Whidbey and Camano Islands © Annette Pitts
By Sherrye Wyatt
Located just north of Seattle, Whidbey and Camano Islands offer welcoming experiences to inspire guests to connect deeply through transformational, rather than transactional, travel.
Regenerative activities invite guests to join locals in nurturing communities by volunteering at festivals, helping with a beach or trail cleanup, or bringing in the harvest at a vineyard or farm.
With no ferries, this laid-back island connects to the mainland by one bridge. Filled with community hubs, there are no formal towns. Camano Commons Marketplace is a great stop for coffee, shopping, and dining. Unspoiled beaches and trails are a real draw to the island.
Historical attractions include Kristoferson Farm, which offers ziplines through a forest at Canopy Tours NW. Arrowhead Ranch is a fun spot to try axe throwing. Once a fishing resort in the 1930s, Cama Beach State Park’s charming waterfront cabins offer a great getaway for families or anyone seeking only the sound of lapping waves.
Populated with hundreds of talented artists, this island hosts the annual Northwest Glass Quest each February, drawing visitors to the ultimate two-week scavenger hunt where successful “questers” earn handblown glass balls.
The Whidbey Scenic Isle Way stretches the full 50-mile length of the island with several small communities filled with hidden treasures like farms, bakeries, tasting rooms, and antique shops. Among these are Greenbank, Freeland, Bayview, and Clinton.
On the north end of the islands sits the picturesque Deception Pass State Park and Bridge. This is Washington’s most-visited state park and one of seven on the island, two with historic forts and one with a lighthouse. Ferries connect the island to the Olympic Peninsula or to the mainland, just 42 miles north of Seattle-Tacoma International (SEA) Airport.
The City of Oak Harbor features a variety of shopping and dining options, hotels, and historic downtown. The island is steeped in military history and is home to NAS Whidbey Island. Retro recreation includes a barn for roller skating, a bowling alley, and a drive-in theater complete with an arcade and go-karts.
Coupeville is the second-oldest town in the State of Washington and is situated in the heart of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve. It is home to the historic Coupeville Wharf, unique shops, and restaurants. Enjoy kayaking on Penn Cove or explore many nearby woodland trails with amazing views across the Olympic Peninsula.
On the south end of the island is the quaint town of Langley. Called the “Village by the Sea,” it’s known for its vibrant arts community with galleries, shops, and cafés.
Both islands are filled with beaches, hiking trails, and wildlife, including whales. Micro coffee roasters, wineries, distilleries, and breweries flourish. Restaurants feature chefs sourcing fresh food from island farms and the surrounding waters. Visitor centers and kiosks are located throughout. Lodgings range from historic inns to luxurious waterfront homes or rustic cabins.
Sheltered by two dramatic mountain ranges, these lush islands sit within a rain shadow, offering a mild climate year-round. Visiting during the fall or winter months offers old-fashioned holiday celebrations and a wider selection of places to stay, with greater savings and increased flexibility.
Find more at whidbeycamanoislands.com
Challenge yourself or treat yourself with all the things to do on Whidbey and Camano Islands. You can hike, or fish the many beaches, or stroll the many walking-friendly shopping venues featuring a variety of restaurants to please anyone.