Vashon Island is not the place to go if you're expecting a hot time on the ol' town. Cows and horses probably outnumber humans on this rock. The rural, slow-paced, homey environment is ideal for bike tours, not so much for barhopping. Vashon’s residents are a mix of commuting yupsters, post-hippie artisans, retirees, and power-politics farmers.
Vashon Island was one of the many islands encountered in 1792 by Capt. George Vancouver, who, having named enough things after himself, decided to give this one to his Navy buddy, James Vashon.
Vashon is only 15 minutes by ferry from Tacoma  and about the same from West Seattle . The Washington State Ferries (206/464-6400, 888/808-7977, or 800/843-3779 for automated information, www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries ) float auto and passenger service to both the north and south ends of Vashon Island. The return trip is always free (round-trip fare is charged on your way to the island), so you can arrive or depart from either end for the same price. There are four departure points for the island.
By car or bus, you can take the frequent ferries from West Seattle’s Fauntleroy terminal for $18.50 round-trip for car and driver. Passengers and walk-ons are $4.30 round-trip; winter fares are lower. Ferries also connect Heights Dock with the Southworth ferry terminal on the Kitsap Peninsula , and the Tahlequah dock on the south end of Vashon Island with Tacoma’s Point Defiance ferry terminal. Both of these ferry runs have the same rate schedule as from Fauntleroy.