Anderson Island is the southernmost island of Puget Sound, holding a small, rural, quiet community that is more set up for casual getaway residents than tourists. That is part of its appeal, indeed.
Anderson Island can be reached via a small car ferry from the town of Steilacoom, south of Tacoma and north of Olympia. Once on island, it’s hard to get lost given the few main roads and being able to quickly backtrack on any dead end side shoots. Having a good map is handy though, since it will show the island’s many small pocket parks and points of historical interest.
Jacobs Point Park is entered only via a pretty forest trail that eventually winds along Puget Sound shoreline and pebble beaches. Along the way, the remnant chimney of the Jacobs family residence can still be seen, and a few rusted metal pieces of the home are scattered in the ferns where the wood structure has otherwise now turned back to rotted soil. The water views are mostly south and east, and there are pleasant picnic spots along the way as well. Although the park is only 80 acres in size it does seem larger, and the out and back trail will be about 2.5 miles long.
Andrew Anderson Marine Park is another highlight. Also starting out via forested trail, the path winds down to a secluded beach by Carlson Cove. At the cove is a single boat-in campsite that can be reserved through the Washington Water Trails Association; we stayed there on a prior kayak trip and really enjoyed the privacy plus lack of car campers anywhere around.
Jane Cammon Park is best for its relatively level forest loop trail, which can be either hiked or biked.
The Johnson Farm, owned and operated by the Anderson Island Historical Society for the public, is an interesting excursion to visit its crammed gift shop, dark and dusty museum, farmhouse (if docents are available), barn and farm structures, and a walking trail by woods and ponds. The volunteers are friendly and it’s the kind of place where you can stop in for a brief visit or explore for a long time to learn about early island farmer life.
For commercial amenities, there is little on the island. A great café with delicious entrees and desserts can be found beside the general store, and the Riviera Community Club has a public restaurant on a lake (including some off-key karaoke nights).
We stayed for an extended weekend at Island Family Farm, upstairs in a bedroom with the parents and daughters across the hall and all of us sharing the same bathroom. It was great. The family are terrific hosts, friendly and informative. And the tour of the farm by one of the daughters was a real highlight, including feeding of the farm animals, shooting a bow and arrow, and an unexpected tractor ride.
Anderson Island is a fun and relaxing getaway on a small scale.
Jacobs Point Park
Andrew Anderson Marine Park
Anderson Island Historical Society Johnson Farm
Island Family Farm on Anderson Island