Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Whidbey Island, WA

  • Published 2023/03/03

Whidbey Island is between the Olympic Peninsula and the mainland, just north of Seattle.

Consider visiting Washington State’s biggest island for your future adventure.

While Whidbey Island is renowned for its unspoiled natural areas, it also holds substantial historical and cultural value.

There’s also more to Whidbey Island than meets the eye.

Exploring this place and its neighboring towns treats you to some of the most scenic beaches, trails, parks, and museums in the area.

Getting to Whidbey Island is already an adventure.

You need to hop on a ferry along Puget Sound or take the scenic drive through Mount Vernon to Fidalgo Island and cross the famous Deception Cross Bridge.

Here are the best things to do in Whidbey Island, WA:

Wander the Deception Pass State Park

Direction sign of Deception Pass State Park

Danita Delimont /

This park adjacent to Whidbey Island is the most-visited state park in Washington.

Deception Pass State Park boasts some of the most scenic rugged cliffs, mysterious coves, and stunning sunsets.

Aerial view of Deception Pass State Park

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In addition, it’s an exciting place to set up camp, especially with your loved ones, and enjoy many outdoor recreational activities.

Enjoy outdoor activities like camping, hiking, fishing, wildlife viewing, and tide pooling at this famous state park.

Deception Pass State Park encompasses 3,854 acres of a mixture of a marine park and camping grounds, while its coastline stretches 77,000-feet.

Boats near the waters of Deception Pass State Park

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Cross the Deception Pass Bridge

Silhouette of Deception Pass Bridge during sunset

Margaretha Maryk /

Many tourists who visit Whidbey Island prefer to drive there rather than take the ferry.

One excellent reason is to cross the iconic Deception Pass Bridge.

This picturesque bridge connects Whidbey Island and Fidalgo Island.

Likewise, it stands 18 stories tall, towering above a saltwater canyon.

Visible fog at Deception Pass Bridge

Denise Lett /

Opened in 1935, Deception Pass Bridge is a famous tourist spot where most people take photos of its stunning scenery.

To preserve its historical value and elegant architecture, the National Register of Historic Places added this iconic bridge in 1982.

Don’t miss the rare chance to cross Deception Pass Bridge when you’re on Whidbey Island.

Aerial view of Deception Pass Bridge

OpenRangeStock /

Feel the Calmness of Nature at South Whidbey State Park

Welcome sign of South Whidbey State Park

melissamn /

Another famous state park in Whidbey Island is the South Whidbey State Park.

This day-use park on Whidbey Island’s western side features a scenic drive from Mukilteo and Anacortes if you take a ferry ride.

South Whidbey State Park, considered a public recreation area, spans 381 acres comprising tidelands and an old forested area along the shorelines of Whidbey Island.

Forest area of South Whidbey State Park

Lori Bonati /

The park features a scenic view of the nearby Olympic Mountains.

At the same time, its trails are famous for their centuries-old trees, making the hike more exciting.

Having a picnic at this park and hiking are the best ways to experience the calmness of its surroundings.

Moss-covered trees along South Whidbey State Park's trail

Lori Bonati /

Bring Your Dog to the Double Bluff Beach and Off-Leash Area

A dog sitting on the sand of Double Bluff Beach and Off-Leash Area

Belen Strehl /

Many parts of Whidbey Island are pet-friendly, and one of them is the Double Bluff Beach and Off-Leash Area near the Austin community.

This famous beach is also one of the nation’s most dog-friendly beaches.

Whenever you plan to travel to Whidbey Island, you should bring your pet dog.

Daytime view of Double Bluff Beach and Off-Leash Area

Belen Strehl /

Like most beach parks, Double Bluff Beach also features park amenities like barbeque pits and picnic areas.

You can remove your dog’s leash and let them run or play games on the beach.

Dog owners can also enjoy Double Bluff Beach, especially its scenery facing the Admiralty Inlet and the Olympic Mountains.

Witness Storm Watching at Joseph Whidbey State Park

A wooden bench overlooking the sea at Joseph Whidbey State Park

T.Schofield /

This famous state park in Whidbey Island, which faces the west of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Lopez Island, is renowned for its unique experience.

Joseph Whidbey State Park is known for its storm-watching experience.

It may sound unfamiliar, but this exhilarating experience is something you shouldn’t miss while on Whidbey Island.

Locals and visitors flock to Joseph Whidbey State Park’s shorelines to see the skies nearby turn dark and the clouds start to roll.

This area in Whidbey Island gives storm-watchers a top-notch view of a full-blown thunderstorm.

When the sky is clear, especially during nighttime, stargazers flock to this area to witness a crystal-clear view of the celestial bodies above.

