Installation Overview: Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island is located in the northwest corner of Washington State, 90 miles north of Seattle. Fishing, hunting, hiking, sailing, canoeing, camping and bike riding are all prevalent in this rural area with its rocky beaches and rolling hills making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

NAS Whidbey Island is the premier naval aviation installation in the Pacific Northwest. It is comprised of two bases five miles apart: the Seaplane Base and the Naval Air Station (also known as Ault Field.) Located on the western shore of the island, the Air Station contains most of the military activities. The Seaplane Base is on the eastern shore at the edge of the town of Oak Harbor. It houses the Family Service Center, Housing Office, Personal Property Office, Commissary, Exchange, Navy Lodge and some of the family housing units.

The Mission of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island is to provide the highest quality facilities, services and products to the Naval Aviation Community, and all organizations utilizing the Naval Air Station on Whidbey Island.

Here is the official website for NAS Whidbey Island.

Location/Driving Directions

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island is located in Oak Harbor, WA, on Whidbey Island, part of Island County, which is in the northwest corner of Washington State, 90 miles north of Seattle. It is within close proximity to the San Juan Islands and the Cascade and Olympic mountains.

From SeaTac International Airport: The Whidbey-SeaTac Shuttle provides service from all communities on Whidbey Island to SeaTac International Airport. Stops are conveniently located near State Route 20 and State Route 525 at various mini-marts and service stations. The trip to SeaTac Airport takes 2 hours and 15 minutes from downtown Oak Harbor and is even faster from Coupeville, Greenbank, Freeland, Bayview, Langley and Clinton. Whidbey SeaTac Shuttle travels on the Clinton/Mukilteo Ferry and has "first-on/ first-off " priority boarding just like vanpools and carpools to ensure on-time arrivals at SeaTac Airport. For schedule and advance reservation, call (360) 679-4003 or toll free (877) 679-4003.

Driving to Whidbey

From Interstate 5 - Take Exit 230 (Anacortes/ Burlington). Turn left onto Highway 20 and proceed until you see highway sign to Oak Harbor (fourth stop light) and turn left. Head up the hill, cross the bridge and stay on Highway 20. Proceed to the light on Ault Field Road. Turn right, and when you reach the second stop light, take right on Langley Blvd. and proceed to the Pass and Decal office outside the gate.

From Port Townsend (Keystone Ferry) - From ferry, turn left on Engle Road. Stay left on Engle Road (about 4 miles) until you come to Highway 20 in Coupeville. Take a left at the light and continue north to Oak Harbor. At first stop light before highway goes into town, turn left onto Swantown Road. Take first right onto Heller Road, and continue until it turns to right onto Clover Valley Road. Main Gate will be first left at Langley Boulevard, proceed to the Pass and Decal office.

From Clinton (Mukilteo Ferry) - From ferry, follow Highway 525 north, which turns into Highway 20, for about 43 miles before arriving to Oak Harbor. At first stop light before highway goes into town, turn left onto Swantown Road. Take first right onto Heller Road, and continue until it turns to right onto Clover Valley Road. Main Gate will be first left at Langley Boulevard, proceed to the Pass and Decal office.

Main Phone Numbers

Photo courtesy U.S. Navy

Barracks/Single Service Member Housing:  (360) 257-2038

Child Development Center, Clover: (360) 257-3302 / DSN: (312) 820-3302

Child Development Center, Regatta:  (360) 257-6572 / DSN:  (312) 820-6572

Dental Clinic (360) 257-2301

Exceptional Family Member Coordinator (360) 257-9830 / DSN: (312) 820-9830

Family Child Care Program (360) 257-6116 / DSN: (312) 820-6116

Fleet & Family Support:  (360) 257-NAVY (6289)

Morale Welfare & Recreation Administrative Office:  (360) 257-6129 / DSN:  (312) 820-6129

Naval Hospital Oak Harbor (360) 257-9500 / DSN: 820-9500

Navy Lodge (360) 675-0633

School Liaison Officer:  (360) 257-6863 / DSN: (312) 820-6863

Youth Activities Center/Teen Center: (360) 257-3150 / DSN: (312) 820-3150

Population/Major Units Assigned

Naval Aircrewman 1st Class Chad Lewis, assigned to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Search and Rescue, guides a Bellingham Mountain Rescue Council volunteer during hoist rescue operations training. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy; Photo by: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tucker M. Yates

NASWI supports approximately 7,000 military personnel with an additional 14,000 family members, over 14,000 retirees, 350+ reservists, and 2,400 civilian employees. As well, they also support over 50 Canadian Forces and their families. 

