5 things to do this summer in Snohomish County



There’s no such thing as summer doldrums in Snohomish County. Rootin’-tootin’ fun awaits in any direction and for every persuasion.

Hop a ferry. Play in the sand. Jump out of a plane. Look for Bigfoot. Tour the past. Toast the sunset.

What are you waiting for?

Grab your water bottle and get going.

1. Jetty Island

An island vacation right in Everett? Jetty Island is your spot.

The two-mile-long, human-made barrier island acts as a breakwater for the Everett marina.

The water is pretty warm because it’s shallow. The wet sand is like a memory-foam mattress.

There are no cars, no dogs, no electricity, no lifeguards on duty.

You can’t buy anything on the island either, meaning you have to pack it all in: coolers, chairs, blankets, buckets, balls, sunscreen. And then pack it all out.

Kick back and watch kiteboarders who spin and sail across the water. Or get up and become one of them.

Wander up, down and around the island for a no-elevation hike (and to get away from the crowd).

The official Jetty season is July 6 through Labor Day, Sept. 5, when an Argosy passenger shuttle ferry operates Wednesday through Sunday from Jetty Landing, adjacent to the boat launch at 10th Street and W. Marine View Drive. Scheduling your trip guarantees your seat there and back.

Jetty is open in the off-season, but you have to get there in your own boat. A kayak or paddleboard also does the trick.

Plan your visit at everettwa.gov/jettyisland.

Vehicles board the ferry to Whidbey Island at the Mukilteo dock. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

2. Ride a state ferry

Nothing says summer like cruising the sea for cheap on a big green-and-white boat.

Washington’s 10 state ferry routes comprise the largest ferry system in the U.S. Two routes are right on our doorsteps, Edmonds-Kingston and Mukilteo-Clinton.

Get on deck and toss your cares to the wind.

During peak summer times, ferry waits can be several hours, so charge your devices and pack snacks. Load the WSDOT app to see real time arrivals and departures. Walk on to skip the lines.

A small park next to the Clinton holding lanes has a beach with driftwood logs to climb on, a sandpile with toys and picnic tables. A short distance on Highway 525 is Cozy’s Roadhouse. Billed as South Whidbey’s oldest watering hole, Cozy’s is known for burgers, fish & chips, cold beer and friendly folks.

The Edmonds and Mukilteo ferry routes do not take timed reservations, but you can buy tickets online. At the toll booth, have your ticket or credit card ready. You don’t want to be that person holding up the line.

Plan your visit at wsdot.wa.gov/travel/washington-state-ferries.

Pubs, restaurants, antique galleries and more await visitors in downtown Snohomish. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

3. Spend a day in Snohomish

The historic downtown on the Snohomish River is lined with a variety of pubs, restaurants, galleries, antique shops and browsing boutiques. Buy bait and bridal gowns on practically the same block. Get decorating ideas at the store owned by the hometown twin sister stars of HGTV’s Unsellable Houses.

The town has a weekly farmers’ market, art walks and the summer festival Kla Ha Ya Days, happening in July.

Stop at farms with flowers and produce on the way. Scout out the wedding venues dotting the countryside.

If marriage is too scary, jump out of a plane at Skydive Snohomish.

Prefer to stay grounded? Bike, roll or stroll along the Centennial Trail as far north as Arlington.

Plan your visit at historicdowntownsnohomish.org.

The Wayside Chapel off U.S. 2 is one of east Snohomish County’s quirky charms. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

4. Head east to Monroe and beyond

Along U.S. 2 is a road trip of wonders.

The Reptile Zoo in Monroe has an albino alligator, two-head turtle and an impressive collection of scaly and slithering creatures to admire and, if so inclined, pet.

Next stop, about four miles away, is Wayside Chapel in Sultan, a roadside distraction since 1962. The miniature white A-frame steeple is worth a quick stop, even for those who haven’t stepped foot in a church for years.

Brake for Bigfoot at Espresso Chalet in Index. The chainsaw statue of Sasquatch is a hint of what’s to come: Bigfoot T-shirts, souvenirs, coffee drinks and footprints. The site was one of the sets for the 1987 movie Harry and the Hendersons, about a family who adopts a friendly Sasquatch after accidentally hitting him with their station wagon.

Hike at Wallace Falls State Park, which features nine gorgeous falls, peaceful trails along the Wallace River and panoramic views of Skykomish River valley. You can also camp overnight at this Gold Bar destination.

Monroe is a destination in itself. The Evergreen State Fairgrounds has events all year, such as auto racing, swap meets and the Evergreen State Fair.

Plan your visit at evergreenfair.org.

Discover the iconic Rucker Tomb while strolling the grounds of Evergreen Cemetery in Everett. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

5. Stroll Evergreen Cemetery

Take a tranquil walk through the past within steps of the modern-day tumult of I-5.

The 100-acre cemetery at 4505 Broadway was platted in 1898 and has century-old plantings and state champion trees.

The grounds are the final resting place of numerous prominent citizens and regular people who made valuable contributions to Everett back in the day. It also has newcomers.

Check out the black granite pyramid known as Rucker tomb. Everett entrepreneurs Bethel and Wyatt Rucker had the tomb built for their mom after she died in 1907. The giant granite wonder, 35-feet high, is tucked in the back corner near 41st Street. Inside the private mausoleum are 22 crypts, with 11 taken. (The door is locked.) A sign advises against the temptation to climb to the top, a rite of passage for teens and some old enough to know better.

Among those in the cemetery are a victim of the 1916 Everett Massacre, four governors, U.S. Sen. Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson, Civil War veterans, former President Barack Obama’s great-great-great grandmother and a William Shakespeare, though not the Bard of Avalon.

Plan your visit at epls.org/200/Evergreen-Cemetery.

Washington North Coast Magazine

This article is featured in the summer issue of Washington North Coast Magazine, a supplement of The Daily Herald.

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