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How Long Is The Ferry Ride From Seattle To Vashon Island


by Eddi Fuentes



Located in the beautiful Puget Sound region of Washington state, Vashon Island is a hidden gem just a short ferry ride away from Seattle. This charming island is a haven for nature lovers, artists, and those seeking a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. With its picturesque scenery, vibrant arts community, and unique local businesses, Vashon Island offers a diverse range of experiences for visitors.


The ferry ride from Seattle to Vashon Island is not only a means of transportation, but also an adventure in itself. As you cruise across the glistening waters of Puget Sound, you’ll be treated to stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, forests, and sparkling blue waters. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, the ferry journey is sure to leave a lasting impression.


During the approximately 20-minute journey, you’ll have the opportunity to unwind and take in the serene beauty of the Pacific Northwest. From the deck of the ferry, you might catch a glimpse of playful seals, majestic whales, or soaring eagles. The fresh sea breeze and the gentle rocking of the boat create a tranquil ambiance, allowing you to relax and immerse yourself in the natural splendor.


Once you arrive on Vashon Island, you’ll discover a unique blend of rural charm and artistic vibrancy. The island is known for its thriving arts scene, with numerous galleries, studios, and performance spaces showcasing the talents of local artists. Whether you’re interested in painting, sculpture, music, or theater, you’ll find a wealth of creative expressions to explore.


In addition to its artistic offerings, Vashon Island is also home to a variety of outdoor activities. From hiking through lush forests and exploring pristine beaches to kayaking along the island’s picturesque coastline, nature enthusiasts will find plenty to satisfy their adventurous spirit. The island is also known for its organic farms, where you can indulge in farm-to-table dining experiences and sample the freshest local produce.


With its close proximity to Seattle and its unique blend of natural beauty and artistic charm, Vashon Island is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a peaceful retreat or an enriching cultural experience. Whether you’re looking to explore the island’s natural wonders, immerse yourself in its vibrant arts community, or simply relax and enjoy the scenic ferry ride, Vashon Island has something to offer everyone.


Route Overview

The ferry ride from Seattle to Vashon Island is a scenic route that takes you across the waters of the Puget Sound. The route is operated by Washington State Ferries, providing a convenient and enjoyable mode of transportation for both residents and visitors.


The journey begins at the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal in West Seattle, where you’ll board the ferry. The ferry then sets sail, crossing the waters of the Puget Sound towards Vashon Island. The journey typically takes around 20 minutes, but travel times may vary depending on weather conditions and other factors.


As you make your way to Vashon Island, you’ll pass through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the Pacific Northwest. On clear days, you can enjoy panoramic views of the Olympic Mountains to the west, the Cascade Mountains to the east, and the majestic Mount Rainier in the distance. The sparkling blue waters of the Puget Sound serve as the backdrop for this picturesque journey.


The route takes you past several other islands, including Bainbridge Island and Blake Island, each with its own unique charm. These islands are dotted with lush forests, pristine beaches, and charming waterfront communities, making the ferry ride a truly memorable experience.


Upon reaching Vashon Island, the ferry will dock at the Vashon Terminal, located in the town of Vashon. From here, you can easily explore the island’s various attractions, including its natural wonders, arts scene, and local businesses.


It’s worth noting that the ferry ride is not just a means of transportation but an integral part of the Vashon Island experience. The journey allows you to disconnect from the mainland and immerse yourself in the tranquility of island life. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a frequent traveler to Vashon Island, the ferry ride offers a unique perspective of the surrounding natural beauty and sets the tone for your island adventure.


Overall, the route from Seattle to Vashon Island provides a convenient and scenic way to reach this idyllic destination. Whether you’re looking to escape the city for a day trip or planning a longer stay on Vashon Island, the ferry ride is a delightful and memorable part of the journey.


Ferry Schedule

The Washington State Ferries operate regular ferry service between Seattle and Vashon Island, ensuring convenient transportation options for visitors and residents alike. The ferry schedule is designed to accommodate different travel needs throughout the day, offering multiple departures and arrivals.


