by Gayle Picken
From the soothing sound of waves washing up over a rocky beach to the rejuvenating smell of the fresh, salty air — there is something special about an island getaway anytime of year. And a trip to Whidbey and Camano Islands gives you the feeling of being far away even though you’re less than an hour from Seattle.
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1. Camano Pastry Cafe
Mmmm, the croissants are so good — almond, chocolate, ham & cheese — the list goes on. Just follow your nose when you get to Camano Marketplace at Camano Commons–the smell the freshly baked cinnamon rolls, pies, cookies and pastries will lead you directly to the counter at Camano Pastry Cafe.
Watch the bakers in action and order your favorite espresso to go with your pastry.
2. Whidbey Island Kayaking
Paddling is a great way to see the islands and the knowledgeable crew at Whidbey Island Kayaking provide an incredible opportunity for you to experience the magic of the sea.
Fall weather adds an extra layer of mystery as you explore the water taking in the sights, sounds and the smell of the fresh salty air. You’ll see eagles, herons, seals and sea stars … and who knows, you may even see whales!
Safety measures in place, Whidbey Island Kayaking offers private guided tours and small group tours. Their season runs through October and they offer gift cards year round.
3. The Center for Wooden Boats
The Center for Wooden Boats at Cama Beach State Park has a mission to promote northwest maritime heritage through education, interpretation and hands-on experience in building, maintaining and using historic small craft.
They offer boat rentals, classes, special programs and historical exhibits. Check it out the next time you spend the day on Camano Island and don’t forget your Discover Pass!
4. Whidbey Coffee
We explored historic downtown Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, taking in the murals, sculptures, cute shops and old oak trees, and found a great coffee cafe with this sign that made us smile.
Next time you are in Oak Harbor, check out the Whidbey Coffee Cafe — it even has a view of the water!
5. Captain Whidbey Inn
Need an inspirational island escape? The Captain Whidbey Inn, located on the shores of Penn Cove near Coupeville, offers
This 6-acre waterfront retreat with its historic lodge, cozy cabins and enchanting outdoor seating areas tucked around every corner make the Captain Whidbey Inn a perfect destination to relax and recharge in a safe environment.
Perfect for a family gathering, romantic getaway or solo retreat!
6. Deception Pass Bridge
No matter how many times we visit Deception Pass Bridge, it always takes our breath away.
Drive across it, boat underneath it, walk across it, hike the trails around it or simply stop at one of the beaches and soak in the beauty of this iconic landmark showcasing our island’s stunning coastline.
7. Sweet Mona’s
Nothing is sweeter than Sweet Mona’s in Langley on Whidbey Island.
Famous for their buttery chocolate-covered caramels, Sweet Mona’s Chocolates also features a huge selection of bars, bits, brittle, fudge, truffles and a whole host of other chocolately-goodness in fun shapes you won’t be able to resist.
With a mission to Sweeten the World from Beautiful Whidbey Island, Sweet Mona’s is truly the icing on the cake of island life.
8. Earth Sanctuary
Earth Sanctuary on Whidbey Island is a nature reserve, wildlife oasis, sculpture garden, labyrinth, spiritual retreat, and place for reflection.
- It’s a place to walk and meditate.
- It’s a place to learn about biodiversity and wildlife.
- It’s a place to experience one man’s vision to restore his 72-acre property to mature old-growth forest within 500 years.
Chuck Pettis — visionary, author, and environmental artist—is the owner and founder of Earth Sanctuary and is author of the book, “Secrets of Sacred Space: Discover and Create Places of Power.”
Admission is $7 per person and dogs are not allowed.
p.s. If you have the opportunity to go on a guided tour with Chuck, do it! He is a wealth of knowledge and inspiration.
9. Greenbank Farm
Cheese, pies, history, gardens, walking trails and spectacular views make this historic venue a perfect stopping point on your Whidbey Island road trip.
Greenbank Farm was founded in 1904 as a dairy farm and then in the 1940’s became the largest grower of Loganberries in the United State. In 1997, the farm was purchased in a join effort between Island County, the Port of Coupeville and The Nature Conservancy.
10. State Parks
Spending time in nature is a great way to relieve stress, boost your energy, and take care of your mental health. There are seven major State Parks on Whidbey and Camano Islands.
