We set out on our full-time family travel journey in September 2018, and our first stop was Whidbey Island, off the northwest coast of Washington State.
There’s something so magical about Whidbey Island. We lived in the middle of a forest among skyscraping trees, yet the beach was just steps away. We’d walk down most days to pick blackberries and build driftwood forts and come back to find a family of deer relaxing in our yard and yet another rainbow stretching across the sky.
19 Things We Love about Whidbey Island
For a true taste of the Pacific Northwest, for a small town feel with a vacation vibe, visit Whidbey Island. Here are 19 more reasons:
1. The ferry ride
We drove two full days to get from Phoenix to Whidbey, and we managed to catch the last ferry of the day over to the island. We had never driven onto a ferry before, so that was a new experience!
After we were parked on the boat, Carter and I were the only ones awake, so we snuck up to the passenger level to have a look around. Because it was dark, we didn’t even realize we had started moving, and before we knew it, they were announcing that we were arriving on the island.
The ferry ride is about 15 minutes between Mukilteo (on the mainland) and Clinton (on the island). You can just relax and enjoy the ride from your car or head upstairs and take advantage of the snack bar, work on a puzzle in one of the booths, or enjoy the gorgeous view.
2. The rain
Yes, it rains a lot in the Pacific Northwest, but it’s usually a light mist which adds to the beauty and majesty of this part of the country.
3. The rainbows
And with the rain, comes the rainbows!
4. Castle Park
We found several fun playgrounds on the island, but Castle Park was the biggest and the most fun. We even brought over burger fixings one day and used one of the grills there!
5. Driftwood fort building
We stayed in Freeland, right on Beverly Beach. It’s a rocky beach with lots of driftwood, and we had fun building forts!
The path down to the beach was lined with blackberry bushes. We even brought some home and made some blackberry jam!
7. Pickles Deli
We highly recommend Pickles Deli in Clinton. They have the most delicious, inventive sandwiches. Try The Bluebird, that’s my pick!
8. Rocket Taco
And right in Freeland is Rocket Taco. We finally gave it a try near the end of our stay and our tacos were delish!
9. The library
There were several weekly programs for kids at the library in Freeland, and I brought our two little ones to enjoy storytime and some fun activities.
This was a common sight in our very own backyard. A sweet deer family, basking in the sunshine!
11. Farmer’s Market
Every Sunday, you can visit the Farmer’s Market in Bayview. The homemade apple pies look and taste amazing!
12. Children’s Day
Once a year, they host Children’s Day, which is an event full of games, crafts, bounce houses, food, and more, all for free! We were so looking forward to the event when we were there, but unfortunately it got rained out! Hopefully we can visit again and attend!
13. Kite festival
But we did get to attend the kite festival, which was super fun! The kids got to make their own kites, and they had such a good time running around the field, flying them. We took them out several more times while staying on the island and flew them as high as they would go!
Also at the festival, the kids got to participate in races, see kite flying competitions, and even brought home stuffed animals from the teddy bear drop!
14. Fort Casey
Fort Casey was awesome because we could climb up, down, and all around in the bunkers, explore the “disappearing cannons”, and learn about how the fort was used during WWI. A fun field trip which we capped off with some more kite flying and a delicious picnic meal from Callen’s Restaurant.
15. Baby Island
Baby Island is one of those unique pieces of land that only becomes an island at high tide. Other times you can walk right on over! Which we did, but the tide was not as low as it could have been, and we did get some pretty wet shoes!
Near the end of our stay we finally made it over to Langley, which is an adorable little town that reminded me of Kennebunkport, Maine (I grew up in nearby Kennebunk). Some cute stores, a candy/ice cream shop, and a pizza place where we could sit overlooking the water while we enjoyed our meal. Perfect day trip!
17. Deception Pass
If you drive north on Whidbey Island, you’ll reach Deception Pass State Park and Bridge. The bridge connects Whidbey to the mainland and is a great spot for photos.
One of the great things about Whidbey Island is its proximity to Seattle! There are so many fun and unique things to see and do in Seattle, and you can be there in just over an hour!
19. Friday Harbor
Another place we visited while living on Whidbey Island was Friday Harbor. We took a longer ferry ride over to San Juan Island, known for its population of orca whales! Our first stop was the Whale Museum where we got to learn all about orcas!
After that, we took a picnic lunch to Lime Kiln Point State Park and looked for whales. We didn’t see orcas, but we did see some porpoises and enjoyed the beautiful weather!
Whidbey Island will always hold a special place in our hearts as the first destination on our journey and a place where we made so many memories.
It was our first adventure as we discovered that a life of traveling was not only a possibility but a dream come true. It was a place of rest and healing for us.
It was where we learned that home is wherever the six of us are together.
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