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
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)
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)
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
7. Poke your head into Toy Stories, the local toy store. There is something for kids of all ages
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
11. Count how many murals you can spot painted all over the local buildings
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)
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
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!
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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This post was sponsored by the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce
Lindsay Nieminen hails from Vancouver, Canada and shares her love of travel on this website. She is passionate about showing others that they should not put off traveling the world just because they have young children or are single parents. She aims to encourage them to seek out adventure, whether it is at home or abroad by providing information on how just about everywhere can be a destination to explore as a family.