Located just north of Seattle on Puget Sound, incomparably beautiful Whidbey Island is the fourth largest island in the contiguous United States. To the north, a bridge connects it with the mainland, while Washington State ferries ply the gorgeous deep blue waters of the sound to connect the island with Port Townsend to the west and Mukilteo to the southeast. On Whidbey Island, you can hike evergreen forests, comb the wide sandy beaches, whale watch from the shore, and enjoy the ambiance of the welcoming towns from your convenient Whidbey Island vacation rental.

1. Deception Pass

On the extreme northern tip of the island, Deception Pass Bridge crosses the dangerous strait of Deception Pass and comprises the only direct connection to Whidbey Island to the mainland. Vacation rentals in the Deception Pass area provide easy access to Deception Pass State Park, the most popular park in Washington State. Within the park, a stretch of the Pacific Northwest Trail provides spectacular hiking, and the beaches offer fascinating looks at the multifaceted life within tide pools. Rent a boat at Cornet Bay, and try your hand at fishing.

2. Oak Harbor

Located a short drive south of Deception Pass in a quiet cove, Oak Harbor is the largest city on the island. Step outside your comfortable vacation rental, and peruse the arts and crafts in the historic Pioneer District downtown. Head for Windjammer Park on the waterfront, stroll the beach and have a picnic. The time is right, and you’ll hit annual festivals such as Oak Harbor Music Festival, the 4th of July Independence Day Fair, and Holland Happening.

3. West Beach

Vacation rentals in the West Beach section of Whidbey Island are in proximity to one of the most spectacular ocean views in the area. Although West Beach County Park has a cozy beach that is suitable for swimming on warm days, its main attraction is a spectacular viewpoint from which you can see seals, otters, porpoises and gray whales.

4. San de Fuca and Penn Cove Park

Situated on the north shore of Penn Cove, vacation rentals at San de Fuca and Penn Grove Park have convenient access to recreational shellfishing at nearby public clam and oyster beaches. Take a kayak out on the cove for some bird watching, as Penn Cove is an important haven for aquatic birds.

5. Coupeville

Vacation rentals in Coupeville are on the south shore of beautiful Penn Cove in the midst of Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve. The Inland County Historical Society Museum offers a fascinating jumping off point from which to explore the history of the area. Stroll or cycle the trail from Rhododendron Park to the nearby bluff. Go wading, whale watching, or scuba diving. As you hike, watch for local fauna such as foxes, rabbits, and black-tail deer. Stroll the beach, and enjoy a spectacular view of the Olympic Mountains at nearby Fort Ebey State Park.

6. Keystone

Situated just a few miles from Keystone Ferry Landing, which connects Whidbey Island with Port Townsend to the west, vacation rentals at Keystone lie near two fascinating local parks. Fort Casey State Park offers a look at coastal fortifications from the 19th century as well as the deactivated Admiralty Head lighthouse. The park also comprises a portion of the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail. For the adventurous, the Fort Casey Underwater State Park provides scuba divers an opportunity to explore a kelp forest and view an amazing array of marine wildlife.

7. Greenbank

Vacation rentals at Greenbank lie on the eastern shore of Whidbey Island. The area used to be home to the world’s largest loganberry farm, but Greenbank Farm is now an arts and events center with beautiful trails ideal for bird watching. Just a few miles away is South Whidbey State Park, which includes tidelands, old growth forest and beautiful views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound.

8. Langley

Situated on the southeast end of Whidbey Island, Langley overlooks a portion of Puget Sound called the Saratoga Passage. From your vacation rental in Langley, enjoy the ambiance of a small town devoted to arts, crafts, and fine dining. The Whidbey Island Center for the Arts bases in Langley and the town has numerous art galleries and wine tasting rooms. Head for the marina and rent a kayak or take part in a whale watching tour. Enjoy its frequent festivals, which include the Island Shakespeare Festival, Whidbey Island Fair, and Choochokam Arts Festival.

9. Freeland

Freeland derives its name from its origins as a socialist commune, although now it is a thriving commercial center on south Whidbey Island. Vacation rentals in Freeland have access to several local waterfront state parks. Double Bluff State Park includes a stretch of beach where you can stroll and look for shells and driftwood. Freeland Park is smaller but has picnic tables, a boat launch and a spot where you can dig for clams.

10. Bayview

Vacation rentals at Bayview on Whidbey Island lie just south of Langley and just west of Clinton. Play a round of golf at the Useless Bay Golf and Country Club. At the nearby Earth Sanctuary Nature Reserve, walk the forest trails and observe otters, beavers and numerous species of birds. Fish for bass and perch at Lone Lake County Park.

11. Clinton

The town of Clinton on the southeast end of Whidbey Island has the ferry terminal that connects the island with Mukilteo and the freeway to Seattle. Near your vacation rental are plentiful opportunities for hiking, cycling, beachcombing and boating. Clinton is renowned for its fine restaurants and award-winning wineries.

12. Maxwelton

Vacation rentals at Maxwelton lie at the far southwestern end of Whidbey Island. Maxwelton Beach Park has one of the island’s best beaches, where you can comb for stones and shells, swim, sunbathe, picnic, and watch for wildlife.