Beyond Seattle – Washington State Destinations

September 15, 2018 7:20 am32 commentsViews: 56

While Seattle has plenty of big-city attractions and unique destinations, the Puget Sound islands offer a different, but equally enticing, view of the northwest corner of the U.S.

Slow Down and Enjoy the Scenery — Whidbey Island’s Natural Charm

An interesting mix of cultures creates a quietly fascinating destination, where you’ll find friendly people, interesting history, natural beauty, and more. The island’s largest city, Oak Harbor, is home to a U.S. Navy air base, and the “sounds of freedom” roar out at regular intervals. But along with jets, you’ll also see eagles soaring overhead and find quiet neighborhoods with quaint architecture.

While much of Whidbey Island is still rural, you’ll find more interesting architecture, along with plenty of wares created by local artists, in Coupeville and Langley. Stroll their streets, then savor some clam chowder in preparation for a bike ride or more vigorous hike.

Hiking and biking are favorite activities in the area, encouraged by a gently rolling landscape and wide vistas that take in both sea and mountain scenery. Whidbey Island is crisscrossed by trails, such as those that are part of Fort Casey, Ebey’s Landing, and the area around Deception Pass. Many of these areas offer places to picnic, too, as well as camping facilities, making them great destinations for family outings.

Overall, Whidbey Island is a delightful destination, whatever your age. Its abundant natural beauty and easy-to-navigate towns invite relaxation and an easy pace, while its history, art galleries, and architecture see to it that you’re never bored. There are also festivals throughout the year celebrating everything from the return of the whales to mussels and farming and specialized retreats and tours designed to focus on specific interests.

Getting to Whidbey Island

The Mukilteo ferry accommodates both walk-on passengers and cars. Crossing takes about 30 minutes, but there can be long lines for the ferry, depending on the time of day. Check the schedule (and/or make reservations) before you leave Seattle.
Take Interstate 5 north from Seattle to Mt. Vernon, then turn west on 536/20, driving across the tulip (or pumpkin, depending on the time of year) fields to the Deception Pass bridge.

Six Whidbey Island Must-Dos

Hike on trails around Deception Pass Bridge
Visit the lavender labyrinth at Lavender Wind Farm
See the gnome village and vertical garden at A Knot in Thyme holly farm and lavender gardens
Hike along the cliffs at Fort Casey State Park
Watch for whales
Shop for local art in Coupeville and Langley

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