Shopping By Boat

Sometimes it is too easy to overlook unique, or at least very uncommon things you can do on Whidbey. Have you ever shopped by boat? Many people shop for boats, but how many places can claim that you can skip the typical holiday traffic and the bumper car maneuvering in a search for parking by using your boat and you feet instead of a car? Whidbey has a few.

Oak Harbor

Big marina, maybe a long walk to Pioneer Way, but the road is flat and the view is worth it. There may not be moorage by the shops, or the shops may not be by the moorage, but each can see the other.


It is hard for the marina to get closer to the town, especially at low tide, but there are even shops and such on the wharf. Hmm. Check for the dock’s condition, though. There was that windstorm a while ago.


Folks in Langley’s shopping area may not know there’s a marina. Folks in the marina have a bit of a hill to climb; but at least that means the last bit of your return trip is downhill to the dock.

Oak Harbor, Coupeville, and Langley are three places where shoppers and yachties can turn shopping into an adventure, or at least a story to tell during the holidays. Maybe a golf cart or three could help with hauling the packages.

Those aren’t the only places on Whidbey where someone can do such a thing; but the others require a bit more effort or creativity. Greenbank could accept kayakers who don’t mind hauling out their boat and then making the trip to Greenbank Farm. Freeland has a boat ramp and plenty of shops, though the walk may be longer that some places. Clinton can take the biggest boats, even ferries visit frequently, though it is back to kayaking and walking up a bit of a hill.

Shopping doesn’t have to be a dull routine. Imagine dressing to shop in your Helly-Hansens. Just don’t drip in the stores, and good luck finding parking for 18-foot long kayaks.

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