17 Charming Things to do in Coupeville on Whidbey Island

aerial view of Coupeville Washington on Whidbey Island

There are so many wonderful things to do in Coupeville on Whidbey Island that make it one of our favorite places to visit in the Pacific Northwest!

We are lucky to find ourselves frequenting Washington to visit one of my best friends from college. First, she spent a few years in Seattle, which brought us there multiple times and recently she told us her and her husband relocated to Whidbey Island.

We were so excited to use this as an excuse to visit her again because we had always wanted to visit more of the islands off the coast of Washington and lucky for us, we had our own, local tour guide to show us the best things to do on Whidbey Island, including what to do in Coupeville, which ended up being one of our favorite spots and her new hometown.

For those who have never heard of Coupeville, Washington it’s an adorable waterfront town famous for Penn Cove mussels, their charming downtown which was where the film Practical Magic was set and filmed, it’s the second oldest town in the state, and it has plenty of coastal trails, views, and even State Parks to check out.

Oh, and one of my favorite things to do in Coupeville was eat! There are so many great restaurants on Whidbey Island, with my all-time favorite mussels I’ve ever had at Front Street Grill! If you’re a seafood fan, you’re in for a treat while you’re in town!

So without further ado, here’s everything you’ll want to save and do while you’re in the town of Coupeville on Whidbey Island.

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What to do in Coupeville

Coupeville Wharf

Coupeville Wharf on Whidbey Island in Washington

Visiting Coupeville Wharf is a must and one of the best things to do in Coupeville, Washington. Located in the heart of downtown, this historic wharf built over 100 years ago is an easy stroll from Main Street. It’s the perfect place to enjoy great views of Penn Cove and the distant Olympic Mountains on a clear day.

At the end of the weathered boards of the ramp is the old red wharf. Inside, it now holds a gift shop where you can buy souvenirs and local art. The wharf also features interesting exhibits on the whales that come through Penn Cove.

Stop by the Cove Café for local seafood, baked goods, salads, or a hot cup of coffee. If the weather is nice, grab a bite to eat and take it to the covered picnic tables outside. Or enjoy kayak rentals right from the dock.

The whale bell on Coupeville Wharf on Whidbey Island in Washington

But what makes this place truly special, besides the view, is the Whale Bell. Keep your eyes on the horizon, and you might just see a whale breaching the waters! If you see a whale, ring the bell!

Walk Up and Down Front Street

aerial view of Front Street in Coupeville on Whidbey Island in Washington

A wonderful way to experience Coupeville on Whidbey Island is by simply walking along the picture-perfect Front Street. Full of charming storefronts, many of which date back over 150 years!

Walk up and down the street, stopping in unique gift shops, art galleries, and more. There are a variety of great eateries to choose from too, like Front Street Grill and the historic Toby’s Tavern.

And in between the wooden-slat buildings are stunning views of the cove, too.

Visit Practical Magic Filming Locations

For fans of Practical Magic looking for what to do in Coupeville, you’ll quickly understand why the town was picked to be the setting for the movie! Especially in the fall, there’s a moody feeling to the historic Front Street. We were lucky to be visiting in early October and we were really feeling the ambiance!

Check out the gorgeous Victorian structure at 1 Front Street, which had a small feature in the film and fits right with Practical Magic vibes.

Also look for Toby’s on Front Street, which was used as The Catch and the Fly. And even in its own right, stopping at Toby’s is also just one of the top quintessential things to do in Coupeville for a beer and one of the spots in town to grab some fresh Penn Cove mussels.

Then there was the iconic “Whale Bell” scene, where the Owens sisters ring the bell after seeing a whale. It was filmed at Coupeville Wharf. When you visit, you can relive that magical moment!

Or turn onto Grace Street, where true fans of the movie will right away recognize The Little Red Hen Bakery (which was turned into Sally’s botanical shop for filming!).

Eat at Front Street Grill

mussels from Front Street Grill in Coupeville on Whidbey Island in Washington

If you’re looking for the best mussels in Coupeville on Whidbey Island, plan a visit to Front Street Grill. I am not even kidding when I say that both Scott and I agreed these were the best mussels we’ve ever had.

The restaurant is housed in a charming historic building, offering local color and amazing coastal views. Originally built in 1859, it has had many different lives over the years, including as a dry goods store and a pool hall to today!

