How do you travel by bike to Whidbey Island in Puget Sound?
September 1, 2014 12:48 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to travel to Whidbey Island via bicycle from Seattle. What is the most efficient and direct route? A ferry ride would be extra fun, but I am confused by the different schedules etc. The trip will be in mid September. I'll be staying a few days on the island.

Do you really have to get to Whidbey via Mukilteo? Can you take multiple ferries from Fauntleroy/Seattle to Whidbey?
posted by kittensofthenight to Travel & Transportation around Seattle, WA (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Also, it looks to me like the various bus options from Seattle to Mukilteo all take 5 hours or more- how is this even possible?
posted by kittensofthenight at 12:55 PM on September 1, 2014

Best answer: Travel from Seattle to Mukilteo depends on the traffic. If you take the bus, yes, it absolutely could take many hours. There will be transfers. There will be traffic. There are many, many stops along the way. When we go somewhere, we drive. The idea of taking the bus either way sounds a bit nuts to me.

Once you get to Mukilteo, you get on the ferry, which mostly runs every half hour (mostly; unless there are "operational constraints", "necessary repairs," etc.) and lands you in Clinton.

Then you will be in Clinton. It is a steep uphill for some distance from the ferry terminal. You might be able to get a bus down there but see my link below regarding the bus. Hopefully you have someone picking you up on the Whidbey side.

Alternative route would be going through Port Townsend and take the ferry from there. The ferry site says you land in Coupeville, but this is not true. You land at Keystone, which is 6 or so miles from Coupeville. Beware the many tidal cancellations (and "operational constraints", "necessary repairs," and bad weather. They have a great phrase for bad weather but I forget what it is at the moment.). Same issue with bus from Keystone to anywhere. Might depend on the time of day and which direction you are going.

To get to Port Townsend, you can take the Winslow/Bainbridge ferry. I'm sure there are buses from Winslow to Port Townsend, but again, many transfers, many stops. You can get yourself to Edmonds and take the Kingston ferry. From Kingston, again with the bus issues to Port Townsend.

If you don't want to take a ferry, you'll have to come from the north end of the island, which has bridges at Deception Pass.

I strongly recommend you consider renting a car. Especially since once you get here, there may or may not be a bus available to take you somewhere if it is too far to ride your bike. (link for Island Transit)

I'm not sure how you'd connect Fauntleroy to Whidbey via state ferry, since no state ferry routes connect (pdf).
posted by AllieTessKipp at 1:26 PM on September 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Community Transit has a bus that goes from downtown Seattle to Mukilteo in about an hour:

They also have service to and from Seattle's U-District.
posted by baseballpajamas at 2:02 PM on September 1, 2014

Best answer: You can access Whidbey from Deception Pass, but with the bike and all, no the most direct or efficient. Mukilteo is the only other option and the one closest to Seattle.

I've not ever tried this, but I would assume Google's directions would be the most efficeint without further local knowledge:

Besides the San Juan ferries, all the Washington State ferries go from one place to another on a quite clear route that you can see on AllieTessKipp's link above. As you can see, Fauntleroy is not an option.
posted by humboldt32 at 2:48 PM on September 1, 2014

Response by poster: Something is odd about the bus schedules on Google today, probably cause of holiday schedules etc. (here is what I was seeing)

Thanks everyone. I have taken AllieTessKipp's advice to heart and will temper expectations about the reliability of Island Transit. The Sounder of the 417 both take an hour to get to Mukilteo, then I can bike from the ferry to Clinton. I plan on going during the late afternoon; if Island Transit is available, I'll take the bus to the top of the hill. If not I'll just get super sweaty and probably walk half way. We're staying right by Clinton. Great answers.

If anyone is going to the Django Fest feel free to memail me.
posted by kittensofthenight at 3:19 PM on September 1, 2014

Don't want to encourage negative stereotypes, and of course it's not everybody, BUT: Whidbey Island is populated by large numbers of retirees and by military personnel attached to the Whidbey Naval Base. I have relatives on the island, and at community gatherings one of the favorite topics seems to be the *@**%* bike riders, they're a menace, they think they own the road, etc. As a driver I have seem some really awful behavior by other drivers towards bike riders, particularly on hills. So, just saying, be extra careful and alert. You don't want to miss any of that great Gypsy music!
posted by kestralwing at 3:32 PM on September 1, 2014

Django takes place in Langley. Clinton proper is about 10 miles or so from Langley. Depending on where you are staying, you may have a shorter or longer distance to travel.

Figure on no bus on the island if it is the weekend. All routes down here are weekday service only now. I just checked.
posted by AllieTessKipp at 4:41 PM on September 1, 2014

Response by poster: The place is between Langley and Clinton. But once I'm there I'll be with a group that have vehicle access. I saw that about bus schedules, but I'm coming on Thursday. Thanks for such thorough advice :)
posted by kittensofthenight at 7:54 PM on September 1, 2014

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