Yesterday I took the boys over the Blake Island for our regular adventure outing. Blake Island a small island a few miles away from downtown Seattle in the middle of Puget Sound (map). It used to be a private estate owned by William Pitt Trimble, until his wife died of an accident, after which the heartbroken Trimble abandoned the estate. It's now a state park with a Native American arts and culture center called Tillicum Village (complete with salmon dinner and dancing show - not bad actually). It's only reachable by private boat or tour boat (the Argosy cruise line runs back and forth).
We've been to Blake Island once before a few years back on the sailboat we owned, and Andrew (9) went recently on a field trip. The guys have both been badgering me to go back since they like the driftwood covered beach, so I relented. We hopped on the 11:30 boat (the only one that runs this time of year) and spent two hours playing on the beach. Andrew, predictably, started building a huge house of driftwood, aided by a pretty girl who was camping nearby (lots of camping on Blake Island). Michael (6), equally predictably, enlisted my help sending driftwood "battleships" out into the water and trying to hit them with rocks. The weather was pleasant enough and everyone had a good time. We got a bit of lunch from the snack bar at Tillicum Village (I had a salmon salad - the salmon here is good since they pin the salmon on cedar stakes and cook it over an alder fire as part of their dinner show) and then caught the 2:30 boat back (again, the only one they run during May.)
It was a bit expensive - normally $40/adult, $12/kid minus a AAA discount for the round trip boat rides - plus the crazy Seattle parking rates (I paid $22 for parking across the street from Pier 55 where the Argosy departs.) Add to that the cost of snacks on the hour-long boat ride each way. On top of that, with the single boat sailing each way, you really only get two hours on the island. I think the next time we go back, we'll camp for a few days. The island has great views of Seattle and Mount Rainier, a fun beach for kids, and miles of wooded hiking trails. There are good facilities (bathrooms/showers, water, fire rings, and the snack bar with firewood/charcoal, lattes, and ice cream), and it's easy to get to.
In any case, it was a fun outing, and any day that I get to ride on a boat is a good one in my book.