Anacortes, Washington is known to over a million tourists that pass through town each summer as the gateway to the San Juan Islands. Located on the farthest east island of the San Juan archipelago, Fidalgo, Anacortes is often bypassed by travelers on their way to the Washington State ferry terminal that operates a bustling service to the four major San Juan Islands and internationally to Vancouver Island.
The traveler who takes time to explore this historic town is in for a treat. It is a worthy destination in its own right, easily accessible by two bridges to the mainland and to Whidbey Island. It has a thriving town center with boutiques, antiques, art galleries, a great bookstore and excellent restaurants and coffee shops. At the end of Commercial Street, the main street in town, the oldest continuously running marine hardware store west of the Mississippi is a definite must-see. A Saturday Farmers’ market operates May through September next to the old train depot. A fun way to see the town is to follow the Anacortes Mural Project. Over a 30-year period, local artist Bill Mitchell, has created 150 “cut-out” historic scenes and characters and placed them around the city center.
Anacortes boasts 12 miles of shoreline and is home to several marinas. Venture along the downtown promenade that leads to Cap Sante Park, which has a commanding view of the city, Fidalgo Bay and white-capped Mount Baker. One of the most wonderful treasures just beyond the well-traveled road to the ferry terminal is Washington Park, a 220-acre woodland with a two-mile loop drive, hiking trails, camping and picnic sites, and lookouts with unbelievable views of the Rosario Strait and the San Juan Islands. Anacortes hosts all kinds of events and festivals throughout the year. The 60-yearold Anacortes Art Festival (Aug. 5-7) celebrates art in all forms, and the Anacortes Spring Wine Festival (April 9) brings 30 wineries to Fidalgo Island. The family-friendly Waterfront Festival (June 4-5) showcases the best waterfront activities, and for the beer lovers, Bier on the Pier (Oct. 2-3) has over 30 breweries on display with many handcrafted brews.
Where to Dine
- Adrift (510 Commercial Ave., 360-588- 0653) is a popular new American restaurant in downtown Anacortes with a broad menu featuring breakfasts, burgers and seafood.
- Gere-a-Deli (502 Commercial Ave., 360-293-7383), owned and operated by the Gere family for 35 years, is open for breakfast and lunch serving homemade family recipes including soups, salads, sandwiches and yummy desserts.
Where to Dock
- Cap Sante Marine is close to downtown with over 950 slips for boats up to 120 feet. Amenities include a boat launch, haul-out services and full repair capabilities.
- Skyline Marine Center is located on the west side of Fidalgo Island just beyond the turn off to the ferry terminal. The full service marina offers restrooms, shower and laundry facilities.