Discover the Best Places to Whale Watch
When it comes to natural wonders, Whidbey Island is unbelievably blessed. With expansive undeveloped areas, nine state parks, and views that take your breath away, it’s hard to imagine it could get any better.
But it does!
In addition to our incredible outdoor opportunities for explorers, we are one of the few places in the world where land-dwellers have an opportunity to get a glimpse of some spectacular mammals of the sea. Puget Sound’s cold and nutrient-rich water makes it the perfect place for whales to roam. Although you could spend the money to board a whale-watching boat and find the mammals out on the water, boats aren’t always required when you’re on Whidbey.
Below are the top 5 places to see whales from land on Whidbey!
At the west-most point of Oak Harbor lies a stretch of beach beloved by wanderers and sea life alike. With wide-open views and miles of ocean just off the shore, it’s not hard to see why West Beach is one of the best places to see whales near Whidbey.
The nutrient-rich water of Penn Cove cultivates a thriving ecosystem for small and large sea life. It’s this sea life in the form of ghost shrimp and fat seals that attracts the attention of gray whales and transient Orca alike. It’s not uncommon for the residents of Penn Cove to see a gray whale’s tail break the surface of the water as they dig in the mudflats for shrimp or a full-on chase between a stealthy Orca and a seal.
What this public beach lacks in amenities it makes up for with view and privacy. On a sunny day, beach-goers have the opportunity to see Camano Island sitting peacefully across the Saratoga Passage and – if they come at just the right time – maybe even a whale!
Just north of this charming seaside community is a county park boasting nothing more than public access to the Lagoon Point community beach. Luckily access to the beach is really all you need to catch a glimpse of traveling orcas or scavenging grey whales.
Hidden below the streets of downtown Langley is a quaint little park with beautiful art, well-maintained landscaping, and a spectacular view of the Saratoga Passage. Onlookers often have the wonderful treat of seeing a whale pass or even watch them feed in the massive ghost shrimp beds. If you do, don’t forget to ring the Whale Bell!
Bonus: Your own back porch?
Can you say “waterfront property”? Yes, please! Our beautiful island has many waterfront homes and properties with beautiful views of Puget Sound. How amazing would it be to sip coffee on your own patio while enjoying pods of orca passing by or gray whales feeding on the beach right in front of you? If this sounds like your dream, give us a call today!
Now, remember, if you do see a whale you should report it to the Orca Network! Reporting sightings to the Orca Network helps with scientific efforts and helps other whale watchers like yourself!
If you liked this, you might also like:
The adventures available on Whidbey never quite seem to end. Between wondrous hikes, quaint local shops, and astounding historical buildings there never seems to be an end to what this island has to offer. You might just start to believe Whidbey Island is perfect and we can’t say we disagree.
Among Whidbey’s countless opportunities is one for the more athletic individuals – cycling.
Whidbey Island is FILLED with amazing roads and trails perfect for individuals whose preferred method of transportation is two wheels. The centralized location of highway 20 and 525 draws motorized vehicles away from roads near the water, making them ideal for cyclers! Enjoy breathtaking views of the sound while flying down the rolling hills of the island or testing your resolve while going up them.
In fact, cycling is so popular that the island has its own club. The Whidbey Island Bicycle Club was formed in 2010 to “support, promote and educate about cycling on beautiful Whidbey Island.” Through the years this group has teamed together with other island organizations providing resources to island cyclists (like this amazing Whidbey Island Bike Map!) including some pretty great cycling events. The best place to find their events is through their Facebook page.
Each summer cyclists come from all over Puget Sound to ride the Tour de Whidbey (on August 17th this year). With four different routes to choose from, this beloved island tradition is perfect for all cyclists regardless of their skill level. New riders can enjoy the short 10-mile ride circling Crocket Lake, while experienced riders with a passion for pushing the limits can test their skills with the POWER route that covers the entire perimeter of the island. To bring this event full cycle, all proceeds benefit Whidbey Health Medical Center.
