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Whidbey Scenic Isle Way

Start your Whidbey Scenic Isle Way adventure as you drive across the truly jaw-dropping Deception Pass Bridge. Park your car so you can traverse the bridge on foot and snap some amazing photos. Watch closely for pedestrians and vehicles entering and exiting the roadway here — this is a hugely popular photography spot for guests from all over the world!

Travel south down the 55-mile, nationally recognized scenic byway located on the Cascade Loop. Locals dub the island “The Shortest Distance to Far Away®” because of its mellow pace, natural beauty and easy proximity to Seattle. Driving along the Whidbey Scenic Isle Way will take you to the island’s largest town, Oak Harbor. This patriotic community is home to the top-rated U.S. Naval Air Station in the country. Explore the PBY Naval Museum and historic shopping district on Pioneer Way. Check out the nearby marina and just remodeled Windjammer Park, with miles of waterfront walkways. You might see and hear naval jets while you’re on the island—don’t worry—this is all part of the local color!

Coupeville is the next community you’ll encounter, and it happens to be the second-oldest town in Washington state, with more than 100 of its buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. The town is home to famously delicious Penn Cove mussels, a historic wharf, art galleries, charming water-view restaurants, shops and the Island County Historical Museum. Stretch your legs with a walk along the waterfront or neighboring trails. Also, be sure to visit Fort Casey State Park, an immaculately preserved military installation that once protected the entrance to Puget Sound. The Admiralty Head Lighthouse is also on the park's grounds and is a photographer’s favorite at sunset! 

Continue south on Highway 525, and glimpse saltwater passages to the east and west at Greenbank, the narrowest point of the island. Views of the Olympic Mountains and Cascade Range can be seen in either direction. Stop for a tour of Greenbank Farm, with art galleries, shops, homemade pies, wine tasting, and home to an off-leash dog park. South of Greenbank, explore stunning Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens. Visit this garden year-round and find many blossoming woodland plants beyond the “rhodies” that bloom in the spring. 

After the gardens, continue south to Freeland where its Main Street is the service and shopping center for south Whidbey, and includes antique, art and thrift shops, and an off-leash beach. Next, check out Bayview with its shops and world-class farmers market, one of several on the island. Then travel to the “Village by the Sea,” the charming town of Langley. Overlooking the Saratoga Passage and the Cascade Range, its streets are lined with historic buildings, pretty shops, flower-filled walkways and parks. Langley is also home to some amazing seafood, a whale museum, spas, galleries and the Clyde Theater, which opened in 1937. Whidbey Island Kayaking can get you out on Puget Sound with small-group kayak tours and full-service kayak and paddleboard rentals.  

The final stop on Whidbey Island is Clinton. Before catching the beautiful ferry that crosses from Clinton to Mukilteo, visit the Port of Clinton shops or enjoy the seaside park and playground near the ferry dock. Washington state ferries leave every half hour to the “mainland” and the town of Mukilteo, and Seattle NorthCountry.

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Whidbey Island is the largest island in Puget Sound. Its landscapes are a combination of open prairie, wetlands, farmlands and upland forests. Coastal Salish people lived here for thousands of years and subsisted on fish, shellfish and wild game, as well as roots and berries. In the late 1700s-1800s, the tribes were nearly decimated by disease transmitted through contact with Euro-American explorers. Following the Point Elliot Treaty in 1855, many Salish people were placed on the Tulalip reservation.

Whidbey Island was named in 1792 by British Captain George Vancouver for Joseph Whidbey, Master of the HMS Discovery. Whidbey proved it was an island by discovering Deception Pass and was the first documented non-native man to set foot on the island. He landed at Penn Cove, which later became Coupeville. Settlers planted the rich, loam soil with wheat, oats and potatoes. Agriculture is still a driver in the local economy and culture.

Plan Your Whidbey Island Adventure
Meerkerk Gardens
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EV Charging Stations
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Side Trip: Camano Island
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Wildlife
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Penn Cove Mussels
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Amazing Food
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Earth Sanctuary
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Whidbey Island Kayaking
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Beach Combing
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Hiking
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Tea and Tour
Spring brings a bevy of babies to the Loop!
Spring brings a bevy of babies, and we can’t get enough of the avian species found here in every corner of the Cascade Loop. There are many lakes, rivers, creeks and waterways that create a perfect habitat for ducks, geese, osprey and eagles to nest and raise their young. Keep a sharp eye out for these fuzzy critters! Read More >>>>
Cascade Loop Birding Trail
Did you know that the Cascade Loop is home to 225 of the 346 recorded bird species in our state? Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Valley Quail
Both valley (California) quail and mountain quail are found in Washington. Valley quail are by far the more abundant of the two and are found in vast numbers on both sides of the Cascades. Last year was a banner year for Quail in Okanogan Country, so you can spot quite a few this winter. Read More >>>>
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