The Basics

What To Expect

If someone asked me to give them a quick overview of what to expect when they come to Anderson Island, this is what I would tell them:

  • The only way to get to the island is by water (or by air if you’re a Life Flight helicopter or have a private seaplane). It’s 20 minutes by ferry that you catch in the town of Steilacoom (which is itself a cute place to visit). You can also come via boat or kayak.
  • Anderson Island isn’t a town; it’s technically unincorporated Pierce County. There’s no stoplights; heck, there’s only one 4-way stop.
  • It’s also not really a tourist destination. There are no resorts or even motels. There is no little shopping district with a souvenir shop and fudge shop. But there is the General Store, parks, lakes, camping, marinas, the old Johnson farm museum and (awesome) gift shop, and other things that a cool community our size has.
  • Definitely make sure you get anything you need before 8pm (sometimes 9pm on the weekends in the summer) – nothing is open after that. If there are any events happening, they have also probably ended by then.
  • About 1/3rd (?) of the island is part of the Riviera HOA, aka the Riv. Property in the Riv is meted out in lots around 7500-9000 sq ft. If anyone has more property than that, they own multiple lots. The Riv ain’t so bad. It has a golf course, marine, campground, restaurant, lakes, water department, etc. It also has property restrictions that properties off-Riv don’t have, but starting at around $10,000 per lot, it’s not a bad investment to have access to the amenities, even if it will be years before you can build on it (no camping on your lot).
  • There’s actually some good food here between the A.I. Cafe and the Riviera Lakeshore Restaurant, but be sure to check times to make sure they’re open. The cafe is open for breakfast and lunch (plus Monday Burger Night), and the restaurant is open for dinner, lunch on the weekends (and breakfast on the weekends during the summer, at least I think that’s their hours?), so you can work up an appetite doing some outdoor recreation here and have a spot to grab a meal afterwards.
  • Check the ferry schedule and look at the ferry cams on the site/app to see how full the lines are. We estimate that the ferry will hold 2 full lines on each side — you might get lucky in the 3rd line. Note that the last ferries run on the 10pm hour, so no late nights or you’re stuck on the side you’re on.
  • There are no hospitals or urgent care. We do have an awesome fire station that has an EMT, in case of emergency. If it’s really bad, they have a boat and a helipad for Life Flight.
  • If you’re spending any decent amount of time here, you will absolutely want to download the Anderson Island App (linked to the browser version, but seriously check out your app store for it), and check out some of the other websites that provide way more in depth information about things here, like the old Johnson Farm (Anderson Island Historical Society), the parks, the Riviera HOA, the Oro Bay Yacht Club, the AI General Store, etc.
  • We wave to each other!
  • I’ll add more as I think of them.

20 minute
ferry ride

Anderson Island outline

Approx. 7.5
square miles