Ready to gear up for your own cycling adventure and not sure where to start? We’ve talked to our resident cycle enthusiast and got the 411 on where to start:
Visit Skagit Cycle
Located in downtown Oak Harbor on Pioneer, Skagit Cycle is a blessing to all Whidbey Island cyclists. The employees are knowledgeable and eager to help. Simply spend a few minutes with any sales associate and you will soon be out the door with exactly what you need to get your journey started. Check them out here.
A dangerous mistake made by one too many riders is not taking proper precautions. Biking without a helmet or proper attire is a large risk that can cost your life. Make sure when to wear a helmet properly fitted to your head, clothes that are bright and easy to spot, and include proper reflectors/lights on your bike if you are going to be riding at night.
Try Crockett Lake
Crockett Lake (near the Coupeville ferry and Fort Casey) is a great starting point for any new cyclist. The low traffic roads and relatively flat area provide a ride that eases newcomers into the activity while still enjoying some spectacular island views. When you’re done grab an ice cream or meal at Callen’s Restaurant across from the ferry terminal.
So, get out there! You’re sure to have a wheel good time.
You Might Also Like:
Geocaching on Whidbey Island
Why is Whidbey Island the Perfect Place?
It is no secret that Whidbey Island is an astonishingly beautiful place. It’s the kind of atmosphere that draws you outside to enjoy the many state parks and breathtaking beaches. Countless trails dot the landscape all across the island. These trails and parks are what make Whidbey Island the perfect place for one very special activity: geocaching.
View this post on Instagram
What is Geocaching?
Geocaching is a hobby that has been around for almost twenty years, following the significant improvements on the global positioning system. The concept of the game is simple; go to a location indicated on your app/GPS, find the hidden treasure, re-hide and repeat. Geocaching’s simple, yet successful, concept attracts millions from across the globe to get outside and participate. On Whidbey Island alone there are over 300 caches!
View this post on Instagram
From the Geocachers:
We asked a few Geocachers about the draw to the hobby and they gave us a wealth of knowledge.
Sandra, a long term Geocacher, expressed “so many activities today [are] related to being indoors and sedentary in nature,” but she believes breaking that trend is what brings people to the hobby.
“Geocaching [is] directly related to being outside, the benefits are exercising your brain and your body! I’ve also been introduced to wonderful like-minded people who enjoy adventures.”
Bill, a fellow Geocacher, echoes every word of Sandra’s beliefs in the benefits of Geocaching. Asked why he started he simply said, “it was a way to get out!” As a retired man Bill is grateful to have geocaching for a hobby. Its something that keeps him active, helps him meet new people and discover new places.
So how easy is it to get into Geocaching?
Step 1: Download the App
This is the easiest part! Both iTunes and Google Play offer Geocaching as a phone app. All you need to do is search for it and download.
Step 2: Set Up a Profile
Setting up a profile allows you to save those caches you have already found and will start to develop statistics after you’ve been participating for a while.
Step 3: Start Finding Caches!
The app will immediately give you directions to the caches nearest you. You will follow it to the location and after that you are mostly left to find the treasure.
We Gave it a Try:
We decided to give it a try ourselves and it was great! We discovered there was a geocache right next to our Coupeville office. When we got a little lost and confused, we found out there was a helpful hint to guide the way. After a little snooping we found a tiny pill box with the visitor log!
Overall it was a pretty great experience and we can’t believe there are SO MANY more caches to find and places to discover on Whidbey Island! Sandra stated it best, “Whidbey Island is a magical place to live and geocache in… I loved discovering the “Mother of All Erratics” in the Saratoga Woods near Langley, (as well as) new trails and Dugualla State Park on North Whidbey, and secret places in Deception Pass State Park. We have lived on Whidbey almost 38 years and all of those places and more were discovered through geocaching!”
Go get out there and explore!
You Might Also Like: