A few week’s ago, we kicked off our 2017 adventures with a weekend on Whidbey Island! As a family, we rang in the New Year, eating the best Chinese food, snuggled up and watching fireworks over the Oak Harbor Marina. It was the perfect start to an exciting year of wander, experiences and curiosity for both my husband and I, and our two young girls.
As I’ve mentioned before, we are so fortunate to live in the abundant Pacific Northwest, where a weekend retreat is just a short drive away. Whidbey Island is only 2 hours North of Seattle (and for my Canadian readers, just 2 hours South of Vancouver, BC)! It was nice to getaway for the weekend, without a lengthy drive – plus it confirmed how much beauty really is in our own backyard.
Our trip began on Saturday (New Years Eve), and our first stop was Deception Pass, which is 1 of the 8 State Parks on Whidbey and Camano Islands. Deception Pass is actually the most visited park in Washington State (and you can see why!).
After a walk along the bridge, we headed down to the beach at Deception Pass State Park. Since it was a chilly day, we were fortunate to have the gorgeous pebble-lined beach all to ourselves! A benefit of visiting PNW beaches during the Winter – just bundle up and you have plenty of shore to play on!
After the beach we made our way to Oak Harbor for a Greek lunch at Zorba’s – I recommend the classic Greek Salad, while the hubby and kid’s loved the Spaghetti and Meatballs.
After lunch, we checked into The Coachman Inn, which is a 102-room hotel that lives and breathes old-fashioned hospitality. We had the fortune of staying in the Penthouse Suite – which I’d compare to a large apartment – 2 bedrooms, both with king-sized beds, 2 bathrooms, plus a kitchen, dining and living room. The girl’s definitely felt like royalty for the evening. Bonus – they offer complimentary breakfast in the morning!
We relaxed for a bit then headed to Windjammer Park to burn off some energy, followed by ice skating – which was part of Oak Harbor’s New Year’s festivities.
Once their little legs were tired, followed by copious amounts of hot cocoa, we retreated back to our cozy room for board games and dinner. We were referred to Rustica Cafe, a darling wine, bar and kitchen in Historic Downtown Oak Harbor, but we decided to order take out from China City and bring back to the room. The rest of the evening was spent cuddling on the couch and counting fireworks which began about 9pm. It was the perfect ending to a fantastic year.
The next morning our adventure continued as we headed towards our next destination – Fort Casey State Park! But first, a few more photos of Oak Harbor, because it was just that pretty…
The drive across Whidbey Island is just as gorgeous as the destination – here’s a shot from Penn Cove (known for their famous clams and oysters)!
And then we arrived at our next stop…
Fort Casey Historical State Park is a 467-acre marine camping park with a lighthouse and sweeping views of Admiralty Inlet and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The park is the site of Admiralty Head Lighthouse. A coast artillery post features two 10-inch and two 3-inch historic guns on display. The park features 10,810-feet of saltwater shoreline on Puget Sound (Admiralty Inlet), and includes Keystone Spit, a two-mile stretch of land separating Admiralty Inlet and Crocket Lake. – Parks.State.Wa.US
As soon as we parked, the girl’s were off to explore the massive Fort.
After a few hours of trekking through the massive park, we headed to Coupeville for lunch. Front Street has a great variety of restaurants, shops and tasting rooms. Fun fact: Coupeville is the 2nd oldest town in Washington State, and has over 100 buildings on the National Historic Register, including turn of the century Victorian homes.
After lunch, it was time for the girl’s to take a break, so we checked into our cottage at The Quintessa on Whidbey Island. Yes…I said cottage. And it was just as darling as it sounds! Nestled in the trees in Clinton, WA, the cottage had breathtaking views of the Puget Sound and Cascade Mountains – perfect for chasing sunsets. The Quintessa also includes an adjacent 9-room estate, which would be fantastic for family reunions, celebrations, etc. A beautiful property for an island getaway!
We warmed up a bit by the fire in the cottage…followed by more hot cocoa….then set off to Langley for dinner. A quaint beach town that has something for everyone – the shopper, the foodie, the garden lover (check out their walking tour!).
I recommend grabbing a slice or pie to share at Village Pizzeria, but save room for Sprinlz Ice Cream Parlor, which is right across the street!
Once the sun went down and our tummies were full, we resorted to the cottage for another night of snuggles, games and movies. I truly cherished the restful moments, just as much as the adventures – being away from home, away from work, laundry, etc., forced us to be still, relax and just enjoy each other’s company. We need more of this.
The next morning we took the ferry across the water to Mukilteo, which concluded our trip. I actually didn’t realize my 4 year old had never been on a ferry – so even though it was a very short ride, we had a quick breakfast and enjoyed our time aboard!
Fun fact: The Washington State Ferry System is the largest in the US! Makes sense why they are so iconic here!
I know I shared an absurd amount of photos in this post…but I just couldn’t stop – I loved them all. And truth be told, I actually have, at least, a hundred more on my camera! Our family fell in love with the history, the food and the beaches of Whidbey Island and can’t wait to return for more adventures. A few spots on our list for next time include: PBY Naval Air Museum, the Earth Sanctuary and Lavender Wind!
In this post, I wanted to share things to do on Whidbey Island, especially in the off-season. The beaches are clear, the parks are quiet and the ferry lines short. I hope this inspires you to venture for a day trip (or the weekend!). If you have any suggestions of ‘must-see’ spots please list them in the comments!
Cheers to adventures!
Disclosure: We were guests of Whidbey and Camano Islands Tourism. The opinions expressed here represent my own, which I take great pride in providing pure honesty…because I’m OBSESSED with sharing the Good!