Do you have a favorite? Share your photos and tag us @daytripsinwa
- Cama Beach State Park – Historical Cabins, trails, beaches, Center for Wooden Boats
- Camano Island State Park – Forest trails, camping, shoreline picnic tables, boating
- Deception Pass State Park – Views, bridge, camping, hiking, coves, kayaking
- Fort Casey State Park – Lighthouse, historic military fort with bunkers and gun batteries, views
- Fort Ebey State Park – Walking and biking trails, historic military fort with battery you can explore, camping, sunsets
- Joseph Whidbey State Park – Views of Victoria, B.C., Lopez Island and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Sunsets, beach, trails
- South Whidbey State Park – Rare, old-growth stands. Douglas fir, sitka spruce, western hemlock and western red cedar trees. Views of the Olympic Mountains
11. Comforts of Whidbey
This family-owned winery, vineyard and B&B sits on a gorgeous property in Langley with views of the sound and mountains. What better way to sip and relax than staying in a room upstairs at the winery?
The Comforts have thought of every detail and are excited to share some island hospitality with you at Comforts of Whidbey.
12. Penn Cove Water Festival
This annual Penn Cove Water Festival features tribal canoe races, Native American arts & crafts, storytelling, musical and dance performances.
Their mission is to bring people together to learn about, appreciate and protect the environment in which we all live.
Keep learning, keep sharing.
13. Island Hospitality
Everywhere we went during our recent island getaway, we were greeted with kindness, caring and a positive attitude. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the business owners on Whidbey Island have created a welcoming atmosphere with all the safety measures in place. They even have fun reminders all over to help visitors follow the correct protocols.
Well done, Whidbey!
See for yourself in this episode of Weekends in Washington with Jamie Petitto:
14. The Beach
From the soothing sound of waves to the beauty of dramatic sunsets, the beaches of Whidbey and Camano Islands offer a place to reset and recharge the soul. Whether you love long walks on the beach or watching a winter storm from the comfort of your cabin, there’s a beach waiting for you anytime of year.
What’s your favorite beach on the islands?
15. Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park
Drive through the forest on south Camano Island and you’ll come upon a true treasure. The Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park features renowned contemporary artists from the Pacific Northwest and beyond. You can stroll through the 10-acre sculpture park and enjoy the rotating exhibits in the gallery.
Founder Karla Matzke is a life-long professional artist and gallery owner on a mission to promote, encourage, and serve as an advocate for fine artists. With her magical acreage, creative exhibits and workshops, and dedication to nurturing artists careers, Karla Matzke has created a place for us all to expand our horizons.
16. Allgire Project
A trip to Pioneer Street in historic downtown Oak Harbor gives you a welcome burst of artistic inspiration. Vibrant murals are everywhere!
And one commercial building owner has embraced the spirit of the community by creating a dedicated “mural gallery” with rotating exhibits, pop-up markets and even 30-minute parking spaces for those who want to nab a quick “Selfie.”
The Allgire Project aims to bring community, small businesses, creative projects and events together under one indoor-outdoor space to enrich and engage Oak Harbor’s community and visitors. Founder/owner Sarah Schacht is carrying on the legacy of her grandparents, Myrtle and John Allgire, who purchased the building in the 1960s.
Check it out and be sure to share your selfie with us!
17. Saltwater Fish House and Oyster Bar
Crab cakes, clam chowder, calamari, fish & chips, oysters, mussels, clams, and all things saltwater make Saltwater Fish House and Oyster Bar a “must go” the next time you’re in Langley on Whidbey Island.
They have created outdoor seating and “to go” options — what better way have a delicious taste of island life during your next getaway!
18. Arrowhead Ranch
Arrowhead Ranch on Camano Island features axe-throwing, a maker-space with workshops and events, and the annual Stanwood Camano Island Soap Box Derby.
The sky is the limit as Arrowhead Ranch has only three rules: Be Safe, Have Fun and Dream Big!
19. Langley Whale Center
The Langley Whale Center is part of the Orca Network and features exhibits and information about whales, a gift shop, and a list of recent whale sightings. It’s a great place to learn more about whales and support the non-profit organization that was formed to advocate for whales, sea life, and a healthy marine environment.
20. Madrona Supply Co.
Local products, local designs screen-printed in-house, refills for locally-made home and body care products, hand-made kitchen goods, local wood slabs for custom projects–this welcoming stop located right off the ferry in Clinton is your “Welcome to Whidbey store!”
