About the Area
Deception Pass State Park
The most popular state park on Whidbey Island, Deception Pass State Park is a convenient few minutes drive from Oak Harbor, but feels like it is a lifetime away from the downtown area. Leaving from your convenient base at the Coachman Inn, you'll very soon be at the park, enjoying the views of hill and shore.
The 4,134 acre park is both a marine and camping park, featuring both saltwater beaches and freshwater shoreline on three, glistening lakes. Old growth forests cover the area and water drops over rugged cliffs for a stunning fall into the waters of Deception Pass.
Visitors will enjoy viewing 174 different varieties of birds as well as amazing sunsets in this popular park.
The area where the park is located has been home to humans for thousands of years, with evidence of settlements at what is now known as Cornet Bay, Bowman Bay and Rosario. Later, the Samish and the Swinomish peoples settled the land, staying until the 1990s.
In Bowman Bay in the park, visitors can find a rebuilt bathhouse that now serves as an interpretive center in the park. There are guided tours any day of the year, however, you do need to make a reservation to take the tour.
Other interpretive possibilities include the observation deck overlooking Cranberry Lake wetlands. To get to the deck, follow the west-beach sand dunes interpretive trail. Signage explains the ecosystem in the area, including the vegetation and food cycles.
Another opportunity is found in the north section of Rosario Beach. In an acknowledgement of the generations of Native Americans that used the beaches in the summers for hundreds of years, there is a Maiden of Deception Pass story pole in the park. The story originates with the Samish Indian Nation.
A monument explaining the discovery of Deception Pass and the reason for its unusual name is located at the south bridge parking lot. It also discusses the naming of Whidbey Island.
For visitors who stay into the evening, there are often ranger shows; there are slideshows and lectures many weekday evenings, particularly during the summer. They will generally take place at the park's amphitheater, but you'll find an exact schedule in the park.
Boating is a popular activity in the park, and the launch at Cornet Bay is open during the winter. You'll find the opportunity to enjoy lakes and seas at Cornet Bay, with 5 saltwater and 3 freshwater boat ramps and plenty of both fresh and salt-water docks.
However, on Pass Lake, no motors are allowed, and on Cranberry Lake, you can only use electric motors.
There are hundreds of wildlife species, marine life and bird species in the park. Visitors can also enjoy miles of hiking trails, bike trails and horse trails, as well as a museum and sail boarding facilities.
The friendly Coachman Inn front desk staff will gladly tell you more about the Whidbey Island parks during your stay with them.
Before you check out the Deception Pass State Park on Whidbey Island, check into the nearby Coachman Inn, where we have been voted Best of Whidbey Island for two years running and awarded the AAA Three Diamond rating, their highest rating for vacation lodging. To check availability, call the Coachman now at 800-635-0043 or click here.