One of my kids’ favorite day trips is a jaunt from Edmonds to Kingston by ferry. Bracket your walk-on ferry ride with beach time and a meal in charming Edmonds, and a delicious crepe snack in Kingston to make it a full day of family fun.
Note: One of the many good things about a walk-on ferry ride is that you don’t have to wait in long car lines. But you might want to check the ferry schedule when planning your outing since the ferry departs only about once an hour.
Eat and Play in Edmonds Before You Walk on the Ferry
Drive to Edmonds (or take a bus) and then you can go on foot the rest of the day. Fuel up at the classic local breakfast spot, Chanterelle (several Eggs Benedict varieties for parents, plus an inexpensive kids’ menu). Or, if you get a slow start, go for an early lunch at Anthony’s Beach Cafe.
Pick up sand toys on your way to the beach at Teri’s Toybox (which stocks quality toys, crafts and science kits that you won’t find in a chain store). For beach reads, stop in the Edmonds Bookshop – its knowledgeable booksellers carefully select new and used children’s and adults’ books.
Before you walk on the ferry explore several beaches affording front-row seats to the comings and goings of the ferry – and, much to children’s delight, the occasional train chugging past. Just north of the jetty … is that the Creature from the Black Lagoon emerging from the Sound?! No, just a scuba diver in his kid-startling gear. Offshore is an underwater park frequented by divers, and kids will be intrigued by watching the activity. To the left of the ferry dock, stroll along sandy Olympic Beach to the fishing pier and naturalist center (closed until 2022).
The Ferry Ride and Kingston
It might not be easy, but do pull the kids away from the beach and take your walk-on ferry ride for a breathtakingly scenic trip to Kingston. Little kids squeeze against the top deck’s railing to watch the cars load – mine love glimpsing dogs and passengers through sunroofs – then race excitedly to the bow when we set sail. Wind whips hair, parents get great family photos and wide-screen vistas of mountains and water, and a “drawbridge” is lowered for your arrival in Kingston.
Head ashore and after you explore the little town, don’t miss a stop at teeny-tiny J’aime les Crepes. My kids insist that anytime we ride the ferry to Kingston we must stop here. It’s popular, but the wait’s worth it. The savory veggie or chicken crepes are delicious, but as soon as we glimpse that melting chocolate, fresh strawberries and whipped cream, the mouthwatering sweet ones usually win over my family.
Instead of fighting for one of J’aime les Crepes’ few tables, carry your treats across the street to the city park. On Saturdays, it’s fun to browse the farmers’ market there, with not only fresh produce but also homespun wool, local lavender, and live music. Want more beach time? There’s pedestrian access to Kingston’s beach next to the ferry’s car holding area. Keep an eye out for the next boat and just saunter on – passengers don’t pay to walk on the ferry going east!
If You Go
Edmonds is located about 17 miles/30 minutes north of downtown Seattle. Free street parking in downtown Edmonds is limited to 3 hours. You can pay for parking in the U-Park lot south of the ferry terminal at Sunset & James. Downtown Edmonds is served by Community Transit buses. www.commtrans.org
The ferries between Edmonds and Kingston runs 1X an hour, all day and evenings. Check the schedule.
Cost for a Walk-on Ferry Ride: Adults $9.05, youth 6 to 18 $4.50, kids younger than 6 free; pay westbound only.
More Things To Do in Edmonds
Beaches & parks: Edmonds beaches are protected zones – no souvenirs! Olympic Beach Visitor Station, located at the base of the fishing pier, is normally open, with naturalists and touch tanks on weekends from noon to 5 p.m., Memorial Day through Labor Day but it’s closed until 2022 due to COVID-19 concerns. Other Edmonds parks worth a visit: Stroll south past the boats to Marina Beach Park, with a wide beach, play structure, picnic tables and BBQs, and a waterfront dog park. Drive uphill to Yost Park for woodsy trails and an outdoor pool (check if it is open summer of 2021). In Kingston, the access path to sandy Brackett’s Landing North starts at the view deck on the east side of the ferry loading lanes.
Edmonds Bookshop: A good assortment of books for grown-ups and kids. 111 Fifth Ave S, Edmonds.
Edmonds Theater: Vintage building, modern digital projection, low prices. Adults $8, kids $6, matinee/Tuesdays/students $7, free popcorn for kids, Wednesday $3 bottomless popcorn. 415 Main St, Edmonds.
Teri’s Toybox: Great for beach toys and finding a start-of-summer toy. 420 Main St, Edmonds.
Places To Eat
Chanterelle: Eggs Benedict $11-$13. Open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. (breakfast served until 11 a.m.), Saturday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. (breakfast served until 11:3o a.m., closed 3 to 4 p.m.), Sunday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. 316 Main St, Edmonds.
J’aime les Crepes: Crepes $5-$10. Open Monday through Thursday 5 a.m. to 9:40 p.m., Friday 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., weekends 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. 11264 N.E. State Hwy 104, Kingston.