For those looking for an unforgettable weekend getaway, look no further than Whidbey Island. This charming Washington island is filled with stunning nature and attractions to explore. With quaint villages, breathtaking hikes, delicious food, and plenty of relaxation spots, there’s something to suit everyone’s needs. Read on to discover the best places to stay and do on a weekend on Whidbey Island.
Navigating Whidbey Island
Starting at the north end of Whidbey we are greeted by Deception Pass Bridge and State Park, visited by 2-3 Million people annually. At 165 ft the views from the narrow passageway heading out to the strait of Juan de Fuca are breathtaking to say the least.
As you head south from Deception Pass, just outside of the town of Oak Harbor, you’ll come upon the third-largest Naval Air Station in the world. After the Naval Air Station’s personnel arrived at the beginning of World War II, the small community of 500 grew to over 5,000 people almost overnight. Now the city on the bay boasts almost 17,000 residents. Oak trees still line many of the streets as the entire hillside above Oak Harbor Bay was once a giant oak grove. Commonly known as Oregon White Oak or Garry Oak, and its scientific name is Quercus garryanna.
As you drive further south on the island you’ll come to the picturesque town of Coupeville. This area has been used in many movies including War of the Roses and Practical Magic in which the western-themed area of downtown Coupeville was painted all white and turned into a seaside town in Maine for the filming.
Coupeville is said to actually be the second oldest town in the state of Washington and its downtown keeps the historic feel from the 1890’s. This is where you’ll find the Island County Historical Museum as well as the county seat offices.
As your trip continues south on the island you will pass through the small town of Greenbank. This is roughly the halfway point of the 37-mile-long island. South of GreenBank you’ll come to the town of Freeland which is also right on the waterfront, in this case, located on Holmes Harbor. The community of Freeland has a rich history in boat building and currently houses a large building operation right in its downtown, Nichol’s Brothers Boat Builders established in 1964
As we get towards the southern tip of the island no visit would be complete without a stop in beautiful downtown Langley. Another community rich in history in which the downtown mimics a lot of The Old West feel, it’s known as the Village on the Sea. With great beach access from downtown along with some very quaint walkable shops, it certainly is a must-see.
And finally at the farthest southern tip of the island is the town of Clinton. Aside from being the gateway to the mainland via the ferry system. There are no major employers in the Clinton area but it has become a very desirable bedroom community for commuters to the Boeing factory on the mainland as it’s a quick ferry ride away.
Discover the Best Hotels for Your Adventure
Planning a weekend on Whidbey Island is the perfect way to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and check out all the island has to offer. There are many options for spending the night on the island but these are our top three choices.
One of the best hotels on the island is the Inn at Langley. Located on the beach, it offers guests water views in every guest room. You can also choose to rent cottages or suites depending on your needs. You’ll find soaking tubs in many of the rooms, a spa with massages and skin care offers, and a gourmet restaurant. The hotel also offers free Wi-Fi and complimentary breakfast.
The 1907 historic lodge, modern lagoon rooms, and updated cabins of The Captain Whidbey are a nostalgic nod to times gone by with stone fireplaces, lawn games, and 6 acres of waterfront property. Historic details and custom furnishings make each room unique yet welcoming. The attached restaurant offers local ingredients and seasonal offerings.
Enjoy stunning views of the Cascade Mountains and Saratoga Passage from the Saratoga Inn’s stunning front porch and well-appointed rooms. They offer a vegetarian breakfast buffet each morning and tea with cookies each afternoon. Within walking distance of historic downtown Langley’s retail shops, restaurants, and galleries, you’ll be close to everything you need during your stay.
Enjoyable Eats and Fun Shopping
One of the best parts about visiting Whidbey Island is the delicious eats you’ll find here. With its abundance of farms, wineries, and restaurants, there’s no shortage of unique places to sample local flavors. From farm-to-table dishes to award-winning wines, you’ll want to plan each meal carefully to taste all Whidbey Island has to offer.
If you’re looking for a truly unique dining experience, be sure to check out the many farmer’s markets located on the island. You can find all sorts of fresh produce, homemade baked goods, and more unique local flavors. Not only will you be able to sample some of the freshest foods available, but you’ll also have the opportunity to meet local farmers and learn about their craft.
For a quick bite, grab yourself an awesome cookie from the Mad Batter. This cute coffee and cookie shop has just recently opened and is divine. We recommend the Cookie Butta or the Alice, but you can’t go wrong no matter what you choose.
Another quick stop is the Greenbank Pantry & Deli. This cute little deli has a long line but the sandwiches are well worth the wait! They also offer everyday basics, specialty items, cold drinks, beer, wine, snacks, and local goods.
Make sure to plan a stop at the Dancing Fish Vineyard in Freeland for a fantastic glass of Rosé. Enjoy the scenery while sipping on wine around a fire or stop by when they have a musical guest and enjoy the music.
For dinner, stop at Ultra House in Langley and get a bowl of ramen and their most desirable item, gyoza. They also offer a special menu just for kids!
Explore the Natural Beauty of Whidbey Island
From hiking trails that weave through lush forests to kayaking along tranquil waters, the island has plenty to offer outdoor lovers. The numerous hiking trails are well-marked and provide stunning views of the surrounding area.
Kayaking is another popular activity on the island. Paddle out onto the calm waters and take in the breathtaking scenery. You can also explore the many islands that dot the surrounding waters. There are kayaks to rent at many locations on the island.
Biking is another great way to explore the island. There are a number of trails that crisscross the island, offering stunning views of the surroundings. With roads and bike paths, you can easily get around the island without a car.
For those looking for a beach day, Whidbey Island has plenty of options. Stroll down the sandy beaches, swim in the crystal clear waters, and soak up the sun. With its dramatic cliffs, the island doesn’t disappoint when it comes to ocean views.
Unearth Unique Experiences
There are many unique places to visit on Whidbey Island. The perfect day on Whidbey Island should start off with a pamper session at Polished Studio in Oak Harbor. Polished Studio has a great reputation on the island. You can stop here to get a mani and pedi, a haircut or style, or even a facial.
Catch a movie at the Blue Fox Drive-In. With an arcade, go-karts, and a snack bar, you can keep busy for hours. You can even spend the night in your tent or RV if you don’t want to drive home after the movie.
Located in what once was Langley’s fire station, Callahan’s Firehouse Studio and Gallery, is a glass-blowing studio that offers handmade items for sale plus a chance to see professional glass blowers at work.
Just outside of downtown Coupeville is Fort Casey and Fort Ebey. Currently, both are state parks but were once bustling World War I forts protecting Puget Sound and the communities of Seattle and Olympia from any foreign intruders. You can walk around the old fort buildings which are built right on the hillsides overlooking Admiralty Inlet and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Don’t miss the Kettles Trail system between Fort Ebey state park and Coupeville for amazing hiking, biking, and horseback riding! Bring your own bike or horse!
So if you’re looking for an unforgettable weekend getaway, look no further than Whidbey Island. With its natural beauty and close proximity to Seattle, you won’t have to travel far to uncover unique experiences that will last a lifetime.
If you are looking for a permanent move to the island, let us help you find the perfect new home. Our agents are knowledgeable on all areas on Whidbey Island and can help you relocate. Contact us to speak with an agent today!