10 Top Things to Do on Whidbey Island, Washington

A family hikes along a trail while enjoying the views off the coast of Whidbey Island from Ebey State Park.
Michael Hanson / Getty Images

Washington's sleepy Whidbey Island is a small island community outside Seattle, and a great place to wander, drive around, and stop wherever grabs you. While there are several smaller villages on the island, its three major towns are Oak Harbor, Coupeville, and Langley. Get ready to learn about the area's interesting history, taste delicious local foods, discover unique shops and galleries, relax among picturesque gardens and farms, and admire views of the water, island, and mountains in every direction. You can also enjoy a full range of outdoor recreational activities, including hiking, kayaking, and boating. Here's how to make the most of your time in this exceptional Seattle-area locale.

01 of 10

See a Show

Whidbey Island Center for the Arts

Whidbey Island Center for the Arts

565 Camano Ave, Langley, WA 98260, USA
Phone +1 360-221-8262

If you're seeking some culture on your trip to Whidbey Island, head to the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts for all things art, dance, music, and theatre. Check the website to see if any shows are happening when you're in town. Nearby, the Whidbey Playhouse puts on dramatic performances such as "Grease," "Barefoot in the Park," and "Love, Loss, and What I Wore," while the Whidbey Islands Dance Theatre is the place to go for ballet masterpieces like "The Nutcracker" and other productions featuring creative choreography.

If you're traveling with little ones, check to see what the Whidbey Children's Theatre has, as past performances include "The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe," "Clue," and "The Three Musketeers."

02 of 10

Day Trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Washington

Tushar Gupta / Getty Images

311 W Kincaid St, Mount Vernon, WA 98273, USA
Phone +1 360-428-5959

If you happen to be visiting the area during the month of April, you're in for a real treat. Located just 90 minutes from Whidbey Island in Mount Vernon, Washington, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is a treat for the senses, with over one million blooming flowers on display in several fields covering 300 acres, including Tulip Town and RoozenGaarde, which sports a 30-acre tulip field, a 20-acre daffodil field, and an impressive Dutch windmill.

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival draws over one million visitors each year. It's not located in one place, but spread out across several fields, so visit the website to check out the bloom map to see where and when is the best time to go. Three different entry passes are available, with options for general admission, additional workshops and experiences, and special access to the tulips during golden hours for the best photos.

03 of 10

Get Outdoors at Deception Pass State Park

Deception Pass State Park, holding hands, family

Ryan McVay / Stone / Getty Images

41229 State Rte 20, Oak Harbor, WA 98277, USA
Phone +1 360-675-3767

Stunning views, great hiking, miles of shoreline, and extensive camping facilities make Deception Pass State Park one of the most popular state parks in Washington. The historic Deception Pass Bridge connects Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands; be sure to stop at the viewpoint and walk onto the bridge to take in views of its gorgeous water and forest scenery. Like the bridge, the state park spans the two islands.

Deception Pass is the strait that separates Whidbey Island from Fidalgo Island, and it's best experienced from below—take a boat tour that begins east of the bridge and travels out into Rosario Strait. The scenery is magnificent, the wildlife is amazing, and the history is pretty darn compelling, too. During the open-boat tour, you'll have the chance to spot blue heron, bald eagles, sea lions, sea otter, and if you're really lucky, orcas. 

04 of 10

Visit Farms, Gardens, and Nurseries Galore

Greenbank Farm on Whidbey Island

TripSavvy / Angela M. Brown

3531 Meerkerk Ln, Greenbank, WA 98253, USA
Phone +1 360-678-1912

Agriculture is part of Whidbey Island's heritage and you'll enjoy the pastoral beauty of the island as much as its water and mountain views. Visit Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens during peak bloom (April through May), have a slice of Loganberry pie at Whidbey Pies Cafe, located at the historic Greenbank Farm, or shop and admire the lavender at the nearby Lavender Wind Farm.