Over 50 tenant commands are also located at NAS Whidbey Island, providing training, medical and dental, and other support services  Some of the major NASWI commands are: Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing-10, Commander Electronic Attack Wing Pacific, Fleet Logistics Support Squadron-61, Naval Hospital Oak Harbor, Naval Operations Support Center, Fleet Readiness Center Northwest, Naval Ocean Processing Facility, Marine Aviation Training Support Group-53, Search and Rescue, and the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit Whidbey Island. 

The air station also maintains a Search and Rescue Unit, flying two Sikorsky MH-60S Nighthawks.

Temporary Lodging

There are three options for temporary lodging for transferring service members and their families: Navy Gateway Inns and Suites, Navy Lodge, or local hotels. There is a maximum of 10 days of Temporary Lodging Expense authorized for this area.

Navy Gateway Inns and Suites (NGIS) is located on the main base, McCormick Lodge, Building 973, and is available to any military ID holder to include single and married service members, retirees, and reservists. Children under 12 are not allowed to stay at the NGIS and families are strongly encouraged to utilize the Navy Lodge. Members with official orders are given priority. The cost for a room is $40 per night and a suite is $55 per night. To make a reservation, contact the NGIS at 360-257-2529 or DSN 312-820-2529.

Single service members on Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders or Duty Under Instructions (DUINS) entitled to reside in Bachelor Housing (BH) should, upon arrival with their Sponsor, Check-In at NGIS located on the main base, McCormick Lodge, Building 973, and a BH room will be assigned. This will alleviate the need for temporary lodging reservations.

Navy Lodge Whidbey Island provides 50 units which accommodate families and business travelers and costs $65 per night from January to May and September to December; and $75 per night from June to August. The lodge is located on the Seaplane Base and is within walking distance to the Navy Exchange, Commissary and downtown Oak Harbor. Reservations at the Navy Lodge can be made up to one year in advance with orders by calling toll free 1-800-NAVY-INN (1-800-628-9466) or online. Make arrangements as soon as possible as the popular summer months often find it filled to capacity.

There are many hotels in the surrounding area. The cost for a hotel in Oak Harbor can range from $54-$150 depending on size of room and time of year.

Currently, the Navy Lodge has two pet-friendly rooms; however, the Navy Gateway Inns and Suites does not allow pets. There are two hotels in Oak Harbor that allow pets: Candlewood Suites, 1-888-226-3539 and Coachman Inn, 1-800-635-0043.

The Navy Gateway Inns and Suites has three regular rooms and one suite with wheelchair accessibility. The Navy Lodge has two rooms with wheelchair accessibility.


Photo courtesy U.S. Navy

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island's government housing has been converted to Public Private Venture (PPV) and is optional. There are currently over 1,500 housing units available. Maylor Point, Forbes Point, Maylor Glacier and Coral Sea Housing are the only housing areas located onboard the installation on the Seaplane Base. All other housing areas are located off base on government property with the majority located just outside the Seaplane Base. Whidbey Apartments are located just outside the main base. As part of a negotiated waterfall between the PPV and the Navy, some PPV housing is an option for single service members, Department of Defense (DoD) civilians, military retirees and some true civilians; however, qualifying military families will always have priority.

Service members with eligible family members must check-in with the Housing Services Center (HSC) in Building 2556, either in person or by phone or email within 30 days of arriving at NAS Whidbey Island. Some entitlements associated with the PCS move, can only be ascertained upon checking with the HSC.

Under a Department of Defense Public Private Venture initiative, military housing in the Pacific Northwest region is privatized. There are currently over 1,700 housing units available. Maylor Point, Forbes Point, and Coral Sea Housing are the only housing areas located onboard the installation on the Seaplane Base. All other housing areas are located off base on government property. Whidbey Apartments and the farm houses are located just outside the gated area of the main base.

Average wait times vary according to bedroom entitlement and availability of units within each zoned area. Military personnel, E1 and above, with accompanying family members, are eligible to apply for PPV housing.

Exceptional Family Members categorized at levels 4 or 5 are eligible for priority housing with control dates directly below the freeze zone (top 10% of any waitlist).

You will need to complete a housing application and the Registered Sex Offender Addendum (RSO). The NHO will need a copy of your Page 2 (Record of Emergency Data Sheet) and a full copy of your orders with detaching endorsement. Once all documents are received, you will then be placed on the appropriate waiting list according to either your detachment date from your previous duty station or the date your application was received in the office, if not received within 30 days of your report date.

