South Whidbey State Park – Whidbey Island, Washington

http://www.parks.wa.gov/585/South-Whidbey-Island
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We camped at this park at the end of August 2013. We were there with 3 other families which consisted of 8 adults and 9 teenagers. This state park is about a 2.5 hour drive from Surrey BC but we approached the park at near dusk and the road was lined with deer which made driving very interesting and nerve racking at the same time. We must have counted 150 deer in the short stretch of land from Greenbank along highway 525 to The State Park. I tried to take pictures but it was too dark and not safe enough to stop.Our family was staying in site 7 with friends in sites 35, 31 and 29. The sites are very treed and private with plenty of room for your trailer and an additional kids tent but if you are looking for sun you need to select your site carefully. Site 7 had very little sun and was long and narrow so it was challenging to get our awning up. It also backed onto the bathrooms and for some reason, of which I would rather not know, the ground at the back of our site never dried out. It didn’t smell like a septic field but I am thinking that had something to do with it. Our friends in site 35 also had a narrow site but it was very long with a large open area at the back for tents, campfires and picnic tables. They too got very little sun but lots of privacy. Site 31 was a good site, wide and long with enough sun to give you a choice of sun or shade. It was not as private but with the damp ocean air it is nice to get the sun. Site 29 had not hook ups but it was also large and open. The sites up on this row had much less privacy, no hook ups but were good if you were camping as a group.

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Fishing right from the beach!

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Not exactly dinner but hours of fun!

If you are camping there to be on the ocean then you should know that South Whidbey Island Park is a steep hike from the water. Although there are  trails to the water it is very steep and challenging to get kayaks and beach gear up and down. Trust me, we considered leaving the kayaks for the next campers. There are a couple of very nice hikes right near the park. As a group we did the easy one which was suitable for dogs, kids and adults. It took us about an hour and a half and it was through some beautiful foliage and along a stream at points. Well worth a trip if you are staying in the camp ground. The web site also talks about the U.S. Navy jets, from the nearby Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, may fly over the campground at any time for several hours creating noisy conditions for campers. We did not experience this but be aware that this may occur and, depending on your views, can have a uniquely positive or negative impact on your trip. Our kids would have thought it was great.

gallery golf (2)

One day part of our group went golfing at the Navy’s Gallery Golf Course north of Oak Harbour. Its about a 40 min drive, but is very affordable for a course that has some ocean-side holes.  It’s best feature was that we got to see up-close about half a dozen military jets flying to or from the navy base next door.   Not great when they scream by during your back-swing, but they were definitely cool to see.

Stairs at the end of the trail leading to the beach.

Stairs at the end of the trail leading to the beach.

Another day all the adults went into Langley on day to check out the town and have lunch. Langley is located  right on the water with amazing view of the Saratoga Passage. The town has some great artisan shops and several restaurants. It was a beautiful day and we were looking for a patio or deck. We stopped at Prima Bistro which had a great deck elevated about of the street so the view of Saratoga Passage was great. We had a very nice lunch, some great drinks and a lot of laughs.

Here is my advise for this campground

  • Recommended Sites:  this is a very small campground so if you have a trailer over 18 feet you will only have a few choices and you may have to take what you can get but site 31 was a good choice. If you are under 18 feet and need power take site 33 if you can. It has a good balance of sun and shade and is private. Follow that with 31 and then 34. If you don’t need power the sites 11 to 15 are very private and close to the trails but not much sun. I didn’t make notes on the sites 37 to 47 but it was a nice part of the campsite. The sites in this area are small and mostly tent sites.
  • Campground Highlights
    1. Located right on the ocean
    2. Park features include old-growth forest, tidelands for crabbing and clamming
    3. Amazing views of the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains (from the beach, campsites themselves are in the trees)
    4. Easy hikes right from the park.
    5. Power and water at some sites.
    6. Clean washrooms and showers
    7. Short drive to small ocean side towns for day trips.
    8. Fishing nearby
    9. Jets may fly over head
    10. Sani dump on site
  • Campground Lowlights
    1. Limited sun on most of the campsites.
    2. Steep hike to the water
    3.  No open space for group games.
    4. No double sites
  • Things to do
    1. Crabbing, clamming and fishing
    2. Hiking right from the campground
    3. Golf, several courses within driving distance
    4. Small ocean side towns to visit within driving distance
  • Links
    1. Prima Bistro: http://www.primabistro.com/
    2. Useless Bay Winery and Tasting Room: http://www.uselessbaywines.com/
    3. Go Washington – Whidbey Isand: http://www.go-washington.com/Whidbey-Island/
    4. Gallery Golf Course: http://whidbey.navylifepnw.com/programs/3fa43e97-345b-4238-bfc4-3b3a1d7d937a
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