Vashon’s weather is much like Seattle’s. It can be wet and grey in January and February, but it is mild and can be lovely from April through October. The gardens are green and plentiful. Many people grow flowers, fruit, and vegetables on the island. The fresh food is wonderful.
The fruit and growing season is extensive. Pick Bing, Rainier and pie cherries at the end of June. Eat or cook with apples which start being in season at the end of June with Transparents and are in season through November with Golden and red delicious, Japanese varieties, Gala, and Jonagolds. Of course, the berries are amazing all summer with strawberries a highlight for the annual Strawberry festival, typically in July. Different types of plums and peaches are available in late July and August. The pears typically help wrap-up with apples in the Fall through October.
Many farms grow flowers, herbs and lavender as well as raise livestock and have honey and eggs available.
In general, you will want a car or bike to stay on and visit the island. You can walk onto either of the two ferries to the island and catch a bus to the main downtown. It is possible to stay at one of the lodges downtown and just walk or bus around to the sites downtown, also. But, there are many hikes and sites around the island so if possible, you will want other transportation.
The beaches around the island are often rocky and the tide charts are useful to note when water may cover your hike back to the road or car.
Here are some fun things to do on the island. You can:
- Visit the Vashon Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings from 10 am to 1 pm on the main Vashon Highway across from the Vashon Thriftway (also the main grocery on the island). The weekly Farmer’s Market is a quirky combination of farmers’ produce, prepared food for sale, and market “wares”. It is a great, relaxed venue of island locals, tourists, and families eating Saturday brunch, listening to the occasional live band, picking up local produce and chatting.
- Drop by the Vashon Library in town on the Vashon Highway. It is part of the King County system and a public library, which is open to all, and is a great stop if you are traveling with kids.
- Shop at the main grocery store, Thriftway. It sells local produce as well as a good assortment of organic options and gifts.
- Visit a brewery or two around downtown.
- Get lost in The Vashon Pharmacy, It is a drug store and also has souvenirs, postcards and gifts.
- Wander to a number of good coffee cafes (such as Café Luna) and gift shops (like Giraffe). It is fun to park and explore.
- Visit lavender farms, such as Lavender Hill Farm which offer tours.
- Visit and do a cider tour at the Nashi Orchards or other orchards on the island.
- Drive to the south east corner of the island and see Point Robinson Lighthouse, with a rocky seashore, hikes, and a great view of Mt Rainier.
- Hike one of the on-island trails. Most of the island maps show a few which start from the island’s roads.
- Take the ferry off of the island from the north to visit Seattle or from the south to visit Tacoma. Two hours from Tacoma is the Mt Rainier National Park and two hours to the west from Southworth is the Olympic mountain range and Hurricane Ridge via Port Angeles. The Olympic Peninsula has many remote and beautiful things to see.
Charmingly, the downtown Vashon Theater shows mainstream movies, but only for a night or two, so catch them while you can. There is a posted schedule on the movie theater itself and movies are only in town for a short time.
If you bring bikes to the island, there are a number of trails on the island. There are great hiking trails on the island, also. Books are available of both at the Country Store on Vashon Highway, south of town. Vashon Island is the size of Manhattan Island with only 10,000 people! Enjoy.