Growing up in a landlocked state, I find beaches mesmerizing, especially rocky ones with driftwood. I remember feeling like a little kid the first time I experienced a rocky beach at low tide. I would run from rock to rock flipping them over to see what I could find underneath. Little crabs would scurry about and clams would shoot seawater up into the air. I also love bringing a book to the beach to read while hearing the sound of the crashing waves and birds looking for a meal.
Many family memories have been made making sandcastles, wading in the water, building forts out of driftwood, and playing Frisbee. A number of these beach memories have been made on Whidbey Island, a place I have visited often while living in the Seattle area. Here are the 10 best beaches on or near Whidbey Island, WA
Fort Ebey State Park – Coupeville
You will need a Discover Pass or pay a daily use rate to park in the lot at Fort Ebey State Park, or find nearby parking along the road or at the cemetery and walk-in. Visitors to Fort Ebey State Park can choose to go straight to the beach or hike up to the bluff. The views from both the bluff and the beach are gorgeous. The sunsets here cannot be beaten. Look out into the water to look for boats passing by or whales swimming in the water.
Children especially love climbing on the driftwood or making structures with the logs. There is plenty of shade and sun, depending on what you need when you visit. Bring a picnic, some sand tools, and a ball or Frisbee and enjoy a fun day at the beach. This park always takes me back in time and makes me feel like an explorer. The open fields, beaches, and views of the water make me feel at ease and peaceful.
Double Bluff Beach – Freeland
My husband enjoys coming to the waters near Double Bluff Beach to fish for pink salmon in the late summer. Try to catch these strong and sprightly creatures from the beach or out in a boat. This beach also has a two-mile-long stretch of saltwater beach designated as an off-leash dog area. Within the off-leash area is a grassy area for picnicking, restrooms, benches, poop bags, a rinse station, and a dog-height drinking fountain. Note that the area right by the parking lot is reserved for those who would like to enjoy the beach without off-leash dogs.
Make sure that your dog is leashed until you reach the boundary, which is a windsock on a flagpole. Parking is limited, so try to get there early if you can to get a spot. The water stays shallow pretty far out if you feel brave enough to swim in the cold Puget Sound water.
Dugualla State Park- Oak Harbor
This is another state park that requires a Discover Pass or a day-use pass. It is a quiet park that has more than a mile of shoreline as well as six trails to explore. Keep in mind that it is a steep climb to get back up after visiting the beach and that the beach can get completely submerged at high tide. Check the tide tables before going if you hope to enjoy the beach. The beach and trails here are a great place to look for wildlife. Tread quietly and watch for owls and blue herons.
Look through the driftwood, rocks, grass, and sand for frogs, clams, crabs, and other signs of life. This beach can get loud at times with planes from the naval base flying over, but it is definitely a great option if you want to find a place that is not overrun with people. It is also a bit rustic with no restrooms.
Rosario Beach – Fidalgo Island
Rosario Beach is not on Whidbey Island, but it is very close. It is located on the edge of Deception Pass State Park, which spans areas on Whidbey Island and Fidalgo Island. The beach consists of small rocks and agate, no sand. Walkout onto Rosario Head, a peninsula point that juts out into the water to look out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Enjoy the view of the islands and watch for whales and other sea creatures swimming by. There is also a dock, tide pools, and many inlets to explore and swim in during the summer. There are many hiking trails, picnic tables, clean restrooms, a playground, and a large lawn area great for playing games.
North Beach – Oak Harbor
Deception Pass State Park has several gorgeous beaches and North Beach is one of them. This beach is especially neat because it offers one of the best views of the iconic bridge at Deception Pass State Park. It is a short hike to get down to the beach from the lot up above. If you like to walk around feeling sand between your toes, this is a great option, as this is one of the beaches in the area that has the most sand.
If the tide is low, you can even walk around over to West Beach. Another awesome thing about this beach is that it has an amphitheater. There is a free summer concert series that happens here. Make amazing summer memories spending time on the beach while listening to music and watching the sun go down.
West Beach – Oak Harbor
West Beach is also in Deception Pass State Park, near Cranberry Lake. This beach is also known for being one of the most sandy in the area. Bring a picnic, build a sandcastle, wade in the water, or just enjoy the views while digging your toes into the warmth of the sand.
There are many trailheads near this beach as well as camping areas and clean restrooms. As mentioned above, when the tide is low you can start at West Beach and walk over to North Beach by the bridge, or the other way around. West Beach is a terrific spot to watch for whales, to view a gorgeous sunset, and to have a romantic walk.
Maxwelton Beach/Dave Mackie Park – Clinton
This public park is free to visit and offers many amenities. Children can have a great time running around and climbing on the playground and walking on and over the sea of driftwood. There are picnic shelters and barbecue grills, a ball field, and restrooms with showers.
This park is generally not very busy, but there are many vacation homes in the area, which make it busier during the summer. The beach faces west and is a grand place to view the Olympic Mountains when the sky is clear. Visit the park on the Fourth of July to experience the Maxwelton Independence Day Parade, which is always a great time for the whole family.
Joseph Whidbey State Park – Oak Harbor
The beach at Joseph Whidbey State Park is enchanting. It faces west and has views of Victoria, B.C., the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Lopez Island. There is no camping at this park and it does require a Discover Pass or day-use pass. As with all westward-facing beaches on Whidbey Island, the sunsets are breathtaking and this is also a remarkable place to watch storms.
Roam the beach, wade in the water, pack a picnic and dig in the sand. In addition to the beach, this park offers a trail system through the wetlands, forests, and fields, making this another prime location to watch for wildlife.
Monroe Landing (Penn Cove Beach Access) – Oak Harbor
This beach is officially called Penn Cove Beach access point, but to those who live there, it is called Monroe Landing. This is because it is located off of Monroe Landing road. This beach is a small, private neighborhood beach. It is not usually busy, as not many people know about it.
There is a small sandy beach here that is also a small bay, which makes it a prime place to swim when it is warm enough or to launch a kayak. Skip stones, bring a book to read while sitting on the driftwood and let the kids run and play to their heart’s content.
Fort Casey State Park – Coupeville
Fort Casey State Park has so much to offer, including 10,810 feet of saltwater shoreline. It is my favorite place to visit on Whidbey Island. This state park requires a Discover Pass or a day-use pass, as does all others on the island. Explore the old military buildings and weaponry, fly kites or play football in the open field, camp near the water, and walk down and explore the beach.
Watch birds and seals, look for shells and imagine what it would be like to be a soldier stationed here a hundred years ago. Watch the ferry come and go and look across the water to catch a glimpse of the Olympic Peninsula.
Marie lived in the Seattle area for nearly 10 years and has many fond memories of visiting Whidbey Island. The beach is something that Marie misses most and she always tries to get there whenever she goes back to the Seattle area to visit friends and family.