One of my kids’ favorite day trips is a jaunt from Edmonds to Kingston by ferry. Bracket your ferry ride with beach time and kid-friendly activities in charming Edmonds and a delicious snack in Kingston to make it a full day of family fun.
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: the “best grilled cheese ever,” according to my son, from the Cheesemonger’s Table.
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.
Head toward the ferry dock for 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 watching the activity. To the left of the ferry dock, stroll along sandy Olympic Beach to the fishing pier and naturalist center.
It might not be easy, but do pull the kids away from the beach and walk on the ferry 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 to 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 – foot passengers don’t pay going east.
Back in Edmonds, considering catching a movie at at the 1920s movie theater. The Edmonds Theater has modern digital projection in a charming vintage building and low prices – adults $9, kids $7.
Top off your day trip with wood-fired pizza from Evviva, which earns rave reviews for both its kid-pleasing classics and its more unusual creations like vegan or cranberry-goat cheese. Eat in or carry out as a delicious conclusion to your beach and ferry boat adventure.
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 run one to two times per hour, all day. Adults $8.35, youth 6 to 18 $4.15, kids younger than 6 free; pay westbound only. www.wsdot.com/ferries
Things To Do
Beaches & parks: Edmonds beaches are protected zones – no souvenirs! Olympic Beach Visitor Station, located at the base of the fishing pier, is open, with naturalists and touch tanks on weekends from noon to 5 p.m., Memorial Day through Labor Day. 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, open June 2 for the summer. 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.
Evviva Woodfired Pizza: Large pizza $20-$28. Open Tuesday through Friday 4 to 9 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 178 Sunset Ave S, 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.
The Cheesemonger’s Table: Grilled cheese $10. Service can be slow; there’s a mini park in front where kids can play while you wait. Open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday noon to 5 p.m. 203 Fifth Ave S #1, Edmonds.