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Children love playing in the sand on Jetty Island. The island is ideal for the young and old, alike with free programs on tide pools, sea life and flora. (Image: Rebecca Mongrain/Seattle Refined)

Jet on over to Jetty Island for summer fun

Just a short drive from Seattle, lies two sandy miles of pristine, rustic beach at Jetty Island in Everett. Hop a short passenger only ferry from the Port of Everett over to Jetty Island and prepare to curl your toes in the sand while exploring the island's sand and dirt trails as they meander through the marshland grasses. This man-made island features juvenile salmon, waterfowl, bald eagles and sea lions to name a few of the island's wildlife habitat.

We recently headed up to Jetty Island to explore the lay of the land and have returned with our tips for the perfect Jetty Island get-away. This rustic island has no electricity or plumbing which only adds to its charms. There is a seasonal floating restroom located at the ferry boat dock. Come along and load up your beach towels, bucket, sand shovel along with some beach eats for a day of fun in the sun! Jetty Island is the perfect day trip for young and old, alike from families to groups of friends.

We hit up Jetty Island on a very low tide day so the beach stretched for miles and gave us so much beach to explore. This allowed for hours of sand castle creation, discovery of sea creatures and miles of sand in which to run along. The water unfortunately was too far away for a cooling dip on the day we visited. The naturalists on Jetty Island recommended that we check out a tide pool app for future visits to the island so we could time our visit with high tide and cool off in this heat.

We asked other Jetty Island visitors for their impressions of the beach. Kim Mitchell of Seattle was delighted with her journey and said, "Jetty Island was wild enough to imagine pirates, shipwrecks, and castaways, but close enough to pack in everything necessary to keep both big kids and babies happy at the beach. I would have loved to spend the entire day building driftwood forts, and will definitely return for a high-tide experience."

Getting there

The Jetty Island passenger ferry can be found at the 10th Street Boat Launch and Marina in Everett. It's a short trip from I-5 and has loads of parking. Pay just $3 to park for the entire day before hoping the Jetty Island ferry for the fast ride over to the beach. The island is accessible only by boat. From July 6 until Labor Day (Sept. 7), the city of Everett partners with the Port of Everett to offer a free ferry to the island. (2015 Jetty Island Ferry Schedule)

Reservations & Tickets

Space is limited on the passenger ferry (capacity of 60 riders) which means that sunny days can bring a wait; up to two hours at times. Boarding passes can be picked up at the Jetty Island kiosk located at Jetty Landing Park. Tickets are handed out on a first come-first serve basis and go quickly once the park opens in the morning. Return tickets can be acquired once you arrive on Jetty Island. The Jetty Island Ferry begins running at 10 a.m. Everett residents and parties of 8 or more can make reservations by calling (425) 257-8304 at least 48 hours in advance.

What to Bring (and What to Leave Behind)

You'll need to plan ahead when heading to Jetty Island and pack everything you'll need for a day at the beach. Food, drinks (bring lots of water but alcohol is not allowed), towels, beach chairs, sunscreen, extra clothing and beach toys are all a must as none of these can be found on the island. We'd also highly recommend a beach umbrella as shade is limited on the island. Also note that everything brought onto the island must also be packed out, including garbage. Yes, you might begin to feel like a bit of sherpa so packing thoughtfully is key.

If you have children in your beach party, we'd recommend ditching the stroller and wearing the wee ones. Strollers and wagons have a rough time with the sandy pathways and quickly become more of hindrance than a help. We'd also suggest hitting up the bathrooms as soon as you land as those are the only bathrooms on the island.

S'mores anyone? Fire pits are available on first-come, first-serve basis and you must bring your own firewood.

Naturalists Tours/Activities

Jetty Island is staffed by several naturalists who offer free daily educational walks and tours for visitors to learn about the local ecosystem. For the bird enthusiasts out there, some 45 species of birds call Jetty Island their home and one can often spot eagles, herons and ospreys high in the sky. Visitors can take a nature walk or learn how to spot sea creatures or attend tide talks. Check the online schedule before you head over to the markerboard once you are on the island. The city of Everett offers free educational programs throughout the summer from puppet shows to late-night camp fires and even a sand castle contest on August 1st!

Coming Home

Make sure to grab your return pass when you arrive on the island so you can return on your own time schedule. No need to fret if you miss your return boat though, the ferry operators make sure that everyone gets a return ride home at some point.

Jetty Island information
10th St. and W. Marine View Dr.
Everett, Wa 98201

Dates: July 5-Sept. 7, 2015
Hours: Mon.-Thurs., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-7 p.m.