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Neighborhood Spotlight: Vashon-Maury Island

Parks, treats, a giant troll and more

Madison Miller

Published on: April 22, 2024

Point Robinson Lighthouse Vashon island things to do
Point Robinson Lighthouse

The Vibe

If there’s one word that describes Vashon-Maury Island, it’s “eclectic.” Nicknamed the “Heart of the Sound” by locals, due to its central location in Puget Sound and quick ferry access to Seattle and Tacoma, this island measures about 13 miles long and 8 miles wide. Though the island is small, it has charm aplenty, which you can experience by visiting its cute and quirky shops and cafes, along with its beautiful parks and beaches.


A trek to Vashon wouldn’t be complete without paying a visit to Point Robinson park. The roughly 10-acre park and historic site now features two main attractions: the Point Robinson Lighthouse and Oscar the Bird King.

"Oscar the bird king troll Vashon Island things to do"
Come find Oscar the Bird King on Vashon Island. Photo: Allison Sutcliffe

The lighthouse originally served as a fog and signal station in the mid-1880s, but now operates as a historic site where people can rent the preserved Keepers’ Quarters to stay in. It also makes an excellent lookout point for viewing marine life.

Oscar the Bird King arrived on the island in September 2023. Created by Thomas Dambo, Oscar was the fifth of six troll sculptures the Danish artist brought to the Pacific Northwest. Made out of wood and recycled materials and sitting about 20 feet tall, Oscar lives in a grove in the northern part of the park.

Dockton Park and Marina is a great place to play and look at the boats. The park recently unveiled its new nautical-themed playground. Although the playground is currently closed to the public, it is scheduled to reopen in time for summer break.

Spring weather can be hard to predict, so it’s always a good idea to have an indoor play option. Fortunately, kids can head to Burton Adventure Recreation Center (BARC) for a fun skating session. No equipment? No problem, you can rent it there (along with disc golf discs, ping-pong paddles, volley balls, corn hole beanies and more).

One of the things Vashon is known for is its rich arts scene. With many restaurants and cafes regularly hosting musical performers and the Vashon Center for the Arts presenting concerts, dance and theater performances, talks (and more!), there’s bound to be something entertaining to see. Tip: Come to the island the weekend of May 10–11 to catch a performance of “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Jr.

Eats + Treats

The name The Hardware Store hardly evokes images of culinary delights, yet the restaurant bearing that moniker is where you’ll get one of the best meals on the island. Although it doesn’t have a dedicated kids’ menu, there are so many things to choose from that it shouldn’t be a problem to find something delicious to eat. I recommend the classic cod fish and chips for lunch.

Looking for lighter fare? Head to the Snapdragon Bakery & Cafe. This adorable spot serves some of the best rustic pastries in town. I recommend the blackberry cinnamon coffee cake paired with an iced mocha, although you can’t go wrong with the chocolate chip cookies — which are the size of your head. It also offers great lunchtime items, all of which are vegetarian.

"Photo courtesy of Snapdragon Bakery & Cafe Vashon Island things to do"
So many yummy options! Photo courtesy of Snapdragon Bakery & Cafe

If you want to eat like the locals do, go to the Vashon Sugar Shack. The restaurant/concert venue specializes in tasty dishes and great music. Its menu changes almost daily, so the only way to stay in the know is to follow it on Instagram.

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