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Five cool things to do on Whidbey Island

Updated: Aug 3, 2021

A golden sunset shimmers off the lagoon with an overturned boat resting in the tall grass and alpine trees on the cliffside in the background.
Golden hour at Deer Lagoon on Whidbey Island, Washington. ©AlonzoWright

Looking for things to do on Whidbey Island? You won’t be disappointed with all the options you have. The island is a nature lover’s dream with lots of wildlife like roaming deer, bald eagles, seals and of course, the beloved migrating whales. But it also has a very storied history of early settlers from the Oregon Trail and Native American tribes that local agencies have worked hard to preserve and share with others. From strolling the beaches along the Puget Sound or visiting art galleries and antique shops, to exploring national parks and historic sites, there is a little something for everyone. But chances are, you don’t have a lot of time, so you’re going to want to choose wisely. Check out this list of five things we think you should do on Whidbey Island.

**Click here for a quick travel overview of Whidbey Island, including where to stay, what to eat and how to get to Whidbey Island.

The blue-green waters of Penn Cove with a long dock leading out to an antique red wharf lined with boats.
This historic Coupeville wharf was built in 1905. ©AlonzoWright

Visit Coupeville

Coupeville is definitely a fan favorite on Whidbey Island, and there are lots of reasons why. The Dutch Colonial style architecture is oozing with charm, and there are so many fun artisanal shops like Lavender Wind which has their own lavender farm on the island and sells handmade soaps, shortbread cookies, and even lavender ice cream in their gift shop in the historic waterfront district. The Penn Cove Gallery is home to a melting pot of local artisans. There are 26 painters, photographers, jewelry makers, wood carvers, weavers, ceramic artists and more with their works on display. It’s a great place to buy authentic souvenirs from your visit. Have a hankering for ice cream? There will be a line out the door at Kapaw’s Iskreme, but the waffle cones are homemade, and three scoops will only cost you four bucks. Another fun note, it’s also the original shop location for Seattle’s Best coffee. The coffee shop opened in 1969 as the Wet Whisker but they changed their name in 1991 when they won the contest for the “best coffee in Seattle.” We haven’t even made it to the Coupeville Wharf yet. It was built in 1905 and is home to a restaurant and coffee shop, a place to buy souvenirs, gas and boat supplies, a marine educational center and of course, the Harbor Master’s office.

A panoramic view from the Deception Pass Bridge, looking out onto the blue-green waters of the Puget Sound with tiny islands dotting the horizon and a boat gliding through the water.
A panoramic view from the Deception Pass Bridge, a main attraction on Whidbey Island. ©AlonzoWright

See Deception Pass Bridge from above + below

You don’t have to be a serious hiker to enjoy the trails at Deception Pass State Park in Oak Harbor, but if you are, there are 40 miles of trails to wander. For those who don’t really want to commit to a day of hiking, you can follow the winding dirt trail down to North Beach to skip rocks and look for shells along the water’s edge. You could also sit on one of the pieces of driftwood for a stunning view of the boats sailing beneath the soaring steel bridge. North Beach is an extremely photogenic little cove that is well-protected from the wind and has beautiful views of the water, the forest and the bridge. You’ll end up taking lots of photos.