Visit a historic downtown area, three exceptional parks, and two museums at Anacortes.
Anacortes is 1.5 hours north of Seattle on Fidalgo Island, and is the main ferry port to the San Juan Islands in Washington State. It's connected to the mainland by a bridge across the Swinomish Channel.
Anacortes has a vibrant restaurant and shopping district along historic Commercial Avenue, anchored by the elegant Majestic Inn and Spa.
There are also two free museums and a snagboat to tour (admission required), within walking distance of downtown Anacortes.
Explore stunning natural surroundings at Anacortes, with large tracts of forest, eight lakes, and incredible views of the San Juan Islands from Mt Erie. Three of the best parks include Washington Park, Mt Erie and Cap Santa Park. Deception Pass State Park is also only a short distance away.
10 best things to do in Anacortes
1. Historic Anacortes Downtown.
Anacortes has a historic downtown area along Commercial Street, with restaurants, cafes, art galleries and bookshops.
Enjoy outdoor dining at restaurants along Commercial Street in Anacortes.
Dad's Diner a Go-Go is a fun place to be, with vintage photos, collectibles, and a great cocktail menu.
The Union Tavern serves delicious cocktails and scrumptious dishes, with plenty of outdoor seating.
Sugar Mama Cafe is inside a quaint cottage, and serves weekend brunch, desserts, savory plates, coffee, wine and ice-cream.
2. Majestic Inn and Spa.
Book a room at the historic Majestic Inn and Spa along Commercial Street, constructed in the 1800s. This boutique hotel has a fabulous rooftop deck with incredible water views. The rooms are beautifully renovated, and there's also an elegant bistro and bar.
4. Anacortes History Museum.
The Anacortes History Museum is only a few blocks away from downtown, housed in the elegant Carnegie Library Building [1305 8th Street Anacortes]. It has a rotating set of exhibits on local history, and admission is FREE (check hours).
5. Anacortes Maritime Heritage Center.
The Anacortes Maritime Heritage Center is free to visit (check hours). See historic photos and artifacts on the fishing and boat building history of Anacortes.
6. W.T. Preston Snagboat.
Tour an authentic steam powered sternwheeler, originally operated by the US Army Corp of Engineers to remove logs and debris from local waterways. The snagboat is conveniently located next door to the Anacortes Maritime Heritage Center (check hours & admission).
7. Anacortes Farmers' Market.
The Anacortes Farmers' Market is open every Saturday in Anacortes, May thru October. Purchase free produce, artworks, woodwork, ceramics and so much more, from local artisans.
8. John Storvik Playground.
The John Storvik Playground is 1-mile south of downtown Anacortes, and has a popular, maritime themed playground and seasonal splashpad.
9. Washington Park loop drive.
Drive directly west of Anacortes to Washington Park, with a 2.2 mile one-way loop road around a coastal headland. The drive has numerous pull-outs, with spectacular vistas of the San Juan Islands. The paved road is popular with cyclists and pedestrians alike, and there's also a 1.5 mile "Fidalgo Head Loop Trail" for hikers. Year round camping is available, in addition to picnic shelters and a boat launch.
10. Mt Erie viewpoint.
Mt Erie is 4-miles south of Anacortes, and at 1,273 feet is the highest point on the island. Visitors can drive to the top of this mountain, and walk to different viewpoints from the parking lot. The best viewpoint is tucked away adjacent to the Radio Tower, with sweeping vistas of Whidbey Island and Deception Pass.
11. Cap Santa Park viewpoint.
Cap Santa Park is a 37-acre park located near the Cap Santa Boat Haven (marina) at Anacortes. This viewpoint faces east across Puget Sound to snow-capped Mt Baker and the Cascades, and has a bird's eye view of the marina.
12. Deception Pass.
Deception Pass is 20-minutes south of Anacortes, and is a spectacular strait between Fidalgo Island and Whidbey Island. Cross the Deception Pass Bridge to explore Whidbey Island, including the townships of Coupeville and Langley.
13. Heart Lake & Whistle Lake.
There are also some beautiful lakes just outside Anacortes, including Heart Lake and Whistle Lake. Whistle Lake requires a 1-mile hike from a parking lot, and is popular for swimming. Heart Lake is visible along Heart Lake Road just before the turn-off to Erie Mountain.
14. Whale Watching, Boat Charter or Kayaking Tour.
If you'd like to get out on the water, book a kayaking tour or private boat charter to the San Juan Islands from Anacortes.
15. Waterfront restaurant.
For the ultimate dining experience, try Anthonys at Cap Sante Boat Haven on the waterfront at Anacortes, with a lovely ambience and patio dining in summer.
TIP: If interested in hiking or mountain biking this area, please contact the "Anacortes Visitor center" at 819 Commercial Ave A for maps. The trails are difficult to navigate without a map.
Where do Anacortes ferries go?
Anacortes Ferries travel to a range of destinations. These include Friday Harbor, Orcas Island and Sydney BC. Check the Anacortes Ferry Schedule.