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 park 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 it is 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. 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.