Fancy a nice weekend getaway that’s not too far away? Board the ferry at Mukilteo for a 20-minute journey to Clinton.
Whidbey Island has an unusual shape. It is long and slender, stretched out over 57 miles. Take your time driving up route 525.
Start with a stop at Langley, a cute little town a few miles from Clinton. There is a central street near the waterfront with antique shops, local art galleries, cool little shops, and good restaurants.
This spot also overlooks the Saratoga Passage between Whidbey Island and Camano Island. This is a major stop for gray whales during the months of March and April.
For a romantic experience, spend a night at the Langley Inn. The rooms have private terraces overlooking the water, and the gourmet dinner and breakfast are not to be missed.
Next, make your way over to Lagoon Point. Here, canals push gently inland, and the houses built along the length of these placid waters may cause a pang of envy.
Before you reach Coupeville, stop at Fort Casey, a former military fort with bunkers and old cannons and a breathtaking view of Puget Sound in the direction of Port Townsend. Seals often play in the water below, and with a little luck, you might see a whale or an orca.
In Coupeville, there are shops and restaurants at the end of a long wooden pier on stilts. A welcoming terrace at the water’s edge encourages you to stop and take a break.
Alternatively, in the friendly little town itself, you could have lunch at Christopher’s, where the delicious Reuben sandwich is an especially good choice. Or eat at the more upscale Oystercatcher.
Afterwards, leave your car at Sunnyside Cemetery, just before Fort Ebey State Park. A pretty promenade overlooks the sea and offers a beautiful view of the Olympic Mountains.
Before leaving the island from its northernmost point, stop at Deception Pass National Park.
This place is exceptional.
In the parking lot, before crossing the bridge, an information kiosk provides a list of hiking trails in the area. Go under the bridge, follow the Goose Rock Perimeter Trail, and enjoy the views of the bay.
Walking on the bridge is an experience best left to those who are not subject to dizziness! The bridge vibrates as trucks go by, and the swift current flowing under the bridge makes for a captivating view.
The passage to Skagit Bay is very narrow and the currents are spectacular. When the tide comes in and goes out (the speed of the current reaches about 8 knots) the boats have trouble making their way and it is not uncommon to see them retreat or crab forward struggling to make progress.
Crossing the twin bridges, you leave Whidbey Island and come to Fidalgo Island. Head to Rosario Beach.
A big parking lot along a beach is the starting point for a very pleasurable walk that leads you back to admire the bridge on the opposite shore. Look up: eagles often perch high in the trees, watching you.
The shortest way back is by road. Seattle is 1 hour and 40 minutes away.