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Don’t Miss Anacortes! Here is Why!

If you are looking for the best things to do in Anacortes, Washington you are in the right place. Anacortes is a quaint town on the I20 (about 20 minutes off the I5 in Western Washington) and physically lies on Fidalgo Island and right next to Whidby Island . Although a short bridge connects it to land, it features some unique geography and plants, such as the beautiful arbutus trees, which thrive on rocky terrain. It has cute character and offers beautiful ocean views from many vantage points, on the steep hills around the town. These are just a few of the reasons that make it the perfect road trip stop or a perfect getaway from Seattle.

Anacortes is a port city, and its largest industry is oil refining. Its economy is also based on shipbuilding and tourism. The tourism features amazing outdoor activities and there are so many things to do in Anacortes for outdoor lovers! Anacortes is situated in what is known as the Olympic Mountain Rain Shadow, and it only gets about half as much rain as Seattle, which is less than 50 miles to the south. You can get much more information from the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce here.

Things to do in Anacortes, Washington

Welcome to Anacortes, on Fidalgo Island

Welcome to Anacortes, on Fidalgo Island

There are so many things to do in Anacortes, here are a few my favourites!


20 things to do in Anacortes

1. You will find loads of hiking and biking trails for nature lovers. The Tommy Thompson trail is a favorite

2. Commercial Avenue is packed with eateries to grab a meal. Be sure to check out the Rockfish Grille, Dad’s Diner a Go-Go, the Island Cafe and the Brown Lantern Ale-House)

John Storvik Park

John Storvik Park

3. They have some of the best playgrounds for kids that we have come across (you can see more about our favourite playground fondly named “Pirate Park” here  its actually John Storvik Park)

Spending some time at the Ocean is great, any time of the year!

Spending some time at the Ocean is great, any time of the year!

4. There is not much more beautiful then spending the day close to the ocean, summer or winter!

5. One of the many things to do in Anacortes is to try your skills at finding one of the many GeoCaches around town

6. Grab a coffee and paint some Pottery at Johnny Picasso’s

Toy Stories has a big selection of books and toys for young and old!

Toy Stories has a big selection of books and toys for young and old!

7. Poke your head into Toy Stories, the local toy store. There is something for kids of all ages

The Windy Road around Washington Park

The Windy Road around Washington Park

8. Drive around Washington Park and marvel at the view from the top. In the warmer months it is a great walk or bike ride (but I suggest a stroller for little legs that may get tired!)

9. Visit on of the many art galleries in town

10. Another thing to do in Anacortes is to visit one of the many antique shops in town

Things to do in Anacortes, Washington

One of the many murals around town! How many can you find?

11. Count how many murals you can spot painted all over the local buildings

Things to do in Anacortes, Washington

Hit the Beach, Summer or Winter!

12. Hit the beach; even in the winter it is beautiful scenery and the kids love throwing rocks in the water

13. Visit the farmers market on Saturdays (May to October)

Shipwreck Days on Commercial Ave!

Shipwreck Days on Commercial Ave!

14. Check to calendar to see if one of Anacortes’ many festivals will be going on during your visit (we love Shipwreck days  a 10 block “garage” sale with all kinds of treasures!

15. Take a whale watching tour

The Deception Pass Bridge

The Deception Pass Bridge

16. Drive over the Deception Pass Bridge and view it from below. There are also deception pass tours to take aboard the “Island Whaler.” The bridge can get very busy in the summer. Be cautious of pedestrians and lots of visitors and limited parking at the top!

If visiting Anacortes is part of a larger road trip of Washington State, check out this post on Washington State Highway 2 Attractions

17. Check out the Anacortes Museum and learn all about the city’s history

18. Visit the Great Northern Depot Railway, a National Historic Site

19. Drive to Cap Sante Park lookout for a beautiful view of the city

20. Take a fishing charter and see what you can find in the vast Pacific Ocean.

There are many more things to do in Anacortes. It is a great place for travelers, whether families with young kids, older kids, or just couples looking for a little down time. We love being able to visit Anacortes as often as we can!

Photo courtesy of The Marina Inn

Photo courtesy of The Marina Inn

After a busy day seeing the natural and historic beauty, mixed with endless outdoor fun, head to the Marina Inn for the night (and make sure to grab the complementary 6pm cookies. They were to die for!)

With these 20 things to do in Anacortes, I’m sure you will have a great visit!

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things to do in Anacortes Washington

Exploring the Ocean Anacortes Washington Carpe Diem OUR Way Family Travel











This post was sponsored by the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce 

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  1. Salina Bujosa says:

    The reason why I love this particular blog post is because it is less about the city and more about being in tune with nature.

  2. I’ve never been to Washington but I’m a massive outdoorsman so would love to do some trekking in Anacortes. It looks absolutely beautiful!

  3. It looks like a great town. I love the mural. I love towns with murals it is fun to walk around and find them, and learn about the history. It also looks like a great place to take kids.

  4. Natasha says:

    Haven’t had the pleasure of visiting WA yet, but that beach looks enticing!

  5. Criz says:

    Wow! Would love to explore Anarcortes soon. Thanks for sharing this list! Looks like a perfect fun getaway for a family 😉

  6. Shanti says:

    Great list! The antique shop sounds great

  7. Thank you for exposing me to a new place to visit in Washington State.

    I head down to Seattle regularly, but I’m looking forward to new places to discover there. Can’t wait to plan a trip.

  8. I love the beaches- they look like the perfect location for a bonfire and some late night S’mores! I’d love to go camping there.

  9. Claudia says:

    While I visit Washington several times a year, I haven’t been to Anacortes in ages! It certainly looks like a fun place to see with the wee ones.

  10. I’d love to visit Anacortes, especially as I’ve never even heard of it and it looks stunning. I’d love to explore Washington State in more depth.

  11. Hugo says:

    From the pictures it looks like your kids agree it’s a nice place to visit! 🙂

  12. Ana O says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I love discovering off-of-the-beaten-path places like Anacortes.

  13. Natasha Amar says:

    Sounds like Anacortes makes for a fun family trip. Nice photos!

  14. your kids CLEARLY loved anacortes…and that is a great recommendation in its own right!

    Lovely to find such a variety of activities

  15. Rosemary says:

    Never been or actually ever heard of Anacotes. Thanks for this great post and highlighting what to do there. Great tips. Thank you.

  16. Jey Jetter says:

    Thanks for sharing, great post! Happy travels

  17. I just visited Washington for the first time, and while I loved Seattle, it made me want to explore so much more of the Pacific Northwest. I hope to do a road trip from Vancouver back down to California some day and I’ll have to add Anacortes to my trip. Thanks for sharing.