Anacortes the gateway to the San Juan Islands
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 water.......so let's get started and begin our tour of beautiful Anacortes! You ready?
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.
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
Links to RV and Lodging
- The Sunrise Inn Villas and Suites - Hotels in Anacortes, WA
Spacious, comfortable hotel accommodations await you at the Sunrise Inn Villas and Suites in Anacortes, WA.
- Anaco Bay Inn - Anacortes, Washington
Anacortes, Washington has a new European-style inn located at the gateway to the San Juan Islands. Rated a three diamond hotel by AAA. This is the place to stay when you need a hotel - motel in Anacortes.
- Majestic Inn & Spa - Anacortes - United States
The Majestic Inn and Spa has been beautifully restored to its original grandeur. The historic Majestic Inn and Spa, located in the heart of downtown Anacortes WA, is the ideal location for shopping, hiking or simply relaxing.
- Pioneer Trails RV Park - Campsites for Sale - Anacortes, WA
Great rustic RV park in the woods and features a large community hot tub, sing along's during summer evening gatherings and so much more.
- Swinomish Casino & Lodge | Resort Hotel Casino Bingo Dining in Anacortes Skagit County Washingto
Swinomish Casino & Lodge has the Best Hotel and Casino resort in Anacortes, Skagit County and Washington State. Enjoy the fun Casino Gaming, Live Entertainment, Best Restaurants, Golf and much more
- Fidalgo Bay Resort | Quality RV sites, cottage rentals
Beautiful RV Park with over 1 mile beachfront. 141 full hook-up sites. Five fully furnished cabins, free showers, laundry, WIFI, cable TV, Clubhouse with pool table, store, gift shop, small boat ramp, Tommy Thompson walking-biking trail, clamming and
Food, brew and entertainment - oh my!
- The Brown Lantern Ale House
Fun place for a brew and live entertainment some nights.
- The Rockfish Grill - Pizza, Seafood, Beer, & Live Music in Anacortes
The Rockfish Grill in Anacortes, Wa serves fresh, Northwest cuisine including steak and local seafood, several varieties of pizza prepared in our woodfired brick oven, creative vegetarian dishes, a great selection of sandwiches and appetizers, decade
- Anthony's at Cap Sante Marina | Anthony's Home Port
Fine dining at the Cap Sante Marina, where the views are spectacular and the food is amazing. You can also enjoy outdoor seating in summer time.
- Fidalgo Drive In
Fun place takes you back in time and great fish and chips to boot!
Quick links to other great places - including crafts!
- In Stitches Quilt Shoppe - We Will Keep You Stitches! - Anacortes, WA
Your one stop shopping for all your sewing needs. They now carry come of my beautiful art fabric panels with local scenes for all your sewing projects. They also carry every type of fabric and notion imaginable!
- Washington Park
Washington Park Washington Park sits on a peninsula at the west end of Fidalgo Island. Awesome views from here you will not want to miss this one!
- Anacortes Ferry Terminal
Catch a ride to Victoria or Sidney BC or any of the San Juan Islands, be sure to check out their daily schedule, some require reservations.
- Anacortes Community Theatre - On Stage
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!
- Skyline Marina Anacortes Washington
Beautiful moorage for every size boat, enjoy all the surrounding views - captivating indeed!
- Island Hospital Home Page
Friendly place for any emergency - you never know!!
Quick map guide for some of the places mentioned above you may want to visit!
Awesome views from this RV park which is right on the water and very close to everything in Anacortes and the mainland.
Located at the Northern Lights Casino you also have views and a casino with two restaurants to enjoy.
This is nestled in the woods and is such a fun place to stay. You are still close to Anacortes and Whidbey Island.
If you love to be pampered and enjoy all the luxuries and relaxation this is the place for you.
Great place to stay with spacious rooms and features family and business type of amenities.
Beautiful rooms and suites and close to everything you want to do while in Anacortes.
Beautiful views from this park in Anacortes - don't forget your camera
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
Catch a ferry here to Victoria, Sidney, BC and the San Juan Islands
Fine dining with spectacular views at Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes.