The longest island in the lower 48 states—New York’s Long Island was declared a peninsula by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1985—Whidbey Island encompasses 208 square miles in its 45-mile length, no spot of which is more than five miles from the water. The island is a favorite place for a Sunday-afternoon drive, with Deception Pass State Park the primary “stop and gawk” spot along the way.
Also popular are the quaint towns of Coupeville and Langley, along with the quiet shoreline and picturesque agricultural land of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve. The largest metropolitan center, Oak Harbor, is home to Whidbey Naval Air Station.
South Whidbey Island was seemingly designed for biking. The rolling hills, clean air, and beautiful weather are inspiring enough, but occasional whale and eagle sightings add to the pleasure. Island Transit (360/678-7771 or 800/240-8747, www.islandtransit.org) is a free bus system that offers Mon.–Sat. service all across Whidbey Island, from Clinton on the south to Deception Pass on the north. All buses have bike racks.
Getting to Whidbey Island
To drive onto Whidbey Island, you’ve got only one option: the Deception Pass Bridge at the island’s north end. To get there, go west on Highway 20 from I-5. Access to the south end of Whidbey is a relaxing Washington State Ferry (206/464-6400 or 888/808-7977, www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries) ride from Mukilteo or Port Townsend.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition