Vashon has no bridge connecting it to the mainland which many people consider a crucial part of it's unspoiled character. My favorite description is 'Mayberry meets burning man' due to its small town atmosphere, friendly and arts minded people and eclectic shops. Although it is in a major metropolitan area it retains it's rural character with over 85% of the island still forested.
Vashon is perfect for Motorcyclists and cyclists as the scenery is stunning and the roads are not busy.Once you venture off the Vashon Highway the traffic is minimal. Take any one of the drives along the water and you won't be disappointed. Watch for deer.
The Vashon Highway runs North and South the entire length of the 13 mile long island. The southern terminus of the highway is the Tahlequah Ferry Terminal, connected to the Point Defiance neighborhood of Tacoma.
The center of Vashon, just 5 miles south of the North end ferry dock is a fun collection of shops, restaurants, 2nd hand stores, antique and art galleries.
The Vashon Theatre is a cool little movie theatre showing current films and is centrally located.
The Hardware Store, in the heart of Vashon is a restaurant, housed in an historic 121 year old building which indeed used to be Vashons hardware store. It has great food and a nice collection of wines plus an art gallery in the back. Our new favorite restaurant, suggested by the locals is a Thai restaurant called 'May Thai'. Great food with dark teak decor and original cocktails. Look around and you will find excellent restaurants of just about any kind of food you might want to eat.
It is also home to the Vashon Island Roasterie which roasts its own coffee and has a great atmosphere as well and shares a space with the eclectic Minglement Market Place. Closed Sundays.
The Island is full of parks, harbors and miles of shoreline making it a popular destination for hikers, bicyclists, beachcombers and sea kayakers. At any time you might see horse back riders on your adventures as the parks accommodate equestrians as well. Check out Westside Stables to go horse back riding. Though they specialize in lessons, they do offer trail rides. Island Center Forest and Dockton Forest, to name a few, have over 70 species of birds for bird watchers and photographers and are great for hiking and mountain biking.
The Vashon Park District rents kayaks from Jensen Point. Quartermaster Harbor is especially nice for kayakers as the harbor offers a bit of protection. The harbor is in the village of Burton so while visiting stop at the friendly Burton Coffee Stand. It closes daily at 3:00 pm so go early.
Vashon Island bicycles, 9925 S.W. St., rents cruisers and is a fun way to explore Vashon.
Point Robinson Lighthouse featured in the children's Christmas story 'The Red Ranger Came Calling' gives tours. Call them for times.
Golfers and check out the private Vashon Golf and Country Club as well as Vashon Golf and Swim club which offers golf and swim camps and lessons, tennis lessons and more.
Believe it or not- Vashon is home to one of the few
Russian Orthodox Monasteries in America. Visitors are welcome but they ask that you call first and there is a dress code. They make their own coffee called Monastery Blend Coffee.