The ferry schedule may vary depending on the day of the week and other factors, so it’s important to check the official Washington State Ferries website or consult the current schedule for the most up-to-date information. The website provides detailed information on departure times, estimated travel durations, and any possible service disruptions or changes.


The ferry service between Seattle and Vashon Island operates every day of the week, including weekends and holidays. The first ferry usually departs from the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal in West Seattle early in the morning, and the last ferry usually departs later in the evening.


During weekdays, the ferry schedule typically follows a regular timetable, with departures every hour or so. On weekends and during peak travel times, such as summer or holidays, the frequency of departures may increase to accommodate the higher passenger demand.


The duration of the ferry ride from Seattle to Vashon Island is approximately 20 minutes. However, it’s important to arrive at the ferry terminal ahead of time, especially during busy periods, to ensure you secure a spot as the ferries can fill up quickly.


It’s worth noting that the ferry schedule is subject to change due to weather conditions or unexpected events. In the case of severe weather, the ferry service may be temporarily suspended or delayed for passenger safety. It’s recommended to check the website or subscribe to the Washington State Ferries’ email alerts for any updates or notifications regarding changes to the ferry schedule.


Overall, the ferry service between Seattle and Vashon Island provides a reliable and convenient means of transportation. By checking the ferry schedule in advance, you can plan your trip accordingly and ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey to and from Vashon Island.


Duration of the Ferry Ride

The ferry ride from Seattle to Vashon Island is a relatively short journey, taking approximately 20 minutes to complete. The duration of the ferry ride may vary slightly depending on factors such as weather conditions, passenger volume, and any potential delays or disruptions.


During the 20-minute ferry ride, passengers have the opportunity to relax and enjoy the stunning views of the Puget Sound and its surrounding natural beauty. The journey provides a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of city life, allowing travelers to unwind and immerse themselves in the tranquility of the Pacific Northwest.


While the duration of the ferry ride may seem brief, it offers a unique and memorable experience. As the ferry glides across the water, passengers can gaze out at the panoramic scenery, including the majestic mountains, lush forests, and sparkling blue waters that characterize the region.


While onboard, passengers are welcome to explore the facilities and amenities available on the ferry. Whether you choose to take a leisurely stroll on the deck, savor a snack or beverage from the onboard concessions, or simply sit back and enjoy the ride, the 20-minute journey provides a pleasant and enjoyable interlude.


It’s important for passengers to arrive at the ferry terminal with sufficient time before the scheduled departure to ensure a smooth journey. Especially during peak travel times, such as weekends or holidays, the ferries can fill up quickly. Arriving early not only ensures that you secure a spot on the ferry but also gives you the chance to relax and soak in the anticipation of your visit to Vashon Island.


Overall, the relatively short duration of the ferry ride from Seattle to Vashon Island allows visitors to efficiently reach this charming destination while savoring the breathtaking views and enjoying a moment of tranquility on the Puget Sound. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a frequent traveler to Vashon Island, the ferry ride offers a delightful and unique experience as part of your journey to this idyllic island getaway.


Scenic Views during the Ferry Ride

The ferry ride from Seattle to Vashon Island offers passengers the opportunity to indulge in breathtaking scenic views throughout the journey. As the ferry gracefully navigates the waters of the Puget Sound, passengers are treated to a visual feast of natural beauty, including stunning landscapes and picturesque vistas.


One of the highlights of the ferry ride is the chance to witness the panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. On a clear day, passengers can marvel at the majestic Olympic Mountains to the west, with their snow-capped peaks serving as a dramatic backdrop. To the east, the Cascade Mountains create an equally awe-inspiring sight, with their rugged profiles and verdant slopes.


As the ferry sails along the Puget Sound, passengers can also revel in the mesmerizing views of the sparkling blue waters. The calm and serene expanse of the sound provides a soothing backdrop, creating a sense of tranquility and peace as you journey towards Vashon Island.


