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Summer Fun on Jetty Island, One of Puget Sound’s Best Beaches

This two-mile kids’ paradise of sand and water is a summer-bucket-list must

Published on: June 22, 2023

Kids play in a shallow pool of water in the sand on Everett's Jetty Island opening for summer
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.

Amazing Jetty Island opens for the season on Wednesday, July 5, 2023.

To reach Jetty Island, just hop the Jetty Island ferry and travel five minutes from the Everett waterfront. Jetty Island features two miles of sandy beach and warm shallow water that appears to go on forever. The island is accessible only by boat, and from July 5 through Sept. 3 (day before Labor Day), the city of Everett partners with the Port of Everett to offer a low-cost ferry to the island.

The Jetty Island ferry runs Wednesday through Sunday and you must reserve a spot on the ferry in advance. Round-trip tickets cost $3 per person Wednesday and Thursday; $5 per person Friday–Sunday; kids ages 2 and younger ride free but still require a reservation.

Kids climbing on a driftwood stump at Everett’s Jetty Island one of Puget Sound’s best beaches for families
Credit: Elisa Murray

Island history

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.”

jetty island ferry making a crossing in summer
Jetty Island ferry

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.
Colorful umbrellas on Jetty Island in Everett
Colorful umbrellas provide some shade on Jetty Island

If you go...

Find it: The ferry to Jetty Island leaves from the 10th Street Boat Launch on the Everett waterfront.

Operating hours: The ferry operates Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, 10 a.m.–5:45 p.m., and Friday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–6:45 p.m.

Ferry tickets: Reserve timed ferry tickets online, in advance. Roundtrip ferry fare costs $3–$5 per person; ages 2 and younger ride free. You must arrive 15 minutes prior to your selected departure time to keep your spot. Do not forget to book your return ticket. A direct link will be provided to you to book your return with your ticket confirmation.

Marina parking: Discounted parking at the ferry dock is available, $2 for 8 hours, if you book it 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 Visit Everett’s Jetty Island FAQ.

More summer fun near Seattle:

Editor’s note: This article has been updated for 2023. Writers Abbey McGee and Elisa Murray contributed to this article.

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