South Whidbey at it's finest
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Saratoga Passage lies in Puget Sound between Whidbey and Camano Islands. Starting in the south at Sandy Point on the Whidbey side and Camano head on the other, the passage runs in a northwest direction to East Point (locally known as Fox's Spit) on Whidbey and Lowell Point on Camano for a distance of about 8 miles. It is about 2 to 2.5 miles wide. Langley is the only city on either island located on the passage. Oddly, to drive from Langley to the beach opposite on Camano, a distance separated by 2 miles of water, would be a journey of 107 miles using the northern route and 72 miles plus a ferry ride using the southern. Residents of the two islands though sharing a common county have little ability to interact. My family has resided on the Whidbey side for 43 years. As a boy we would take boats across to explore the beaches on the other side, but I have never driven there and know little about Camano in general. Most of the waterfront on either side is high bank of forested sand and clay banks. There are four low bank communities on the Whidbey side of the passage. Sandy Point, the Langley Marina area, Bell's Beach and Fox's Spit. The beaches are gravel and sand and the tide generally runs out a good distance. Dungeness crab, clams and flatfish are abundant. Twenty years ago strong salmon runs passed through on the way to the Rivers on the Mainland, but they have all but disappeared as have the once plentiful bait of candelfish and herring. Most of the fishing in south Whidbey takes place on the outside (west) at Possession, Mutiny Bay, or Double Bluff.
Langley is a delight. With a population of 1,000 people, it is the major city of South Whidbey, located on the inside or protected side of the island (eastside) overlooking Saratoga Passage. In the last decade Langely has turned from a sleepy little community to a very vibrant tourist destination. Two new Inns have been built and the retail core has at least doubled. There are a number of art galleries, antique stores and clothing stores all keeping with a charming character.
Whidbey is the largest island in Washington. Together with its companion, Camano Island, they make up Island County, covering 212 square miles with a population of 65,000, situated in the upper reaches of Puget Sound. It takes 44 miles to traverse it's length, yet at places it is only about a mile and a half in width. Access to the island is provided by two ferry routes. The Mukilteo-Clinton run in the south, gateway to the Greater Seattle Metropolitan Area, and the Keystone-Port Townsend run, bridging across Puget Sound to the Olympic Peninsula, and a bridge at Deception Pass to the north leading to Fidalgo Island and the San Juans. The northern end is the heaviest populated with Oak Harbor, a city of over 10,000 residents and site of the US Navy Airbase, Ault Field. Forty years ago Whidbey abounded with seaside resorts. They have all since disappeared, replaced by many vacation homes. The weather in the South is similar to the Seattle-Everett area, but the north is in the what is called the banana belt and experiences less than half the rainfall. The majority of the island is heavily wooded with scattered farms.
Langley Restaurants - most better than average
Langley Area Lodging
- The Bistro
- Cafe Langley
- Dog House Backdoor Restaurant
- 510 Bar and Grill (just opened)
- The Inn at Langely
- Mike's Place
- Village Pizzeria
Area Web Links
Whidbey Island Home Page
Whidbey Island Home PageYes, there appears to be two.
Island County Fair
Washington State Ferries
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Last Revision 3/06/97