The ferry ride also offers opportunities to catch glimpses of the diverse wildlife that call the Puget Sound home. Keep your eyes peeled for playful seals and sea lions as they frolic in the water, or marvel at the graceful movements of dolphins dancing alongside the ferry. If you’re lucky, you might even spot majestic whales breaching the surface, creating a truly unforgettable experience.


In addition to the natural beauty, the ferry ride also allows passengers to witness the charm of the neighboring islands. As the ferry makes its way to Vashon Island, you may pass by Bainbridge Island and Blake Island, each with its own distinct allure. These islands boast verdant forests, tranquil bays, and quaint waterfront communities, creating a picturesque backdrop for your journey.


Throughout the ferry ride, don’t forget to bring a camera or smartphone to capture the stunning views. The changing light and unique perspectives make for memorable photographs that will allow you to relive the beauty and serenity of the journey long after you’ve arrived at Vashon Island.


Overall, the scenic views during the ferry ride from Seattle to Vashon Island provide a feast for the senses. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a photography lover, or simply someone seeking a moment of tranquility, the journey offers a captivating visual experience that sets the stage for an unforgettable visit to Vashon Island.


Facilities on the Ferry

The ferry ride from Seattle to Vashon Island not only offers stunning views and a serene journey, but it also provides a range of facilities and amenities to enhance the overall experience for passengers. Whether you’re looking for refreshments, entertainment, or simply a comfortable place to relax, the ferry has you covered.


Onboard the ferry, passengers can find concessions that offer a variety of snacks, beverages, and light meals. Whether you’re in the mood for a hot cup of coffee to start your day or a quick bite to satisfy your hunger, you’ll find options to suit your taste. Enjoy your refreshments while taking in the scenic views from the deck or find a cozy spot inside the ferry’s seating areas.


The seating areas on the ferry are designed for comfort and relaxation. Whether you prefer to sit at a table, on a bench, or in a reclining seat, there are various seating options available to accommodate your preferences. Sit back, relax, and enjoy your journey as you watch the scenery pass by.


In addition to comfortable seating, some ferries may also offer Wi-Fi connectivity for passengers who wish to stay connected during their journey. This can be particularly useful for catching up on emails, browsing the internet, or sharing your travel experiences with friends and family.


Restrooms are available on the ferry, ensuring convenience for passengers throughout the journey. Whether you need to freshen up or use the facilities, restrooms are easily accessible and well-maintained.


The ferry crew is dedicated to ensuring a safe and pleasant journey for all passengers. They are readily available to assist with any questions or concerns you may have during your time on the ferry. Feel free to reach out to crew members if you need any assistance or information.


It’s worth noting that the ferry may also be equipped with amenities for passengers with special needs. This can include accessible seating or facilities, as well as boarding assistance. If you require any specific accommodations, it’s recommended to contact the Washington State Ferries in advance to ensure a smooth and comfortable journey.


Overall, the facilities on the ferry from Seattle to Vashon Island are designed to make your journey as enjoyable and convenient as possible. Whether you’re seeking refreshments, a comfortable seating area, or assistance from the friendly crew, the ferry provides the necessary amenities to ensure a pleasant and memorable travel experience.


Fare and Payment Options

When traveling from Seattle to Vashon Island on the ferry, passengers are required to pay a fare for their journey. The fare amount is determined by various factors, such as the passenger’s age, the type of vehicle (if applicable), and the time of travel.


The Washington State Ferries have a fare structure in place, which can be found on their website or by referring to the fare schedule provided at the ticketing booths. The website provides detailed information about fares for both passenger-only travel and vehicle travel, as well as any discounts or concessions that may apply.


Passengers can purchase their ferry tickets at the ticketing booths located at the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal in West Seattle. It’s recommended to arrive at the terminal early, especially during busy travel periods, to ensure you have enough time to purchase your ticket and board the ferry.


