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Island exploration

Spend the remainder of summer exploring Whidbey Island

Stop by Sweet Mona’s Chocolates in Langley on Whidbey Island. Photo credit: Ranger staff

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Located two hours from JBLM on the Puget Sound is Whidbey Island, a must visit during your time stationed in Washington. Spanning 55 miles, this island provides endless opportunities for exploration, sightseeing and of course, eating.

If you're the exploring type, Whidbey has multiple state parks, chalked full of exploration. Starting with Washington's most popular state park, Deception Pass. Spreading over 3,854 acres with a mix of both saltwater and freshwater shoreline, this park is lined with coves, cliffs and a high bridge connecting the two portions of the park. Available activities include mountain biking, sailboarding and white-water kayaking. Another bonus during the summer months is a designated swimming area at Cranberry Lake with an expansive shoreline to relax on. It's important to note that Deception Pass is Washington's most popular state park, so it can be crowded, especially during the summer months. 

Traveling 18 miles down the road to Coupeville is Fort Ebey State Park, another state park you will want to stop at. Used as a coastal defense fort during the second World War, today there remains a battery dug into the cliff that can be explored. Beyond the battery there are 25 miles of mixed use biking and walking trails.

Another state park we would recommend on the island is Fort Casey. Used to defend the entrance of the Puget Sound, this was a fully equipped fort used for training up until the 1940's. Today visitors can explore the fort and the various different passages and gun batteries. Also located in the park is the Admiralty Lighthouse, built in 1903. Fort Casey is built above the Puget Sound, so a short walk down will have you walking along the 10,810 feet of saltwater shoreline. All state parks on the island require a day fee to be paid, or the best deal would be getting a Discover Pass.

After exploring the local state parks we're guessing you and your family will be hungry. And of course no trip to Whidbey would be complete without getting fresh seafood. There are tons of great options to choose from on the island, but one of our favorites is located in the town of Langley. Nestled into the adorable seaside town is Saltwater Fish House and Oyster Bar. And when we say you can't go wrong with the Halibut Fish and Chips, we truly mean it. Perfectly crisp and flavorful and served with fries. Other menu options that we highly recommend are the clam chowder, which is wonderfully thick and flavorful, and served with a delicious sourdough roll. You'll definitely want to complete your dining experience with an order of the oysters. After you enjoy a delicious meal, Langley is full of quaint shops to explore, and a beach that is perfect for soaking in the views of the Puget Sound.

After you soak in the beach, and on your way off the island, you will definitely want to stop in Freeland at the Whidbey Island Ice Cream Co. With flavors like banana cream pie, peanut butter chocolate chunk, and Skagit Triple Berry, you can't go wrong with any scoop (or scoops) you choose. 

Other towns to explore before leaving the island are Oak Harbor and Coupeville. 

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