Applications can be sent in advance and are available online. However, you will need to visit your local NHO within 30 days of arrival to ensure your application has been activated and bring in your detaching endorsement.

Service members checking into Bachelor Housing (BH) must report to the Navy Gateway Inns and Suites front desk located at the McCormick Lodge, Building 973, to check-in and get a room key. This facility is open 24 hours, 7 days a week.

Single personnel E-4 and below are housed in the Unaccompanied Housing (UH). There are NO Bachelor Officer Quarters (BOQ) facilities. Laundry rooms, lounges and vending machines are available in each building. There are 11 BH buildings onboard NAS Whidbey Island with a variety of room styles and are within walking distance of the galley, flight line, and recreation facilities. The Front Desk for Check-In and Out is adjacent to the Officer's Club and the Naval Hospital Oak Harbor.

All single E-4 and below MUST reside in BH. Single E-5 and above are not required to live in BH. To live off-base, contact your Personnel Support Activity Detachment (PSD) to request BAH.  PPV housing is an option for single active duty service members if available; however, families do have priority. Geographical bachelors are considered on a case-by-case basis and must have an approved Geo Bachelor Package, before a service member can occupy a bed in UH and is subject to availability.


Lt. Cmdr. Brian Danielson, assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129, gives his daughter pointers as she attempts to climb the rock wall during Northwest Outdoor Adventure Day during the Oak Harbor School District's Spring Break period. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy; photo by: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tucker M. Yates

The major schools serving Naval Air Station Whidbey Island include the districts of Oak Harbor, Coupeville, and Anacortes (below is more detailed information on each of these school districts). Upon arrival to Whidbey Island, parents will need to enroll their student in the school district where they reside. However, Washington State allows parents to request a transfer to a nonresident district if housing is unavailable in the district of choice.

Oak Harbor has private and public school options for pre-kindergarten through grade 12, including a home-schooling partnership offered through the Home-Connection program. Oak Harbor is also home to a Skagit Valley College campus. Anacortes and Coupeville have private pre-k options available. All the school districts offer a Running Start program where students in their junior and senior years with a 3.0 GPA or higher can attend college classes that may allow them to graduate with a high school diploma and an AA degree at the same time. Each district also offers a range of athletic and academic programs, including services for special needs children. Participation in athletic activities is governed by the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association, which identifies leagues based on school size. Oak Harbor is a 3A school, Coupeville is a 1A school, and Anacortes is a 2A school. There are no DoD schools located on NAS Whidbey Island.

First-time enrollment in the public schools requires a birth certificate, immunization record, and a district specific enrollment packet. Parents should bring copies of report cards, verification of grade placement, credits earned, special education plans and any other pertinent information to assist counselors and school administrators in placing students in the proper level of instruction. Students may be tested to help determine their placement in school programs. Children entering kindergarten must be five years old by August 31, unless they were already attending kindergarten in another district. Children entering first grade must be six years old by September 1. Students younger than six years old can enter first grade if they have completed kindergarten in another district.

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI) has a full-time School Liaison Officer (SLO). The SLO is the primary point of contact between the military installation, the local school administration, parents, and the community. The SLO specializes in serving military families by supporting families with school transfers, providing information on local schools, assisting with school choice, deployment support, and so much more. The NASWI SLO can be reached at 360-257-6863.

If a parent chooses not to enroll a child in public or private schools, home-based instruction is a viable alternative. A parent must file an annual Declaration of Intent by September 15 or within two weeks of the beginning of any public school quarter, trimester, or semester with the school district within which the parent resides. A complete packet of information on Home-Based Instruction can be obtained at the school district office.

Child Care

Cliff Foley, a Navy Region Northwest Fire and Emergency Services fire inspector, and Sparky the Fire Dog demonstrate stop, drop and roll to School Age Care Programs students at the NAS Whidbey Island Youth Activities Center. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy: photo by: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tucker M. Yates

Navy Region Northwest Child Care Resource and Referral (CCRR) is the point of entry for all families seeking Navy child care for their children. The CCRR maintains the Central Enrollment and Waiting List (CEWL) for the region. The CCRR staff can assist you with all of your childcare needs and maintains a library of resource materials and can provide you with information, resources, and support to help you make a well-informed child care decision. For more information, you can contact the CCRR toll free at 1-888-463-6697 extension 3, Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

You must register your child in advance for care services at the Child Development Center (CDC), Child Development Home (CDH) Care, or School Age Care (SAC) Program. To register your child for all services, you must submit an application complete with a copy of service member's orders and child's immunizations certification. You can obtain the needed forms from the Navy Region Northwest website, under Child & Youth -> Child Care -> Program Forms & Docs.