The Washington State Ferries offer several payment options to accommodate passengers. Cash is accepted at the ticketing booths, as well as major credit and debit cards. It’s important to note that some ticketing booths may not accept cash, so having an alternative payment method available is recommended.


If you plan to travel frequently on the ferry, you may consider purchasing a multi-ride ticket or a pass. These options can provide savings on individual fares and offer convenience for regular commuters or visitors who plan to make multiple trips between Seattle and Vashon Island.


It’s also worth mentioning that foot passengers can travel without a vehicle and simply purchase a passenger ticket. This is a great option for those who prefer to explore Vashon Island on foot, by bicycle, or by using public transportation once they arrive.


It’s always a good idea to check the Washington State Ferries website or contact their customer service for the most up-to-date information regarding fares, payment options, and any special promotions or discounts that may be available.


Overall, the fare and payment options for the ferry ride from Seattle to Vashon Island are designed to provide flexibility and convenience for passengers. By familiarizing yourself with the fare structure and selecting the most suitable payment option, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free travel experience as you embark on your journey to Vashon Island.


Transportation Options on Vashon Island

Once you arrive on Vashon Island, you’ll find several transportation options to help you navigate the island and explore its many attractions. Despite being a relatively small island, Vashon offers various means of getting around and experiencing its natural beauty, arts scene, and local businesses.


One popular mode of transportation on Vashon Island is driving. If you bring your vehicle on the ferry, you can easily explore the island at your own pace. Vashon Island has well-maintained roads that allow you to access its different neighborhoods, parks, and destinations. Road signs and maps are available to guide you, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable driving experience.


For those who prefer not to drive or do not have a vehicle, alternative transportation options are available. Bicycles are a common sight on Vashon Island and provide a great way to explore the island’s scenic roads and bike trails. Several rental shops on the island offer bicycles for both adults and children, making it easy to rent a bike for a few hours or even the entire day.


Public transportation options also exist on Vashon Island. The Vashon Loop Shuttle is a free bus service that operates throughout the island. With several designated stops, it provides a convenient way to get around and discover different areas of Vashon Island. The shuttle runs at scheduled intervals, ensuring reliable transportation for residents and visitors alike.


If you prefer a more personalized transportation experience, taxi services are available on Vashon Island. Local taxi companies offer on-demand or pre-arranged transportation services, allowing you to easily reach your desired destinations or get picked up from specific locations.


Additionally, exploring Vashon Island on foot is a great way to fully immerse yourself in its natural beauty and charming atmosphere. The island has numerous walking trails and pathways that lead to scenic viewpoints, parks, and beaches. Take a leisurely stroll through the town center or embark on a longer hike to explore the island’s lush forests and coastline.


Lastly, Vashon Island is also a bike-friendly community. Bicyclists can take advantage of dedicated bike lanes and bike racks located throughout the island. Many island businesses are easily accessible by bike, allowing you to combine transportation and exploration in a sustainable and enjoyable way.


No matter which transportation option you choose on Vashon Island, you’ll have the opportunity to discover the island’s natural wonders, artistic treasures, and local charm. Whether it’s driving, biking, taking public transportation, or simply walking, the transportation options on Vashon Island ensure that you can easily navigate the island and create your own unique island experience.


Exploring Vashon Island

Vashon Island offers a wealth of attractions and activities for visitors to explore and enjoy. From its stunning natural landscapes to its vibrant arts scene and charming local businesses, there is something for everyone on this idyllic island.


One of the highlights of Vashon Island is its abundant natural beauty. The island is home to lush forests, scenic trails, pristine beaches, and breathtaking viewpoints. Take a hike through the island’s parks and nature preserves, such as Maury Island Marine Park or Island Center Forest, and immerse yourself in the tranquility of the Pacific Northwest. Pack a picnic and relax on one of the island’s scenic beaches, such as KVI Beach or Dockton Park, while soaking in the stunning views of the water and surrounding landscapes.


