Overview: Whidbey Island has such a wide range of things to do and Coupeville is in the center of it all. Take a stroll to the historic waterfront of Coupeville, where you’ll find art galleries, antique shops, great restaurants, gift boutiques, kayak rentals, and the historic Coupeville Wharf. Ebey’s Landing National Reserve, Fort Casey State Park, the Admiralty Lighthouse, Meerkerk Gardens, and many more Washington State Parks are all just minutes away, providing awe-inspiring hiking and biking trails, and miles of pristine beaches. Whether you want to explore the great outdoors or relax inside there is always something to do here.
Learn New Skills from Famous Artists
Take a class on photography, painting or fiber arts from the world famous Pacific Northwest Art School. Learn beginning or advanced weaving techniques from Madelyn van der Hoogt’s Weavers School. Take a class in landscape oil painting with the Bob Ross method at Paint with Bobbi. Talk with one of the many local artists who operate the Penn Cove Gallery.
Hike the Bluff Trail at Ebey’s Landing
Stroll across rolling emerald fields, climb coastal bluffs towering above the surf, and wander along a driftwood-strewn beach, gazing across busy coastal waters to a backdrop of snowcapped Olympic Mountains. And there’s more! Prairie flowers, bald eagles, shorebirds, and historic relics. One of the finest coastal hikes in the Northwest, Ebey’s Landing is one of Washington’s most naturally diverse as well as historically significant places.
Go Mountain Biking in the nearby Kettles Trails
Just a couple of miles from the Blue Goose Inn you’ll find a secluded forest thick with western red cedar, fir and native rhododendron trees called “The Kettles” The area has a network of trails, many of which are suitable for mountain-bikes. This great video of the trails (above) was provided by the Whidbey Island Bicycle Club. It’s also a great place to hike on an overcast or rainy day. A detailed map of the trails can be downloaded here.
Soak up the History of Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve
Within the fast growing Puget Sound region, Ebey’s Landing NHR has quickly become the remaining area where a broad spectrum of Northwest history is still clearly visible in the landscape. The historical landscape of the reserve appears to today’s visitors much as it did a century ago, when New England sea captains were drawn to Penn Cove. Historic farms are still farmed, forests harvested and century-old buildings used as homes or places of business.
Unlike many National Park units, the 25 square mile historical reserve encompasses a mixture of federal, state, county and private property, all managed in a way that preserves its historic essence. This means that changes in the cultural landscape will continue but in a way that respects the past.
Enjoy Small Town Shopping on Front Street
Take your time and explore the shops and galleries on the picturesque waterfront of historic Coupeville. Check out souvenirs at the museum and lighthouse stores, festival vendors and farmers’ markets in Coupeville and Greenbank. This is small town shopping at its best, where the merchant behind the counter is often the owner, artist or artisan.
Explore the Admiralty Head Lighthouse
On January 21, 1861, the Admiralty Head light pierced the night for the first time. The fourth-order lens, lighted with a whale oil lamp, was visible 16 miles out to sea over a 270-degree area. It was housed in a white, wooden, two-story house.
If you like lighthouses-this is one to see. Sitting on a bluff in the center of Fort Casey, the lighthouse is staffed by friendly, knowledgeable volunteers who also expertly maintain it. The lighthouse and Fort Casey’s big guns have stood watch over the entrance to Puget Sound for decades. Today they watch over a breath-taking view of the Olympic mountains, Port Townsend ferry, shipping lanes, and even the occasional Orca whales.
Take a wine, spirits or cider tasting tour of locally produced products
Whidbey Island is fast becoming a new destination for local wine production. Regular wine tasting events are scheduled throughout the year. Local wineries include Blooms Winery in Bayview, Comforts of Whidbey, Ott & Murphy Wines, Useless Bay Winery, Whidbey Island Winery and Spoiled Dog Winery in Langley, Holmes Harbor Cellars in Greenbank, Dancing Fish Vineyards in Freeland, Rain Shadow Cellars in Coupeville. Whidbey is also home to a couple of excellent distilleries that also offer tasting and tours including Whidbey Island Distilleries famous for their berry liqueurs and Cadee Distillery with gins, vodka and whiskey options. Just across the ferry to Port Townsend, you can taste a range of locally grown and produced hard ciders.
Enjoy a picnic or hike at Fort Ebey State Park
Fort Ebey State Park, a 645-acre camping park on Whidbey Island, was originally built as a coastal defense fort in World War II. Concrete platforms mark the gun locations. The park has three miles of saltwater shoreline on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, a freshwater lake for fishing, and miles of hiking and biking trails and is the perfect place to watch an amazing sunset. The park trails connect to the Kettles Trail area which also has another 30+ miles of scenic forest trails.
Go Fly a Kite at Fort Casey State Park
Now a state park popular for kite flying and hiking, at one time Fort Casey was considered vital to defending the sea lanes into Puget Sound. Any warships entering the Puget Sound would have found themselves under murderous fire from the forts 5-10 inch “disappearing” guns that were designed to stay below there emplacement until the moment of firing when they were raised and fired causing them to lower back below cover once again.
Fort Casey State Park is a 467-acre marine camping park with a lighthouse and sweeping views of Admiralty Inlet and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. A coast artillery post features two 10-inch and two 3-inch historic guns on display. The park features 10,810 feet of saltwater shoreline on Puget Sound (Admiralty Inlet), and includes Keystone Spit, a two-mile-plus stretch of land separating Admiralty Inlet and Crocket Lake.
Crockett Lake is a major stopover for an extraordinary number of shorebirds during northbound (April/May), and southbound (early July/October) migrations, the best times to visit. At least 17 species of shorebirds have been recorded here, including Western, Least, Baird’s, Pectoral, and Semi-palmated Sandpipers, Black-bellied and Semi-palmated Plovers, and both Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs. This cornucopia acts as an attractor for Peregrine Falcons and Merlins, and Bald Eagles and Northern Harriers are also usually added to the mix. The surrounding grasslands and marshes have Savannah, Song and White-crowned Sparrows, Red-winged Blackbirds, Marsh Wrens, and American Goldfinches. Great Blue Herons use the lake as a foraging site during the breeding season. Ducks and gulls round out the mix. Click here for more Bird Watching on Whidbey.
Capture Exceptional Wildlife Photography
Whidbey Island is surrounded by primary feeding grounds for many local resident and transient whale species. Whale watching is a year-round activity and with some patience and early notification from some of the on-line observation networks that track their location, you can often see them from the shoreline.
Explore the many gardens of Whidbey Isle
Gardeners come from all over to enjoy and marvel at the beauty, serenity and uniqueness of the many gardens on Whidbey Island. With our mild climate many plants will thrive here that won’t grow in most inland parts of the state. This unique climate allows cold season plants like tulips, apples and lilacs to thrive, while also allowing more tender warm climate plants like camellias and even a few palm trees to thrive. Walk among the thousands of rhododendrons at Meerkirk Gardens or … Lavender Wind Farms… Annual Garden Tour
Savor some Culinary Delights
Coupeville provides a welcome respite from fast food and chain restaurants. Its restaurants, cafes, delis, and coffee houses offer a range of personalities … distinct characters you’ll savor and remember. We also love to share our favorite local delicacy, Penn Cove mussels. The cove is the perfect environment for the Penn Cove Mussel Farm, and our eateries know just how to prepare these bountiful bivalves delivered within hours of being plucked from the cove’s waters.