Why go: This waterfront ferry port stop is just 18 miles north of Seattle but offers plenty of small town charm.
Daily sighting: The steady back-and-forth sailings of the ferries, from sunrise to after dark.
Street scene: Hanging baskets of geraniums and begonias brighten up downtown, filled with indie shops and alfresco cafes.
Our favorite: Red Twig (117 Fifth Ave. S.) for lattes and savory crêpes.
Ditch the car: Edmonds is highly strollable.
Meet the farmers: They come from all over Washington to sell ripe berries, stone fruit, and farm-fresh eggs (9–3 Sat starting Jul 3; Fifth Ave. N. at Bell St.; 206/412-4630).
Local hero: European-travel guru Rick Steves.
Beach reads: Talk up your tastes at Edmonds Bookshop (111 Fifth Ave. S.) for a spot-on recommendation.
Quite a show: Get a close-up view of Fourth of July fireworks from the grass at Civic Stadium (free; Sixth Ave. N. at Bell). Impressive enough for city slickers, it’s still refreshingly uncrowded.
Overheard at the penny candy shop: “Pick out some more—you have a whole dollar to spend.”
Sea creatures and killer views
Kick back on a driftwood log at Brackett’s Landing Park and take in Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains—then pull off your shoes and explore at low tide, when crabs scuttle beneath rocks, and brilliant purple and orange seastars cling to pilings.
Chat with scuba divers emerging from the 27-acre underwater park and hear about all the cool stuff they just saw. At the foot of Main St., adjacent to the ferry terminal; visitedmonds.com
Pick up buckets, shovels, and lots of other fun stuff at Teri’s Toybox (420 Main St.; 425/774-3190). Forget the sunscreen? Next door is upscale KinderBritches (422 Main), which sells little luxuries like Mustela skin-care products and Kissy Kissy infant outfits.
But if you want to really wow ’em, hit nearby Nama’s Candy Store (102½ Fifth Ave. N.; 425/771-4606), crammed with big glass jars filled with both modern and retro-style sweets like licorice coins and Mary Janes.
The Resident Cheesemonger (closed Jul 4; 405 Main St.) is the spot for assembling a picnic of local cheeses, crackers, pickles, and charcuterie. Or sip summertime white-wine flights and snack on sophisticated small plates like bruschetta with salami, tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella on ciabatta at Olives Café & Wine Bar ($$; closed Sun; 107 Fifth Ave. N., Ste. 103; 425/771-5757). Be sure to hit Friday night happy hour (4–6) for the special menu with items like truffled mac ’n’ cheese for $2.95.
Take it home
Bring back a bit of the beach—no, not from Brackett’s Landing or the underwater park, which is a marine sanctuary (strictly hands-off)—but from the Wishing Stone (317 Main St.), which sells shells, gems, and fossils more striking than any you might find on the shore anyway.
Hop a ferry to the Kitsap Peninsula
With ferries running all day over to Kingston, Edmonds is an ideal jumping-off point for quick, scenic trips.
For a joyride: The queue for cars stretches for hours on summer weekends, but for an easy escape, ditch your wheels and stroll right onboard for an hour’s round-trip cruise (walk-on $6.90) across to Kingston. Bring a sweater to enjoy the fresh air on deck. wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/schedule
For a lighthouse tour: Just 10 miles from the Kingston ferry terminal is Hansville’s historic Point No Point Lighthouse, where you can watch waves and prancing shorebirds, and take a peek inside the 19th-century building. For an overnight adventure, rent the lighthouse keeper’s home. Noon–4 Sat–Sun; rental $195, two-night minimum.
For classical music: Mozart and other favorites play at an old barn in Quilcene, about 20 miles from the Kingston terminal. Hay-bale seats are available inside, but we prefer listening from the grassy hills, picnicking, taking breaks to stroll the gardens, and feeding carrots to the donkeys. 7360 Center Rd.; olympicmusicfestival.org