For art enthusiasts, Vashon Island is a haven. The island boasts a thriving arts community, with numerous galleries, studios, and performance spaces to explore. Visit the Vashon Center for the Arts, a hub for local and regional artists, to view their latest exhibitions or catch a live performance. The Quartermaster Press is a printmaking studio where you can witness the artistic process firsthand. Stroll through the town center and discover unique shops and boutiques that feature the works of local artists and artisans.


When it comes to food and drink, Vashon Island does not disappoint. The island is home to a vibrant culinary scene, with a variety of restaurants, farm stands, and cafes offering delicious fare. Many of these establishments prioritize locally sourced ingredients, ensuring a farm-to-table dining experience. Indulge in freshly caught seafood, savor farm-fresh produce and artisan cheeses, or sample locally brewed craft beers and wines. Don’t forget to visit the Vashon Farmers Market, where you can browse an array of local produce, baked goods, and handmade crafts.


Exploring Vashon Island also means discovering its rich history and cultural heritage. Visit the Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Museum to learn about the island’s past and its connection to the Puget Sound’s maritime history. Take a guided tour of the Point Robinson Lighthouse, a historic landmark that offers stunning views of the Sound and neighboring islands. Attend one of the island’s annual festivals or events, such as the Strawberry Festival or the Vashon Sheepdog Classic, to experience the island’s vibrant community spirit.


As you venture around Vashon Island, you’ll find a variety of shops, boutiques, and local businesses offering unique products and experiences. Explore the island’s thriving art and crafts scene by visiting galleries, potteries, and jewelry shops. Peruse the shelves of independent bookstores, antique shops, and specialty stores that showcase the island’s creative and entrepreneurial spirit. You can also support local farmers and businesses by visiting farm stands, orchards, and co-ops that offer fresh produce, flowers, and homemade goods.


Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, artistic experiences, culinary delights, or a glimpse into the island’s history and culture, Vashon Island has it all. Take the time to explore this hidden gem in the Puget Sound and create unforgettable memories in this charming and vibrant island community.



Vashon Island, just a short ferry ride away from Seattle, offers a captivating escape from the bustling city life. With its stunning natural beauty, vibrant arts scene, and charming local businesses, it has something to offer for every visitor.


The ferry ride itself is a delightful experience, providing panoramic views of the Puget Sound, surrounding mountains, and neighboring islands. The journey sets the stage for the serenity and tranquility that awaits on Vashon Island.


Once on the island, visitors can explore and immerse themselves in its natural wonders. From hiking through lush forests and enjoying picturesque beaches to taking in breathtaking viewpoints, Vashon Island offers countless opportunities for outdoor adventures.


The island’s arts community is vibrant and diverse, with galleries, studios, and performance spaces showcasing the talents of local artists. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply appreciate creative expressions, you’ll find inspiration at every turn on Vashon Island.


Indulge in the island’s culinary offerings, which highlight locally sourced ingredients and provide a farm-to-table experience. From fresh seafood to farm-fresh produce, you’ll discover a variety of flavors to satisfy your palate.


As you explore Vashon Island, you’ll also have the chance to immerse yourself in its rich history and cultural heritage. Museums, lighthouses, and annual events offer glimpses into the island’s past and vibrant community spirit.


Support local businesses by visiting unique shops, boutiques, and specialty stores scattered throughout the island. From art to books, antiques to homemade goods, you’ll find a treasure trove of locally crafted products.


Whether you choose to drive, bike, walk, or opt for public transportation, transportation options on Vashon Island are designed to make your exploration convenient and enjoyable.


In conclusion, Vashon Island is a hidden gem that offers a wealth of experiences for visitors. From the scenic ferry ride to the exploration of its natural beauty, arts scene, local businesses, and cultural heritage, the island provides a captivating destination for a day trip or a longer stay. So, hop on the ferry, soak in the beauty of the Puget Sound, and embark on an unforgettable journey to Vashon Island.