Sandy fun at Jetty Island. Credit: Elisa Murray
Puget Sound’s rocky shores teem with crawly critters and thriving tide pools, but when summer arrives, you want to sink your toes into some sand. Trade in your boots for flip-flops and head to one of our region’s hidden gems, Everett’s Jetty Island. After remaining closed through summer 2020, Jetty Island reopens for the season on Monday, July 5, 2021.
Located just five minutes by ferry from the Everett waterfront, Jetty Island features two miles of sandy beaches and warm, shallow water that appears to go on forever. The island is accessible only by boat, and from July 5 through Sept. 6 (Labor Day), the city of Everett partners with the Port of Everett to offer a low-cost ferry to the island. The ferry runs Wednesday through Sunday, and new this year, you must reserve a spot on the ferry in advance. Round-trip tickets cost $3 per person; kids ages 2 and younger ride free.
Jetty Island started as a rock jetty over a century ago, designed to provide a protected harbor and navigation channel.
“Jetty Island emerged after years of dredging the channel and using the river sediment to create the unique beaches and marshes,” said Lisa Mandt of the Port of Everett. “In addition to being one of the only sandy beaches on Puget Sound, the island serves as a wildlife preserve for many species of waterfowl and juvenile salmon.”
With no electricity or running water, Jetty Island feels quite undeveloped. “It’s just you and the beach,” noted Kraig Hansen, a Jetty Island naturalist. “The island’s rustic nature adds to Jetty’s appeal.”
Tips for a Jetty Island outing with kids
- A Jetty Island excursion is terrific for most kids, but can be a bit challenging with truly little ones, though it’s doable. Strollers and wagons cannot navigate the sandy pathways, so make sure you have enough hands to safely transport your gear and your children. (Keep in mind that the only bathrooms are located near the boat launch.)
- Visit at low tide and you’ll find a lot more beach to explore, and — on sunny days — the kids will be delighted to find that the beach and returning tide get toasty warm.
- Plan ahead and pack everything you’ll need to make your day enjoyable: food and drinks, lots and lots of water, towels, beach chairs, sunscreen, extra clothes and beach toys. Everything brought onto the island must be packed out, including garbage.
- You might want to bring a beach umbrella; there is no shade on the island.
- If you like, bring wood for a bonfire. Fire pits are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Collecting or burning driftwood is not allowed.
- Dogs are not allowed.
- Typically Jetty Island hosts an array of free programs, such as story times and the popular float find. Currently, there are no planned events for 2021.
If you go...
Find it: The ferry to Jetty Island leaves from the 10th Street Boat Launch and Marine Park on the Everett waterfront.
Operating hours: The ferry operates Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, 11 a.m.– 6:45 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.–7:45 p.m.
Ferry tickets: Reserve timed ferry tickets online, in advance. Roundtrip ferry fare costs $3 per person; ages 2 and younger ride free. You must arrive 15 minutes prior to your selected departure time to keep your spot.
Return passes: When you arrive on the island, grab your timed return passes, so you can leave when you want to. If you change your mind and there are passes still available, you can trade for an earlier or later return time.
Marina parking: Discounted parking at the ferry dock is available, $2 for 8 hours, if you pre-purchase when reserving your ferry tickets. If you do not purchase in advance, parking is free for up to 2 hours; posted rates apply after that.
More info: For more information on ferry reservations and Jetty Island programs, check out the FAQ.
Note: This article has been updated for 2021. Writers Abbey McGee and Elisa Murray contributed to this article.