Hiking · Local Adventures

Local Adventures: Oak Harbor Waterfront Trail, Part 2

The Oak Harbor Waterfront Trail (or The Shoreline Trail) starts at the Scenic Heights Trailhead on Scenic Heights Street, just off of Hwy 20, on the outskirts of Oak Harbor, and ends at Maylor Point, in sight and along Oak Harbor the whole way. To make it easy, the walk can be broken up into a couple sections. See here for Part 1.

We parked at City Beach (“Windjammer Park”). The city of Oak Harbor can call it Windjammer Park but to me it will always be City Beach. I graduated high school in Oak Harbor and spent a big chunk of my teen years at the park. There wasn’t much else to do back then (and there still isn’t). Oak Harbor has grown though, and there has been major changes to the park in recent years (the RV park was removed, it is parking and basketball courts now), the parking along the beach is easier to get to. The gazebos we hung out in as teens are gone, as is the iconic (but rotting) Dutch windmill. Even many trees are gone now. Still, the park has its charms and well, it is on the water, so there is that. It’s easy to access. But walking it, I found myself visualizing where things had been. It’s funny, Google Maps still shows the old version of the park in satellite view. Made that easier to sit and ponder the past.

To start walking, get out of your car and head towards the water. The sidewalk turns into a paved path, along the water and beach.

Oak Harbor is a wide one, Maylor Point is across the water. On the bay side it is natural (and is owned by the US Navy). The outside part of the point is where the officer housing is, looking out onto the more open water and across to Camano Island. The tide was out, and very low.

Pass the first side path, it goes back to the farther parking area, that is in the back (the old RV area).

The lagoon. In summer it offers (questionable) swimming. Just drown yourself in tanning oil to avoid swimmer’s itch like we did back in the day.

The bridge over the lagoon’s end, into the bay, is closed currently, so take a left and wander around the lagoon.  Pass the sculpture of the Dutch boy sweeping (it was old when I was young….).

The path comes back around and you can hop through the Shipwreck splash pad and playground area, or skirt it, and get back on the main path.

We took a side path, down farther. It is a story trail, where children can walk through and read two pages at a time, of a book. It was put there by the Oak Harbor branch of Sno-Isle library. The trail reconnects to the main path, passes by the newer playground and heads towards the end of the park, and the condo building is in front. Look for the paved path to the right. It’s easy to miss it, or think it is a private path, but the narrow paved path is part of the waterfront trail. It wraps around the condos, and opens into wide boardwalk, passing the condos and a couple older beach homes.

Me at 18. Sitting on the same beach.

The boardwalk ends, and ends at a point over the bay. This is Flintstone Park and as well there is a dock area that goes out into the water. The park is a lot quieter now, than it was a few years ago. So in Sarah’s “lets be blunt” corner, Flintstone Park was overrun by homeless a few years ago. Every picnic table was covered, and the lawn had people sleeping on it. I didn’t feel particularly safe in the area, three years ago, and had not been back. It’s better now. Change has occurred, wether or not it is seen as positive depends on what you believe in. But it feels safe again in daytime, so there is that. The aggressive ones were not there. I did notice every picnic table had been removed here, and in the main park all the benches had seat dividers. Urban walking is a fine line. The public areas must be safe for everyone, but you have to have compassion as well. Oak Harbor, in however they did it, has done this well.

And hence why it was named Flintstone Park….well. Maybe. It was there even when I was an angry teenager, not quite understanding how I had landed in paradise. It sits along the road, on the edge of the park, never quite aging. My kids were “What’s the flintstones?” Oh you kids…..that was old even when I was little!

The walk from parking lot to end of Flintstone Park isn’t long, .68 of a mile long one way, but it’s nearly flat and easy to do. The waterfront is pleasant to look at. Once you return and pass the splash area, you can take the other path and wrap around the park for a quiet return to the parking lot. In total we walked about 1.5 miles as a loop.

Park is free to use, as is parking. Picking up dog poop is required.


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