This week, we are privileged to hear from Anna of travelgig. She will be filling us in on her home, Whidbey Island. Whidbey Island is located 30 miles from Seattle and is the largest island in Island County, Washington (4th largest in the contiguous USA). With approximately 55,000 residents, the island is about 55 miles long and anywhere from 1.5 to 12 miles wide. Thanks to Anna for more insider info!
Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?
Whidbey Island. I grew up on this island, so it holds a special place in my heart. North America is often not seen as a “glamorous” destination and tropical islands get most of the attention, so Whidbey Island has been widely overlooked as a tourist destination (aside from local tourists) despite being incredibly beautiful and having charming historical downtown areas.
How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?
Five days is the perfect amount of time to explore the island. Two days for Oak Harbor, one day for Coupeville and two days for South Whidbey. Pro-tip: Get a Discover Pass if you plan on visiting state parks on three or more days of your trip.
What Is Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Trip to This Island?
Exploring the phenomenal state parks. Sweeping prairie, dramatic seaside cliffs, evergreen forests and World War II era bunkers and gun placements can all be found within the four state parks on the island.
What is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?
Whale watching near Deception Pass Bridge is definitely a can’t miss activity. Pods of orcas and gray whales come through sometimes, and the view of the bridge from a boat is breathtaking. The main activities on the island center around outdoor activities or the historical downtown areas. Go during the summer to skim board, kayak, bird watch, hike, and camp. Oak Harbor, Coupeville and Langley all have cute seaside downtowns with plenty of shopping and eating options. Coupeville stands out for it’s walking tour which includes the fisherman’s wharf and stores that still have the old-style false fronts.
Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?
Fraser’s Gourmet Hideaway in Oak Harbor is a hometown favorite that showcases fresh seafood and locally grown produce.
What Surprised You About this Island?
Since I moved away ten years ago, every time I return home to visit my family I’m blown away by how beautiful it is.
Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?
The easiest way to get to and around Whidbey Island is to fly into Bellingham or Seattle and rent a car. There’s a drive-on ferry to the south end of the island or a bridge to the north end of Whidbey. It is possible to take busses or a shuttle to the island and get around by transit. The Island Transit is completely free, although somewhat limited in service. Taxis are not widely used.
Many Thanks to Anna! There is a chance we’ll be headed west in 2018, and this is definitely an island I’m putting on my list of places to visit!
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