Camano Island is a little over an hour drive from Seattle, and unlike many Washington Islands, you can access it by car without the necessity of a ferry ride. Camano Island is more of a residential island than a tourist attraction, which is part of its charm. That being said, there are plenty of fun activities and things to do on the island.
Note that I worked with Whidbey and Camano Islands Tourism on the itinerary for this trip. All opinions are my own.
Things To Do On Camano Island
As you arrive on Camano Island you will see a colorful “Welcome to Camano Island” sign. It is in a cute park to stop at to stretch your legs. There is a small sculpture park that is worth checking out. Also located by the sign is the Koffman Art with a Smile gallery that is open on the weekends. The gallery features quirky art, and even if it is not open, you can see some of his works.
Head out to the Arrowhead Ranch to try the newest Pacific Northwest trend, forged ax throwing. This is such a fun activity. You get to fling an ax with all your might to stick into a target. It is such a great way to relieve stress. The big red barn on the property is the location for maker’s workshops. Tickets are available for group workshops or you can set up a private event. Current projects included making a charcuterie board or a birdhouse. Make sure to wear closed-toe shoes for any activity on the ranch.
Pro Tip: During your visit, make sure to look at the Soap Box Derby track. It is the only one west of the Mississippi and is the site of many races. This is a great old-fashioned American experience. The children build their own cars with the help of a mentor and Arrowhead Ranch offers workshops during the year.
Cama Beach Historical State Park
Driving onto Cama Beach Historical State Park is a step into the past and the heydays of auto camps. The Cama Beach Resort dates to 1934 and was a thriving resort operated by the Stradleys for over 55 years. Families loved to vacation here, enjoying fishing, boating, swimming, and other fun camp activities. When the resort was turned into a state park it retained the cabins, which you can still rent today. For a day trip, take a hike down to the cabins and the waterfront for a beach stroll. Cranberry Lake is a nice trail that is an easy 2.1-mile roundtrip hike. In season, the wildflowers are beautiful and it offers great bird watching. The Center for Wooden Boats located on the waterfront offers boat-building classes on the weekends. If you plan ahead, you can book a weekend at the cabins and build a boat. Now that is a unique Pacific Northwest souvenir! During the summer months, boats are available for rent.
Matzke Sculpture Park And Gallery
Artist and owner Karla Matzke has literally carved a work of art on the grounds of the Matzke Sculpture Park and Gallery. Her skill with a bulldozer helped create this lovely outdoor gallery, which currently features more than 150 works of art on the 10-acre grounds. Matzke opened her gallery in 2008 and it also features a 3,000 square foot indoor space. She features prominent and emerging American and international artists. Although located out in the woods, the space is a hub of activity with artists dropping off new works and art lovers shopping for their next work. Take time to wander the grounds and observe the placement of outdoor sculptures made of bronze, stainless steel, wood, and glass that enhance the lovely garden. Matzke has created a welcoming space for community, whether it is touring the grounds or attending an exhibition or live music performance.
Kristoferson Farm, Canopy Tours Northwest
The Kristoferson Farm is a sixth-generation family farm with a variety of fun activities open to the public. They are most known for their Canopy Tours. Begin at the big red barn where you will receive your safety briefing and don your equipment before hopping on board a historic Unimog forest vehicle. Drive to a stunning Pacific Northwest forest where you will experience six zip lines, a log bridge, and two short trail walks before a final 47-foot descent to the forest floor.
On the farm beginning in June, you can try your hand at U-pick lavender or join in a workshop and learn to make lavender wands, sachets, wreaths, or soap. Culinary items include lavender tea, lemonade, and ice cream. These workshops fill up fast so make sure to book a reservation. Also watch for events throughout the year including farm-to-table dinners.
English Boom Trail
This lovely waterfront park is on the site of a former logging boom once owned by the English Lumber Company. The log boom was a barrier used to collect and contain floating logs logged from nearby forests in the 1920s and ’30s. From this location, the logs were tied together and pulled by tug to sawmills. The park has interpretive signs detailing the history of the area. The views are gorgeous and there is a nice trail along the waterfront as well as an ADA trail. There are downed trees, marsh, and a beach, creating a unique topography perfect for photos.
Camano Island Restaurants
Camano Island is more of a residential community, and the food scene reflects that with the everyday restaurants. You won’t find anything fancy or pretentious, just good local joints. The Camano Commons Marketplace was designed as a place for community to gather. It has shopping and places to grab a bite to eat. A large grass venue is perfect for events and live music. It is a popular local spot to hang out.
Cama Beach Cafe
The Cama Beach Cafe is so unexpected. First, it is located at Cama Beach Historical State Park in the gorgeous lodge with large picture windows that offer incredible views. Dining is inside or there are a few tables available on the deck. This place gets busy, so make sure to have a reservation for brunch. The food is known for its farm-to-table, fresh approach. In addition to the restaurant, there is a bakery and coffee shop for to-go orders. The food here is incredible. We ordered the family-style dining which is recommended when they are busy. They bring you a selection of foods including bakery treats. It is a generous amount of food for the price.
Pro Tip: Their cinnamon rolls are the best I ever had. We ordered one to eat with our coffee while waiting for our breakfast. Totally worth the calories!
Located in the Camano Commons Marketplace, Tapped Camano is the perfect place to end your day on the island. I could just eat off the starter menu. I love blistered shishito peppers, and Tapped steps it up with Mama Lil’s Aioli. Instead of ordinary tater tots, this dish is served with Beecher’s Cheese Fondue. The mains are equally delicious. There is a great selection of regional beer, wine, and cider.
Camano Island makes the perfect day trip with enough to do to fill the day and an easy drive to your next destination or base in the Pacific Northwest. For more inspiration, consider