Explore the charming seaport town of Coupeville on Whidbey Island.
Coupeville has an idyllic setting on Penn Cove, at the mid-point of Whidbey Island in Washington State.
It's instantly recognized by its historic Coupeville Wharf, jutting out 500 feet into the waters of Penn Cove with a red warehouse at the end, that has a cafe, gift shop and whale exhibit.
Coupeville has a nice selection of restaurants and quaint shops along Front Street, and an excellent museum. The free Price Sculpture Forest with two walking trail loops on a 10-acre property is a short drive away.
Coupeville's central location makes it an easy drive to some of Whidbey Island's top attractions, like the Meerkerk Gardens, Fort Casey, Admiralty Head Lighthouse, and Greenbank Farms. Learn more about Whidbey Island.
Directions: There are two ways to get to Coupeville on Whidbey Island, either by ferry or bridge. If approaching Whidbey Island from the south, take the 20-minute Mukilteo Ferry from Mukilteo, then drive 35 minutes north to Coupeville. If approaching Whidbey Island from the north, drive across Deception Pass Bridge, then continue 35 minutes south to Coupeville.
10 best things to do in Coupeville
1. Explore restaurants and shops along Front Street at Coupeville.
There are two waterview restaurants along Front Street; the popular Front Street Grill, and delicious Molka Xete (mexican). You can also stop for a coffee and baked treats at the delightful Little Red Hen Bakery, or yummy ice-cream at Kapaw's Iskreme.
Beyond Front Street, there are other great restaurants in Coupeville like the gourmet Gordon's Fusion Cuisine, or pizza and pasta in a contemporary setting at Ciao Food & Wine.
The Front Street Grill (far left) is a popular seafood restaurant in central Coupeville.
Visitors inspect the menu at the Front Street Grill.
Enjoy a wine at the chic Vail Wine Shop and Tasting Room on Front Street at Coupeville.
Shop for cute outfits at Collections Boutique.
Pick up an eclectic range of gifts at Aqua Gifts, in an original 1890 drug store building.
Many of Coupeville's buildings date from the 1800's, and Front Street looks similar to what it did over 150 years ago. You can do a self guided walking tour here.
2. Take the stairs at Front Street down to the sandy beach.
Stairs lead from Front Street, down to the beach. The water is too cool for swimming and there are no lifeguards, but the views over Penn Cove are beautiful from the beach. Baby seals can often be found resting on this beach during breeding season.
3. Visit the Kingfisher Bookstore.
This is the cosy Kingfisher Bookstore on Front Street at Coupeville. This whole street just oozes charm!
4. Walk along the historic Coupeville Wharf.
The Coupeville Wharf has played a central role in Coupeville's history, as the first port of call for settlers arriving on the island, and the drop-off point for Whidbey Island's supplies. Coupeville's protected harbor made it the perfect place to locate the wharf in 1905.
The tide is way out in this photo, exposing the rich sea life on the shore at Coupeville.
Look back at Coupeville's historic waterfront from the wharf.
5. Visit the cafe at the end of the Coupeville Wharf.
Today the Coupeville Wharf caters to tourists, with the red warehouse now housing a relaxed coffee shop, perfect for breakfast or a sandwich. Step outside to the outdoor patio with tables, and enjoy the distant views of snowcapped Mt Baker, while taking in the bracing, sea air.
Look out at this small marina while enjoying your coffee.
6. See the "Whale Experience" exhibits inside the Coupeville Wharf.
Step inside the red warehouse at the end of the Coupeville Wharf, to see the Whale Experience exhibit in the lobby. The Whale Experience exhibit has lots of interesting information on marine life in Penn Cove.
7. Rent a kayak at the end of the Coupeville Wharf.
Explore the enchanting waterway of Penn Cove by renting a kayak at the end of the Coupeville Wharf.
8. Visit the Island County Historical Museum.
The excellent Island County Historical Museum is conveniently located near the start of the Coupeville Wharf (908 NW Alexander Street). Check hours.
The upper floor is dedicated to early settler history, and the lower floor focuses on the Native Indian tribes that once lived in this area.
This is the irish owned L.P. Byrne store operating out of Oak Harbor in Whidbey Island, built in 1880 but burned down in 1920.
Here's the first car on Whidbey Island, a 1902 holsman, horseless carriage.
In 1919, the township of Langley on Whidbey Island had an all female city council, with mayor Helen Coe at the helm. The suffragette movement gained momentum on Whidbey Island, and women finally gained the right to vote in 1920.
These are some Native American cedar dugout canoes on display at this heritage museum in Coupeville.
These Columbian Mammoth tusks and bones were found on Whidbey Island, dating back from 10,000 to 30,000 years ago.
See Native America tools, some thousands of years old, like axe heads, arrow shaft straighteners, adze blades, knifes and hooks.
9. Take a short drive to the FREE Price Sculpture Forest.
The Price Sculpture Forest is a 5 minute drive east of Coupeville, and is free to visit. You can do a self-guided tour of stunning sculptures in an enchanting forest.
10. Stop by the Coupeville Visitor Center at 905 NW Alexander Street.
The Visitor Center is in the old Coupeville Firehouse. There are fun sculptures outside of a dog and a seated child, popular with tourists for photo opportunities.
11. Visit the Lavender Wind store in Coupeville.
The Lavender Wind Store (15 NW Coveland Street) is a real treat, just one street back from the main commercial area in Coupeville. Purchase lavender scones, cookies and icecream at the bakery there, or stock up on aromatics like bath salts, spritzer, candles, and essential oils. You can also drive 5.5 miles northwest of Coupeville to visit the Lavender Wind Farm where everything is grown in lavender fields.
12. Stay overnight in a Victorian B&B.
The classic Anchorage Inn (807 North Main Street) is a Victorian-themed B&B (although built around 1990).
13. Walk up to the Coupeville Town Park and playground.
Take the beautiful path from Coupeville's downtown up to the Coupeville Town Park for amazing views! The Coupeville Town Park has a playground with swings and a climbing structure. There's also a tennis court, picnic tables, bandshell and restrooms, and peep through views of Penn Cove from Coupeville.
Take the short, pedestrian trail up to the bluff, leading straight off Front Street in Coupeville.
The path eventually ends at the Coupeville Town Park.
Take a picnic lunch up to Coupeville Town Park, and eat at this table with lovely views of Penn Cove.
Take your kids to the playground.
14. Visit the cute Cook's Corner park.
Cooks Corner Park is also on North Main Street and has an adorable sculpture. Pick up some lunch, and sit at one of the picnic tables at this charming park.
15. Stroll along the bluff-top at Coupeville and spot deer.
Continue east along Front Street at Coupeville away from the commercial district, to take in more amazing water and Mt Baker views.
Deer freely roam the streets of Coupeville, and seem relatively tame, unperturbed by visitors.