
  • "How do I get to the surrounding islands from Seattle?"

John Cassidy

Omaha, Nebraska

How do I get to the surrounding islands from Seattle?

I'm specifically looking at Whidbey Island because I'd love to experience a little bit of Washingtonian island life.  How would I go about getting there?  Is it easy to get around the islands by walking or public transportation? 

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  • Tony Wright

    top answer by

    On the non-Whidbey front, you might consider:

    • The San Juans - You need to drive 1.5 hours north to Anacortes and the schedules are pretty varied, but these are seriously some of the prettiest islands on Earth. Car required. Visit Orcas if you can only visit one. Worth googling, but if you want more info, let me know.
    • Bainbridge Island - this you CAN walk to, right from the downtown Ferry dock in Seattle. There's a nice little walkable town on the other side.
    • Vashon Island - drive-on Ferry in West Seattle. Pretty charming but the main town is away from the dock on the other side, so you'll definitely want to drive on.
    • You can also walk onto the West Seattle Water Taxi ( West Seattle shoreline )... It's not an Island, but it's $3.50 (one way) and there's a killer Hawaiian/Korean fusion place (called Marination Ma Kai on the other side with a full bar and a patio. Great plan for a sunny day with a few hours to kill.

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    • Annemarie D.

      Annemarie D.

      I want to second the suggestion for Bainbridge. I was dragged there by a wino friend for a winery tour, and turns out it's adorable with a few great restaurants and a very homey community. · (2 likelikes)

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  • Debbie Lee

    answered first by

    If you don't already have a car with you in Seattle, you're going to need to rent one for your trip to Whidbey Island. I don't usually recommend having a car while in Seattle just because parking is way more of a hassle than it's worth, but for your trip to Whidbey Island, definitely rent one for that leg of your trip. There is public transportation, but the trip is quite a trek and all the stops would cut into your exploring time greatly. Another thing to consider is that Whidbey Island is not a metropolitan area and isn't heavily populated, so you'll definitely need a car to get around. There's a bus that runs around Whidbey Island, but as you can imagine, buses in such a remote place don't run very often, so I wouldn't depend on it. Buses also don't go to too many popular sightseeing spots. I'll break down the trip there to two steps and this is pretty much the best way to go about this trip:

    1. Drive north to the Mukilteo Ferry Terminal, about 35 minutes from Seattle
    2. Take the ferry over to Clinton in South Whidbey Island, also about another 35 minutes

    A few notes about the ferry:

    • You can drive your car onto it
    • You're charged by vehicle and how many people are coming aboard -- it's currently $4.65 a person and $7.85 for a standard car
    • It runs pretty often, about every half an hour, starting at 5 AM'ish to midnight'ish

    If you're unsure of where to go on the island, I have a few suggestions:

    • Walk around Langley and check out the little restaurants and stores. Great town to do brunch in
    • Drive up to Coupeville because the ride is gorgeous, and while there, check out one of my favorite restaurants ever -- Oystercatcher
    • Check out the beautiful views at Deception Pass State Park and look out for banana slugs
    • For beaches, simply drive along the perimeter and you're bound to hit a nice one. It's an island, after all!

    Should you get hungry at the ferry terminals on either side:

    • There's a can't-miss-it diner right at the terminal at Clinton
    • On the Mukilteo side, there's Sakuma Sushi. Don't be put off by the fact that they're in a strip mall (there's not much else in Mukilteo), they serve legit sushi
    • If anything, there's also a little cafe on the actual ferry

    Have fun! :)

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    • John C.

      John C.

      Wow, this is great. I had no idea that I could drive a car onto a boat! I'm definitely renting a car for this. Thank you! · (1 likelikes)

    • Debbie L.

      Debbie L.

      You're welcome! · (0 likelikes)

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