Getting to Vashon
There are three points of entry to Vashon Island.
- West Seattle
- Olympic Peninsula
Each one is about 15-20 minutes crossing. Just enough time to get a cup of coffee, a beer or wine, and a snack while you walk around and take in the sights of Washington’s beautiful Puget Sound, Mt Rainier, and perhaps get a chance to see a pod of Orcas swim past.
From I-5 or Alaska Way (99) get yourself to the West Seattle Freeway heading West towards Fauntleroy. You will see signs that direct you to the West Seattle Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal.
The West Seattle Freeway (or West Seattle Bridge) will turn into Fauntleroy Way SW. Follow Fauntleroy Way SW heading West still towards the West Seattle Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal. Fauntleroy Way SW will curve to the left through an intersection winding down towards Lincoln Park. Once you get to the Lincoln Park you’ll notice a lane on the right next to the curb with marked signs. This is the ferry holding lane.
If you arrive before 4pm you will see many cars parked with large spaces. During the busy season you will need to wait in line and drive around the parked cars. After 4pm the cars will most likely be moved. During rush hour there is usually a police officer directing traffic. You can roll your window down and let them know you’re going to Vashon (not Southworth) and they will direct you into the correct toll booth lane. Vashonites regulars will have a little sign with a “V” on their dash or will signal a “V” with their fingers.
Let the toll operator know that you’re heading to Vashon. You can pay with cash or credit and will receive a receipt. The dock crew will then direct you to the lane number that you should head into. Usually “1” or “2” and in some cases in the exit lane (but only if the boat is currently loading for Vashon when you arrive).
Drive slow, pay attention, and it’s always good to have your window down as the crew directs you onto the boat to where you should park. The boat is just 15 minutes. Enough time to enjoy a walk upstairs, grab a quick cup of coffee, a beer, wine, and a snack then back to your car as the crew directs you off the boat.
Heading east on WA-160 E towards Bodle Rd SE follow through turning right to stay on WA-160 E heading towards the Southworth Ferry Terminal. At the end of WA-160 you will see the toll booth. The line on the Southworth side is usually pretty light, unlike the Fauntleroy side, so you will need to wait too long. Let the booth operator know you’re going to Vashon and not Seattle. The crew will direct you onto the ferry. Be sure to pay attention and drive with caution. It is recommended to have your window down and.or have your stereo volume low so that you can hear if the crew should need to yell at you.
The crossing time runs about 20 minutes. Just enough time to head upstairs for a potty break, grab a cup of coffee and a snack and walk around for a bit. When you get to Vashon, the crew will direct you off the boat and you will be on your way.
Heading Northwest of WA-16 take exit 3 for 6th Ave toward WA-163 N/Ruston. Continue onto Bantz and then turn right onto Pearl St heading North.
While on N Pearl St you’ll drive past the signs towards the Zoo and through the Point Defiance Park. Turn right onto Ferry Crossing Landing Rd then a slight right onto Vashon Ferry Lanes.
You’ll make your way to the toll booth. Let the operator know how many adults and children you have in addition to yourself (the driver). You’ll be asked to pull forward and wait for the next ferry.
The ferries on the South end of Vashon are smaller and don’t run as often as the Seattle and Southworth side, so you may find you’ll be sitting for a wait. Get to know when the next ferry arrives so you can get out and walk around, but be back at your car when the ferry arrives.
The crew will direct you onto the boat. Be sure to have your stereo turned down and pay close attention to their direction. The crossing runs about 15 minutes, so you’ll have just enough time to walk around the boat. If you’ve seen the movie “The Ring” you’ll have some deja vu as these boats were the ones used in the scene where the horse ran around the boat and jumped.
How to get to Vashon by Bicycle
Vashon Island is a popular biking destination. With plenty of long windy roads with minimal traffic and trails throughout the island that challenge even the savviest of mountain bikers you will find that no matter what the weather brings, bikers are all over the island.
Getting to the island by Bicycle is easier than by car. Bikes don’t have to wait in line, and there is the additional downtown Seattle to Vashon’s North end passenger ferry that allows for bikes with racks on the Stern end.
Bikes that come across the larger car ferries will need to walk on with passengers and leave their bikes on the deck. It is recommended that you chain your bicycle to the rail while you head upstairs for a rest during crossing. Cleats are not allowed on the upper deck, so be prepared with a change of shoes, or cleatless cycling shoes.
Once you get to the Island, both the North and South end invite you with a long climb up roughly 400 ft before leveling out. The Vashon Highway runs from the North end ferry terminal to the South end ferry terminal (Seattle to Tacoma) about 13.6 miles total. There are many routes you can take around the island and all will challenge your endurance with hill climbs and windy roads with a few flat straight stretches (depending on where you go).
How to Get to Vashon Island by Bus
While most of the the visitors to Vashon arrive by car or tend to like to tour the island by Bicycle, there is a simple and convenient way to get around the Island by public transportation. Yes, the King County Metro makes it’s way to Vashon via the 118 and 119 routes bringing busloads of visitors and commuters alike every day.
The buses run from the North end ferry terminal down the Vashon Highway through Vashon’s Downtown and towards the South end with the 118 heading to the Tahlequah ferry terminal and the 119 route taking passengers through Maury Island.
Adults (19-64) pay just $2.50-$2.75 for the one zone fare with youth under 18 paying just $1.50. Orca card holders pay just $1.50 and our valued seniors pay $1.50. You can view the full route map by clicking here.