In Island County
It’s easy enough to reach Whidbey Island by vehicle through Anacortes across the Deception Pass Bridge on State Route 20, though many people prefer the romance of a ferry ride and the mountain and saltwater vistas as the boat threads its way among the islands.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, 12 miles south of downtown Seattle is the main arrival point for air travelers, and the USO Northwest’s SeaTac Center there provides military members and their families with a nursery, sleeping facilities, showers, hot food and snacks, free Wi-Fi, computers and internet access, a separate family-friendly room, comprehensive travel information and assistance, temporary luggage storage and a lounge that includes five big-screen TVs and a library. It’s on the airport mezzanine level outside security above the Southwest Airlines ticketing counter and open 24/7. For more information, go to www.usopsa.org or call 206-246-1908.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SeaTac)
17801 International Blvd.
Seattle, WA 98158
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island is a little under 110 miles northwest of Seattle’s SeaTac International Airport, or about 2 hours and 45 minutes away. SeaTac is the largest airport in the Pacific Northwest; with 42,340,537 passengers, 2015 was a record-setter, but 2016 projects even higher numbers. Major domestic air carriers include Alaska, Delta, American, United and Southwest airlines, but an array of international carriers also cycle through the airport, among them KLM, Air France, Alitalia, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Icelandair, Air Canada, Aeromexico, Air New Zealand, Qantas, Emirates, Korean Air, Cathay Pacific, China Southern and JAL.
The Main Terminal is linked to two satellite terminals, North Terminal (N Gates) and South Terminal (S Gates), by an underground train loop (North Train Loop and South Train Loop).
All 13 car rental agencies that operate at SeaTac Airport are at a separate rental car facility. Dedicated shuttle buses collect rental car customers from two pick-up areas outside baggage claim at the north and south ends of the main terminal 24/7.
Light rail service arrives and departs from the SeaTac/Airport Station, connected to the fourth floor of the airport parking garage. Rail service extends from the airport to downtown Seattle and the University of Washington.
The King County Metro Bus system and Sound Transit regional express buses also provide service to and from the airport.
Only Yellow Cab offers taxis at SeaTac Airport, and cabs are always waiting on the third floor of the parking garage. Call 206-622-6500.
Courtesy buses for area accommodations and off-site parking lots collect and drop off passengers on the third floor of the parking garage at Islands 1 and 3.
Whidbey Air Park
5302 S. Crawford Road
Langley, WA 98260
A.J. Eisenberg Airport
1140 N. Monroe Landing Road
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
Whidbey Island has two privately owned, public use airports, Whidbey Air Park 2 miles southwest of Langley, and A.J. Eisenberg Airport three miles southwest of Oak Harbor. Whidbey Air Park has a 2,470-foot asphalt runway, and tiedowns are available; A.J. Eisenberg’s asphalt runway is 3,265 feet long, with tiedowns, fuel and minor airframe and powerplant services.
Washington State Ferries
2901 Third Ave., Suite 500
Seattle, WA 98121
From Mukilteo, north of Seattle, a 20-minute ferry ride takes you to Clinton, Whidbey Island’s southernmost community on state Route 525. From Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula, take a 30-minute ferry ride to Coupeville Ferry Terminal, 4 miles southwest of Coupeville on SR 20.
Reservations are recommended and can be made at www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries.
1751 N.E. Goldie St., Unit A-1
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
Toll free 877-679-4003
Nine round trips per day from SeaTac International Airport to all Whidbey Island communities are provided by the Whidbey-SeaTac Shuttle. Island stops are conveniently located near state routes 20 and 525 at minimarts and service stations. The 15 vans and buses travel on the Clinton/Mukilteo Ferry and have first-on/first-off priority; the trip from the airport to downtown Oak Harbor takes about two hours and 15 minutes. Reservations must be made in advance.
19758 SR 20
Coupeville, WA 98239
On Whidbey Island, buses circle Island Transit’s 14 routes from 3:45 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. Monday through Friday, though not Saturdays, Sundays or major holidays. All Whidbey Island rides are free, and all Island transit buses are wheelchair accessible and have bike racks. Vanpools can be arranged, including military commuter vanpools, and paratransit service is available for those whose disability prevents them from using regular bus service. Whidbey Island has eight Park & Ride lots.
Driving and Commuting
Two linked north-south state highways, state Route 525 and SR 20, are Whidbey Island’s main traffic conduits and are fed by county roads or city streets. Each serves about half the long, narrow island: SR 525 the South End, and SR 20 the North End. Together, they form the only nationally designated Scenic Byway on an island, the “Whidbey Island Scenic Isle Way,” with its vistas of saltwater beaches, wildflower meadows, rich agriculture, mountains, forests, wildlife and historic sites.
Motorists coming to Whidbey Island from the south should take Interstate 5 to Whidbey Island/Mukilteo Ferry Exit 182, head north on SR 525 to Mukilteo and board a Washington State Ferry bound for Clinton.
From the east and north, follow Interstate 5 to Exit 230 in Burlington, then continue west on SR 20 over the Deception Pass Bridge to the island.
From the Olympic Peninsula, take SR 101 to its intersection with SR 20, drive northeast to Port Townsend and take the Washington State Ferry to Coupeville Terminal.
The Washington State Department of Transportation maintains seven traffic cameras in the Oak Harbor area and an eighth to the south to alert travelers to potential traffic and ferry problems. Stay informed of local and state situations by going to www.wsdot.com/traffic or by dialing 511 for real-time traffic and weather information.
TrafficSpotter has a free Android app that delivers traffic reports and weather and airport delay alerts to mobile devices. Go to www.trafficspotter.com/Traffic/Report/US/WA/Whidbey%20Island.
Washington State Department of Licensing
Oak Harbor Driver Licensing Office
656 S.E. Bayshore Drive, No. 4
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday
The Washington State Department of Licensing issues driver’s licenses, identification cards and vehicle registration and provides other driving-related services.
Washington State Patrol
District 7 Office
840 S.E. Eighth Ave., No. 101
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
In addition to some 600 troopers patrolling Washington roads every day, another thousand less-visible civilian employees are doing their part in the agency’s six bureaus for public safety, including those who work for the State Fire Marshal to help prevent fires in the home and workplace; the crime lab technicians and scientists who, among other things, process DNA samples in criminal cases; and investigative support staff who keep criminal records and databases up to date.
Help is at your fingertips: For roadside assistance and emergencies, call 911; for road closure information, 511; and for state ferry vessel and terminal security, 911.
Military personnel and their spouses who are stationed in Washington from elsewhere may continue to drive with a valid driver’s license from their home state, but in general, all Washington residents who want to drive must apply for a driver’s license once residency is established.
The state spells out what is required for licensing and insurance under various scenarios in its Washington Driver Guide, which can be downloaded at www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/docs/driverguide-en.pdf.
The state of Washington prohibits drivers from holding cell phones or other wireless communications devices to their ears; teenage drivers are barred from using all cell phones or other wireless communications devices; and text messaging is banned for all drivers.
These days much of the former paperwork associated with driving can be handled online, including renewing vehicle license plates, replacing a driver’s license or ID card, checking the status of a driver’s license, reporting the sale of a vehicle and registering to vote. A Washington State Department of Licensing list of online options, “Do More Online,” is available at www.dol.wa.gov.
Washington State Department of Transportation
Visit the Washington State Department of Transportation website for interactive maps, information about road closures and travel advisories, and to view live traffic cameras.