A couple of weeks ago we took advantage of Western Washington’s first hot sunny day in months to shake off the lingering doldrums of Seattle’s wettest winter ever by taking dogs on a day trip to what I consider Washington’s best off-leash area: Double Bluff Beach on Whidbey Island.
Nestled the northern end of Useless Bay, Double Bluff Beach Off Leash Area is a tw0 mile expanse of unfettered beach bounded by Puget Sound and 200-foot cliffs.
On a clear day you can see Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges, and a sliver of downtown Seattle. Blue herons and bald eagles make frequent appearances as well.
Aside from the scenery, the best feature about the off leash area is that it is rarely crowded. We’ve never seen more than a handful of dogs there. We only saw 4 on this visit.
At low tide your dog will have a 200 yard swath of beach to explore to its heart’s content. At high tide the beach will be much narrower but your dog will still have plenty of room to roam.
Double Bluff Beach also has a grassy picnic area, viewing benches, rest rooms, doggie poop bags and a rinse station. A doggie drinking fountain is also available.
You should note that the off-leash area of the beach starts about 500 ft. from the picnic area. It’s marked by a red windsock on a flagpole.
Until you get to the windsock you must keep your dog on leash.
We saw dozens of people in this area hanging out, reading, and eating there, and they would not have appreciated an off leash dog bounding into the middle of their groups.
If you let your dog off leash before the windsock you could be subject to a $500 fine.
The beach has a small parking lot but it fills up quickly. If you can’t find a place you can park on the side of the road leading to the beach. Other things to note:
- Bring water. Between the salt water and sand your dog will get thirsty quickly.
- Go early on days with nice weather. You’ll avoid crowds in the on leash area and be able to park close to the beach entrance.
- Don’t go if you can’t control your dog. The beach isn’t fenced so if you can’t recall your dog it could take off and run for miles or bother other dogs/people that may not want company.
- Watch your step. You’ll have to walk on rocks and algae in some parts of the beach, especially at low tide.
- Bring towels. Your dog will get wet when it plays on the beach and/or you spray it down after the walk to rinse of the sand and salt.
Double Bluff Off Leash Dog Beach is an easy day trip from Seattle.
Take I-5 north to the Mukilteo-Clinton ferry exit and follow the signs to the Mukilteo ferry terminal. (45 minutes)
Take the ferry from Mukiteo to Clinton on Whidbey Island. They run every half hour during the day. (20 mins)
Go north on SR525, turn left onto Double Bluff Road, follow to the end into the parking area for the park. (20 mins)
Depending on traffic and how long you have to wait for the ferry, the trip can take 90 minutes (if there’s no traffic and you don’t have to wait for the ferry) to 2-1/2 hours.
Do yourself and your dog a favor and visit this crown jewel of Washington off leash dog parks.