DescriptionThe largest island in Puget Sound, Whidbey Island has extensive tracts of farmland and forest, scenic shoreline vistas and abundant parkland. Numerous bays and coves are popular with boaters and fishermen. Capt. George Vancouver discovered the island in 1792, naming it after Joseph Whidbey, his sailing master. Whidbey proved the island was not a peninsula by navigating Deception Pass.
Deception Pass Bridge and ferries from Mukilteo and Port Townsend provide access to the island; for ferry information phone (206) 464-6400, or (888) 808-7977 in Wash. Whidbey Island communities include Coupeville—one of the oldest towns in the state—Greenbank and picturesque Langley, which retains a historic atmosphere. The island's largest town is Oak Harbor.
Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve—the nation's first historical reserve—protects a rural working landscape in the central part of the island. The reserve's 17,500 acres include woodlands, shorelines and fertile agricultural prairies, a landscape that looks much as it did more than 100 years ago. Forests are still harvested, and farms that have been in existence for a century still thrive. Spectacular beach, water and mountain views make Ebey's Landing especially popular with hikers and cyclists.
SR 20, SR 525 and county roads link the reserve's eight major areas: Coupeville, Smith Prairie, Crockett Lake and Uplands, Ebey's Landing, Grassers Hill and Lagoon, Monroe Landing, and Fort Casey Historical and Fort Ebey state parks. A self-guiding driving tour map is available at the Island County Historical Museum in Coupeville. For further information about the reserve phone (360) 678-6084.
Within Fort Casey Historical State Park, 3 miles south of Coupeville off SR 20 at 1280 Engle Rd., are late 19th-century fortifications. The two 10-inch disappearing guns on display are thought to be the only ones of their size still in existence; phone (360) 678-4519.
The park's red-roofed Admiralty Head Lighthouse was built in 1903, replacing a wooden Civil War-era structure. It remained a working lighthouse until 1922, when most ships were steam powered and the Admiralty Inlet route favored by sailing ships was no longer heavily used. The park is open daily 8-dusk. The lighthouse is open daily 11-5, June through August; hours vary rest of year. Phone (360) 678-4519 for the park, or (360) 678-1186 for the lighthouse.