Frequently Asked Questions

Contact us

Specials      (206) 395-5540


  1. 1.   Is Sandpiper Haven under new ownership?

    Yes.  We are thrilled to be coming up on our sixth summer season as the new owners and managers of Sandpiper Haven, what was previously called the “Penn Cove Beach House.”  We feel a place this special deserves a unique name, and that our guests will benefit from our updates and  a more active management.  Feedback is very much appreciated, and we try to quickly respond to all questions.

    Guests who have stayed here in the past will notice many upgrades including a sleeper sofa in the Living Room, as well as new HDTV, cable, and broadband wireless internet service.  The outdoor furniture has been replaced and the trail to the beach has been refurbished.

2.    Is the calendar up to date?

    Yes.  As dates are reserved and paid for, we update the calendar.   We prefer all payments to be made online to streamline to transaction process as much as possible.

3.    Do I have to take a Ferry to get to Sandpiper Haven? 

    You do not need to take a ferry to get to Sandpiper Haven, but may want to.  The Washington State Ferry system is unique, and always enjoyable. 

    We are located about 2/3 of the way “up” Whidbey Island.  At the north end, cars can drive across one of the most spectacular bridges in the country over Deception Pass.  This normally does not take much longer (if at all) than taking the ferry from Mukilteo to Clinton, but you will probably want to stop at the overlooks and at the Deception Pass State Park.  This is always time well spent.

4.    How long does it take to get to there from downtown Seattle?   

    As far as travel times, this is always a difficult question in the Seattle area.  On a Friday afternoon in the summer, plan on congestion at the Mukilteo/Clinton Ferry as well as some on I-5 northbound at least through Everett.  Still, seriously consider driving “around” across Deception Pass at the north end of Whidbey Island.  This might well save some time.  Google says about two to two and a half hours.  Your experience may vary.

5.    Can I make a ferry reservation?

    It depends... Reservations are only available on the Coupeville/Port Townsend ferry.   This ferry does not actually depart from Coupeville, but from Keystone Harbor a few miles SW of Coupeville on the west side of the Island.  Reservations can be made online or by calling the Washington State Ferry reservation line at (888) 808-7977.  On weekends and holidays they may well be booked days in advance.  But you can still get on the boat.  Only 75% of spaces can be reserved, so plan on showing up about an hour early if no more reserved spots are available.  Spend you time strolling on the beach or exploring Fort Casey.

6.    You mention Sandpiper Haven is a “reduced allergen” environment. What do you mean?

    As an owner of Sandpiper Haven and a person dealing with chronic asthma, one of my goals is to reduce indoor airborne allergens.  We have done this in a number of ways, including removing wall to wall carpets, prohibiting pets and ALL smoking on the property, thoroughly cleaning after each use, and running a HEPA air filter when the unit is unoccupied.  All bedding is washed on a frequent schedule, and mattresses, pillows, and box spring are all inside allergen-proof microfiber encasings.

7.    Do we have to clean Sandpiper Haven when we leave?

    A complete list of the “Checkout Procedures” will be provided with your rental agreement.  We attempt to keep cleaning fees reasonable.  You can help by picking up, running the dishwasher, running one load of laundry, removing all perishables, and taking out the garbage.  We have the cabin professionally cleaned after each visit.  Failure to follow the checkout procedures may result in additional cleaning charges which will be withheld from your deposit.

8.     What if we find a problem with the condition of Sandpiper Haven when we arrive?

    Please, call us immediately.   We want your stay to be as trouble-free as possible, but if something is amiss, we need to be informed so that we can take steps to correct the problem.  Although we live in the Puget Sound region, we do not get the chance to inspect Sandpiper Haven before each new guest.  We will do our utmost to correct any issues.

9.    Where can I dig clams, mussels and oysters?

    Our tidelands are private, and you may dig there.  Also, we provide information on where other public tidelands are located.

10.    Is it safe to eat shellfish from your beach.

    As far as we know, yes.  Contact the state Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) Hotline (800) 562-5632 and check the Island County Health Department at (360) 679-7350.  Check the website links as well, but these may not be completely up to date.  If we are aware of any problems, we will let you know.

11.    Do I need a license to dig shellfish?

    Yes.  It must be worn and visible while digging.  See links for locations to purchase a license or buy your own online and print it prior to your trip.  Currently, we do not have printer at Sandpiper Haven.

12.    Where can I fish and what can I fish for?

    Whidbey Island offers many options, ranging from lakes, to quiet coves, to wild beaches.  They are too numerous to list.  Some very good information is in the Cabin, as is a copy of the current State rules.  Check the blog, as well, for updates.  Licenses are required.  A selection of poles and tackle is provided for our guest to use.  Please read this BLOG entry for more information.

13.    Can I bring a boat and use the boat launch?

    Yes.  The community launch is available to use.  Please be courteous.  There is room a Sandpiper Haven to store a small boat and trailer.

14.    Can I anchor my boat out in Penn Cove?


15.   Can I launch my kayak at Sandpiper Haven?


16.     Can I build a fire on the beach?

    No. This is an Island County ordinance.  Fires are allowed in the outdoor firepit only.  Usually, there is some wood on hand for your use.  This is stored in the woodbox and extra wood is located on the east side of the house.  Please do not burn driftwood from the beach.  Driftwood burns poorly, and if we or someone else informs you that there is a “burn ban” in effect, all outdoor fires are prohibited.

17.  Should I bring my bicycle?

    Yes.  Whidbey Island is big enough to allow for some very nice longer rides.  In fact, my first visit to the Island was by bicycle over 25 years ago, when I came across on the ferry to Keystone, and rode north to Anacortes before taking the ferry up to the San Juan Islands and Vancouver Island.   Ebey’s Landing, Fort Casey, and Coupeville are closer destinations.  A good quality map is available in Sandpiper Haven.

18.   Do I need to have a car?

    Probably, although there is a shuttle service from SeaTac Airport or downtown Seattle to Coupeville and Oak Harbor that runs several times a day, and car rentals in Oak Harbor as well.  A stop is located a short walk away for a frequent inter-island shuttle bus.  Please read this BLOG entry.

19.    Should I visit Port Townsend?

Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  The visit to Port Townsend is well worth it, and the Victorian downtown is an easy walk from the ferry (hint - you don’t need to take your car.)  See the Blog for more information.

The stuff we have thought of... so far

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At Sandpiper Haven  we have a strictly enforced NO SMOKING and NO PETS policy.  Failure to observe these rule will result in the forfeiture of your entire security deposit with no exceptions.