Island Getaways: Whidbey Island
By Seattle Mag
December 31, 1969
Slender and 45 miles long, Whidbey Island
Slender and 45 miles long, Whidbey Island—a 20-minute ferry ride from the Mukilteo dock—is one of the region’s most accessible getaways. Though Whidbey is more populated than many of the more remote Puget Sound islands, the laid-back island vibe isn’t hard to find on quiet roads and in tiny villages.
SEATTLE’S BACKYARD VACATION LAND: WHIDBEY ISLAND
Browse Langley’s Shops and Waterfront
The historic waterfront village of Langley, overlooking Saratoga Passage, has no shortage of shops and restaurants, with several catering to local green thumbs. At The Garden Shed, a purveyor of unique home, garden and gift items, everything relates, in some way, to chocolate (from a chocolate-hued robe to garden signs reading “live, love laugh, eat chocolate”). True chocoholics will also want to visit the shop’s Chocolate Flower Farm, a specialty plant nursery on a picturesque old farm with an extensive collection of “chocolate” (dark-colored) plants. A lush garden of edibles surrounds the Useless Bay Coffee Co., where patrons are invited to pluck an herb or a blueberry from the garden while enjoying a cup of joe. Café mocha is a favorite, especially when it’s made by master brewer and owner Des Rock and paired with a pastry and sprig of garden-fresh lavender or rosemary.
Find the Secret Whale-watching spot
Descend the wooden stairs located next to downtown Langley’s Boy and Dog Park sculpture (First Street Park) for a waterfront stroll in Seawall Park, which ends at a private boardwalk owned by the luxurious Inn at Langley (a sublime spot for an overnight getaway, complete with spa and oft-lauded restaurant). Locals know this beach as one of the best places to spot gray whales—and sometimes orcas—as they move through Saratoga Passage.
See the Gardens
Take the much-anticipated annual Whidbey Island Garden Tour (6/27; wigt.org) for an inside view of island living. Gardens featured on the tour range from the intimate to 10-acre country estates.
Eat, Shop and Stay in Coupeville
Located on scenic Penn Cove, Coupeville is a well-preserved seaport village (incorporated in 1910) where you can enjoy fresh Penn Cove mussels (a locavore’s delight) steamed in white wine and cream for lunch or dinner at local favorite Christopher’s. While in Coupeville, browse the varied shops along the quaint main street for treasures like a Domestique chef’s jacket at Knead & Feed Retail or hand-colored etchings at Windjammer Gallery before checking into the charming Captain Whidbey Inn, a 1907 Madrona-log inn on the shores of Penn Cove just north of Coupeville. You’ll rest easy at this historic bed and breakfast with waterfront rooms and cabins in a serene, forested setting.
Drink in the View
For spectacular views, head north to Deception Pass State Park and take the easy hike from the visitor center parking lot down to the north beach below the picturesque bridge, a National Historic Landmark that joins Whidbey to Fidalgo Island. Most visitors remain on the bridge deck, so you’ll have the beach mostly to yourself. Along with stunning views of the Sound, you’ll be treated to a whole new thrilling perspective on the bridge and majestic Deception Pass.
Play a Bargain Round of Golf
You’ll know you aren’t in the city anymore when you visit Island Greens, a par 3 course set amidst majestic trees, ponds, wetlands and hundreds of blooming rhodies. The course is often unattended; payment of greens fees ($9–$10) is on the honor system. Proprietors Dave and Karen Anderson ask