When you step inside, you’ll be greeted by a cozy, casual setting featuring floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto Penn Cove. There’s tons of room for dining inside, as well as a full bar, and even more seating outside if the weather is good. It’s the perfect spot for a romantic dinner or a relaxed lunch with friends.

As for the menu, it’s a seafood lover’s dream. You can savor over their amazing fresh seafood menu (they also have non-seafood items for anyone allergic or not a seafood fan in your group), if you’re wanting something other than the mussels, their clam chowder is also famous!

But for the mussels, you don’t want to miss them. There are a few different broth options for your mussels, I went with the coconut green curry mussels, and this was both of our favorites. Everyone at our table ordered a different broth though and every single one was just as savory and full of flavor as the last.

They also give you the option to add linguine noodles in the bowl and garlic bread. DO BOTH! We all added the linguine, which made the mussels more filling and it was so nice to have to eat with the broth because we weren’t going to waste a drop of that.

We did do an order of garlic bread for the table because there’s nothing quite like dipping crusty bread in your mussels. It ends up being a filling meal, but we highly recommend having it all.

Price Sculpture Forest

Looking for outdoorsy things to do in Coupeville on Whidbey Island? Check out the hidden gem that is Price Sculpture Forest. This unique outdoor space is a special escape where art and the natural environment meld together.

Head east on Parker Road a few miles outside of downtown Coupeville and you’ll see the parking lot for the forest on the left. It’s free to visit every day between 8 AM and 7 PM (or sunset, depending on the year). Donations are always welcome.

You’ll enjoy a nature walk through the forest, where you’ll move along a winding trail that features an impressive collection of larger-than-life sculptures created by regional artists.

The land of the Price Sculpture Forest was originally tribal land and an old-growth forest, being home to trees that are hundreds of years old. Over the last 150 years, the forest was used for logging and then a road was planned to go through the area.

Thankfully, nothing ever came of those plans. In 2008, the Price family purchased the land as a preserve. Today, you can see the beautiful regrowth of the healthy forest, including the few old-growth trees that remain.

The sculptures themselves are made to complement the forest. They’re intentionally made from a variety of natural materials, like wood, glass, and metal. Each one creates a contrasting but harmonious and immersive experience that you won’t forget. As you explore the trail, you’ll discover how each art piece interacts with the changing seasons and the surrounding light and shadows!

Today, the Price Sculpture Forest is a space for both art enthusiasts and nature lovers to find beauty and escape. Be sure to schedule some time to wander along the trails here.

Visit Penn Cove Mussel Farm During Musselfest

view of Penn Cove from Coupeville on Whidbey Island in Washington

While you’re exploring Coupeville, Washington, you’ll have many opportunities to savor fresh, local seafood. But if you’re in town for the annual Musselfest, held each March, one experience that you can’t pass up is visiting Penn Cove Mussel Farm.

This is the one time of year when you’ll get to take a mussel farm boat tour and see how all the magic happens!

Fun fact: Penn Cove Mussel Farm is the largest and oldest mussel farm in the US. And did you know that mussels, clams, and oysters, which the farm harvests, are the most eco-friendly and healthiest seafood you can eat? Penn Cove has a few different places where they harvest shellfish in the Olympia Peninsula, with the main one being Penn Cove.

To take a tour during Musselfest, simply book your spot at the booth that will be located on the corner of Front Street and Alexander Street. When it’s time for your tour, just take your ticket to the marina at Coupeville Wharf. Beginning at 10:30 AM, 45-minute tours leave every hour.

You’ll be taken out to the underwater mussel forests that is the mussel farm. It’s made up of barges where mussel seeds are grown on lines that extend 20 feet into the water below. The experts at Penn Cove Mussel Farm will tell you about the life of the mussels, the growing process, and how they are harvested. It’s fascinating to see a line pulled from the water, covered in thousands of live mussels!

In addition to visiting the mussel farm, you can also enjoy other activities like chowder competitions and learn cooking techniques from the pros.

Eat at Toby’s

For a quintessential island experience, stop by Toby’s Tavern, a local institution. This was one of our favorite things to do in Coupeville, and we highly recommend coming here! Toby’s Tavern has been a part of the community since the 1960s, but the building’s colorful history began long before that.

Built in the 1890s on the shore of Whidbey Island, the building originally held a mercantile store. During prohibition, it was a known beer parlor, too! Today, it’s a local gathering place and should be a required stop for anyone visiting Coupeville.

