Plan a trip to idyllic Whidbey Island near Seattle.
Whidbey Island is 26-miles north of Seattle.
To get there from Seattle, drive 30-minutes up to Mukilteo and take the 20-minute ferry crossing to Clinton at the southern end of Whidbey Island (check schedule).
You can also skip the ferry and drive across the spectacular Deception Pass bridge at Whidbey Island's northern end.
Whidbey Island has a stunning setting, with dramatic bluffs, wild beaches and bucolic country roads. There are breathtaking state parks, a lighthouse, earth sanctuary and rhododendron garden to visit.
10 best things to do on Whidbey Island.
1. Stop at the charming town of Langley.
The scenic town of Langley is at the southern end of Whidbey Island, just 10 minutes drive from the ferry. Langley is perched on a bluff with dramatic views of the Saratoga Passage and Cascades. The waterfront setting makes this a very special place, and an enjoyable day can be spent exploring book stores, boutiques, restaurants and other shops along Langley's main street.
Stay at luxurious hotels like the Inn at Langley or Saratoga Inn.
2. Stroll through the Earth Sanctuary on Whidbey Island.
The Earth Sanctuary is a gem, located 15-minutes southwest of Langley on Whidbey Island. Enjoy secluded walking trails through pristine nature wetlands and woodlands. There's something new to discover around every corner, like stone circles, a labyrinth, buddhist monument, and megalith. Check admission & hours.
3. See gorgeous rhododendrons at the Meerkerk Gardens.
Meerkerk Gardens is a superb rhododendron garden in Central Whidbey Island, with lovely walking trails in a serene setting.
4. Pick up a pie or sweet treat at Greenbank Farm.
Greenbank Farm is 5 minutes north of Meerkerk Gardens, and great for a sweet treat or glass of wine. Don't forget to try one of their legendary pies. There's also an art gallery, cafe, and kid's play area with swings and a climbing structure. The public gardens are exquisite, with secluded paths meandering past creeks and lush plantings. The garden is ablaze with colorful wildflowers in spring and summer.
Stop by Whidbey Pies for a coffee or one of their legendary pies. There's plenty of patio seating outside.
The beautiful gardens have viewing platforms in a wetlands area and bird observation area.
Admire the stunning sculptures in the garden.
Purchase some gourmet cheese and crackers, then find a table outside in the beautiful gardens.
5. Explore the seaport town of Coupeville.
The historic seaport town of Coupeville is situated in Penn Cove on Whidbey Island. Coupeville was founded by sea captains and farmers in the 1850's, and was once the first port of call for travelers visiting the island.
The historic red warehouse at the end of the Coupeville Wharf is the most prominent landmark. Take a stroll to the end of the wharf and enjoying a coffee at the Salty Mug. There's plenty of patio seating on the wharf, with gorgeous views of Mt Baker.
Front Street has a great choice of restaurants and cafes.
Stroll out along the Coupeville Wharf to pick up a coffee at the cafe, or rent a kayak to explore the enchanting waters of Penn Cove off Whidbey Island.
There's a free whale exhibit inside, with fascinating information on the marine life in the local area.
Stop by the Island County Historical Museum near the Coupeville Wharf. The upper floor is dedicated to Whidbey Island's first settlers, and the lower floor covers off the ecological and Native American history of this beautiful island. The spacious museum is well laid out with interesting exhibits.
7. See a stunning lighthouse and explore military barracks at Fort Casey.
The must-see Fort Casey has the most impressive natural setting on Whidbey Island, with commanding views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains. Tour the charming Admiralty Head Lighthouse, and explore the network of military bunkers constructed in the 1890's to protect the entrance of Puget Sound.
8. Discover breathtaking coastline at Fort Ebey.
Fort Ebey has 3-miles of dramatic saltwater coastline strewn with logs, and some of the best views of the Olympic Mountains. The beach is not safe for swimming, but perfect for a lazy day of sunbathing, building sandcastles, or watching surfers ride waves along the reef break.
The parking lot is just a short distance from the beach, and also leads to a 1-mile bluff trail up to a military battery.
9. Pick up some gifts at the Lavender Wind Farm on Whidbey Island.
The Lavender Wind Farm is just a short drive north of Fort Ebey and capitalizes on magnificent, west-facing views of the Olympic Mountains. Wander around the lavender fields, u-pick bunches of lavender, or purchase some lavender-themed gifts at the small retail store at the farm.
This is the lavender labyrinth, with dramatic Olympic Mountain Views.
Every tried lavender ice-cream or cookies?
The Lavender Wind Farm has a much bigger retail store and bakery in the nearby township of Coupeville.
This is the interior of the Coupeville lavender store.
10. Visit Ebey's Landing to see the home of the first permanent settler on Whidbey Island.
Ebey's Landing has a wide stretch of pebbly beach along Admiralty Inlet. Pioneer Isaac Ebey relocated here from the midwest in 1850, and established the first land grant on Whidbey Island at the prairie. The prairie was very appealing to Ebey, because he didn't need to fell any trees, and the ground was extremely fertile. Unfortunately he met an untimely death in 1957 when he was beheaded by Haida Indians, in revenge for the death of one of their Chiefs at Port Gamble by American forces.
There are two popular trails that start at the parking lot near the Ebey's Landing beach. The 3.5 mile Bluff Trail Loop has soaring views of the Olympic Mountains atop a ridgeline, that then loops back along the beach. Hikers can also take the 1.5 mile (round-trip) Ebey's Prairie Trail to Ebey's original log cabin and block house. Block houses were mini-fortresses built for protection against any invaders.
The two trails start near the parking lot, requiring a set of stairs to reach the bluff (pictured). Hikers continue along this ridgeline until they reach a fork just before the forested area, where they can choose to continue the blufftop walk, or instead head inland to Ebey's log cabin.
This is the view from the top of the stairs, looking out across the ridgeline. You can see hikers all the way near the forested area.
11. See spectacular Deception Pass at the northern end of Whidbey Island.
Drive 30-minutes north to Deception Pass, Washington State's most popular State Park. Deception Pass is a deep channel between Fidalgo and Whidbey Island, famous for its treacherous currents. Visit the dramatic Deception Pass Bridge, and explore West Beach and North Beach.
Fun places to visit near Whidbey Island
Just north of Whidbey Island across the Deception Pass Bridge is Anacortes, where you can drive to the top of Mt Erie for spectacular views of the San Juan Islands, or take the scenic Loop Drive around Washington Park.