Legend has it that Chief Seattle of the Suquamish American Indian tribe, after whom Seattle was named, was born on Blake Island, wild, forested land off made up of thickly wooded trails, a campground, and moorage for boats. American Indian history can be explored in Tillicum Village, where traditional cultural experiences are offered.
Blake Island was named for George Smith Blake, an officer of the United States Coast Survey. While heavily logged in the early 19th century, the island is reforested with cedar, fir, maple, and spruce forests. Kayaking, scuba diving, crabbing, and shell fishing are popular activities in the waters surrounding the island, but those looking to stay on solid ground won’t be disappointed either. Apart from the pretty beaches and hiking trails, the island is famous for its stunning views of the Olympic Mountains and the Seattle skyline.
Visitors lacking a private boat can journey to the island with a tour group. Half-day tours include a round-trip cruise from downtown Seattle, an opportunity to learn about American Indian culture through traditional song and dance, and a salmon bake inside a traditional cedar longhouse. Tours also include free time to explore the island.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Blake Island is accessible only by tour boat or private boat.
- The trip is a must for those interested in American Indian history and culture.
- Blake Island tours are family friendly.
How to Get There
Blake Island is located in Puget Sound, about eight miles (13 kilometers) from downtown Seattle. Tours leave from Pier 55 on Seattle’s Central Waterfront. The pier is accessible on foot from downtown Seattle or by the numerous bus routes that service the downtown core.
When to Get There
Blake Island State Park is open year-round. Tillicum Village tours run daily, May through September, and on specific dates other months. Tours are most popular during the warmer months of summer, and you should book well in advance if you plan to visit in summer. No village tours operate in January or February.
Tillicum Village Salmon Bake
Many visitors come to Blake Island for the Tillicum Village salmon-bake experience, which involves dinner and traditional American Indian cooking methods, as well as a storytelling show and dances, tours of a native longhouse, and free time to explore the island’s trails and views. Round-trip boat cruises from downtown Seattle are included.