Aug 5, 2022 - Things to Do

Roam beaches and eat seafood on Whidbey Island, 90 minutes from Seattle

Two land masses, covered in trees, with a waterway in between them with a boat on it.
Deception Pass and Deception State Park. (Photo by: Giulio Andreini/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

True story: The views at Deception Pass, at the north end of Whidbey Island, are so spectacular they convinced my husband to move to Washington state after he retired from the military.

  • That means 13 years of marriage and a toddler owe their entire existence to Whidbey Island being awesome.

What to expect: Whidbey's picturesque northwest beaches, charming seaside towns and great hiking make it like a pick-your–own adventure book of fun itineraries.

Where to stay

For a romantic weekend, try the Saratoga Inn in Langley.

  • The upscale B&B boasts views of the mountains and the sea, and it's right near the cute waterfront town's artisan shops and high quality restaurants.
  • Note: No kids under 12 are allowed.

At Captain Whidbey Inn, you can opt for a cabin overlooking Penn Cove, or stay in the historic main lodge, which gives off cozy, rustic vibes.

  • If you're up for roughing it a little, you can camp or rent a cabin in Deception Pass State Park, where cliffs and old growth forests abut the sea, providing killer views.
A red wharf building labeled "Coupeville" with colorful canoes and kayaks on a rack in front.
The historic wharf building in Coupeville. Photo: Melissa Santos/Axios

What to do

In addition to hiking around Deception Pass, check out Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve, where you can hike along a bluff overlooking Puget Sound.

Wander the seaside town of Coupeville.

  • Grab an ice cream cone and stroll the boardwalk.
  • Then, wander in and out of the little shops on Front Street, or venture down to the beach.

Explore the art galleries and quaint shops of Langley while you wait for a table at one of the town's stellar restaurants.

  • There's public beach access here, too.
A black pot filled with mussels and studded with pieces of bacon, garnished with parsley.
Mussels at Saltwater Fish House and Oyster Bar in Langley. Photo: Melissa Santos/Axios

What to eat

For some of the area's best seafood — including to-die-for Dungeness crab — visit Saltwater Fish House and Oyster Bar in Langley.

  • The fish and chips, clams and Penn Cove mussels are also great.
  • Pro tip: Plan to put yourself on the waitlist and wander the town for a bit, as there’s usually a line.

Ultra House, also in Langley, makes delicious ramen.

  • Bonus: It’s located on a pretty courtyard lined with cute shops.

The Little Red Hen bakery in Coupeville makes delectable pastries to get your morning started.

Sunshine Drip is another good breakfast option, with laidback outdoor seating and an eclectic menu ranging from citrus-laced avocado toast to homemade biscuits and gravy.

The Oystercatcher in Coupeville provides a high-end dining experience in a setting that doesn't feel stuffy.

And no visit to Whidbey Island is complete without a stop at Toby’s Tavern, which serves up giant pots of local mussels with crispy garlic bread perfect for dipping.

Related Axios guide: Explore Washington's outdoor playground in Methow Valley, 4 hours from Seattle.


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