Nestled away in the heart of the Puget Sound is one of Washington State’s best-kept secrets: Whidbey Island. The thick forests and miles of tranquil coastline make this island the perfect getaway for both families and rugged outdoor adventurers. The list of things to do goes on and on, so to help you, we've compiled a list of 10 must-do's while you're on the island. There’s everything from clamming to hiking to wine tasting, and we’re covering it all on our list of things to do on Whidbey Island.
Hiking on Whidbey Island is pretty much magic. The trails are packed with history and the sights are unforgettable. We suggest timing your hike so you can catch one of the world-class sunsets. If you’re having trouble picking from so many amazing hikes, here are a few of our recommendations:
Bluff Trail takes you through a unique national park on Whidbey Island known as Ebey’s Landing. The trail is lined with fields of wheat and will take you through history as you pass the historic Jacob Ebey house. Hikers more keen on sights are treated to panoramic views of the Puget Sound and the Olympics to the West. For many people, this is one of the best hikes on Whidbey Island.
Wilbert Trail offers adventurers the rare chance to walk through an old-growth forest. The trail weaves through 300-year-old trees and ends with a huge cedar tree wide enough for 4-5 adults to embrace. Wilbert Trail is an easy walk, but if you’re looking for something a little more strenuous, continue to the Ridge Loop Trail instead of turning around at the end. This adds 1.9 miles and takes you back to the beginning of the Wilbert Trail.
This hike has a little bit of everything and is the best day hike on Whidbey Island. There are five stops along the way, also known as the five Wonders. The first wonder is a giant tree named Big Cedar, which is wide enough for six adults to hug. Continue down the trail and you’ll reach the next two wonders, the Ginnett Family homestead and a gorgeous cliffside speckled with bright red rocks. Just past are the final two stops, a miner’s cabin and their mine extending 60 ft. into the hill. Entrance into the mine is allowed, so feel free to explore, but be respectful of the hundred-year-old cabin and mine because they are historic landmarks.
Hiking on Whidbey Island is great, but you can’t go to an island without going to a beach! There are hundreds of miles of shoreline to choose from and only so much time in one day, so if you need help, consider one of our recommended Whidbey Island beaches:
Double Bluff Beach is one of the best beaches on Whidbey Island and is unique because it’s the only dog-friendly beach in the area. Swimming at this beach is great too, as most of the coast is rock-free. So, if you’re seeking sandy shores and aquatic fun for the whole family, this would be a great beach to check out.
The North Beach of Whidbey Island beach is iconic. It’s one of the busiest parks in Washington State and attracts flocks of people from across the globe. Here, beachgoers get to soak in sunrays and the world-famous view of Deception Pass Bridge. If you’re looking for the best spot on the beach, we recommend setting up camp on the East end, near Gun Point.
Our next beach isn’t a traditional beach. Ebey’s Landing is a national historical reserve that stretches across nearly 20,000 acres, all of which are great to visit and explore. The beach just happens to be the best seat in the house. As the sun sets, fields of wheat lining the coast are set ablaze by the sun’s amber rays, and the colorful sky illuminates the vast Puget Sound outstretched in front of you. It is truly an unforgettable experience that satisfies every time.
It’s hard to compete with the outdoor activities on Whidbey Island, but there’s a lot to be said about the community and culture. Inhabitants have been living off the Salish Sea for hundreds of years. To truly understand the story behind Whidbey Island, we recommend these destinations:
Fishing has been a way of life on Whidbey Island for hundreds of years. Westcott Bay Shellfish Co. carries on the tradition by operating an aquaculture farm, run on a philosophy of community and environmental stewardship. By allowing patrons to eat where their food comes from, Westcott Bay aims to educate people on the necessity of the sea and our duty to protect it.
If you want to try clamming on your own, there are plenty of places to do that, too. The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife has a great website with information on when, where, and how to clam on Whidbey Island. You can access that information here.
Fort Ebey is a coastal defense fort constructed during World War II. It’s also a great place for kids to explore and learn about the history of Whidbey Island.
Bayview Farmers Market showcases the best Whidbey Island has to offer. Farmers and crafters from all over the island gather every week to sell their goods and mingle with their friends. It also features live music from local musicians. It’s a great daytime activity for the family and is held every Saturday at Bayview Corner.
Whidbey Island Winery is a staple of the island. Founded in 1992, it’s the oldest winery on Whidbey Island and has withstood the test of time. The Pacific Northwest may seem like an unusual place to grow wine grapes, but Whidbey Island Winery manages to produce some great crops. If you’re into white wine be sure to check it out.
With that, we wrap up our list of things to do on Whidbey Island! With fall right around the corner, now is the time to schedule a trip to the Pacific Northwest. If you want to discover the beauty of the Salish Sea for yourself, check out our Whidbey Island weekend getaway, where local guides will show you firsthand what this area has to offer. Be sure to tag us in your social media after your next adventure and never stop exploring!
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