In Island County
The Pacific Northwest boasts plenty of entertaining activities — music, sports, theater, museums, parks and shopping. Try your hand at clamming and crabbing, for instance, or watch a movie at one of the last drive-in theaters in the state. Don’t miss the Penn Cove Mussel Fest or the hundreds of sailboats floating in the Oak Harbor Marina for Whidbey Island Race Week. And be sure to check out the PBY-Naval Air Museum.
Residents of Island County will enjoy a variety of annual events, festivals and community gatherings.
Boeing Seafair Air Show
The first weekend of August brings the Boeing Seafair Air Show to town where you’ll witness the U.S. Navy Blue Angels perform dazzling stunts and aerial maneuvers as spectators look on in amazement from the shores of Lake Washington. The Blue Angels participated in their first air show in 1946 and since have performed for an estimated 11 million spectators during air shows each year.
Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival
The Coupeville Festival is held each August with Penn Cove as the quaint backdrop. Come experience some of the finest art and crafts with vendors from all over the country. In addition to the vendor booths, the festival also features an art gallery and wine reception, a wine and beer garden, a hands-on children’s activity area, a food court and live entertainment.
Everett Sausage Festival
The Everett Sausage Festival is a family-oriented weekend fair in October centered on a Bavarian theme. For the past 40 years, this festival has delighted visitors with such offerings as its traditional Bavarian dinner to a variety of food booths, children's games, the family entertainment stage, bingo, carnival, and Bavarian beer garden and stage. Visit the event’s website for more information.
Holland Happening Festival
Every April, in honor of Oak Harbor’s Dutch history, the town is filled with tulips to kick off the annual three-day Holland Happening Festival. Events include a family-friendly carnival, a street fair featuring Dutch food, wooden shoe carving, a “Klompen Canal Race” and an international dance festival. The festival culminates with a grand parade along the waterfront.
Jets Over Whidbey
Jets Over Whidbey is the Pacific Northwest’s premier radio-controlled jet aircraft event. Held annually in late August on Whidbey Island, the event draws pilots from across the United States and Canada flying their scale jet-powered aircraft. Entry and parking are free. Dry camping is available for participants.
Oak Harbor Pigfest
The annual Oak Harbor Pigfest is a block party and pig roast developed to help raise funds for the local food bank, North Whidbey Help House. Every August, the community comes together for live music, entertainment (including a pie-eating contest) and delicious food to help give back to those in need. Visit the website for more information.
Paine Field Aviation Day
The Paine Field Aviation Day, held in May, features both vintage and new aircraft in a family-friendly event that attracts 5,000-8,000 attendees. Kick off the event with a 5K run/walk, and follow it up with a firefighters’ pancake breakfast. Visit the event’s website for hours and schedules.
Penn Cove MusselFest
The Penn Cove MusselFest, held over a weekend in March, is a Coupeville tradition. “Bold, briny and blue,” the world famous mussels will be the centerpiece of two days of festivities, including chowder-tasting and mussel-eating competitions, farm tours and activities for all ages featuring locally flavored fun. Visit the event’s website for hours and schedules. The competition sells out quickly so get your tickets early.
The Lights of Christmas
More than a million Christmas lights will be displayed during 19 days in December, a spectacle spread over 15 acres at Warm Beach Camp in Stanwood, Washington. The Lights of Christmas is the largest holiday light display in the Pacific Northwest that combines live entertainment, children's activities, food, holiday shopping and more. Visit the event’s website for more information.
Welcome the Whales Festival
This event in April includes hands-on educational displays, costume-making and children’s activities, followed by the Whale and Critter Parade in downtown Langley ending at the waterfront Whale Bell Park with a blessing for the whales, music and celebration on the beach, while watching for gray whales in Saratoga Passage. The Langley Whale Center will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the day of the event, with special activities and displays about gray whales and staffed by Orca Network/Whale Center docents.
Whidbey Island Fair
Whidbey Island Fair (formerly known as the Island County Fair) provides entertainment and a place for Island County residents to gather with family and friends to celebrate the fruits of their labor and enjoy that which is so special about living in the area. In addition, there are agriculture and horticulture exhibits, crafts, art exhibits, live entertainment, carnival games, rides, delicious fair food and more.
