There are two ferry hubs that depart from Seattle, Washington, but West Seattle’s Fauntleroy Ferry connects with two beautiful areas on the state’s peninsula: Vashon Island and the Southworth—Manchester area.
The PNW is known for breathtaking rides, and today we’re going over two of them. Both of which are accessible from West Seattle.
With no connection to the mainland, Vashon Island has two ferries that shuttle people from the island to the Olympic Peninsula, Seattle, and Tacoma. This article highlights the Fauntleroy Ferry on the north end of the island.
It’s an easy wait and ride over to Vashon, where you’ll experience the sea breeze and magnificent views; and once you arrive on Vashon’s northernmost shores, you can take off on as scenic adventure around the island.
Following the Vashon Highway down the island you’ll pass manicured homes, rural character, and unique charm. You’ll also pass Vashon’s quaint downtown district, which includes Café Luna, Gravy, ZOMBiEZ, Vashon Thriftway, and Rock Island Pub & Pizza.
The Vashon Farmer’s Market is also in this area and runs on Saturdays between April 7th and Fall. Stay updated on their website to know the details.
Near the south end of the island, before you turn west, you’ll pass beaches and a lavender farm—both of which are great stops along your path! Lavender Hill Farm has a U-Cut Lavender patch where you can enjoy a relaxing afternoon surrounded by lavender bunch. Pick your favorite—and bring one home!
Turn west and continue along Vashon Highway. Before turning into a wooded paradise, you’ll enjoy breathtaking, waterside views of the Puget Sound. Continue along that path until the highway meets Wax Orchard Road SW. Take a right and continue north, until SW 220th Street and then continue left onto Westside Highway, which will take you along a sometimes-winding road until you run into SW Cedarhurst Road.
SW Cedarhurst Road takes you passed Fern Cove along switchbacks and winding streets but continue through until Cedarhurst runs back into Vashon Highway. From there you can continue north until you’re back at the ferry terminal.
Though this route doesn’t take you down into Maury Island, the Maury Island Marine Park is a great place to visit if you have the time. Tough the ferries run fairly frequently, just make sure you have extra time in your schedule.
From Vashon, you’ll take the ferry across the short expanse towards Southworth, where you’ll see bluffs along the Point Southworth beachline. This ride is significantly shorter than the Seattle to Vashon ride, but you’ll make it up on your ride back to Seattle.
Once you touch ground on the other side of the peninsula, you’ll notice Southworth is a small town. It’s gorgeous and lush, but you’ll want to continue west on SE Southworth Drive and curve with the road to continue north, which contours around Yukon Harbor.
Before continuing onto SE Mile Hill Drive, you’ll want to turn right onto Colchester Drive SE. This road takes you north along the water onto the main streets of Manchester. This downtown area is small, but they have a few parks and eateries to enjoy.
If you’re on E Main Street (which runs adjacent to Colchester Drive SE), you’ll want to head further north on Beach Drive E, which will take you passed Little Clam Bay and all the way onto the northernmost tip.
But, by turning right (east) onto E Hilldale Road, you’ll go into Manchester State park, which offers tons of activities, including boating, camping, trail hiking, mountain biking, and more!
If you continue north on Beach Drive E, it’ll turn west-facing once you hit the water and take you along the shoreline. There aren’t a ton of amenities out here, but you’ll enjoy a front-row seat of the Puget Sound towards Enetai and Bremerton.
Once you hit the Kitsap Transit Annapolis Foot Ferry, you’ll find a few fun stops like the Whiskey Gulch CoffeePub and the beach, but if you continue on Bay Street, you’ll until into Bethel Avenue, which is a main road in the area and is also known as Highway 166.
There’re tons of activity in this area, including the Port Orchard Public Market and the Veterans Living History Museum. And it’s also a great place to stop for a bite to eat. Try local favorites like Amy’s on the Bay, Thai Charlie’s, Nostalgia House Baker, or the Hi Tide Bar and Grill.
Whenever you’re ready to head back to the ferry, just head south on Bethel Avenue until the round-a-bout and connect with Mile Hill Drive, which connects with SE Southworth Drive and leads you right back to the Southworth Ferry Terminal.
One of my favorite parts of leaving Southworth are the views of Blake Island Marine State Park. This amazing and natural preserve highlights historical PNW culture and offers a quaint and educational getaway that’s both fun and inspiring.
West Seattle is an excellent middle ground for people who don’t want to venture deep into the city but want to experience the Puget Sound ferries and natural wonder of the PNW.
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