Walk inside Toby’s Tavern and you’ll be welcomed by the friendly atmosphere and a crowd enjoying good conversation. Enjoy a cold beer at the bar or grab a table and order the fish and chips or mussel chowder.

Check out the PNW paraphernalia that covers every surface in the place, chat with some locals, or just enjoy the casual setting.

Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve


Less than 3 miles south of downtown Coupeville is another amazing place to enjoy nature on Whidbey Island. Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve is a 500-acre reserve right on the water that’s run by the National Park Service.

Come here for hikes, beaches, bluffs, and AMAZING SUNSETS. It’s literally the best place to visit on the island! You have full views of the Olympic Mountain Range AND Mt. Rainier.

Hikers and nature enthusiasts will be in their element here. The reserve has a few clearly marked walking trails that lead to untouched and isolated beaches, rugged bluffs, and panoramic viewpoints. You’ll have a chance to explore diverse ecosystems, from wild forests to sweeping grasslands and the windswept shoreline.

Stop at the visitor’s center when you first arrive at the reserve to pick up a map and find out about the long history of the land. You can visit historical sites throughout the park, including the Ebey family home. The Ebey’s took to the Oregon Trail in 1848 and settled here on the bluffs of Puget Sound. There’s also a settlers cemetery with markers that you can visit.

And try to plan your trip to Ebey’s Landing so you can experience one of its unforgettable sunsets. As the day draws to a close, the skies light up with brilliant colors, casting a warm glow over the Olympic Mountains. You’ll have to see it to believe it!

Fort Casey State Park


For more incredible views, historic sites, trails, and a gorgeous lighthouse, head to Fort Casey State Park. This state park is home to historic Fort Casey, built in the late 1800s to protect Puget Sound from naval threats.

You can explore well-preserved gun batteries, bunkers, and military buildings and read educational markets to learn about the fort and its role in coastal defense.

When you visit Fort Casey State Park, you’ll have your pick of activities. Explore the fort’s tunnels. Take in the mesmerizing views of Admiralty Inlet, the Olympic Mountains, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Picnic in the park’s scenic areas or stroll along one of the two beaches. The park is also a popular spot for birdwatching, kite flying, camping, and hiking.

And one of the most famous landmarks is Admiralty Head Lighthouse. This gorgeous 1903 lighthouse is the second one built at this location, now deactivated it’s still a fun stop to check out and there’s a gift house inside.

Fort Casey State Park has something for everyone, making it a top destination on Whidbey Island. You can visit throughout the year from 8 AM to sunset. There’s a small fee for daily admission and another fee for parking.

Check Out Captain Whidbey Inn

sunset at Captain Whidbey Inn at Whidbey Island Washington

For one of the most charming places to stay on Whidbey Island, look no further than Captain Whidbey Inn. You’ll find Captain Whidbey Inn on the west bank of Penn Cove, off Madrona Way just outside of Coupeville.

This historic, waterfront inn was built in 1907 and has a long and storied past. Besides being a great place to stay, they have a great restaurant as well which makes a great stop to dine if you don’t end up staying here!

The 6-acre waterfront property is filled with old-growth trees, green lawns, and sandbars. It’s actually part of Ebey’s Landing Historic Reserve and feels like a glorious nature retreat in a cozy setting.

The Restaurant at Captain Whidbey Inn opens for dinner, serving a menu of classic American cuisine. They focus on locally sourced ingredients, including fresh seafood from Penn Cove and the surrounding Olympia Peninsula. And don’t pass up the chance to try one of the amazing cocktails from the restaurant’s full bar, it’s extra cozy when they have the fireplace going too.

pretty dock at Captain Whidbey Inn at Whidbey Island in Washington

Back in the early 1900s, when the inn was a boarding house, most guests would arrive by ferry! You can drive, but we highly recommend taking a boat to the inn’s private dock. You can contact the Captain Whidbey for more information.

When you stay at Captain Whidbey Inn, you can enjoy one of the 30 different rooms, suites, and cabins. All of them boast rustic PNW touches that wonderfully complement the calm and clean Scandinavian style of each space.

Guests of the Captain Whidbey Inn can also enjoy a variety of thoughtful experiences. There’s a wellness studio that offers meditation classes, a sauna, and yoga classes. Enjoy a wine tasting, s’mores at the firepits overlooking the cove, or fun events held throughout the year.