Whidbey Island Race Week
Whidbey Island Race Week draws more than 100 sailboats to the Oak Harbor Marina for an annual July event, accompanied by lots of food and entertainment after racing during the weeklong festivities. Visit the event’s website for more information.
Island County residents enjoy a wealth of artistic endeavors, from theaters to music to dance and more.
Everett Performing Arts Center
2710 Wetmore Ave.
Everett, WA 98201
One of the premier spaces for the performing arts in nearby Snohomish County, Everett Performing Arts Center (EPAC) offers a more than 500-seat auditorium with a proscenium stage, including full theatrical lighting and sound systems, an orchestra pit, rigging/fly system, wing space, shop and costume facilities. Along with the auditorium, EPAC has a multipurpose community room and spacious lobby area, making the entire facility ideal for a wide range of activities.
Everett Philharmonic Orchestra
P.O. Box 1751
Everett, WA 98206
The Everett Philharmonic Orchestra performs at the Everett Civic Auditorium and Everett Presbyterian Church. The orchestra musicians come from varying professional backgrounds united by their passion for performing symphonic music. Under the baton of Paul-Elliott Cobbs, this group has played together for more than 25 years.
Historic Everett Theatre
2911 Colby Ave.
Everett, WA 98201
This 113 year-old performance space is one of the historical gems in the community which was saved from the wrecking ball by many dedicated community members willing to donate time, money and spirit to make sure that Everett did not lose one of the most recognizable buildings in the downtown area. There is always something to see at the Historic Everett Theatre, from concerts by world-famous entertainers to live theatre productions with the theatre’s own Outcast Players. Every week boasts something new and exciting. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Island Shakespeare Festival
5476 Maxwelton Road
Langley, WA 98260
The Island Shakespeare Festival is a three-month-long celebration from July through September of the acting craft. While the Bard is the featured playwright each year, the festival also schedules the works of others. One evening you may go to see Shakespeare, the next, another leading playwright. For details on this season’s offerings, visit www.islandshakespearefest.org.
Pacific Northwest Ballet
301 Mercer St.
Seattle, WA 98109
Pacific Northwest Ballet, one of the largest and most highly regarded ballet companies in the United States, was founded in 1972. The company of nearly 50 dancers presents more than 100 performances each year of full-length and mixed repertory ballets at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall in Seattle and on tour. The company has toured to Europe, Australia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada and throughout the United States.
The Clyde Theatre
217 First St.
Langley WA 98260.
The Clyde Theatre was built in 1937 – the height of the Depression – by Norman and Hazel Clyde. Although a lot more humble than the grand movie palaces being built in the big cities, the new theater was greeted warmly by folks on South Whidbey. After being purchased in 1972, a small stage was added to show live performances of musical acts. Today, the theater offers current movie selections. Visit the website for current movie listings.
Whidbey Island Center for the Arts
565 Camano Ave.
Langley, WA 98260
Whidbey Island Center for the Arts is dedicated to offering high-quality performances exposing residents and students to local and nationally recognized artists, musicians, literary works and authors as well as the chance to be a part of in-house full-scale theater productions. Between October and June, there are over 85 total performances in the 246-seat theatre requiring anywhere from 350 to 400 volunteers in a variety of positions.
730 S.E. Midway Blvd.
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
The Whidbey Playhouse has been presenting live theater in Oak Harbor for 50 years. Since its first production, Madame President in 1966, the Playhouse has presented hundreds of musicals, dramas, comedies, melodramas, mysteries, youth productions, variety shows and original musical reviews. Currently, the Playhouse produces five shows (plays and musicals) during the regular season (September through June), plus a full youth theatre program with workshops and summer productions.
Learn about the Washington’s history and cultural contributions by visiting any one of the many local museums.
Admiralty Head Lighthouse
Built in 1861 and rebuilt in 1903, the lighthouse guided tall ships toward the Whidbey Island shore where they could fill their sails with wind. It was the last brick lighthouse designed by renowned German architect Carl Leick, its walls 18 inches thick to withstand the earthquakes that shake western Washington. Admiralty Head's Fresnel lens was extinguished in 1922, but the lighthouse today welcomes visitors, weddings and tour parties with the help of dedicated volunteers. Hours vary by season; check the museum’s website for more information.
