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Anacortes the gateway to the San Juan Islands

Updated on May 11, 2015
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Mary's articles are inspired by her hobbies and love for the Lord. She loves writing, art, photography, crafting, and being a grandmother.

The Anacortes Archway welcomes you!
The Anacortes Archway welcomes you! | Source

Looking for your next vacation destination?

If you are reading this article chances are you might be planning your next vacation. Why not Anacortes, Washington? It has been named "the gateway to the San Juan Islands" plus so many other beautiful areas in the Pacific Northwest. Hopefully in this article I can steer you in the direction of the best path to take for fun and adventure in Anacortes on your next trip. I will even throw in a few amazing scenes for your added pleasure, because Anacortes has it all. Besides the people here are friendly and the Anacortes archway will welcome you with open arms as you first drive up to downtown.

So let's begin shall we. Anacortes is located in Washington state on Fidalgo Island in Skagit County. It connects to beautiful Whidbey Island, which is where I live in Oak Harbor, via the famous Deception Pass bridge. The bridge is a must see while visiting the area. Seattle is just a short 2 hour drive south on I-5 which is another article all to itself, so much to see and do there as well. Coupeville is located on Whidbey Island and from there you can take another ferry to the Olympic Peninsula for more awesome adventures.

As I mentioned earlier Anacortes is the gateway to the San Juan Islands which by the way consists of 172 Islands big and small. One of which is Orcas Island which is the hilliest and features Mt. Constitution, if you are into hiking and outdoor adventures this one is for you. Lopez is the flattest so cycling is a big hit there. Then the largest Island which is San Juan Island has a little bit of both of the other two. Boaters love to dock at Roche Harbor and Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. The ferry system will drop you off at any of these three destinations just be sure to get a ferry schedule or check out the web. Lots to see and do including the lighthouses on the Island.

There are resident pods of Orca whales which are often seen in the bays, as well as sea lions, otters, porpose and mink whales. So keep that camera close by because you never know when one of these will poke his head out of the let's get started and begin our tour of beautiful Anacortes! You ready?

Flat tire wall mural
Flat tire wall mural | Source

Historic downtown Anacortes

When driving through this quaint historical town be sure to keep watch for the murals on some of the buildings. So goes the story of Bill Mitchell, a local artist who one day decided that painting some projects on wood and then placing them as murals on buildings might be a great attraction for the city. So lo and behold you have many of his paintings which are lifesize, on some of the downtown buildings. They include the local fishermen, beautiful dancers, small children, musicians, boaters, and many other professionals and local scenes. You will often see individuals visiting this town stop, go and stand by one of his paintings and take home a memory of Anacortes. So his idea certainly was a good one and has been a great story for Anacortes to tell and keep alive.

Aerial view of the RV resort
Aerial view of the RV resort | Source

More cool info to know about Anacortes

If RVing is your thing, then you have to check out Fidalgo Bay Resort located right on the water and only a few minutes to downtown Anacortes. It is a short 20 minute drive to Whidbey Island or about 25 minutes to Mt. Vernon for shopping malls and more fun activities. If traveling by car Anacortes has some great lodging for every budget, I have placed some of those on the map for your convenience and also as links for more info on their website.

If you like the rugged type of RVing then perhaps the Pioneer Trails is more your style. It features covered wagons that you can actually rent for the night and a large RV park along with a huge community "hot tub" if you are there in the cooler time of year. It's a fun place in summer with real cowboy sing-a-longs by the fire on weekends. It's a great family park to stay in.

The city park also has some rustic rv camping with less amenities but features a boat ramp for boaters to enjoy the water activities.


Great food and shopping in Anacortes

Food, entertainment and beer, sounds great doesn't it, well Anacortes has it all. Ideal places for families or couples and singles to enjoy a nice romantic dinner. I have included links to some restaurants and pubs in Anacortes. Each one is either plotted on the map for your convenience to locate and get directions, or I have included a link for more information on their website. If you are like me, that sure comes handy when you are in unfamiliar territory.

While in Anacortes you have to experience Fidalgo Drive In. It takes you back in time when the car hops used to come out and serve you. Here you can drive up to each of the stalls and order your food and someone will bring it out to you so it's a fun place for families and besides, they have great fish and chips.


Fun activities for the whole family!

Let's see, Anacortes is like a hub, literally in the middle of so many nearby places to visit. I will give you a quick run down of some of these that you may want to check out - deal!

