Once or twice a month, we get a kid-free day together that we spend adventuring on Whidbey Island where we live. For the past year, when we only have about a half a day (usually due to football games on Sundays) this is how we enjoy spending it.
A quick, fairly easy and breath-taking hike to start any day leaves me feeling relaxed and at peace after a stressful week. One of our very favorite hikes to meet these requirements is Ebey’s Landing (in our family, “the bluff hike”). When we clock it, it is roughly a 2 hour, just under 5 mile round trip walk. Personally, I’d recommend getting there first thing in the morning to avoid other people, but I’ve done this hike at all times of the day and it is never too crowded. The only incline is at the beginning as you walk along the prairie up the bluff. You can face one direction and see Mount Baker and the Cascades and then turn a bit right to see Mount Rainier and then turn full around and see the Olympic Peninsula. Then it flattens out as you walk along the bluff line right along the trees. There is a gorgeous view out over the bluff of the water and shore below along the whole hike. Eventually you reach the peak of the bluff and follow quick switchbacks (.3 mile) down the side to the beach. Then you leisurely walk the shore back to the parking lot. Keep your eyes peeled, we’ve seen eagles/hawks, seals, otters, and even a washed up octopus from the beach.
Quick notes: The hike is warm but it can be chilly on the beach, dress in layers. Expect sand in your shoes, I prefer to walk barefoot on the beach because of it. The parking lot requires a Discover Pass but if you park along the road next to the lot, you don’t need one. This is not a beach that I suggest sitting on for a picnic or to relax, there are so many sand-fleas jumping around you that it is hard to enjoy sitting there.
Now that you’ve worked up a hunger, jump in the car and head over to downtown Coupeville just across Hwy 20. There are several great places in the waterfront town, but after much experimenting, our go-to place for lunch is Christopher’s. We love food around here, in particular, simple food done really well. The people at Christopher’s have true passion for food in my opinion. Every detail of every meal is thought through to the fullest. We’ve tried several things on the menu and haven’t found a thing we don’t like, but we become creatures of habit and our tried-and-true favorites are the Turkey and Havarti Sandwich with a Caesar Salad and the Penn Cove Mussels and Linguine.
All through the Seattle area you’ll see “Penn Cove Mussels” on any restaurant that features local ingredients, but few know that those mussels are “grown” right here off Whidbey Island. After lunch, you could easily have an incredible dessert at Christopher’s, but we can’t deny ourselves our favorite little ice-cream shop just around the corner: Kapaws Iskreme. Ordering a single will get you a homemade waffle cone (seriously worth the drive down there for alone) along with 3 scoops of any different flavor you want. Don’t let the line out the door deter you, they are quick in there and serve everyone in groups, and it is worth the wait!
Take your ice cream across the street to walk the pier. On the walk out, there are signs over the right side that explain the Penn Cove Mussel farm you can see to the left of you. There are cute little shops and a coffee house at the end of the pier, but the attraction for us is the wildlife. We’ve never been down there and not seen at least one seal. We watch the boats come in and out, the eagles sitting on the shoreline, and seagulls and pigeons fight over food.
For us, this is our perfect little half-day adventure on Whidbey Island. If you only have a half-day free on the island, what do you get out and do?