Visiting Camano Island, Washington

This year marks the twentieth year I've spent living in Washington state. I am being much more intentional this year about visiting some of the areas around me because to be totally honest, I just haven't made an effort. We live in one of the most beautiful places in all of the US of A and I need to spend more time exploring it. A few weeks ago our family spent a few days exploring Wenatchee, Washington. We skied Mission Ridge and wandered through the self-proclaimed apple capital of the world soaking in all this small town had to offer. This past weekend we made plans to explore Camano Island, less than a two-hour drive away from my home, just North of Seattle. 
I spent weeks thinking that I would have to take a ferry to Camano Island and literally the day of our planned trip, I realized there was no ferry ride needed. This was both equally confusing {because how does one drive to an island?} and awesome {because sometimes ferry lines are the worst!}. I probably should look at a map of my state more often. Just further evidence that I don't get out much. Happily confused, my husband and I packed up the van with our youngest kiddo {13-year-old Owen} and set forth to explore an island none of us had been to before. Here is what you need to know if you are visiting Camano Island, Washington.
silhouette of father and son on the beach in the PNW

Visiting Camano Island, Washington

PNW beach island visitors guide

So how does one get to an island without a boat? Or better yet, How do you get to Camano Island, WA? 

mother and son on the beach in the pacific northwest

Camano Island is just north of Seattle and separated from the mainland by a sliver of water. Apparently, low-tide makes it seem more obvious that Camano Island is indeed an island, but you'll have to go there to see for yourself. Take I5 to exit 212 and head west on Highway 532 passing through Stanwood. If you blink, you just might miss when you head off the mainland and onto the island, but in no time you will be off-the-beaten-path in this laid-back artist community.

the great northwest glass quest hand blown glass ball

When is the best time to visit Camano Island?

I chatted up several locals who told me that the Island has more sunny days and less rain than Seattle. I looked it up. It's true. We were pleasantly surprised with beautiful weather in January and plan on returning in February {15-24 this year} for The Great Northwest Glass Quest {more on this in a second}. Though I'm not sure you can ever go wrong with a visit to this beautiful quaint little island if you want to escape the sweltering heat of summer from another non-Washington state, the mild summer temperatures from July-September is always my favorite time to be in the area.

Moongate at the Camano Island Inn where to stay

How to Explore the Island

Want to explore Camano Island in the most unusual and awesome way possible? Why not join in the greatest treasure hunt in the Pacific Northwest for beautiful hand blown glass balls during The Great Northwest Glass Quest. More than 10,000 people head to the island every February in search of clue balls. 2019 marks the 10th year of Glass Quest and you can find 450 glass balls over the course of 10 days throughout the island.

Start your hunt by checking the treasure map daily to find out which businesses or parks have the hidden plastic clue ball. If you find the ball, you can follow the clue to a local business to trade it in for a beautiful hand blown glass ball, each one unique and created by a father/son duo just for this event.

Camano Island, Washington visit travel
I can't think of a better way to explore the island with your family {or on your own!} than with a mission in mind and the possibility of coming home with the greatest souvenir and a story or two your family will treasure.
Camano Island Visitors guide

You can also explore the area by Geocaching. Here's how to get started!

Camano Island Inn guest sign

Want to stay awhile on Camano Island?

The island is small so there are only a handful of lodging options. The first option is a stay at the local Camano Island Inn. The views are spectacular all year long and you have access to a private beach and gardens as well as walking trails. Enjoy a private deck with its own hot tub, take advantage of the shared common areas and relax in this bed and breakfast like setting.

Camano Island Inn hot tub guest room

You could also reserve a no-frills cabin at Cama Beach State Park or live like a local and rent a home and get settled for a few days.

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Other notable stops to explore on Camano Island

Pro tip: All of these stops will also be hosts and possible hiding spots for the upcoming Glass Quest

Cama Beach State Park

Don't miss Cama Beach State Park. This was our teenage son's favorite stop. We explored the beach trails, skipped rocks for hours and hiked along the Bluff Trail to try to spot some whales. Stop in the Cama Beach Cafe for brunch or a snack and don't miss trying the cinnamon rolls and scones, both homemade and delicious!

Cama beach state park row boat

Ale Spike

Head to Ale Spike for beer tasting in the afternoon. Our son sipped on root beer while we played the house board games together as a family.  You aren't going to want to miss this delicious craft beer made right here on the island.

Ale Spike Camano Island brewing

Naked City Brewing

We heard from the locals more than once that we needed to stop into Naked City Brewing just for the fries. They weren't kidding. You can find beer and gourmet comfort food on the menu at this family-friendly pub.

Canopy tours northwest zipline experience

Canopy Tours Northwest

With our teenage son in tow, I couldn't think of a better activity to cap off our Camano Island adventure than to zipline through the forest with Canopy Tours Northwest. This locally owned and operated family farm is generations old. The family graciously shares their farm to the public for zipline tours, farm to table meals and crafting workshops. The guides are fun and take you through a 6 line course that goes over the creek and through the woods with a few short trail walks and a 47-foot final descent worth writing home about!
Canopy tours northwest zipline experience
They go over the top greeting guests with homemade snacks on arrival and treats {we had a campfire with s'mores and hot cocoa} on the trail and share their knowledge of the area including their commitment to sustainable forest stewardship. 
canopy tours northwest zipline experience
Camano Island stole a little piece of my heart. I might be perusing the real estate websites and daydreaming of a beach cabin on the island. It's the perfect spot for a day trip or a weekend away. Don't miss exploring this beautiful Pacific Northwest gem. Why not save the date and make some time during the upcoming Great Northwest Glass Quest February 15-24. Maybe I'll see you there!

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disclaimer: this post was sponsored by Whidbey Camano Island Chamber of Commerce. All opinions are my own. I wouldn't tell you about something I didn't love. Promise. To learn more visit Whidbey Camano Islands. 

1 comment

Amanda said...

Ok this is totally on my things to do this winter!!

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