From the moment your car rattles onto the white Pierce County ferry, a trip to Anderson Island is a journey back in time.
The 8-mile-long island has no stoplights, one general store, a single restaurant, and about 1,000 year-round residents who want things to stay quiet and quaint.
Which explains why you may not have heard of this southernmost island in Puget Sound, even though there is plenty to shout about: two rare freshwater island lakes, a stunning west-side beach, and a carefully preserved pioneer past.
From Tacoma, head south on I-5 for about 15 miles. Take the Dupont-Steilacoom exit (exit 119) and head north about 6 miles to Steilacoom and the ferry dock.
Buy a ticket online beforehand, or park your car in the line for the ferry, then dash out and buy your ticket in the office. Plan on arriving about 30 minutes before the ferry is scheduled to leave. Ferries run every hour (round-trip fare $19 car and driver, $4.60 pedestrians; Steilacoom Landing Facility, 56 Union Ave., Steilacoom; www.co.pierce.wa.us/ferry.com; 253/588-1950).