The Madrona Supply Co. is a great place to stock up on supplies and provisions when you come to the island and pick up a souvenir before you leave. Beautiful cutting boards and other wood products by Turnco Wood Goods.
21. The Iconic Coupeville Wharf
Located in downtown Coupeville, you can stroll down the pier and enjoy views of Penn Cove, Mount Baker, Coupeville waterfront, boats, seagulls and seals. The Coupeville Wharf features a cafe and gift shop, educational marine exhibits and kayak rentals.
And if you come to Coupeville by boat, the active marina provides a fuel dock, guest moorage, and showers!
Did you know …
The wharf was built in 1905 and originally used for exporting grain. It was also a stop for the Puget Sound mosquito fleet until 1937 when the Deception Pass bridge was built.
22. Callahan’s Firehouse Glassblowing Studio
Located in the old Langley Firehouse, Callahan’s Firehouse Studio and Gallery is a fun experience for all ages. You can watch glassblowing, purchase glass directly from the artists, and when Covid restrictions are over, you can even try your hand at blowing your own glass.
From garden art and seasonal ornaments to functional bowls, vases, and island-theme souvenirs, the gallery is full of colorful hand-blown glass art you can purchase and enjoy at home. Callahan’s Firehouse Studio provides a colorful and warm stop on your island tour!
Looking for a fun project you can do in any kind of weather? Try your hand at making your own painted silk scarf at Marbley in Coupeville on Whidbey Island.
Choose your colors, apply your paint, add your designs and then watch the magic happen as you lower the silk scarf into the paint!
24. Cama Beach Cafe
Cama Beach Cafe is located in the lodge at Cama Beach Historical State Park on Camano Island. With incredible views and incredible homemade food, you’ll want to make a point of stopping there for breakfast or lunch, or to pick up a quick cup of coffee and one of their delicious scones.
They also host “Dinners in the Park” and other special occasion meals.
25. Tapped Camano
With local beers and ciders on tap, delicious food (seriously, try the fish & chips!!) and plenty of outdoor seating, Tapped Camano is a great place to meet up with friends and unwind with the locals on Camano Island.
We were at Tapped Camano a year ago for the ribbon cutting ceremony while we filmed our first episode of Weekends in Washington with Jamie Petitto. Catch the replay here:
26. Penn Cove Mussels
Fresh from the waters of Penn Cove on Whidbey Island, these famous mussels, clams and oysters are grown, harvested and shipped directly to top restaurants around the country. The town of Coupeville celebrates this bounty from the sea every year with the Penn Cove MusselFest.
And lucky for us, Penn Cove Shellfish has recently added online retail sales so you can have fresh mussels, clams, oysters and more shipped directly to your home!
27. Ale Spike brewery
Located in a small industrial park near Camano Island’s airstrip, Ale Spike brewery is a great place to stop in for an island-crafted beer and to meet the locals. Cheers!
28. 3 Sisters Market
In addition to the all-natural meats from the 3 Sisters Family farm (beef, pork, lamb, chicken, pepperoni and eggs) you’ll find a large selection of local products from Whidbey Island, including pies, produce, ice cream, grab-n-go sandwiches, bread and pastries, honey, cold drinks, hand-made candles and soaps, specialty vinegars and oils spices, rubs and so much more.
It’s like a farmers market, butcher shop and specialty grocery store all in one. Check out 3 Sisters Market near Coupeville on Whidbey Island.
29. Barnum Point Park & Preserve
The 167-acre Barnum Point Park on Camano Island is a special place that has miles of trails through forest, marshland, high cliffs and the beach–including one mile of unspoiled shoreline accessible during low tide.
The land had been owned by the Barnum family for over one hundred years and was acquired and preserved by the Whidbey-Camano Land Trust and turned into a County park.
30. The Water’s Edge
Our final entry encompasses the essence of what makes the islands so special: the shoreline. With its natural tidelands, bluffs, beaches, saltwater, freshwater and marine life, the shoreline of Whidbey and Camano Islands makes magical moments for visitors.
Sound Water Stewards have published “Getting to the Water’s Edge” a guide to all of the public beaches, trails, boat launches, birding areas and parks along the shoreline of Whidbey and Camano Islands. More than a guide book, this handy resources provides information on intertidal life, the history of the Salish Sea, stewardship opportunities, geologic history and practical tips for exploring and experiencing the beaches.