325 Fifth Ave. N
Seattle WA 98109
EMP Museum (formerly known as Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame) has plenty to offer visitors, including interactive activity stations where visitors can perform music before a virtual audience, sound sculpture and various educational resources. The 140,000-square-foot Frank O. Gehry-designed facility is home to exhibits that cover pop culture, from the art of fantasy, horror cinema and video games to science fiction, literature and costumes from screen and stage. Hours vary by season; check the website for more information.
Island County Historical Society Museum
908 N.W. Alexander St.
Coupeville, WA 98239
Island County Historical Society Museum chronicles the island’s rich heritage. Learn about Island County history, featuring exhibits such as its oldest artifact, a 120,000-year-old Ice Age tree trunk and a 1902 Holsman Autobuggy, the first car on the island. The museum is open year-round 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, excluding major holidays when the doors are closed.
PBY-Naval Air Museum
270 S.E. Pioneer Way
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
The PBY Naval Air Museum is a showcase for Whidbey Island’s naval aviation history. The museum is an easy-to-find resource for those curious about the seaplanes that came to call Whidbey home and naval aviation in general. The museum features several interactive exhibits that can give visitors a taste of the PBY experience. People can squeeze inside the cramped space of a PBY gun turret and feel what it must have been like. There are two flight simulators where visitors can try flying everything from the PBY to today’s modern aircraft. There’s also a theater where visitors can learn about the Navy’s presence on Whidbey starting with the seaplane base east of Oak Harbor. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Residents and visitors to the Pacific Northwest flock to the great outdoors, enjoying a multitude of lush parks and recreational areas. Check your community’s parks and recreation listings to see more of what your local area has to offer.
Deception Pass State Park
41020 State Route 20
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
Washington’s most-visited state park, Deception Pass State Park, spreads over 4,134 acres, a marine and camping park with 77,000 feet of saltwater shoreline and 33,900 feet of freshwater shoreline on three lakes. Deception Pass and the high bridge connect Western Washington’s mainland with Whidbey and Fidalgo islands, creating a gateway for exploration. Families can fish and swim in Cranberry Lake. Beachcombers look for shells along miles of Puget Sound beachfront. Hikers can trek through forest and out along bluffs. And birdwatchers fill their field guides with notes.
Fort Ebey State Park
400 Hill Valley Drive
Coupeville, WA 98239
Fort Ebey State Park, a 645-acre camping park on Whidbey Island, was originally built as a coastal defense fort in World War II. Concrete platforms mark the gun locations. The park offers panoramic views of the Puget Sound shoreline, the Olympic Mountains and sunsets. The park features paragliding, surfing and gun batteries to explore. The park has 3 miles of saltwater shoreline on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, a freshwater lake for fishing, and miles of hiking and biking trails.
Fort Nugent Park
2075 S.W. Nugent St.
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
This 40-acre community park meets the needs of the south and west portions of the city, as well as providing ball fields for the entire community. The park has a lot to offer, including a large playground, five soccer fields, two football/soccer fields, one baseball/football field, a full basketball court, two volleyball courts, an 18-hole disc golf course, walking trails, a wetland area and a public art display.
Joseph Whidbey State Park
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
Joseph Whidbey State Park is a 112-acre day-use park with 3,100-feet of saltwater shoreline on the Strait of Juan De Fuca in northern Puget Sound. The scenery is beautiful, views are magnificent, wildlife is everywhere and the beach is one of the grandest on Whidbey Island.
Southwest Beeksma Drive
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
Oak Harbor’s Windjammer Park is a 28-acre park along the harbor offering 30 tent campsites, 56 RV sites, three Little League baseball fields, two tot lot play areas, two basketball courts and shoreline picnic tables and barbecue pits. There are 2,100 feet of trails along the waterfront to explore. During the summer, the beach has lagoon swimming, and in late summer and early fall, kite flying, picnic areas and an assortment of outdoor activities take over. Windjammer Park also provides a boat launch.
From malls and major department stores to unique boutiques and souvenir shops, there’s something for every taste and budget.
1402 S.E. Everett Mall Way
Everett, WA 98208
Everett Mall, the largest area shopping center, offers an escape from inclement weather. The mall houses a 16-screen movie theater and more than 100 shops under the same roof.
