Two linked north-south state highways, state Route 525 and SR 20, are Whidbey Island’s main traffic conduits and are fed by county roads or city streets. Each serves about half the long, narrow island: SR 525 the South End, and SR 20 the North End. Together, they form the only nationally designated Scenic Byway on an island, the “Whidbey Island Scenic Isle Way,” with its vistas of saltwater beaches, wildflower meadows, rich agriculture, mountains, forests, wildlife and historic sites.
Motorists coming to Whidbey Island from the south should take Interstate 5 to Whidbey Island/Mukilteo Ferry Exit 182, head north on SR 525 to Mukilteo and board a Washington State Ferry bound for Clinton.
From the east and north, follow Interstate 5 to Exit 230 in Burlington, then continue west on SR 20 over the Deception Pass Bridge to the island.
From the Olympic Peninsula, take SR 101 to its intersection with SR 20, drive northeast to Port Townsend and take the Washington State Ferry to Coupeville Terminal.
The Washington State Department of Transportation maintains seven traffic cameras in the Oak Harbor area and an eighth to the south to alert travelers to potential traffic and ferry problems. Stay informed of local and state situations by going to www.wsdot.com/traffic or by dialing 511 for real-time traffic and weather information.
TrafficSpotter has a free Android app that delivers traffic reports and weather and airport delay alerts to mobile devices. Go to www.trafficspotter.com/Traffic/Report/US/WA/Whidbey%20Island.
Washington State Department of Licensing
Oak Harbor Driver Licensing Office
656 S.E. Bayshore Drive, No. 4
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday
The Washington State Department of Licensing issues driver’s licenses, identification cards and vehicle registration and provides other driving-related services.
Washington State Patrol
District 7 Office
840 S.E. Eighth Ave., No. 101
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
360-675-0710 / 360-805-1153
In addition to some 600 troopers patrolling Washington roads every day, another thousand less-visible civilian employees are doing their part in the agency’s six bureaus for public safety, including those who work for the State Fire Marshal to help prevent fires in the home and workplace; the crime lab technicians and scientists who, among other things, process DNA samples in criminal cases; and investigative support staff who keep criminal records and databases up to date.
Help is at your fingertips: For roadside assistance and emergencies, call 911; for road closure information, 511; and for state ferry vessel and terminal security, 911.
Military personnel and their spouses who are stationed in Washington from elsewhere may continue to drive with a valid driver’s license from their home state, but in general, all Washington residents who want to drive must apply for a driver’s license once residency is established.
The state spells out what is required for licensing and insurance under various scenarios in its Washington Driver Guide, which can be downloaded at ww.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/docs/driverguide-en.pdf.
The state of Washington prohibits drivers from holding cell phones or other wireless communications devices to their ears; teenage drivers are barred from using all cell phones or other wireless communications devices; and text messaging is banned for all drivers.
These days much of the former paperwork associated with driving can be handled online, including renewing vehicle license plates, replacing a driver’s license or ID card, checking the status of a driver’s license, reporting the sale of a vehicle and registering to vote. A Washington State Department of Licensing list of online options, “Do More Online,” is available at www.dol.wa.gov.
Washington State Department of Transportation
Visit the Washington State Department of Transportation website for interactive maps, information about road closures and travel advisories, and to view live traffic cameras.