Whidbey cited as popular ‘small town’ rental destination

Whidbey Island is a small town, entire of itself.

At least that’s what the island is considered in a recent but somewhat misinformed analysis of popular vacation rental places by FlipKey, a TripAdvisor company.

The list was created based on bookings over the past year.

Whidbey Island, a large island with two incorporated cities and a town, made No. 6 on a list of the 12 “small towns” in the nation that are the most popular for vacation rentals.

“Because small towns don’t always get as much mention as classic vacation destinations like Orlando or Wailea, we’ve rounded up the best in the country and ranked them in order of the most bookings on FlipKey in 2016,” the FlipKey story states.

The description of Whidbey Island at the company’s website, www.flipkey.com/blog/2017/01/07/12-charming-small-towns-escape, says the island is as “a picturesque vacation destination just 30 miles off the coast of Washington,” which is also not quite accurate.

Nor is the photo used with the article. The picture used shows Campbell Lake on Fidalgo Island, viewed from a popular lookout atop Mount Erie. Campbell Lake is distinctive because it is a lake with an island near the center.

The description of Whidbey’s location is a head scratcher.

Most people in the state don’t consider islands in Puget Sound as being “off the coast,” and the South Whidbey ferry route to the mainland is just over three miles.

According to the story posted by the company, FlipKey looked at destinations with less than 100 vacation rentals available and populations under 50,000. Whidbey Island has a population of more than 58,000, according to the 2000 Census.

Nonetheless, the company’s conclusions about Whidbey Island seem to be spot on. Vacation rentals are very popular. And most residents and visitors alike would agree the island does have “wide-open beaches and scenic nature reserves (which) provide unmatched settings for memorable outdoor adventures.”

“Retreat to this island any time of year and stay steps from the ocean’s edge to enjoy its total tranquility,” the story states.