In addition, you can also enjoy the outdoor recreational activities available at the park, such as hiking and picnicking.

Visit the Magical Meerkerk Gardens

A bee on Meerkerk Gardens' flower

Sarah Ann Samuel /

For a one-of-a-kind travel experience in Whidbey Island, check out the Meerkerk Gardens in the Greenbank community.

This magical garden is known for its massive collection of exotic flowers, trees, and woodland plants, which fully blooms during spring.

One of the most beautiful flowers you’ll find in Meerkerk Garden is its collection of hybrid rhododendrons, which blooms from March to June.

Monkey puzzle plant at Meerkerk Gardens

Sarah Ann Samuel /

Many tourists love to return to this garden for its picturesque beauty, which takes them to a colorful world of plants and flowers.

Spending an hour or two at this 12-acre garden adds color to your visit to Whidbey Island.

In addition, you can head to its woodland preserve which features nature trails that highlight Whidbey Island’s flora and fauna.

Hike the Trails of Dugualla State Park

For a relaxing afternoon or morning on Whidbey Island, head to Dugualla State Park and hike through its trails.

Locals on Whidbey Island love to spend their mornings or afternoons hiking its peaceful and charming surroundings along the shoreline.

Dugualla State Park features six hiking trails that interconnect and feature natural areas such as wetlands, shorelines, groves, and a hill.

Overall, this park in Whidbey Island is a pleasant place to visit to breathe fresh air and relax.

Taste Top-Notch Whiskey at Whidbey Island Distillery

Besides fine wines, Whidbey Island also boasts its own distillery, which you’ll find in Langley.

Whidbey Island Distillery is an award-winning distillery for different spirits, including whiskey.

It is known for its signature Blackberry Liquor which enjoys a 98-rating from BTI or the Beverage Testing Institute.

It’s the highest-rated spirit in North America.

You can taste its signature spirits at its tasting room or join its guided tours, which take you to its distillery.

Explore the Vast Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve

Scenic view of Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve

Zack Frank /

Whidbey Island truly holds important historical value in the North Pacific Region.

The Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve in Coupeville is a testament to it.

It’s also 29 minutes away from the center of Whidbey Island.

It is one of the nation’s largest historic districts, spanning more than 17,500 acres of cultural and heritage area.

View of Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve's beach

bscmediallc /

The entire historic reserve was once home to a thriving Native American population before European settlers took over.

Compared to other national park units, this one features various designations.

It’s a vast outdoor destination worth exploring.

At the same time, appreciate its natural beauty through various outdoor activities like hiking, camping, fishing, and other recreation.

While enjoying exploring this historic reserve, you’ll also learn tons of historical facts.

Grassy meadow of Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve

Zack Frank /

Pour a Glass of Fine Wine at Spoiled Dog Winery

This famous winery on Whidbey Island makes the finest pinot noir wines you can taste.

Go to Langley City to find their tasting room.

Founded in 2003, this local winery is a family-run business under the management of its second generation.

Spoiled Dog Winery features a charming tasting room with an inviting atmosphere, making your wine-tasting experience there memorable.

Spoiled Dog Winery is known throughout Washington State for its world-class pinot noir, made from grapes grown at its beautiful vineyards on Whidbey Island.

When you have time to unwind, head to Spoiled Dog Winery and pour a glass of its finest wines.

Climb the Admiralty Head Lighthouse

Exterior of Admiralty Head Lighthouse

Tim Ventura /

This iconic lighthouse in Coupeville in Whidbey Island is a lovely historical site.

Although this famous lighthouse has not seen action since 1922, its original structure and furnishings are still intact and well-maintained.

Bed of flowers near Admiralty Head Lighthouse

Gareth Janzen /

Most visitors love to take beautiful photos with the lighthouse because of its panoramic backdrop facing the ocean.

Climb to the top of the lighthouse to get the best view of the Olympic Mountains and the Admiralty Islands nearby.

After your tour inside the lighthouse, you can proceed to its gift shop and score some unique souvenirs.

Top half of Admiralty Head Lighthouse

Frank L Junior /

Browse the South Whidbey Historical Museum

If you’re intrigued with Whidbey Island’s fascinating backstory, head to South Whidbey Historical Museum in Langley.

This local museum is where you’ll find your answers about Whidbey Island’s history and heritage.

South Whidbey Historical Museum features various collections of artifacts, stories, and information about Whidbey Island’s people.

Learn more about its Native American settlers and white settlers.

In addition, the museum regularly hosts a historical presentation for tourists dubbed the “Then and Now,” featuring images of Whidbey Island’s past.

See Unique Artworks at the Price Sculpture Forest

Pentillium sculpture at Price Sculpture Forest

Aerin17, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re searching for Whidbey Island’s art scene, head to the Price Sculpture Forest and marvel at its unique outdoor art.