You will need to download the following:

  • DD2606 Request for Care
  • Central Enrollment and Waiting List Policy

You can fax (425-304-3385) your application in advance to be placed on the waiting list. You can also pick-up and return a registration packet at the local CDC, CDH or SAC locations and they will forward it to the CCRR office for processing.

The NAS Whidbey Island Child Development Centers (CDC) are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and offer child care for children 6 weeks to pre-kindergarten age. The Clover Center has a capacity of 112 children and the Regatta Center has a capacity of 218 children and is open to active duty members with dual active duty and single parent active duty having priority. Both CDCs are adjacent to the Victory Park housing development. The Center is open 6:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. weekdays.

The CDCs are primarily geared towards providing full-time child care and hourly care is available on a “first-come, first-serve” basis and can be made 30 days in advance. You must pre-register in advance so your child is ready for hourly child care when you need it.

Respite Care is available on a case-by-case basis with special needs children having priority. For information concerning respite care, please call 360-257-6423.

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island offers a Child Development Homes (CDH) Program, where caregivers provide childcare services to youth from 6 weeks up to 12 years of age. They offer the same level of high quality care found in our CDC but often provide a little more flexibility in services such as evening and weekend care.

Lutheran Community Services has an Exceptional Family Member Respite Care Program for families with category IV and V status. To enroll, please call Child Care Aware at 1-800-424-2246 for authorization.

School Age Care (SAC) Program provides highly structured recreational and educational programs with age appropriate activities for youth before and after school as well as holiday and summer day camps for ages 5 years (and enrolled in kindergarten) through 12 years of age.

Medical Care

Naval Hospital Oak Harbor medical team. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy

Naval Hospital Oak Harbor (NHOH) is a small hospital with ambulatory care facilities designed and staffed to support active duty and reserve service members based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. Family members and retired military families are seen as staff and facilities allow. Occupational Health support is provided for civil service workers. This hospital is part of the TRICARE program.

Naval Hospital Oak Harbor is staffed by approximately 350 personnel and supports a total population of approximately 40,000 beneficiaries. Clinical services include: Aviation Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Family Practice, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Optometry, Orthopedics, Pediatrics, Primary Care, Psychiatry, and Surgery with the supporting services of the Laboratory, Nursing, Aviation Physiology Training, Pharmacy, Preventive and Occupational medicine, Radiology and Social Service. Various administrative services are also available.

The Dental Clinic is a modern facility updated in 1998 with 23 fully equipped dental operatories, offering a full spectrum of comprehensive and general dentistry services provided to over 8,000 active duty personnel from 42 tenant commands within the catchment area. Dental specialties available include endodontics, periodontics, prosthodontics, operative dentistry, and oral surgery. We also maintain an in-house Dental Laboratory for the fabrication of prosthetics. 

Because of the overwhelming demand for dental care for the active duty population, routine dental care cannot be provided for non-active duty beneficiaries. Active duty members are strongly encouraged to enroll their family members in the TRICARE Family Member Dental Plan (MetLife) to ensure they get the dental care to which they are entitled.

The Exceptional Family Member Program Coordinator is located in the Patient Administration Department. For information about the program and registration, contact the EFM Coordinator.

Emergencies will be seen any time, night or day, in the Emergent Room (ER). For ambulance service off base, including all housing areas, call 911.

Urgent same day care is available in most outpatient clinics. Non-urgent problems will be seen by appointment in the appropriate clinics. Some of the specialty clinics only see patients on referral from one of the general care clinics.

For appointments as far in advance as possible, please call the TRICARE Regional Appointment Center (TRAC) or the appropriate clinic as early as possible it you must cancel your appointment. This ensures maximum access to care for all beneficiaries.

Most hospital clinics, including the Pharmacy and Laboratory, close the first Wednesday afternoon of each month for training. The Dental Clinic, Primary Care Clinic (PCC), and Emergency Room remain open and unaffected by this training stand down. Clinic services are closed on federal holidays.

As an additional benefit, all personnel are encouraged to take advantage of the no-cost medical information available through the TRICARE Health Care Information Line (24 hours).