Port of Everett
Everett’s past as a booming port town is celebrated daily at the Marina Village located along the bay. Styled after a 1890s waterfront marketplace, the village is home to numerous restaurants and specialty stores and, of course, a marina. A schooner departs from the marina taking sightseers on historical tours and cruises.
Oak Harbor Main Street
Downtown Oak Harbor
This historical downtown district next to the water houses local boutiques, restaurants, artisan outlets and other specialty retail stores that please both locals and visitors alike.
Pike Place Market
85 Pike St.
Seattle, WA 98101
With more than 9 acres of land and more than 100 years of history, the Pike Place Market represents “The Soul of Seattle.” Opening for business for the first time Aug. 17, 1907, with just eight farmers and their wagons, today Pike Place is America’s premier farmers market. With more than 225 small independent businesses, 225 craftspeople, 85 farmers and a diverse array of restaurants, the market attracts over 10 million visitors a year.
Seattle Premium Outlets
10600 Quil Ceda Blvd.
Tulalip, WA 98271
Seattle Premium Outlets features an upscale collection of over 130 designer names from women’s apparel and jewelry to sporting goods. Find BOGO (buy one, get one) deals, deep discounts and deals galore at the outlets. There is also an indoor food court with fast food options and sit-down options.
Sports and Recreation
Whether you’re looking to take in a game or go for a spin around the go-kart track, Island County offers a variety of recreational opportunities.
Blue Fox Drive-in
1403 N. Monroe Landing Road
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
The Blue Fox Drive-in is one of the few remaining drive-in theaters in the state of Washington. The Blue Fox has an on-site go-kart track and snack bar, and offers party packages with train rides, go-kart specials and arcade fun. The drive-in shows classic cartoons prior to the main film, in true retro style. Call the 24-hour movie information line, 360-675-5667, or visit www.bluefoxdrivein.com for current movie listings.
Everett Memorial Stadium
Everett, WA 98201
The Everett AquaSox are a minor league baseball team in the short-season Class A Northwest League. The team began play in 1984 as the Everett Giants, an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Just over a decade later, the Everett Giants and Bellingham Mariners switched cities for the 1995 season, and the Seattle Mariners’ affiliate was renamed the Everett AquaSox. In 2010, Everett won its first Northwest League championship as the AquaSox, although they had also won the league championship in 1985 as the Giants. Catch one of their games at Everett Memorial Stadium.
Fishing, Crabbing, Clamming
Whether you’re a freshwater or saltwater fishing enthusiast, the islands offer a bounty of seafood. Whidbey’s numerous lakes are ideal for fishing for largemouth bass or trout. Lone, Deer, Goss, Cranberry and Pass lakes are all stocked annually. Catch-and-release fly fishing at Whidbey’s Pass Lake is for serious fly fishermen who enjoy donning waders and plunking down in float tubes. Crabbing is one of Puget Sound’s most popular recreational fisheries. Each year, sport fishers catch more than a million pounds of Dungeness crab, using pots, ring nets and their bare hands. In addition, there are more than 40 public clam and oyster beaches on Whidbey and Camano Islands. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has information about licenses, regulations and seasons on its website.
This region has previously been known as the birth of grunge rock, Starbucks and wet weather but has built up quite a golf empire over the past decade, blossoming into a destination worthy of players from around the world. When the U.S. Open chose Chambers Bay Golf Course as its 2015 host, it was a proverbial “open for business” sign for golf tourism in the Pacific Northwest that was previously nonexistent. A variety of public and country club courses are available near Island County, including the 18-hole semi-private Whidbey Golf Club and all-weather, year-round Useless Bay Golf Course. For a full list of public and private courses in Washington, visit the Washington State Golf Association directory at http://thewsga.org/membership-home/course-directory.
Woodland Park Zoo
5500 Phinney Ave. N
Seattle, WA 98103
Founded in 1899, Woodland Park Zoo has sparked delight, discovery and unforgettable memories for generations of Northwest families. The zoo manages the largest live animal collection in Washington state, with 1,100 animals, representing more than 300 species. The zoo provides a home for 40 endangered and 17 threatened or vulnerable animal species. The zoo’s botanical collection includes more than 92,000 plants and trees representing more than 1,300 species. A gift shop, food pavilion, picnic areas and on-site educational programs are also available.