Whidbey Island, located an hour north of Seattle, is a picturesque escape filled with small towns, beaches, and hiking trails. I was lucky enough to live here for sixteen years and I still return often to visit my family. It’s my little slice of heaven and I hope one day you can explore it too.
One of my favorite things to do on the island (behind eating and cuddling Raini, the family dog) is visiting all the beautiful parks that the island has to offer. I’ve written a brief guide of my favorite state parks on the island to help you find which ones are the best fit for you.
Fort Casey State Park
Fort Casey State Park overlooks the Admiralty Inlet on the west side of the island. In 1861, the Admiralty Head Lighthouse was built with a light that was visible up to 16 miles away. In 1903, the original lighthouse was replaced with the current building until it was decommissioned in 1922. Today, the lighthouse holds a small museum and gift shop. In the summer, the lantern house is open to visitors.
Construction began in 1897 to create Fort Casey, one of three forts built to protect the inner Puget Sound. However, soon after the fort was finished it became obsolete due to the use of military aircraft. Today, the old bunkers and batteries are open for exploration.
Fort Casey is conveniently located in Central Whidbey next to the Coupeville-Port Townsend ferry crossing. There are day use and overnight facilities within the state park including two camping areas.
Fort Ebey State Park
Fort Ebey State Park, which is located within Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve is 228 acres of shoreline, lakes, and forests located in Central Whidbey. The park features has 25 miles of hiking and biking trails. This lesser-known park is a great place to avoid the summer crowds of the island’s bigger parks. Camping, group camping, and picnic facilities are available.
Joseph Whidbey State Park
The Joseph Whidbey State Park runs along the north west side of the island just south of the Naval Air Station. If you’re lucky, you may be able to watch the jet’s complete their touch-and-go landings. Joseph Whidbey is one of the “sandiest” beaches on the island. On a warm day, you’ll find surfers, boaters, and swimmers on the water. Picnic shelters are available for day rentals. There are no campgrounds.
Deception Pass State Park
Deception Pass is the island’s largest and most famous state park. In fact, Deception Pass is the most visited state park in all of Washington! It attracts 2 million visitors every year.
It’s no wonder why; every corner of the park hides new surprises. The iconic Deception Pass Bridge offers sweeping views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Rosario Beach has tide pools filled with anemones. Cranberry Lake is perfect for boating and fishing. The list goes on….
Deception Pass Bridge was built in 1934 by the Public Works Administration, as part of the Great Depression era’s New Deal, to connect Whidbey Island with nearby Fidalgo Island. 20,000 motorists cross the bridge every day.
Today, Deception Pass State park encompasses 10 islands. There are 3 designated camp grounds accessible by car with restroom and RV facilities. Two additional primitive camp sites are accessible only via boat on Skagit Island and Hope Island.
Deception Pass has been featured numerous times in pop culture. Most notably, the bridge is shown in the horror movie The Ring (2002) and AMC’s television show The Killing (2011).