There are so many fun things to do on Whidbey Island that even former locals like myself continue to discover new excursions worth sharing. Growing up on the island, I spent most of my time on the south end with occasional trips off the island, and didn’t often head north to explore. This past year, I decided to do something about that, and experience and share new family-friendly excursions farther up-island.
Whidbey Island, just a short drive north of Seattle in Puget Sound, is a popular destination for day-trippers and vacationers alike. My earlier post, Favorite Whidbey Island Excursions in a Day or Longer Stay, is focused on visitors arriving via the Mukilteo-Clinton Ferry Terminal who are exploring the south and central island. Let’s head up the island, to central and north Whidbey, for more excursion ideas.
Visit Historic Greenbank Farm’s Trails, and Stop at Whidbey Pies
Website | Directions | Greenbank | Free
I remember picking loganberries at historic Greenbank Farm as a child when it was still a working farm with a U-pick stand. In 1997, a consortium of partners purchased the 522-acre property and saved it from becoming a housing development.
Miles of rugged farmland trails, great views of the mountains and sound, an awesome off-leash dog park, and local favorite Whidbey Pies make it a great stop with or without a canine companion. There is also a small play structure, a pond, and shops to visit. Pick up a bottle of loganberry liquor from Greenbank Farm Wine Shop for later. More on the farm’s history here.
Explore the Art at Price Sculpture Forest
Website | Directions | Coupeville | Optional Donation
I noticed Price Sculpture Forest was receiving a lot of attention in the news and wondered why I had never heard of it. That is because it is very new, created in 2020, long after I moved off-island. My son and I loved visiting the park a few months ago and found the trails to be easy to navigate. Interesting sculptures from artists from all over the country are featured here. There is also a free self-guided tour available on internet or data-enabled phones, but my carrier did not offer service in that spot.
The park does not allow dogs, an important consideration if you are traveling with your pup. The park’s trails can also be accessed via the town of Coupeville’s 1.5-mile walking path from the historic downtown waterfront.
Discover New Perspectives of Ebey’s Landing at the Sunnyside Cemetery and Blockhouse
Website | Directions | Coupeville | Fee Varies
Whenever friends or family visit Whidbey Island, I tell them they must hike Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, and I always send them to the scenic Bluff Trail along the sound. Ebey’s Landing is a breathtaking 554-acre reserve in Coupeville, Washington with panoramic views of working farmland on one side and the sound and mountains on the other. For decades, I’ve hiked that same old scenic trail and loved it, but I never explored the other neighboring trails within the reserve.
During my most recent trip to the island, I visited the Sunnyside Cemetery for the first time and the neighboring trails of Prairie Ridge (past the historic Jacob Ebey house and blockhouse) and the Pratt Loop through farmland. These historical structures at Ebey’s Landing provide so much important history on the relationship between Native Americans and Whidbey’s earliest Euro-American settlers. Wander the pioneer burying ground, consider the significance of the Davis Blockhouse (circa 1855), and visit Jacob & Sarah Ebey house.
Bonus! Although I love the Bluff Trail’s panoramic views, Pratt Loop, at a level and short (1.3 miles) is perfect for young children. More ambitious hikers can combine several of these loops into a longer five or six-mile hike as we did during our last visit.
Stroll Coupeville’s Historic Wharf and Waterfront
Website | Directions | Coupeville | Varies
Charming downtown Coupeville, one of Washington’s oldest towns circa the 1850s, is a must-visit when you are in central Whidbey Island. Coupeville is located in picturesque Penn Cove and a great spot to wander among historic buildings that have been converted into shops and restaurants or down to the iconic wharf which once connected Whidbey to the world.
Within the red wharf building, marvel at the 30-foot gray whale skeleton, now on permanent display. Click here for a self-guided walking tour and here for historical details from the Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association.
Hike Dugualla State Park’s Wetland to Big Loop to North Loop Trail
Website | Directions | Oak Harbor | Discover Pass
My dad recommended that we visit Dugualla State Park in Oak Harbor as a less-trafficked island destination last summer, and I’m glad we did. This 582-acre park was acquired in 1992 by Washington State Parks to prevent logging. We enjoyed the kid-friendly 4.1-mile “Wetland to Big Loop to North Loop Trail” through the early successional forest and finally dropping down to the beach.
Getting to Whidbey Island
Whidbey Island is located in Puget Sound and is accessible via the Mukilteo-Clinton Ferry Terminal heading north from the Seattle-Tacoma area or via the Deception Pass Bridge heading south from Vancouver, B.C. More directions and tips from locals here. Click here for a comprehensive printable map of the island. If you are traveling from Olympia or farther south, it may be worth your while to consider the longer route via the Port Townsend Ferry System, which is reservable.
It is so easy to settle into routines and take your immediate surroundings for granted. I was happy to make it a priority to explore more of the beautiful island that I love, and I will look forward to sharing more Whidbey Island excursions in the future.
Please share your favorite Whidbey Island excursions in the comments below!
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