Whidbey is a perfect destination for a day trip or a weekend outing, with lots to explore and a wide variety of places to stay. The island is also a great place for cyclists, with many miles of quiet back roads; get maps from the Langley South Whidbey Chamber of Commerce Visitor and Information Center (208 Anthes Ave., 360/221-6765, www.visitlangley.com ). Try saying that one fast.
For a fast day tour, take the Mukilteo–Clinton ferry to the south end of the island, followed by a leisurely drive up the island, with stops in each town and park. To really see Whidbey, you’ll need more than a hurried day trip.
Take the time to explore the many natural areas and historic sites, camping out in one of the excellent state parks or staying in a local B&B. Be warned, however, that lodging rates are high in most local B&Bs, typically $85 d and up (to over $300 d) with breakfast. Motels and hotels are limited, but a few places (primarily in Oak Harbor ) have rooms for under $65 d. Reservations are highly recommended for summer weekends.
If you’re on a budget, your best bet is to camp out. Contact Island County Visitor Information (888/747-7777, www.whidbeycamanoislands.com ) for information and brochures on Whidbey. Another helpful site is the online Whidbey Island Visitor’s Guide .