Plan a vacation this year that is a true escape. From the moment you board a Whidbey Island ferry and start smoothly sailing along the Puget Sound, you are sure to leave all your worries behind. Complete your Washington State getaway with a home from VacationRentals.com and let the relaxation begin!

What to Do in Whidbey Island

whidbey island outdoor vacation

Outdoor Activities

A quick ferry ride away from Seattle, Washington, there is a haven for adventurous activities. Local outdoor enthusiasts know all about Whidbey Island; they regularly hop on the ferry for a weekend of sea kayaking, mountain biking, or hitting the hiking trails. Fort Ebey State Park is one of the best places for hikers and includes miles of stunning trails that reveal rewarding views.

This area of the Pacific Northwest is known for its unspoiled beauty. To enjoy the great outdoors without breaking a sweat, board a ferry or boat tour to see the dramatic coastlines of Island County. Puget Sound is the perfect place to give kayaking a try, so step out of your comfort zone and take your first lesson!

Adult Pleasures

Whidbey Island vacation rentals are popular for much more than outdoor activities. Adults can enjoy sophistication outside of Seattle with art galleries, antique shops, wineries, and fine-dining restaurants. The active couple will love getting out to play a leisurely round of golf together. Whidbey Island is the ideal place to plan a balanced vacation full of both activity and indulgence.

The romance will begin from the moment you step aboard the Whidbey Island ferry. With the rainfall of Seattle, you and your partner can reconnect while enjoying the mountain scenery and narrow country roads. Visit the Meerkerk Gardens to see blooming rhododendrons or catch a concert at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts.

whidbey island outdoor vacation

For the Family

Kids will love waking up in their own room at Whidbey Island vacation rentals and then spending the day exploring state parks. Cliffs provide incredible views, forests are perfect for hiking and encountering wildlife, and lakes and beaches are great for catching crabs or clams. You will leave Whidbey Island wondering how one small place can be full of such varied landscapes to explore.

There are many state parks worth visiting during your trip. South Whidbey Island State Park offers sweeping views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound while Joseph Whidbey State Park provides one of the best beaches in the area. One of the largest state parks and a local favorite is the Deception Pass State Park, with over 4,000 acres of forests, shoreline, and lakes.

Ride the Ferry

Hopping aboard the Whidbey Island ferry is one of the greatest pleasures in the region. For an affordable fare you can witness the incredible views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. Some visitors might be surprised at how many routes there are in the area. Grab a route map and start exploring—you can even cross over into British Columbia, Canada!

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What to See in Whidbey Island

whidbey island lighthouse

Landmarks on Whidbey Island

Whidbey Island vacation rentals will bring you in close proximity to the island’s top landmarks. If you are interested in bird watching, don’t miss the chance to visit Ala Split, a favorite of local bird-watchers with great mountain views. On the other end of the spectrum, Oak Harbor is home to many lively festivals and a bustling marina.

Historical landmarks are also worth a visit during your trip. The town of Coupeville is the second oldest town in the state and is home to over 100 buildings currently listed on the national historic register. The shopping area and waterfront are sure to transport you to a different time in history. Other historical landmarks include Fort Casey and the Admiralty Head Lighthouse.

Wild Encounters

There are many opportunities to observe wildlife in their natural habitat beyond the Whidbey Island ferry. Head straight for Grasser’s Lagoon to encounter striking great blue herons and try your luck at clamming. Another great spot for observing protected birds and animals is the Hancock Nature Reserve. This also happens to have been a World War II practice bombing site.

Do you want the best shot for seeing a gray whale? Plan a visit to Double Bluff Beach. The miles of this sandy beach have earned a reputation for whale sightings. If you’re interested in horseback riding, one of the best places on the island is Kettles Trail Recreation Area.

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Where to Shop and Eat in Whidbey Island

whidbey island vacation

Shopping Beyond Seattle

Bring over some empty suitcases on the Whidbey Island ferry for everything you might purchase during your trip! This island is home to an incredible range of specialty stores and unique items you won’t find other places. Stock your fridge with items from one of the farmer’s markets, pick up local hand-made jewelry, or find a distinct piece of furniture.

