12 Breathtaking Islands Near Seattle for a Memorable Getaway

Seattle, a bustling city surrounded by the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, is extremely fortunate to have numerous nearby islands which offer travel enthusiasts a multitude of serene and stunning getaways. From breathtaking landscapes to captivating wildlife and unique local attractions, the islands near Seattle cater to diverse interests. This article sheds light on the best islands around Seattle, which are highly recommended for a visit to facilitate your choice for the ultimate weekend escape or an extended vacation.

Each island has its unique charm, character, and attractions, ensuring an unforgettable experience during your visit. Whether you seek to immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature, engage in thrilling water-based and outdoor recreational activities, or explore quaint communities with rich cultural and historical significance, these islands have something for everyone.

As we delve into the list of top islands, remember that their inclusion is subjective and largely dependent on the preferences and experiences of visitors. Consider your priorities and interests when planning your island visit to ensure an exceptional and memorable experience.

Which of the Islands Near Seattle Should You Visit?

San Juan Island

12 Breathtaking Islands Near Seattle for a Memorable Getaway

San Juan Island is the second-largest and most populous of the San Juan Islands in northwestern Washington, United States. With a land area of 142.59 km² (55.053 sq mi) and a population of 8,632 as of the 2020 census, it is known for its beautiful landscapes and outdoor activities. Visitors can enjoy whale watching, kayaking, hiking, and more. San Juan Island is home to Friday Harbor, the major population center of the island.

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Bainbridge Island

12 Breathtaking Islands Near Seattle for a Memorable Getaway

Bainbridge Island is a short 35-minute ferry ride from Seattle. The island is known for its art galleries, parks, and beautiful beaches. Recommended activities include visiting the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art and exploring the Bloedel Reserve, a 150-acre public garden.

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Vashon Island

12 Breathtaking Islands Near Seattle for a Memorable Getaway

Vashon Island can be reached by taking a ferry from West Seattle. The island is popular for its parks, beaches, and restaurants. Must-see attractions include Point Robinson Park and the Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Museum.

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Hotel recommendations:

  1. The Lodges on Vashon
  2. The Vashon Island Bungalow
  3. The Burton Inn and Spa
  4. The Quartermaster Inn

Whidbey Island

12 Breathtaking Islands Near Seattle for a Memorable Getaway

Whidbey Island, located north of Seattle, is easily accessible by ferry or bridge. The island is best known for its biking trails, outdoor sports, and historic attractions. Don’t miss visiting Deception Pass State Park and the Fort Casey Historical State Park.

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Camano Island

12 Breathtaking Islands Near Seattle for a Memorable Getaway

Camano Island is one of the few islands near Seattle accessible by driving. Perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, Camano offers hiking, camping, cycling, kayaking, and zip-lining. Spend a weekend exploring Camano Island State Park and its scenic trails.

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Hotel recommendations:

  1. Camano Island Inn
  2. The Blue Goose Inn Bed and Breakfast
  3. Camano Island Waterfront Vacation Rental

Lummi Island

12 Breathtaking Islands Near Seattle for a Memorable Getaway

Lummi Island, located near Bellingham, is a quiet island in the Puget Sound. With only around 1,000 residents, it’s perfect for those seeking a peaceful getaway. Reachable by a small independent ferry, popular activities include visiting the local beaches and hiking trails.

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Guemes Island

Guemes Island can also be reached via an independent ferry. The island is known for its parks, beaches, and outdoor sports. Check out the Guemes Mountain Trail for a beautiful hike with panoramic views.

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Fidalgo Island

12 Breathtaking Islands Near Seattle for a Memorable Getaway

Fidalgo Island, part of the San Juan Islands, is known for its outdoor sports and attractions. Visit the Anacortes Community Forest Lands or head out to the beaches for a day of adventure.

