Last-Minute Washington Coast Beach Getaways
Written by Lauren Braden
Beach Day Trips
Short on time? Squeeze in one of these half-a-tank (or less!) day trips to still get in some beach time.
Vashon Island. Head to Point Robinson Park on the east shore of Maury Island for beachcombing, kite-flying and a visit to its historic lighthouse. Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie makes a great stop for communing with the locals, and there’s an ice cream stand on the back porch. On Saturdays, stop by the Vashon Farmers Market in town for fresh produce and crafts.
Quimper Peninsula. Take a driving tour south of Port Townsend (if you have time, stop in the charming Victorian downtown and check out the Northwest Maritime Center, Fort Worden State Park and Chetzemoka Park). Tour three local cideries (Finnriver Cidery is the most kid friendly.) After lunch and a slice of pie at the Chimacum Cafe, take the kids on a beach hike with a history lesson at Fort Flagler State Park, formerly a military fort designed to protect against wartime attacks. On Sundays, make a stop at the Chimacum Farmers Market, which is sure to please, with more than a dozen booths and food carts.
Bellevue. Rent a canoe or kayaks from Enatai Beach Boathouse and paddle into the Mercer Slough, a diverse urban wetland where you’ll spot herons and other wildlife. Bellevue’s parks department hosts guided canoe trips with a park naturalist for $16 on weekend mornings at 8:45 a.m. (a trip that’s best suited to older kids). Register at 425-452-6885. bellevuewa.gov
Jetty Island. Build sandcastles closer to home on Jetty Island, two miles of sandy beach that’s just a five-minute foot-ferry ride from downtown Everett. The manmade mass of sand started as a rocky breakwater for Everett’s waterfront, and there are no cars here ― just sand, tide pools, buckets and kites. Although the ferry is free, a boarding pass is required; get one at the kiosk in downtown Everett, first-come, first-served.
Mind the Tides
The coast here is punctuated by rocky headlands that cannot be hiked around at high tide. Your awesome day at the beach can turn into a real bummer if you end up stranded on a beach or sea stack when the tide comes in. Carry an up-to-date tide table (pick one up at a local gas station) or check the tides online before your hike.