Located on Fidalgo Island, Anacortes ranges from offering small-town charm to seaside recreation. It boasts stunning views of the Cascade Mountains and archipelago in the Pacific.
And with great eateries, museums, antique shops, beautiful beaches, and recreational parks, you will have plenty of things to do.
This is especially true if you’re looking for fun and relaxing activities. Below are the top tourist attractions, so you can experience what sets Anacortes apart from other destinations.
1. Tour Through Washington Park
Washington Park is one of the huge highlights of Anacortes and a must-visit while you’re in the city.
This 220-acre city park comprises picturesque beaches, children’s playgrounds, campsites, and picnic shelters.
Visitors can enjoy unparalleled views of Burrows Bay, Rosario Strait, San Juan Islands, and the nearby mountain range.
Be sure to take a nature walk along the trails and explore the rocky shorelines with fantastic tide pools.
2. Enjoy The Views At Cap Sante Park
This lushly-forested park is isolated and elevated, thus allowing visitors a quick escape from the city’s noise.
You’ll get beautiful views of Fidalgo Bay, surrounding islands, the marina, and the Cascade Mountains.
This park is also a great place to watch the sunrise and sunset while the trails that run deeper into the forests satisfy your adventurous side.
3. Attend Anacortes Festivals
The city has year-round events, festivals, and live entertainment.
For starters, Anacortes hosts one of the largest art festivals in the Northwest every year.
And throughout the month, the city is filled with unique art by talented local artists.
Other yearly festivals you can plan your trip to Anacortes around are:
- The Tulip Festival in April
- Shipwreck Days in July
- Bier on the Pier in October
- Waterfront Festival in June
- Spring Wine Festival in April
- Brewgrass Festival in November
- Port of Anacortes Summer Concert Series in July-August
- Anacortes Coastal Christmas in December
- Live Music at Rockfish Grill and The Brown Lantern (throughout the year)
4. Camp In The Wild At The Skagit Island Marine State Park
This 25-acre public recreation area is ideal for those looking for an adventure. For starters, it’s only accessible by boat or kayak, and the conditions must be favorable.
But while there, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the San Juan Islands, forested areas, and rugged coasts.
During the day, you can transverse the Cascadia Marine Trail for wildlife watching and nature walking.
5. Drive Or Hike To The Top Of Mount Erie
Mount Erie is a popular climbing spot in Washington and the highest point on Fidalgo Island.
Thus, it offers panoramic views of the city and its surroundings.
You’ll appreciate the gleaming San Juan Islands, glowing Olympic Mountains, and shimmering lakes.
The southern viewing area lets you watch the sunset as the colors shift over the mountains.
The trail is easy enough for beginnings, but you can get to the top by driving.
6. Visit The Anacortes Museum For Some History Lessons
This historical museum has artifacts, photographs, and memorabilia that tell Anacortes’ history.
They even feature life-sized fishing boats that were used before the invention of motorized watercraft.
Visitors appreciate the colorful mosaics and artwork on the walls. There’s also an amphitheater for hosting local events.
7. Have A Tasty Meal
The dining scene in Anacortes is quite versatile, with lots of local seafood.
Some top restaurants and eateries to consider include:
- Rockfish Grill for the best Northwest cuisine and brick-oven pizzas
- Anthony’s at Cap Sante Marina
- Frida’s Gourmet Mexican Cuisine for the best traditional Mexican recipes
- Swinomish Sports Bar and Grill for mouth-watering American-style entrees and pub fare.
- Bob’s Chowder & BBQ Salmon offers seafood staples
- Adrift Restaurant
- A’Town Bistro
- 13moons restaurant
- Dad’s Diner
- Vagabond for delicious food made with fresh ingredients
- The Store Grocery for the best muffins and cookies around
- Calico Cupboard Cafe and Bakery
8. Engage In Water-Based Activities
Being an island, Anacortes is surrounded by water, which makes it ideal for all kinds of water activities.
Visitors can kayak in Bowman Bay, which is relatively calm and makes for an easy first-time experience.
Another popular water activity is going on a whale-watching cruise.
You’re almost guaranteed to see orcas, grey whales, humpback whales, porpoises, harbor seals, and otters. It’s best to take a guide as these animals are primarily seen in the wild.
The city has breathtaking beachfront stretches.
This offers several amenities to keep visitors occupied.
9. Gaming At The Swinomish Casino And Lodge
If you’d like a place to play and stay, the Swinomish Casino &Lodge is worth considering.
Their gaming floor has 800 slots and 16 table games, including craps, roulette, blackjack, and poker.
And they offer opportunities for big payouts. Of course, the casino is only open to adults.
But guests can enjoy other amenities in the resort, including full-service restaurants and bars.
10. Find Fresh Produce At The Farmers’ Market
If you want the freshest veggies, fruits, and other foodstuffs during your stay in Anacortes, head to the Farmers Market.
Being a seaside town, you can expect plentiful seafood, including crabs, shellfish, shrimps, and various fishes.
You’ll also find various handmade products and specialty foods from local food vendors. Not to mention, it’s a great opportunity to get a sense of the community.
11. Visit Predators Of The Heart
This is different from your typical animal park. It rescues and rehabilitates animals, especially those that can’t survive in the wild anymore.
The sanctuary is home to various exotic animals, such as wolves, native birds of prey, exotic reptiles, bobcats, and cougars.
The center offers Wolf Encounters tours so visitors can experience the animals up close.
You can pet, hug them, take selfies, or enjoy their friendly demeanor. This rare experience is bound to make your trip to the city worth it.
12. Explore Deception Pass State Park
This park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Washington State. It features ancient forests, hiking trails, swift streams, and tide pools.
But it’s the 1,487-foot-long bridge that draws people to this park, offering a thrilling experience to stand on.
You can get across the bridge by walking, driving, hiking, or riding under the bridge in a boat.
There’s something for everyone in Anacortes, from solo travelers to couples, girls/boys trips, corporate retreats, and even family trips. It’s a top spot for boating and nature activities.
Also, visitors can enjoy outdoor activities thanks to the good weather, especially in the summertime. Include this city in your next travel plans, and you can expect a trip of a lifetime!
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