Things to do:

  • Visit Deception Pass State Park and enjoy the hiking trails, beaches, and scenic views
  • Take a whale watching tour with Island Adventures in nearby Anacortes
  • Explore the Washington Park and enjoy the beach, playground, and picnic areas
  • Visit the Anacortes Farmers Market and taste the local produce
  • Take a scenic drive around the island and enjoy the views
  • Visit the Anacortes History Museum and learn about the local history
  • Take a hike up Mount Erie and enjoy the panoramic views
  • Go kayaking or paddleboarding in the surrounding waters – Anacortes Kayak Tours

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Orcas Island

12 Breathtaking Islands Near Seattle for a Memorable Getaway

Orcas Island, mentioned earlier as part of the San Juan Islands, is a popular destination for exploring nature and enjoying outdoor activities. Don’t miss visiting Moran State Park and participating in water sports such as kayaking and fishing.

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Blake Island

Blake Island is a small island in the Puget Sound, known for its parks and trails. It’s home to the popular Blake Island Marine State Park, where visitors can enjoy camping, hiking, and beachcombing.

Things to do:

  • Visit Blake Island State Park and enjoy the hiking trails, beaches, and scenic views
  • Take a Tillicum Village Cultural Experience tour and learn about the local Native American history and culture – Argosy Cruises
  • Enjoy a beach picnic or barbecue with friends and family
  • Go kayaking or paddleboarding around the island
  • Take a scenic boat tour around the island and see the local wildlife
  • Visit the Blake Island Marine State Park Environmental Learning Center and learn about the local flora and fauna
  • Go fishing or crabbing in the surrounding waters
  • Take a walk through the forest and enjoy the natural beauty of the island

Lopez Island

Lopez Island is another fantastic destination within the San Juan archipelago. The island boasts numerous parks, trails, and beaches for visitors to enjoy. Take a hike through the scenic Lopez Hill Trail or relax on Agate Beach.

Things to do:

  • Visit Spencer Spit State Park and enjoy the hiking trails, beaches, and scenic views
  • Explore the Lopez Island Historical Museum and learn about the local history
  • Take a bike ride around the island and enjoy the views
  • Visit the Lopez Island Farmers Market and taste the local produce
  • Take a hike through Iceberg Point and enjoy the views of the surrounding islands
  • Go kayaking or paddleboarding around the island – Lopez Island Kayaks
  • Visit the Lopez Island Vineyards and taste the local wines – Lopez Island Vineyards
  • Enjoy a beach picnic or barbecue with friends and family

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Anderson Island

Anderson Island, the southernmost island in the Puget Sound, offers beautiful lakes and trails. Explore Lake Florence and Lake Josephine, where motorized boats are prohibited.

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Getting There and Transportation

Washington State Ferry System

Traveling to the islands near Seattle is easy and convenient with the Washington State Ferry System. This system serves several islands in the region and offers a comfortable and scenic ride. You can board a ferry from various locations, such as Anacortes or West Seattle, depending on the island you plan to visit:

  • Vashon Island: A 30-minute ferry ride from West Seattle
  • Lummi Island: Accessible via a small independent ferry service from Bellingham, accommodating only 20 cars

Make sure to check the ferry schedules and prices in advance, as some routes may have variations depending on the season or demand.

Driving to the Islands

If you prefer to explore islands that can be accessed by car, Camano Island is a great option. This island offers an array of outdoor activities without the need for a ferry ride. Here’s a brief overview:

  • Camano Island: Accessible by car and offers outdoor activities like hiking, camping, cycling, kayaking, and zip-lining

Keep in mind that even if you’re driving to an island, you could still need to take your car on a ferry, depending on the location.

Gas Stations

While planning your island visit, it’s important to consider refueling options for your vehicle. Some islands may have a limited number of gas stations, while others might not have any at all. Before embarking on your trip, check for gas station availability on the particular island or refuel your vehicle at the mainland before boarding the ferry.

Other Options

For the more adventurous travelers, other transportation options include renting a kayak, taking a water taxi, or even chartering a small plane. These options may be more suitable for the smaller islands or those wanting to experience a unique view of the various islands near Seattle.

About the author

My name is April, and I’m a Seattle-based writer, traveler, and foodie. I started this travel guide blog to share my passion for Seattle with fellow travelers and locals alike.

Whether you’re looking for the best coffee shops, the trendiest restaurants, or the most scenic hiking trails, I’ve got you covered.

When I’m not writing or exploring Seattle, you can find me watching movies with my husband, reading, or gardening with my dog in the backyard.

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