Whidbey Island sits in the middle of the Puget Sound just 30 miles north of Seattle. A beautiful waterfront getaway with a landscape full of lushes green grass, trees and beaches. Tucked near the northern part of the island sits Fort Casey. A historical state park and former military fortification built to protect the Puget Sound in both World Wars. Already visiting the city of Everett, Washington, only 56 minutes away from Whidbey Island, we were enticed by all the Island and the Fort have to offer. My husband, myself and our two children decided to deviate from our initial plans and instead take a drive to the island.
Driving from the Everett area, we boarded a ferry from Mukilteo, WA. It was a short and beautiful ferry ride across the Puget Sound to the Island. Driving off the ferry onto the island there was green hills as far as the eye could see. Our first stop was north to see the historical Fort Casey and the famous lighthouse, Admiralty Head Lighthouse.
As we drove towards the Fort we were surrounded by endless forests. Squinting our eyes, tucked away hidden behind the trees we could see beautifully built houses. These awe-inspiring sights caused our minds to wander towards questions of how lovely it must be to live here. Arriving at the Fort, we realized there was a second ferry to and from Port Townsend, WA where we could later explore the Olympic Peninsula. Wanting to stretch our legs, we decided to park along the side of the road and hike up the hill to the main entrance of the Fort.
The hike was a wise decision, as we stopped along the way to play in the old bunkers left behind when the Fort was an active military base. After playing in the bunkers we then headed towards the water where the batteries with 3-inch mounted guns (inactive of course) were on display to explore. Our kids enjoyed climbing about the guns and exploring the batteries.
Finally, after exploring the military side of the Fort, we headed to my favorite spot, the beach. Walking along the beach we were able to enjoy all the sights, sounds, and wildlife the beach had to offer. Some of these sights included a fort built with the wood on the beach, a tugboat crawling along the water, the Port Townsend ferry, and two whale sightings by my husband and me. Unfortunately, the kids missed the whales as they were instead enthralled with getting their feet wet and running along the beach.
After walking along the beach, we hiked up to the lighthouse where we were greeted by a tour guide. There in front of a map of the Island, the tour guide spoke about the history of Fort Casey and the importance of the Lighthouse. The tour was wonderful as it was short and sweet. The perfect tour for little kids with short attention spans. Our kids' favorite part of the tour was the neat historical artifacts to look at including the original light used in the lighthouse and a diorama of the Fort. Once the tour was done it was time to head back to the car to finish our scenic drive of the island.
In deciding to drive off the island instead of taking the ferry back we were able to explore more of the island including other beach accesses and camping spots along the way. One such famous spot we enjoyed from our drive off the island was Deception Pass. A large marine and camping park with a bridge that connects Whidbey Island and Fidalgo Island. This is a favorite spot of many visitors in the Summer months and was no exception during our visit. As we drove through, there were parked cars along the side with people walking along, taking in the amazing sites of the Pass. Normally, we would be doing the same thing as these people, but we had sleepy and hungry children in the back and felt it was best to stay in the car. Instead, we drove across the jaw-dropping high bridge of Deception Pass and saw spectacular views of part of the Puget Sound. Our drive of the island and beyond took about 40 minutes longer than the ferry but was well worth it as we were able to see most of Whidbey Island, Fidalgo Island, and Skagit County.
Although we had a good time on our visit, Whidbey Island and its surrounding areas has too much to offer for such a short time, so a longer visit is a must. We have added a camping trip to Whidbey Island and its surrounding area for next summer to continue our family's explorations.
Whidbey Island and Fort Casey offered our family a wonderful mixture of education, relaxation, exercise and a chance to enjoy the beauty of the Puget Sound and part of the Pacific Northwest. A visit to Whidbey Island and Fort Casey is a magnificent place for those looking to enjoy the outdoors with beaches, forests and a fascinating military history.
Thank you for reading and happy travels!
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