Visit Greenbank Farm


Drive 15 minutes south of Coupeville, Washington on N Bluff Road to Greenbank Farm for more outdoor fun. We came here with our friends right around dusk for sunset with their dogs and it was fun to take in the views from here!

Greenbank Farm is an old farm north of the town of Greenbank that’s been turned into a public park. It features nature trails, cute shops, and educational gardens you can visit.

A big reason locals visit Greenbank Farm is for the dog-friendly trails that run through surrounding meadows and forests, hence why we had fun with our friends fur babies.

For great views of the sound, take the longest trail, Forest Trail, to a high viewpoint. The trails are great for catching a glimpse of eagles, herons, and other native birds. There’s also an off-leash area where dogs can run free.

Near the parking lot, you’ll see the educational gardens, where you can take a class or just walk around and watch those at work. Make sure to peruse the shops here, too. There’s an art gallery, gift shops, and a bistro. We recommend a stop at the Greenbank Cheese Shop! Greenbank Farm is also known for its loganberries, and you can pick up a loganberry pie at Whidbey Pies right here!

Go Kayaking

kayaks in Coupeville on Whidbey Island in Washington

During the warmer months, one of the best things to do in Coupeville is go kayaking. It’s a wonderful way to see Whidbey Island, and there are plenty of places to get in the water.

At Coupeville Wharf, you can join Wharf Dog Paddle Co. for a kayaking adventure in Penn Cove. You can also contact Whidbey Island Kayaking in Bayview to find out about guided tours in the cove. And they offer hourly or full-day rentals of kayaks, SUPS, and canoes.

Whether you have your own kayak or rent one, you can launch from most docks and beaches in Coupeville. Plus, visitors to Captain Whidbey Inn can find out about kayak rentals there and then head straight to the sandy beach to get in the water.

Go on a Hike

mushroom foraging and hiking at Trustland Trails on Whidbey Island in Washington

Wondering what to do in Coupeville for free? Being in the Pacific Northwest there’s never any shortage in scenic hikes to enjoy and Coupeville is no different. Surrounding the town of Coupeville on Whidbey Island offers anyone a variety of incredible scenic hikes for a wide range of skill levels.

This is a great way to enjoy the island’s iconic coastal views, as well as to explore the region’s local flora and fauna. Here are some of the best hikes we’ve found:

Kettles Gate Trail – This trail is part of the kettle trails system in Fort Ebey State Park and leads you through a lush forest and past freshwater kettle lakes. It’s a relatively easy hike and is perfect for an easy nature walk or a family outing.

Bluff Trail – The Bluff Trail at Ebey’s Landing State Park is a popular choice. It offers breathtaking views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. It’s a moderate hike that’s great for spotting wildlife and wildflowers.

The Admiralty Head Lighthouse Trail – located at Fort Casey State Park, the Admiralty Head Lighthouse Trail provides lovely views of the bluff and the water beyond. It also takes you past several historical markers and structures, including the Admiralty Head Lighthouse.

Coupeville to Fort Casey Trail – If you’re looking for a longer, moderately-rated trail, this is an excellent choice. This hike connects Coupeville to Fort Casey State Park. It features a mix of coastal and wooded scenery, perfect for a half-day adventure.

Have Dinner at Oystercatcher

For an outstanding culinary experience, reserve a table at Oystercatcher. You’ll find the restaurant on Grace Street near where it intersects with Coveland Street in the heart of Coupeville. Many of the best things to do in Coupeville include taking advantage of all the fresh seafood available and this is no different.

The restaurant captures the essence of the Pacific Northwest’s culinary excellence and coastal charm. First and foremost, Oystercatcher is known for its commitment to using locally sourced, fresh ingredients.

The menu is dictated by the season and every dish bursts with freshness and flavor. It showcases the region’s best seafood offerings, including Penn Cove mussels. And it’s complemented by a thoughtful selection of wines and craft cocktails.

The ambiance is another standout feature. Oystercatcher’s intimate and welcoming setting is made complete with warm lighting, rustic decor, and breathtaking views of the water. It all comes together to create a memorable dining experience.

