It’s just 2 miles long and a quick three-minute foot-ferry ride from the mainland, but Jetty Island, formed over the past century out of accumulated sediment from the dredging of the Snohomish River, packs a full day of legitimate summer fun in Puget Sound.
The adventure begins on the ferry, operated by the Port of Everett, offering a charming, free and seasonal cruise that departs from Jetty Landing at the Port of Everett Marina.
After arriving on the island, passengers disembark onto a small floating dock, the island’s only artificial structure, where its seasonal, floating bathrooms are located. After a short walk across a grassy dune, you’ll come to the sandy beach.
What to do with all this time on your hands? Rule number one: Bring the sandcastle tools and a bathing suit. One of the most surprising features of this uniquely situated island is its fine sand beaches and, because of its shallow waters, bathwater-warm ocean temps—elements that are practically unheard of among the islands of Puget Sound. Let the kids wade out, build a few castles and play in the sand while you catch up on your summer reading. Take in the amazing views of Mount Baker and downtown Everett from your unique vantage point. Or, explore the shoreline and the surrounding flora and fauna—which includes various species of grasses, small trees, more than 45 species of birds and the occasional marine mammals, such as seals and whales—and enjoy an impossibly perfect summer day in the Sound.
If you go
Jetty Island is a 30-minute drive north of Seattle in Everett. Port of Everett, Jetty Landing and Boat Launch, 10th Street and W Marine View Drive; 425.257.8304; everettwa.gov/jettyisland
The ferry operates from July to early September; $2/adult and $1/child donation suggested. Make a ferry reservation by calling the Jetty Island Reservation Line, 425.257.8304, and avoid the ferry line. Parking at the marina is $3 a day. Hours vary at the park, but the latest ferry back to Everett on weekends departs at 9 p.m.
Pets, alcohol and glass containers are not allowed on the island. There are no lifeguards, no overnight camping and no accommodation for strollers or other wheeled equipment.
Other than the floating restrooms on the dock, there are no services, so pack what you need for a day at the beach: picnic supplies, water, sunscreen, towels, etc.
Paddle Your Own Canoe
Skip the ferry and paddle over in your sea kayak or canoe; small watercraft leaving from the Jetty Landing and Boat Launch can easily navigate the short passage, making for a more intimate day trip to the island.