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05 of 10

Visit Fort Casey State Park

Admiralty Head Lighthouse

TripSavvy / Angela M. Brown

1280 Engle Rd, Coupeville, WA 98239, USA
Phone +1 360-678-4519

Fort Casey State Park has a lot to offer and you're bound to find something fun and interesting to do here during a visit. It's where you'll find the Admiralty Head Lighthouse, a picturesque structure that now serves as an interpretive center. Exhibits feature the lighthouse as well as the history of Fort Casey and the Puget Sound's "Triangle of Fire," with historic gun batteries that are open for tours. The officer housing areas and barracks also serve as accommodations and meeting spaces for public and private events.

06 of 10

Go Hiking on Whidbey Island

Hiking in Deception Pass State Park

Aaron McCoy / Getty Images

Parking lot, Ebey's Landing Rd, Coupeville, WA 98239, USA
Phone +1 360-678-6084

Whether you prefer a vigorous hike or a want to enjoy a scenic stroll, you'll find many opportunities to walk and wander on Whidbey Island. Deception Pass State Park offers more than 4,000 acres of hilly terrain and miles of trails, whereas the trails at Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve run through the prairie and along a bluff overlooking the scenic Puget Sound. History buffs will love the self-guided walking tour of Coupeville. If time allows, stop by the Earth Sanctuary, a​ private nature reserve, for a self-guided meditative tour experience.

07 of 10

Get Out on the Water

View of Sailboats and Mount Baker from Coupeville on Whidbey Island © Angela M. Brown

TripSavvy / Angela M. Brown

8343 S Franklin Rd, Clinton, WA 98236-9404, USA

Whidbey Island has a winding shoreline, resulting in interesting coves and harbors, as well as several freshwater lakes where you can get out on the water for traditional activities. Marinas are located at Deception Pass State Park, Oak Harbor, and Langley, while boat launches can be found in many locations along Whidbey's shoreline, including Freeland Park, Possession Point County Park, Coupeville, Cavelero Beach, and Fort Casey. Scuba enthusiasts should head to the Keystone Underwater Park, Langley Tire Reef, or the waters at Possession Point State Park for some serious sightseeing beneath the waves.

08 of 10

Try Some of the Local Cuisine

Frasers Gourmet Hideaway

Frasers Gourmet Hideaway

1191 SE Dock St STE 101, Oak Harbor, WA 98277-4011, USA
Phone +1 360-279-1231

Great food is an important part of any getaway and you'll find plenty of that here, especially since most Whidbey Island restaurants offer an incredible selection of fresh and unique ingredients. Local specialties include Loganberries and Penn Cove mussels, which can be ordered at area restaurants like Frasers Gourmet Hideaway in Oak Harbor.

At The Oystercatcher in Coupeville, you can try the catch of the day served alongside seasonal vegetables, which might include fresh halibut accompanied by new potato and zucchini pave, corn, fresh bean and cherry salad, basil vinaigrette, and pine nuts. You'll also have a chance to appreciate the local bounty at the several of the farmers markets on Whidbey Island, or at one of the nearby wineries or wine shops.

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09 of 10

Visit the Island County Historical Society Museum

Island County Historical Society's Museum on Whidbey Island

TripSavvy / Angela M. Brown

908 NW Alexander St, Coupeville, WA 98239, USA
Phone +1 360-678-3310

Located in Coupeville, the Island County Historical Society Museum is devoted to the area's local history. Mammoths and their lives on prehistoric Whidbey Island are the subjects ​of one exhibit, as are pioneer history and island transportation. View the film about Ebey's Landing for a greater appreciation of the island's history.

10 of 10

Camp at Fort Ebey State Park

Fort Ebey in Fort Ebey State Park, Washington

Bartfett / Getty Images

400 Hill Valley Dr, Coupeville, WA 98239, USA
Phone +1 360-678-4636

The 645-acre Fort Ebey State Park was initially built as a coastal defense fort in World War II and while its original purpose didn't quite pan out, the park is now a popular recreation area, especially for camping. Even if overnights in the wilderness aren't your thing, Fort Ebey is also home to mountain biking and hiking trails, as well as miles of saltwater shoreline that's a popular spot for beachcombing, fishing, and birdwatching.

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10 Top Things to Do on Whidbey Island, Washington