Above: The beach at Fort Ebey State Park in Coupeville, Washington

5 Favorite Island Parks of Puget Sound

The islands in Washington’s Salish Sea are more than usually blessed with scenic parks and nature reserves. I took every opportunity to explore the countryside on Whidbey and San Juan islands, where stands of primary forest give way to tall bluffs overlooking empty beaches. These were my favorite parks, in order from south to north.

Double Bluff County Park

Mount Rainier barely visible from Double Bluff County Park in Freeland, Washington - Photo by Hideaway Report editor

We visited this Whidbey Island park, comprised mainly of a wide sweep of dog-friendly beach, on a perfectly clear afternoon. People come here more to relax than to hike, bringing folding chairs or blankets to sit on the sand and take in the view of the sea and distant Mount Rainier. We could even make out the Seattle skyline, looking small and fragile in comparison to the immense mountain. Note that parking is limited.

South Whidbey State Park

Wilbert Trail in South Whidbey State Park in Freeland, Washington - Photo by Hideaway Report editor

South Whidbey State Park has had some troubles recently, with its path to the beach partially washed-out and campsites closed because of the danger of falling trees. Nevertheless, the Wilbert Trail, a little less than a mile in length, merits a hike. It takes visitors away from the water and into sections of old-growth forest, full of towering hemlock, fir, spruce and cedar. At least one of the cedars is some 500 years old, but we spotted several others that looked similarly ancient.

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