The Outdoors Island

The Outdoors Island

WhaleTailIn spring, Whidbey Islanders’ thoughts all turn in one direction.


The alfresco terraces outside Langley’s restaurants, some of them overlooking the alluring blue ribbon of Saratoga Passage, begin to fill up.

Gardening classes and nursery sales bloom. (Because we’re an island, some of these are a little unusual. Coming up, for example, is a three-day oyster gardening workshop.)

The island’s hiking trails, hundreds of miles of paths weaving through forest and breaking out onto bluffs overlooking the ocean, start to feel a little less lonely. Though Whidbey hiking rarely seems crowded. Nor hazardous: no bears or cougars on this island.

Weekend bicyclists fan out onto the byways. For cycling, there’s no better place than Whidbey in the whole Puget Sound region. Off the island’s one highway, there’s little motorized traffic. The hills are gentle and not very large. (The highest point on Whidbey Island is 520 feet above sea level.) And the scenery never quits.

And there’s the water, of course. This time every year Whidbey Islanders are getting their fishing skiffs, kayaks, sailboats and motor cruisers ready for spring and summer duty. Whale watching cruises depart from the Langley marina every morning now through early May. And Whidbey Island is one of the top scuba diving destinations in Puget Sound. The nutrient-rich water around the island nourishes a great variety of sea life.

You don’t have to be a dedicated gardener, hiker, bicyclist, sailor, or diver to enjoy Whidbey Island’s outdoors environment. We know islanders who move their home office work out to their porches in spring and camp there till fall. (“Moving” is pretty easy when today’s “office” consists of a laptop computer and a cell phone.) And The Highlands’ homes all feature classic front porches, as suited for working as they are for neighborly visiting and loafing.

Somehow, “work” doesn’t seem so onerous when you’re surrounded by so much natural beauty. You’re not wishing you were somewhere else. You’re already there, in the best place you could imagine.

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