Blake Island State Park is a 1,127-acre marine park with 5 miles of shoreline that offers 7.5 miles of biking trails, 8 miles of hiking trails, campsites, boat moorage, picnic shelters, horseshoe pits, and volleyball courts. Interpretive activities, fishing, diving, bird and wildlife watching, paddling, or just relaxing on the beach are some of the ways visitors can enjoy the island.
Once you’ve enjoyed the natural beauty of the island, you can take a hike over to the Longhouse and enjoy a Northwest Salish storytelling and dance show, while dining on a traditional fire-roasted fish meal, or just exploring the longhouse or gift shop and relaxing with a beverage from the bar.
Totem poles adorn the area near the marina and longhouse, which is filled with educational displays and artwork that teach about the history of the area and Northwest Salish culture. You may also find a live carving demonstration or be able to speak to and pose for a photo with a dancer wearing a 4-foot-long raven mask.
The island is accessible only by boat. Don’t have a boat? No problem. Argosy Cruises has ships departing Seattle in warm-weather months through the end of September. Your ticket includes passage on the ship, the meal and show, and time to explore the island. When you arrive at the dock, you will be greeted by a host wearing traditional Salish regalia and be offered a mug filled with steamed clams and nectar to enjoy before dinner.
For those who do have their own boat or friends with a boat, there are several marine campsites as well as boat moorage for those who want to spend the night or weekend. Tickets to the meal and show can be purchased by those arriving on their own boat.
Experienced kayakers can paddle from West Seattle, Southworth, or Manchester State Park and enjoy one of the primitive campsites maintained by the Washington Water Trails Association.
During the summer months, Vashon Adventures provides kayak rentals as well as guided kayak tours, which provide a different perspective of the island and an opportunity to watch harbor seals frolic and bald eagles dive for fish. If you’re lucky, you may even see a pod of orcas or other whales swim by.
The north side of the island near the marina and longhouse can be crowded during the summer months, especially on weekends, but there are campsites available on the west side of the island a mile or so away from the crowds and the larger main campsite. In the fall and winter, the island is calm and feels much more remote and wild.
Blake Island provides a feeling of getting away from it all while you watch the setting sun illuminate the Seattle skyline. It’s a place that everyone who lives in the Puget Sound region should visit at least once.