The southern gateway to Whidbey Island , Clinton rests on a bluff overlooking the ferries that chug across Possession Sound to unload at the docks here. You'll pass through it in a blink on your journey northward to Langley, a charming little town best enjoyed without a watch or a cell phone.
Langley lies along the waters of Saratoga Passage, with views of Camano Island  and the North Cascades  on a good day. It is a getaway dream town, with boutiques, bed-and-breakfast inns, and galleries galore.
Langley is probably the only Washington town founded by a teenager. In 1880, an ambitious 15-year-old German immigrant, Jacob Anthes, settled here. Because he was too young to file for a homestead, Anthes spent $100 to buy 120 acres of land, adding to his holdings with a 160-acre homestead claim when he reached 21. He later built a store and post office and teamed up with Judge J. W. Langley to plot the new town.
Island Transit (360/321-6688 or 800/240-8747, www.islandtransit.org ) offers free bus service Mon.–Sat. throughout Whidbey Island . From the ferry terminal in Clinton, you can catch Route 1 for service to Freeland , Greenbank , Coupeville , and Oak Harbor  via Highway 20. Or catch Route 7 with service to Langley and Freeland.