This was our first visit to Whidbey Island and we were here on a two day mission to learn as much about Southern Whidbey Island as possible in the hope of purchasing a second home there. We quickly learned that the island is divided into two distinct areas. The northern part has the biggest city, Oak Harbor, and a large Naval Air Station while the south is more rural with a handful of cute, artsy towns. Heading south from Anacortes, we drove through Oak Harbor.
Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island
The Naval Air Station seems to dominate the town and the northern part of the island. You can hear the jets flying over the town of Oak Harbor as they take off and land at the air station.
Oak Harbor has all of the modern conveniences like a Safeway, Home Depot to support the large military population but it’s much too busy and crowded for our liking.
The Town of Coupeville
With our family nearby and the great island environment, we’re interested in purchasing a second home in southern Whidbey around the town of Coupeville. After leaving Mark and Chris’ house, we took a bee-line to Coupeville to check it out and catch a late breakfast. Coupeville is super charming and the little downtown is about four blocks long. There are no high-end shoe stores here, just nice restaurants and local artisan shops.
We stopped into the Kneed and Feed Bakery and had a delicious sticky bun and come coffee.
As we left, we noticed the full restaurant was tucked away down below next to the water. Next time.
Gi and I walked around cute Coupeville before heading to our campground at Fort Ebey State Park.
On the way to Fort Ebey, we saw a For Sale sign advertising some undeveloped property. After living in California, it was nice to see a 5 acre property with a 2000+ sq. ft. barn and plenty of land to build a house with a water view for $250K.
Fort Ebey State Park
We arrived at our campsite in Fort Ebey State Park and began to explore the area. We quickly found out that the remnants of Fort Ebey was open for exploration. This fort had two 10 inch guns to protect Seattle and the Puget Sound area. We were able to walk through the bunker and command post.
Gi and I spent the sunny August afternoon on the hills overlooking Puget Sound, just watching the boats and planes go by.
We had a nice picnic lunch above the bluffs.
After dinner, we walked down to the beach to enjoy the sunset
Breakfast at Ebey’s Landing
On our second day exploring the island, we stopped at Ebey’s Landing and has a nice relaxing breakfast and let Katie run wild down the beach. This was a sweet spot that seemed to be frequented by the locals.
The Town of Langley
After breakfast, we drove 30 minutes to the town of Langley which is the 3rd largest incorporated area on Whidbey Island.
The town is bigger and way more upscale than Coupeville with nice boutique stores and wonderful views of the Saratoga Passage.
While in the grocery store, I noticed that Washington takes their craft beer seriously.
The next day we drove from Coupeville down to the remainder of South Whidbey Island. Just to put this into perspective, the island it not very long. The drive from Coupeville to Clinton, the main town at the south part of the island, takes 35 minutes. From there, the ferry to Everett takes more 20 minutes and then the drive from Everett to Seattle is an additional 30 minutes. Alltogether, the trip from Coupeville to Seattle takes 1 hour and 25 minutes. Not bad for traveling from rural island life to the big city.
Fort Casey State Park
We were able to get a spot at Fort Casey State Park which is right next to the ferry terminal for the Port Townsend ferry that we will be taking tomorrow.
To our surprise, once again, we discovered that Fort Casey was a HUGE gun emplacement for protecting the Puget as early as 1901.
Here’s the view of the about 1/3 of the fort from one of the observation bunkers.
Later that evening we walked from the campground to the grounds below Fort Casey. You can see the aircraft spotlight raceway sticking out of the side of the buff above.
Katie was enjoying some off leash time on the beach.
I’m enjoying this sunset!
Later that evening, we watched the ferry pull into the terminal from our viewpoint at the campground.
The Ferry to Port Townsend
The next morning we caught the 10am ferry to Port Townsend. We had wonderful front row seats on the ferry ride.
In our next post we’ll drive along the Hood Canal to our campsite in the Olympic National Forest.
What we learned
- Fort Ebey campground is in a nice location. Most sites have space between them so pick wisely and you will be rewarded with seclusion.
- Fort Casey Campground is more exposed and has less privacy but several of the campsite have waterfront views.
- Southern Whidbey is a very rural place where life seems to go at a slower pace. It’s not for everyone but seemed like the perfect place for us.
August 8-10, 2016