Quote of the Month:

“It was November--the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds,

deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines." - L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Island County Attractions

Parent Category: Washington Counties
Created: 27 May 2014

Population: 78,801

Area: 517 square miles

County Seat: Coupeville

OVERVIEW

Island County consists of two large islands (Whidbey Island and Camano Island) and of seven smaller islands. Smaller islands include Baby, Ben Ure, Deception, Kalamut, Minor, Smith and Strawberry islands. The population of the county is about 78,000 people. Its’ seat is the city of Coupeville. The largest city is Oak Harbor.

It should be mentioned that Island County was created out of Thurson County in 1852, it is also considered to be the 8-th oldest in the state, but the second smallest by landmass. It is located to the west of Snohomish and Skagit Counties.

Whidbey and Camano Islands are two settled islands that are considered to be great destinations for holidays. Whidbey Island is the fifth longest in U.S. and has 148 miles of shoreline, Camano Island is 16 miles long and has only 52 miles of shoreline.

HISTORY

European settlements began to appear here in the early 1850’s in the Penn Cove-Coupeville area. With the development of settlements, agriculture began to develop. Wheat, oats and potatoes were main cultivated crops in this region. Sheep ranching played also an important role in the economy of the area.

In 1941, the U.S. Navy started the development and construction of an airbase that became Oak Harbor. Even nowadays, NASWI plays one of the most significant roles in the economy of the county. Lots of highly skilled workers moved to Whidbey Island for work with NASWI.

It should be mentioned that the rich history of the region is preserved by Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve.

COUNTY SEAT

Coupeville is the county seat of Island County in Washington State. Its’ population is about 2,000 people. The town was founded in 1852 by Captain Thomas Coupe, it is considered to be the second oldest town in Washington. Residents of Coupeville try to save their history by preserving old houses and architectural landmarks. The town is also located in Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve, which include 22 square miles of beautiful farmlands, Fort Ebey State Park, well-maintained trails, parks, beaches and 91 nationally registered historic landmarks.

ATTRACTIONS

Fort Ebey State Park

Fort Ebey State Park is a 645-acre camping park on Whidbey Island. This fort was originally built for defense during World War II. This place provides perfect panoramic views of the Puget Sound and its’ shoreline, the Olympic Mountains and many other natural masterpieces.

This park provides wonderful opportunities for surfing, paragliding, as well as for fishing, hiking and biking. Keep in mind that visitors of the park have the opportunity to explore real bunkers built for the original military fort in 1942.

Whale watching in the Puget Sound

There are numerous opportunities to observe the orcas from the long shoreline of Whidbey Island, the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsulas, and the inland waters of Puget Sound. It is recommended observing the whales from the shore, or watching for them while commuting on Washington State Ferries.

The Gray Whales Miracle Migration takes place each spring. These whales usually travel over 10,000 miles from the Baja Peninsula to the Bering Sea. These gray whales come to Whidbey and Camano Islands to rebuild their fat stores, rest and gain energy for the last part of their journey.

Cama Beach State Park

Cama Beach State Park is a 433-acre waterfront park, which offers its’ visitors to return back in time. Here you will find cedar houses and bungalows that are situated on the shore. These houses have been renovated and all the modern equipment has been added. Nowadays, they can be used all the year round. Cama Beach provides perfect romantic sunsets, 15 miles of well-maintained trails, biking opportunities, boating and crabbing opportunities, as well as diving, swimming and fishing.

Admiralty Head Lighthouse

The Admiralty Head Lighthouse is located in Fort Casey State Park neat the town of Coupeville. It was the first lighthouse in the region that shined constantly the whole night.

It should be said that the lighthouse that is visited today is not the original one. The original one was built a quarter mile south at the true geographic point. The original lighthouse was built in 1860, but 40 years later the fort was built behind the lighthouse. So the original lighthouse blocked the guns of Fort Casey, that’s why it was decided to move it. It such a way, a new lighthouse appeared here.

Ebey's Landing National Historic Reserve

Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve is a very unique place that preserves a rural community. This place opens wonderful opportunities to explore and to learn more about the history and the development of the region, as well as it opens numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation. This Reserve was founded in 1978 to preserve the uniqueness of rural Whidbey Island. 85% of the land is in private hands with more than 400 historic buildings, miles of hiking trails, shorelines and parks.
 

Information: Marina Petrova

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