Motor north along I-5 from Seattle  and you’ll soon stumble along two waterfront communities ripe for afternoon strolls, window shopping, and leisurely dinners.
First comes Edmonds, a pleasant little town whose core is centered on a scenic marina and fishing pier. Art galleries, antique shops, and friendly little bistros line the well-tended, pedestrian-friendly streets here. The biggest draw, though, isn’t by the water—it’s in the water. Just offshore from the ferry terminal and Brackett’s Landing lies Edmonds Underwater Park , one of the most popular dive sites in the sound.
One town north of Edmonds, Mukilteo (muck-il-TEE-o) offers another idyllic shoreline spot to circle the wagons. The highlight here is a postcard-perfect lighthouse  set on a scenic little state park with windswept vistas of Whidbey Island  in the distance. Mukilteo was known for its ideal location long before the first Anglos settled there in 1858—the name comes from a Native American term for “good meeting place.” The town is the signing place of the infamous Point Elliot Treaty, in which 22 Native American tribes were tricked into handing over their land to white settlers.
By Ferry: Both Edmonds and Mukilteo are known as gateways in the Washington State Ferry system (206/464-6400 or 888/808-7977, 800/843-3779 for automated information, www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries ). Edmonds is the departure point to Kingston on the Kitsap Peninsula , which connects to the Olympic Peninsula . Meanwhile, Mukilteo is the busiest ferry terminal in the state, with service to Whidbey Island . See the Washington State Ferry website  for routes, schesules, and fares.
By Train: From Edmonds Station (210 Railroad Ave.), catch a connection on Amtrak’s Cascades route from Oregon to Vancouver, British Columbia . Ride to Seattle  to connect to the eastbound Empire Builder to Spokane  and Chicago, and the southbound Coast Starlight with stops all the way down to San Diego. For information on Amtrak, visit www.amtrak.com  or call 425/778-3213 or 800/872-7245.
Amtrak does not service Mukilteo Station (920 1st St.), but the stop does offer connections on the commuter Sound Transit Sounder line to Seattle, as does Edmonds Station. Sounder runs three times on weekdays southbound in the morning and three times northbound in the evening. The ride takes just under 50 minutes from Mukilteo ($4) and just over 30 minutes from Edmonds ($3.50).
By Bus: Community Transit (425/778-2185 or 800/562-1375; www.commtrans.org ) covers nearly all of Snohomish County , with service south to Seattle  and east as far as Snohomish and Darrington .