OAK HARBOR: A SENSORY CELEBRATION FOR THE SOUL
NO MARINE EXCURSION IS COMPLETE WITHOUT A STOP AT WASHINGTON’S LARGEST ISLAND AND NO EXPEDITION can be joyfully carried out without a secure home base. Oak Harbour and the Oak Harbor Marina on Whidbey Island will provide both.
The north point of the island boasts one of the most photographed places in Washington, the Deception Pass Bridge. Graceful, soaring arcs cross the open water, reaching a height 55m (180 ft). It is actually two bridges joining Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands in the most visited state park in Washington, Deception Pass State Park. The park is a microcosm of the best that the region has to offer. Hiking trails meander through old growth forest and along rugged coastlines. Wide swaths of pebble beaches provide excellent picnic areas from which to enjoy the landscape and wildlife.
Moving south to where you have likely moored your home-away-from-home if you’ve arrived by boat, Oak Harbor is a quaint seaside town that is easily accessible from Oak Harbor Marina. Hopefully you’ve packed your sense of adventure, as Oak Harbor is the ‘Playground of the Pacific Northwest’. Aside from boating, marine adventures include fishing, whale watching, jet skiing, kayaking and paddleboarding. While on land you can search for treasures beachcombing, hike the trails, bike the streets and pathways, or swing your clubs golfing. The adrenaline junky in your group might like to try skydiving with truly heart thumping views of the islands. Fitness buffs can get their heart rates up the old fashioned way along one of the many running trails.
Oak Harbor loves parades and festivals. Get your Irish green on for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in March, or slip on those wooden clogs for their Holland
Happening in April. The Holland Happening celebrates the many immigrants who arrived on Whidbey Island in the 1860’s adding a unique cultural spice to island life. The four-day event boasts its own parade, carnival, street fair and more. The summer is a non-stop itinerary of art and antique walks, marathon runs, bike races, parades, fishing derbies, and food and music festivals. You can spontaneously arrive and celebrate any and every weekend.
Stock on up essentials and accessories at the Oak Harbor Farmer’s Market Thursdays from 4-7 May through Septem-
ber, and/or visit the Main Street Market every Sunday from 1-4 at the corner of Pioneer Way and Dock Street. Wander down SE Pioneer Way, your road to shopping historic downtown Oak Harbor.
Dive into the community art scene by enjoying some theatre at the Whidbey Playhouse, and then satisfy your thirst for historical knowledge at the PBY Naval Air Museum where knowledgeable docents will educate and entertain you with tales and tours as you peruse the memorabilia. The museum is named for the fully restored PBY. The ‘PB’ stands for ‘Patrol Bomber’ and the ‘Y’ for the manufacturer –in this case – Consolidated aircraft. The Canadian company, Vickers, emulated the design and it was called the PBV.
Oak Harbor Marina is conveniently located between Seattle and the San Juan Islands. The marina has 420 slips, ample guest moorage, limited side-tie moorage and 96 dry storage sheds. There are showers, restrooms, laundry room, ice machine, picnic tables in the park and on the guest dock. The guest moorage is affordable and they always offer the 20 cent discount on fuel for guests.
A visit to Oak Harbor is a sensory celebration for the soul. Start by making it a port of call with your body this summer.