  • Whale watching at Deception Pass Tours or Island Adventures
  • Visit La Conner for antique shopping and ice cream or just watch the boats go by in the channel
  • Visit Mt. Vernon - Cascade mall shopping, theater and Outback for dinner
  • Visit Whidbey Island and believe me that is a whole hub all to itself - so much to do there including boating, fishing at the lakes, shopping and just awesome sceneries
  • Visit Coupeville on Whidbey and take a ferry to Port Townsend, Port Angeles and Sequim
  • Visit Langley on Whidbey and do antique and window shopping with great views
  • Take the ferry from Anacortes to any of the San Juan Islands
  • Take the ferry to Victoria and visit Buschart Gardens
  • Take the ferry to Seattle
  • Launch your boat at one of the two Marinas in Anacortes
  • Walk downtown and enjoy all the cute and fun shops and crafts outlets as well as restaurants and pubs
  • Visit Washington Park and have a picnic for the day
  • Have lunch at Anthony's Home Port right on the water at the Cape Sante Marina awesome views of Mt. Baker and the bay
  • Visit Mt. Baker located a few hours drive from Anacortes
  • Visit the Swinomish Casino and try your luck and have enjoy their two restaurants plus RV parking and beautiful lodging with water views!

These are all close by activities that you can drive to while visiting Anacortes - so be sure to plan well and most of all have tons of fun - ya hear!!!

Whale watching in Anacortes

Cap Sante Marina Anacortes
Cap Sante Marina Anacortes | Source
Anacortes Ferry
Anacortes Ferry | Source

Quick map guide for some of the places mentioned above you may want to visit!

Fidalgo Bay Resort :
4701 Fidalgo Bay Road, Anacortes, WA 98221, USA

get directions

Awesome views from this RV park which is right on the water and very close to everything in Anacortes and the mainland.

Swinomish Northern Lights RV Park :
12885 Casino Drive, Anacortes, WA 98221, USA

get directions

Located at the Northern Lights Casino you also have views and a casino with two restaurants to enjoy.

Pioneer Trails RV Park :
7337 Miller Road, Anacortes, WA 98221, USA

get directions

This is nestled in the woods and is such a fun place to stay. You are still close to Anacortes and Whidbey Island.

Majestic Inn :
419 Commercial Avenue, Anacortes, WA 98221, USA

get directions

If you love to be pampered and enjoy all the luxuries and relaxation this is the place for you.

Anaco Bay Inn:
916 33rd Street, Anacortes, WA 98221, USA

get directions

Great place to stay with spacious rooms and features family and business type of amenities.

Sunrise Inn Villas and Suites :
905 20th Street, Anacortes, WA 98221, USA

get directions

Beautiful rooms and suites and close to everything you want to do while in Anacortes.

Washington Park:
6300 Sunset Avenue, Anacortes, WA 98221, USA

get directions

Beautiful views from this park in Anacortes - don't forget your camera

Anacortes Community Theatre:
918 M Avenue, Anacortes, WA 98221, USA

get directions

A community theatre serving Anacortes and Skagit Valley. ACT is a fun place to enjoy all aspects of theatre, from the shows to the stage. Come join us

Anacortes Ferry Terminal:
2100 Ferry Terminal Road, Anacortes, WA 98221, USA

get directions

Catch a ferry here to Victoria, Sidney, BC and the San Juan Islands

Anthonys at Cap Sante Marina :
1207 Q Avenue, Anacortes, WA 98221, USA

get directions

Fine dining with spectacular views at Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes.

Take a tour of the awesome and fun murals in Anacortes!

Did this hub help you to choose Anacortes as a possible vacation destination?

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Let me know your thoughts - have a great day!!

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    • Whidbeywriter profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Gaines 

      5 years ago from Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, Washington

      RTalloni, glad I could bring back memories of Pacific NW. It is beautiful here and the San Juan Islands are amazing. Hope your future visits bring you back with those little ones. Thanks for stopping in.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Just came across this and I'm smiling with memories. At least one of my hubs has photos from somewhere above Anacortes, and we have friends who live there. However, my grands are on up the coast so that's where I spend my time when on that side of America. It's beautiful all along there and I wish I could spend large amounts of time roaming around with my little dear ones. :)

    • Whidbeywriter profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Gaines 

      6 years ago from Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, Washington

      Hi Billybuc, thank you and glad you have been here! Cheers

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Love that the Islands...and you reviewed it all well.


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