Island Hopping: Hidden Gems on Washington's Whidbey and Camano Islands

May 17, 2022

Whidbey island

Part 1 South Whidbey: Clinton to Langley to Greenbank

We left our home in Redmond, Washington, and after just a 90-minute drive (which included an enjoyable ferry ride), we arrived at Possession Beach Waterfront Park near the town of Clinton on Whidbey Island. The waterfront park has a great place to launch our kayak, so we quickly inflated it and got out onto the water! It was a beautiful paddle, shared with the shy but still very curious seals that kept popping out of the water to say hello. As with all of the boat ramps we visited on this trip – this is also a great place for stand-up paddleboards and other small craft.

 Seals at Possession Beach Waterfront Park

Possession Beach Waterfront Park is not to be confused with Possession Point State Park, which is nearby and has a kayak launch from the camping area. The State Park is also where you will find the Dorothy Cleveland Trail, a challenging 3 miles with lots of elevation. Here is some good information about marine weather and tides

 Crab Benedict

After an invigorating paddle, you might be in search of some food! Nearby Langley has a lot to offer. If you are looking for breakfast, try The Braeburn, which has many great options, or the pizza at Village Pizzeria is also a great choice. 

While in Langley, you can launch your own kayak or SUP from the Port of South Whidbey. You can also rent a kayak or board from Whidbey Island Kayaking. They also offer guided tours and rental deliveries anywhere on the island south of Greenbank.

 Greenbank Farm on Whidbey Island

Ready for something a bit different? Visit Greenbank Farm, which is 20 minutes northwest of Langley. The historic farmland was purchased by the Port of Coupeville in 1997 and has been developed to be an amazing rural community center. You can stretch your legs on the trails that wind through 500 acres of farmland and forest, with stunning views of Puget Sound and the surrounding mountain ranges. Part of the area is an off-leash dog park – so your pooch gets to stretch her legs too!

Along with the community pea patches, the farm is home to an immense solar panel installation known as the Greenbank Community Solar Garden. There are also a number of shops, galleries, and little cafes. The Greenbank Farm Wine Shop features wine from local wineries plus fruit wine, hard ciders, and gifts. 

Reuben sandwich

We did not get to sample any of the food offerings at Greenbank Farm because we had just had lunch at the Greenbank Pantry and Deli. As we waited in line at this very popular lunch stop, we heard the locals talk about how this deli has the best sandwiches on the island and, I would imagine, the biggest sandwiches on this or most other islands! In his quest for the world’s best Rueben, Michael thinks he may have found it. The pastrami was lean and piled high. He especially liked the special dressing on the sandwich. And the toasted rye was hardy enough to hold it all together. I had the TBA: turkey, bacon, avocado with mayo, tomatoes, and lettuce. It was also delicious – and equally piled high. I actually needed to disassemble it a bit in order to get it into my mouth!

 Whidbey Island

After that big lunch and a stroll through Greenbank Farms, we still felt the need to walk a bit more, so we headed to Meerkerk Gardens. With 10 acres of display gardens and another 43 acres of woodlands, there is plenty of room to explore. The gardens feature a stunning assortment of different species and hybrid rhododendrons, along with many trees, woodland flowers, and shrubs. The garden is open  from 9am – 4pm every day. The honor system asks for a $5 donation. They also offer tours and special events. Are you looking to stock your own garden or yard? The specialty nursery is open on weekends from 10 am – 3 pm.  

Check out part 2 for more of what central and northern Whidbey has to offer. Check out part 3

Editorial disclosure: lodging, beverages, and food generously provided.