Stop at the Little Red Hen Bakery


Another Coupeville, Washington must-visit location: the Little Red Hen Bakery! Officially called The Sedge Building, it was built in 1871. And if you’re in town for Practical Magic film locations, this stop is probably at the very top of your list. The bakery was used for both interior and exterior shots as Sally’s Verbena Botanicals shop.

Today, the Little Red Hen Bakery is famous for its cinnamon rolls and range of handmade breakfast sandwiches. Warm up with a coffee and make the difficult choice from their list of pies, cookies, made-to-order beignets, and more! The bakery is open from 9 AM to 3 PM from Thursday through Sunday.

Take the Port Townsend Ferry


Taking the Port Townsend Ferry is one of the best things to do in Coupeville. This seaside town is on the way to the WA coast and is only a ferry ride away from our side of the island (about 7 minutes up the street).

This short but scenic ferry ride across Puget Sound offers stunning views and a convenient way to explore another charming town on the Puget Sound. You’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the sound and the Olympic Mountains. Plus, the ferry offers easy access to places like Olympic National Park.

It’s also a convenient way for you to explore both Coupeville and the neighboring Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula. When you arrive, you’re just a few steps away from Port Townsend’s historic Water Street!

Check out The Haunting of Coupeville in October


With almost 200 years of history, it should be no surprise that a few ghosts are roaming around Coupeville on Whidbey Island. If you plan on visiting during the month of October and you’re wondering what to do in Coupeville, check out The Haunting of Coupeville! This is a month-long Halloween celebration with different activities every week, and especially on the weekends.

The Haunting of Coupeville is fun for anyone who just loves the Halloween season. Check out month-long events like the Scarecrow Tour. Residents and local businesses will come up with their own scarecrows and you’ll get to vote on your favorite.

Or visit the Pumpkin Patch on Ebey Road that’s open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. On the weekends, the pumpkin patch hosts family-friendly activities, including trolley rides.

During the month, you can also enjoy special events, like an adults-only showing of the movie, Practical Magic. Held at the Coupeville Rec Hall, the night will include a costume contest and unlimited margaritas! Or get tickets for the All Island Juried Art Show at the Pacific Northwest Art School in Coupeville.

How to Get to Whidbey Island


There are a two main options for getting to Whidbey Island, by driving or by ferry.

To reach Whidbey Island by ferry, you can take the Washington State Ferries from Mukilteo to Clinton. The ferry route operates regularly throughout the day, providing both walk-on and drive-on options for passengers.

The Mukilteo Ferry Terminal has several departures throughout the day north of Seattle. There’s only short term parking at the ferry terminal for up to 4 hours, so you’ll want to take your car with you (you’ll want it to explore Whidbey Island anyway) or if you’re coming from Seattle without a car, you get to Mukilteo Station via public transit, the link, from Seattle. (ferry ride is ~20 minutes)

If you’re coming from Olympic National Park, you can also take the Coupeville Ferry from Port Townsend to Coupeville. (~35 minutes)

If you want to avoid the ferries altogether, that’s an option too! You can enjoy a very scenic drive to Whidbey Island by driving over Deception Pass Bridge, driving first through Fidalgo Island before reaching Whidbey Island.

What is Coupeville, Washington known for?

Coupeville, Washington, is renowned for its charming historic district, picturesque waterfront, and annual festivals. It’s also famous for being home to Penn Cove mussels, boasting stunning natural landscapes, and offering a vibrant arts scene.

Can you get to Coupeville, Washington without taking a ferry?

Yes, you can reach Coupeville, Washington without taking a ferry by car via the Deception Pass Bridge from the mainland.

What’s the fastest way to get to Coupeville, Washington?

The fastest way to reach Coupeville, Washington from Seattle is by by taking a ferry to Whidbey Island and then driving to Coupeville.

Do you need a car to get around Whidbey Island?

It’s recommended to have a car to get around Whidbey Island. Having a car offers convenience as most things outside of the towns are all driving distance apart. It is possible to visit Whidbey Island without a car, but you’ll want to schedule more time. Alternative transportation options include biking, walking, public buses, and ride-sharing services.

How long do you need in Coupeville on Whidbey Island?

To fully experience Coupeville on Whidbey Island, plan for at least a day for downtown activities. This allows time to stroll through historic streets, visit shops and galleries, savor local cuisine, explore nearby parks, and enjoy scenic views of Penn Cove. However, if you plan on doing more hiking and exploring around Whidbey Island, schedule 2 to 3 days.

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