Deception Pass State Park is the most visited state park in Washington. It is an area of outstanding natural beauty with breath-taking views, old-growth forests miles of hiking trails and abundant wildlife. For us sea glass hunters, there's also 14 miles of saltwater shoreline.
The park straddles both Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands, offering great beaches for collecting sea glass and driftwood. Deception Pass West Beach is a long, gravelly shoreline with excellent views of the Olympic Mountains, the San Juan Islands, and even Victoria, BC on a clear day.
Deception Pass Beach
The beach has plenty of picnic tables, though you may prefer to perch on some of the ample driftwood which provides a natural spot to eat or relax.
West Beach also has a concession stand that is open seasonally.
We did a lot of walking and sifting through the rocks. Though this was a stunning beach for fun and photo ops, unfortunately we didn't find much sea glass.
Plenty of Driftwood
There's so much driftwood here! I brought back an entire backpack loaded with it, but be sure to take it out of the car and let it dry. Our Ford Explorer started to smell pretty funky after leaving the wet driftwood in the back! In the end, I took it into our hotel room hoping it might dry out.
How to Preserve your Driftwood
Driftwood is full of algae and little insects. Remove any visible debris from the pieces of driftwood with a brush, then fill a container (large enough to submerge the pieces) full of water and bleach. Soak the wood for a few days changing the water and adding bleach.
Remove from the water and let your driftwood air dry naturally. Laying it out in the sun is ideal, otherwise put it in the garage for several days. Laying it across bricks allows air to circulate.
Seal the wood with furniture wax; an equal mixture of beeswax and turpentine or a clear matte, satin, semigloss or high gloss protective finish. Finishes can be wiped on with a cloth, painted or sprayed. I use a matte spray finish for mine, but it's personal preference.
Deception Pass Bridge
The bridge at Deception Pass has brought a dimension of romantic flavor to this intriguing and majestic area. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, curving gracefully between Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands. The bridge dramatically links the islands together.
Deception Pass Bridge offers a gorgeous and impressive view from the beaches below, and the appearance can be one of mood and mystery. It is truly breathtaking.
Maiden of Deception Pass
Have you heard the legend of the 'Maiden of Deception Pass'?
She was the guardian of her people. Because of her, they always had plenty of seafood and pure water in the springs and streams. Her people could see that she was watching over them. As the tide passed back and forth through Deception Pass, they could see her long hair drifting on the surface of the water. They knew that the maiden of the sea was watching over her people.
According to Samish legend, she will live in the water forever.
At one time, a portion of the Samish Tribe lived on the land which is now known as Rosario Beach. That's where you will find a carved wooden statue, one side depicting the maiden as a human, while the other side is when she was a mermaid.
The carving depicts the story of Ko-Kwal-alwoot, a culturally important legend of the Samish Indian Nation. Read more about the story here, as told by Charlie Edwards to Martin Sampson in 1938.
Directions to Deception Pass State Beach
Deception Pass is located nine miles north of Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island and nine miles south of Anacortes, Fidalgo Island.
Beach amenities include:
- Plenty of public parking
- Family and dog friendly
- Picnic tables
- Pacific North West hiking trails
- Nice restrooms (closed during off season)