Even if you’re only in the market for browsing, be sure to check out Whidbey Island Antiques, Virginia’s Antiques, Good Cheer Thrift Shop, Coupeville Farmers Market, and Island Gourmet & Gift Shoppe. Many visitors are pleasantly surprised by the charm and character of gifts on the island, so go ahead and bring the people at home a souvenir or two!

Sophisticated Dining on Whidbey Island

Farmer’s markets will provide plenty of fresh ingredients to cook with in the kitchen of Whidbey Island vacation rentals, but it is essential to get out and experience the dining scene as well. All of those ingredients you see at the farmer’s markets will be in good hands of talented chefs across the island.

If you’re in the market for fine dining, follow the locals to Frasers Gourmet Hideaway or The Captain Whidbey Inn. Café Langley is known for a charming atmosphere and its Mediterranean cuisine. While seafood is popular, so are local items such as Northwest lamb. Whether you have a craving for Italian or French, you will find a restaurant on Whidbey Island that is the perfect fit.

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When to Visit Whidbey Island

Seattle residents climb aboard the Whidbey Island ferry all year long for stunning views of the Olympic Mountains and the Puget Sound. While the most popular time of year to visit is the summer, there are many reasons to plan vacations during other periods as well. You may find more availability for Whidbey Island vacation rentals outside of the summer months. July and August are especially good times to visit because you'll find less rainfall or overcast skies and warmer temperatures that average around 80–90 degrees. These months are notorious for being sunny and warm. The spring and autumn are ideal seasons for all of the outdoor activities and less crowds.

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What to Bring to Whidbey Island

Whidbey Island has its adventurous side and its sophisticated side: so should your wardrobe. Bring along sturdy shoes and gear for hiking or sea kayaking, but don’t forget a pair of heels and that little black dress or a nice suit for a night on the town. Spend your days hiking in one of the state parks and your evening at a gallery opening or concert.

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Local Services in Whidbey Island

Whidbey Island is home to many services that will make a vacation more enjoyable. A variety of farmers' markets will introduce you to the local produce and provide a great foundation for meals in your vacation rental. Stores and restaurants might have reduced hours in the off season, but in general, visitors can still find items that they need. Local services for enjoying outdoors activities are exceptional, so sign up for a sea kayaking lesson or hop aboard a boat tour.

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What to Know About Whidbey Island

The best source of insider tips is locals. During your stroll at the farmer’s market, strike up a conversation with local people and sellers. Since the best restaurants change frequently, these people might have valuable tidbits about places to eat. Locals are also a great source for information such as the best fishing spots for the season. Whatever you’re interested in, you will likely gain helpful information by starting a conversation with a local.

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Getting to Whidbey Island

The Whidbey Island ferry is the most scenic way to arrive. From the Seattle area, visitors should take I-5 North to the Mukilteo/Clinton ferry landing. The crossing only takes 15 minutes and a ferry departs every 30 minutes. Don’t be intimidated if the line of cars for the Whidbey Island ferry looks long as it tends to move very quickly.

If you’re traveling from the Olympic Area, there is a ferry that takes 30 minutes and departs from Port Townsend to Keystone. It is also possible to arrive by car. Follow signs for Deception Pass Bridge from I-5 and State Route 20.

For travelers that are arriving by air, flying into Seattle and continuing on the Whidbey Island is simple. Whether you choose to rent a car or make the journey on the ferry without a car, you will be relaxed from the moment you step onto the boat!

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Why Whidbey Island vacation rentals?

A special landscape such as Whidbey Island and the Puget Sound deserve a special place to stay. Hotels just can’t match the atmosphere that a vacation rental provides. Not only will you enjoy more space, but you will feel at home, giving your vacation an extra boost of relaxation. Live like a local and enjoy the culture of the Northwest.

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