You are contemplating or have definitely decided to move to Whidbey Island. What’s next? Where to start?
The first place to start is housing! Are you going to rent or buy a home? I have a lot of clients that rent for several months to a year. This gives themselves time to decide exactly where they want to live on the island and then buy. Whidbey Island is definitely varied from the north to the south.
Whidbey Island is in Puget Sound, north of Seattle, Washington. The island’s rugged terrain spans beaches, hills and farmland. On its northwest tip, Deception Pass State Park offers clifftop views, forest trails and freshwater lakes. To the south, Fort Casey Historical State Park is home to a lighthouse and gun battery. The coastal towns of Oak Harbor, Coupeville and Langley have boutiques, cafes and galleries. Therefore these details make it imperative that the individual have a good feel for the island and it’s towns.
Whidbey Island is divided economically into two different regions: the northern end of the island (encompassing Oak Harbor and Whidbey Island Naval Air Station), and the remainder of the island (encompassing Coupeville, Greenbank, Freeland, Langley, Clinton and the smaller communities in-between).
The economy of the northern end of Whidbey Island is strongly influenced by the presence of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station near Oak Harbor (N.A.S. Whidbey). N.A.S. Whidbey is Oak Harbor’s largest employer; thus, Oak Harbor has a predominantly service-based economy and several national chain stores have been attracted to the Oak Harbor area.
The economy of Whidbey Island south of Oak Harbor relies heavily on tourism, small-scale agriculture, and the arts.
Tourism is especially important for both Whidbey and Camano Islands. On Whidbey, tourists find a wide range of amenities in the towns of Oak Harbor, Coupeville, Freeland and Langley. Coupeville’s Penn Cove Mussel Farm exports large quantities of its highly renowned Penn Cove Mussels. This aquaculture facility, along with a number of small farms, reflects the rural agricultural nature of most of central Whidbey Island. Many of these small farms host farm stands onsite, where customers may buy produce, flowers, meat, eggs and other locally raised products directly from the farmers.[22
Often referred to as Puget Sound’s Largest Artist’s Colony. Whidbey is home to numerous working artists, writers, and performers. These include many well-known painters, sculptors, glass artists, wood workers, metal workers, mixed media artists, photographers, authors, poets, actors, and musicians.
In addition to being a haven for artists, the southern end of Whidbey Island also serves as a minor bedroom community for the nearby cities of Everett, where the Boeing Everett Factory is located, and Seattle. Commuters to and from those areas use the Washington State Ferries system’s run between Clinton and Mukilteo.
Not only does the location play a big part in amenities but the weather on the island varies greatly from the north to the south.
Whidbey Island lies partially in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountain Range to the west, and has a variety of climate zones. This can be observed by rainfall amounts – wettest in the south with average rainfall of 36 inches (910 mm), driest in the central district of Coupeville with average rainfall of 20 to 22 inches (510 to 560 mm), and turning moister again farther north with average rainfall of 32 inches (810 mm). Microclimates abound, determined by proximity to water, elevation and prevailing winds.
So if you are trying to escape a little bit of the rainy Pacific Northwest Oak Harbor to Coupeville might be the perfect place for you.