Milissa Simons (right) holds Jet Juliann, 3, while Ashley Elledge (center) watches Lincoln Ballard, 3, swim in the water off of Jetty Island on Thursday in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Milissa Simons (right) holds Jet Juliann, 3, while Ashley Elledge (center) watches Lincoln Ballard, 3, swim in the water off of Jetty Island on Thursday in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Jetty Island opens for family-friendly fun

About 50,000 people a season make the crossing.

EVERETT — The Jetty Island ferry is up and running for its summer season.

The boat operates every day from July 5 to Labor Day. During that period, about 50,000 people visit the man-made island that sits across from the marina.

Jetty is two miles of sandy beach. The water is shallow and warm.

The ferry ride is quick and free, with a suggested donations of $2 for adults and $1 for children. Passes are available at the dock.

If you’re taking the boat to Jetty, the weekday routes are less crowded around noon. Additionally, morning tickets are easier to secure on weekends.

The island can also be reached by personal boats, kayaks or canoes.

Kolleen Lothian has frequented Jetty for years. This summer marks her first season heading to the beach via kayak.

“I’m a teacher so I have a lot of free time,” she said. “As long as the weather is nice, I’ll probably come here at least two or three times a week.”

Lothian recommended kayakers stick to the east side of the island, because of the west’s choppy waters.

On the island, you won’t find any shops, stands or even a lifeguard. Visitors are asked to bring their own food, drink and beach materials. They’re also required to bring it all back to the mainland.

Pets and alcohol must be left at home.

Visitors are encouraged to bring their own beach activities.

On a sunny day, the sky is often covered with kites.

Some fly for leisurely fun, others for an extreme sport called kiteboarding.

Kiteboarders harness themselves to power kites and glide across the water on boards.

While some come for sport, others visit Jetty for a lazy day on what could be mistaken for a tropical beach.

Gloria Olson took the day off work on opening day to visit her favorite reading spot.

“I’ve been coming here since forever,” she said. “My kids were raised on the Jetty.”

The island is home to trails to be explored and wildlife to be spotted.

Walking tours take place every day during the season, with start times varying throughout the week. Guides explain the history of the island and point out the birds, mollusks and flowers that inhabit it.

Jetty was initially formed from sediment coming from the Snohomish River in the late 1800s. It served as a protective barrier for the port. It wasn’t until 1929 that the port came into ownership of the island.

The ferry didn’t start offering daily summer trips to Jetty until the 1980s.

Joseph Thompson: 425-339-3430; Twitter: @JoeyJThomp.

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