Approaching Oak Harbor
Enter Oak Harbor in the marked channel between Blower’s Bluff and Forbe’s Point. Check depths and stay in the dredged channel between the red and green markers. In order to avoid rocks, do not go between buoy #2 and Maylor Point. Once clear of the last starboard marker, turn sharply to starboard. The city is on the port side and the marina, with abundant visitor moorage, is at the head of the bay. This marina is about 3/4 miles from downtown shops and restaurants. Taxi and bus service are available. The bus is free and runs Monday through Friday, but you must call Island Transit, 360-678-7771 and request dispatch for a pickup. Destinations of interest include Deception Pass, Fort Casey and Coupeville. There is a float for small dinghies at the downtown waterfront. Depths are shallow and the float dries at a minus tide.
Downtown Oak Harbor
Image credit: www.oakharbor.org/
The City of Oak Harbor
The townsite of Oak Harbor was first settled in the mid-1800’s. It was named for the preponderance of Garry Oaks. Later the Dutch arrived in 1894 from Michigan and the Dakotas, searching for land where they would be free from the age-old fear of floods. The Dutch have continued to be a very important influence in the community, as evidenced by the farms, architecture, and gardens. By 1891, the downtown waterfront of Oak Harbor was booming when steamers made regular freight and passenger runs between here and Bellingham, Everett, Seattle, and Olympia.
Today, the City of Oak Harbor, thought of fondly as “Paradise of Puget Sound,” has many amenities, including restaurants, hotels, gift shops, and grocery stores. Local theaters come in several varieties - live community theater, a multi-screen movie theater and even a drive-in theater featuring go-karts, arcade, and a 50’s style diner. Northern Oak Harbor is home to Deception Pass State Park and the famous Deception Pass Bridge. Island Transit buses provide free transportation throughout Whidbey Island. Windjammer Park, with its landmark windmill, has pads for RV’s, kitchens, fire pits, a swimming area, tennis courts, basketball hoops and RV sites. The grounds are open year-round while the buildings and facilities are open May-October. The city also has a skate park and an indoor swimming pool. A pier, with a float for fishing and landing dinghies, lies along this shore at Flintstone Park.
A couple in traditional Dutch clothing walk in the Oak Harbor Holland Happening Parade.
Image credit: http://whidbeycamanoislands.com
Oak Harbor Events
Annual Oak Harbor Events include the Whidbey Island Marathon and Holland Happening (a festival celebrating the Dutch heritage) in April. July brings an Old-Fashioned Fourth of July Parade and fireworks extravaganza. Crab season is also launched in July with Crab Cakes and Cocktails and the Whidbey Island Race Week. The Lions Club Car Show, the Oak Harbor PigFest and Hydro’s for Hero’s are held in August. The city welcomes fall with the Military Appreciation Picnic (open to all) and the Oak Harbor Music Festival in September, the Monster Mash/ Zombie Crawl in October. The year wraps up in December with a tree lighting in historic downtown, the Oak Harbor Yacht Club Lighted Boat Parade, Island Ice (an ice skating adventure) and finally fireworks to ring in the New Year.
For more events information visit the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce Harbor Guide Program and website.