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The Route

Travel south down the 55-mile long Whidbey Island, where the pace and natural beauty make it "The Shortest Distance to Far Away®." Driving along the Whidbey Scenic Isle Way (the entire island is a National Scenic Byway) 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 Windjammer Park, with miles of waterfront walkway. 

Coupeville  is the second-oldest town in Washington state, with more than 100 of its buildings on the National Historic Register. 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 quaint town or area trails. Also visit Fort Casey, a preserved military installation that once protected the entrance to Puget Sound. 

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, home to an off-leash dog park with bird-watching, art galleries, homemade pies and wine tasting. South of Greenbank, explore stunning Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens. Visit this garden year-round and find many blossoming woodland plants beyond the “rhodies.” 

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. Nearby is Earth Sanctuary, a 72-acre nature preserve, sculpture garden, and walking trails perfect for personal reflection and renewal. Next, check out Bayview with its wine-tasting and world-class farmers market, one of several the island has to offer. Then travel along the Langley Loop to the “Village by the Sea,” the charming town of Langley. Overlooking Saratoga Passage and the Cascade Range, its streets are lined with historic buildings, pretty shops, flower-filled walkways and parks. Langley is home to local cuisine, a whale museum, spas, galleries and the Clyde Theater, which opened in 1937. Hands-on art opportunities include glass blowing. 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 crossing from Clinton to Mukilteo, visit the “Port of Clinton” shops or enjoy the seaside park near the ferry dock. View wildlife from the beach or visit the playground. Washington State Ferries leave every half hour back to the “mainland” and the town of Mukilteo.

Whidbey Scenic Isle Way Visitor Services

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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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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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Photo/Video Marketing Workshop
Langley Mystery Weekend
Penn Cove Musselfest
Bird of the Week: Trumpeter Swan
Over the years Trumpeter Swans have battled extinction due to hunters and feather collectors decimating the population. In the early 20th century swan feathers were often converted into writing quills, and women used swan skin as powder puffs. As recently as the mid-1900's these birds began to make their recovery, thanks to the help of aggressive conservation. Read More >>>>
Eagles Preparing for Winter
Eagles can be found in every region of the Loop, and winter migration can bring hundreds of birds from Alaska to the local river valleys, like the Skagit, Methow, Wenatchee and Columbia. Depending on the year, migration usually begins in December, and the Skagit Valley Eagle Festival runs weekends in January. When snow begins to melt, most of the eagles head back north, but occasionally a pair will build a nest and set up residence – which can be a wonderful opportunity to observe these magnificent creatures. Read More >>>>
Local Color on The Loop Issue 4: Petra Kellie
Petra Kellie has always loved the valley. After working 4 years in various managerial positions at the Freestone Inn, Kellie is now its new general manager. While growing up in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Kellie has always maintained a strong connection to the Pacific Northwest. She studied political science and history at the University of Washington. As a child, Kellie spent part of her elementary school years in the Methow, enjoying the peace and quiet. “For me,” Kellie said, “Growing up internationally, I… Read More >>>>
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