Walking through this outdoor art destination on Whidbey Island is a unique experience that contrasts with the usual historical attractions you visit there.

The artworks are installed in random areas.

Some artworks hang from trees and lie on the bush, and some are covered with foliage.

There are numerous interactive areas featured in this open-air museum, encouraging visitors to walk further its trails while immersing in nature.

Overall, this 16-acre park dedicated to Whidbey Island’s unique art scene is a must-visit place whether or not you’re an art lover.

Learn Local History at the Island County Historical Museum

Exterior of Island County Historical Museum

melissamn /

This local museum is not just home to some of the most fascinating historical artifacts of Whidbey Island but also its first car.

Whidbey Island got rid of the horse carriages in the early 19th century when a 1902 Holsman drove through its streets, the first car to arrive on the island.

Today, this car is at the Island County Historical Museum.

It still works, too.

There are only a handful of these magnificent vehicles left in the entire nation.

Grab this rare chance for a closer look at one of the last cars of its kind at this Whidbey Island museum.

Watch the Sunset at Libbey Beach Park

Libbey Beach Park is one of the most scenic places in Whidbey Island, famous for its pristine waters and sunset views.

Facing right at the western-most portion of Whidbey Island, Libbey Beach Park offers unobstructed views of the Salish Sea.

While the beach doesn’t offer fine sand, Libbey Beach Park makes up for it by having several hotspots with tons of large rock formations.

Seeing the waves crash onto these rocks gives it a serene charm that’s just fun to observe, especially as you await the sunset.

A must-see in Whidbey Island, find Libbey Beach Park along West Libbey Road.

Explore Fort Ebey State Park

Entrance of a fort at Fort Ebey State Park

Zack Frank /

One of the most exciting things about Whidbey Island is how its natural wonders blend with historic significance.

You can best see this at Fort Ebey State Park, which was a former World War II camp that featured tons of bunkers and guerilla trails to offer coastal defense from the war in the Pacific.

Now a historic and landmark attraction found along Hill Valley Drive, you can see these amazing remnants of the past yourself.

Bunker at Fort Ebey State Park

Beach Creatives /

While trekking its many paths is viable, there’s no better way to experience it than to bike along its rugged terrains.

Complete with information boards, this is a fun way to immerse yourself in World War II history.

You can access Ebey State Park via Hill Valley Drive.

The grounds of Fort Ebey State Park

CL Shebley /

Have All Sorts of Fun at Blue Fox Drive-In Theatre

Blue Fox Drive-In Theatre is one of the funnest destinations in Whidbey Island’s urban areas, found along North Monroe Landing Road.

While its name implies that it offers a drive-in theater, it’s actually more than that because of a wide range of entertainment facilities.

One of the most beloved services they offer is their fun arcade, a must-try if you’re visiting with kids and teenagers.

Besides those, Blue Fox Drive-In Theatre also has go-kart racing that you can try yourself, along with food and beverage services such as a beer garden and snack bar.

One of the most well-rounded attractions in the island, don’t miss out on Blue Fox Drive-In Theater.

Have a Picturesque Lunch at Front Street Grill

Front Street Grill is arguably one of the top restaurants in Whidbey Island, famous for its scenic location right at the northern tip of Whidbey Island’s Coupleville town.

It’s directly facing Penn Cove, so you’ll see beautiful blue waters here as you dine at their chic restaurant.

Going to a coastal area isn’t a complete experience without trying their seafood, and Front Street Grill has got you covered on that aspect.

Besides their classic seafood dishes like bourbon mussels and clam chowders, Front Street Grill also has meaty delights.

A great all-rounder for all travelers, this is a must-dine place in Whidbey Island.

Do Photography at Coupeville Wharf

Pier at Coupeville Wharf

melissamn /

While you can enjoy Penn Cove at Front Street Grill, going to Coupeville Wharf takes the views a notch more beautiful.

This is officially the most northern tip of Coupeville, so you can see unobstructed views of the cover here, excellent for landscape photography.

Besides the views, Coupeville Wharf is a vintage pier that’s now been converted into a gift shop and cafe.

Hence, this is an excellent time to treat yourself to a cool souvenir to act as remembrance of this gorgeous location.

Besides the gift shop, you can also find a mini-museum in the historic wharf that mostly explains the natural history and ecosystems of Penn Cove.

Daytime view of Coupeville Wharf

Albert Pego /

Final Thoughts

Whidbey Island is a travel destination for those who want to take a much-needed break from the city’s hustle and bustle.

Its laid-back environment, fresh air, and natural sceneries revitalize not just the body but the mind and spirit.

Start planning your Whidbey Island trip today!

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