Sunset out over the ocean at Sharpe Park Sares Head trail

9 Amazing Things to do in Anacortes, WA

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About Anacortes, WA

Anacortes is a town on Fidalgo Island in the state of Washington. Close in proximity to nearby Whidbey Island as well as Canada while also not far from Seattle makes this little (although big enough!) town the perfect destination for some outdoor adventure and relaxation. Read on for 9 amazing things to do in Anacortes, WA.

How to get to Anacortes, WA

By Car

You can get to Anacortes via the longest highway within the state of Washington, Hwy 20. Highway 20 goes across the northern part of the entire state including through North Cascades National Park. We literally drove from Winthrop along this highway to Fidalgo Island & Anacortes, WA.

By Air

There are several smaller regional airports located close to Anacortes such as Lopez Island Airport, Friday Harbor Airport and Orcas Island Airport. However, the closest International Airport is located in Bellingham, WA. The second closest is SEATAC located south of Seattle, WA.

By Ferry

If you’re traveling from Seattle, Washington one of the easiest ways to get to Anacortes on Fidalgo island is by ferry.

When to visit

Anacortes experiences all seasons. However, in the summer its not overly hot but can be really sunny and great temperate weather. Perfect for all of the adventures outside!

Tip: Even though it doesn’t get overly warm, be sure to wear a hat and still wear SPF! Especially if you’re planning on spending time in or near the water.

Where to stay

We’ve been staying in RV parks along our travels during the summer. We loved the park we stayed at in Anacortes, Pioneer Trails RV Park. They offered so many great amenities! It’s a really large park though.

But, if you’re not RVing and want a more traditional stay in a hotel or property there are plenty of options available in Anacortes, WA!

Use the search tool below to find a hotel in Anacortes, WA.

Things to Do in Anacortes, WA

Anacortes, WA has so many things to do! Visiting during the summer, the weather is mild but gorgeous so it’s a perfect time to spend time outside and close to the water.

1) Whale Watching Tour

This is my number one recommendation of things to do in Anacortes, WA. But, probably because we had an amazing experience and saw whales really close. For reference we were there in early July of 2022. We went on a whale watching tour on Tuesday July 5th in the morning. It’s definitely a great way to spend a day out on the water on a boat and see some of the islands close to Anacortes up close and personal.

It felt like we had been on the water awhile and hadn’t seen anything and I was starting to lose hope that we would and we ended up seeing killer whales in a really large pod. It was so exciting! Definitely worth the money for the tour.

2) Downtown Historic Mural Tour

If you love a good mural, wandering around the historic downtown of Anacortes, WA should definitely be on your to do list. There are over 150 murals! They are mostly located along Commercial Street in downtown Anacortes.

While the murals in Anacortes aren’t what you’d expect as a traditional mural spanning a side of a building they are very unique in that they depict the history of the town. They even have QR codes so you can scan and learn more about the mural in front of you. It’s a great way to get familiar with the historic downtown area while learning something at the same time.

3) Where to eat & drink

A definite must on your things to do list when visiting any destination and Anacortes, WA is no exception is check out the local cuisine. We mostly ate out later meals but also a few breakfasts & brunch as well. Be sure to add these great bars and restaurants to your to do list while visiting Anacortes!

Rock Fish Grill & Anacortes Brewery

Brewpubs are always a solid choice! If you know me, I always love a brewery but one with solid food options is even better. This brewpub is located in downtown historic Anacortes and offers fresh local ingredients (including many seafood options.) They also offer wine and cocktails if beer isn’t your thing. You can’t go wrong grabbing a meal and a few drinks here while strolling around the downtown area.

Shrimp Shack

The shrimp shack offers fresh no frills seafood from the Puget Sound. Seafood, grill items as well as beer and wine is on the menu. It’s the perfect stop if you’re traveling north to Deception Pass State Park or south to Whidbey Island. Be cognizant though, they do have somewhat limited hours (closing at 6 PM or 5 PM depending on the day) so check before you go!

Calico Cupboard

If you’re all about breakfast or brunch, Calico Cupboard will 100% be your jam! Known for their all day breakfast and generous portions in cozy digs it’s the perfect spot to grab a bite to fuel your day of adventures. Even visiting on a Monday, we had a brief wait but the food was definitely worth it. Plus, the leftovers were legit. I ordered a mimosa flight, a specialty latte and the Skagit hash. If you have a sweet tooth, we also ordered cinnamon roll french toast to share. Why is it always so hard to pick between sweet and savory? No matter what your preference is, Calico Cupboard has a lot of tasty options.

Salt & Vine

This wine & cheese bar was the perfect spot to pick out a bottle of wine and pair some tasty charceuterie with it. A few tables are outside but there are also spots inside to relax and take a load off for an enjoyable happy hour while exploring Anacortes, WA definitely make time to stop by on your things to do list.

Bastion Brewing

Compared to Anacortes Brewing, Bastion is more so what I would consider a typical brewery/taproom atmosphere. They allow dogs on the patio and their patio has these nice little booths that are more closed off and separate. It was a great HH and early dinner with flights and their menu that’s focused on BBQ. We enjoyed sweet chili buffalo wings, the bastionator (with brisket & pulled pork), and a chicken bacon melt.

Dad’s Diner (a go go)

Early morning opening and closing in the afternoon makes Dad’s Diner another solid spot for some breakfast. A chill diner like atmosphere but decorated with globes all over truly spoke to my travel loving heart. Offering breakfast staples such as biscuits & gravy or eggs, meat, potatoes and toast as well as unique offerings as their weekly specials. I had a pancrepe (cross between a pancake & crepe) burrito. It was so tasty!

4) Cap Sante Park overlook

A very popular location in Anacortes due to good reason! At Cap Sante Park overlook you have a view out over the water to the nearby islands & the marina. Be careful while you’re walking and climbing on the rocks located here & be respectful of the posted open hours and rules of the park.

5) Mt. Erie

Mount Erie is the highest point on Fidalgo island at 1,300 ft. To visit Mt. Erie and take in the views you can choose to drive up or hike to the top. It is a steep hike with decent elevation gain. We chose to drive to the top to take in the views. There is an area with a little fence denoting it as a lookout however, it’s really blocked with trees and in my opinion wasn’t the best view. However, if you walk a little to the right of this area and on some trails through trees, you will be rewarded with an unobstructed view of the nearby San Juan islands and out over the water.

6) Sunset at Sharpe Park: Sares Head Trail

Technically this park is south of Anacortes, WA but you should still include it in your things to do. Especially at sunset! Time it just right to hike the easy route Sares Head Trail at just a little over 2 1/2 miles total length and be rewarded with views for days.

Sunset out over the ocean at Sharpe Park Sares Head trail

7) Washington Park

A quick scenic 2 mile loop around the park that you can easily drive. Be careful as many people will be walking on the same road! The road leads through the park’s hills and you will see great views of the Saan Juan Islands and Olympic mountains depending on how clear of a day it is.

8) Deception Pass State Park

Enroute to Whidbey Island from Anacortes you must make time to stop at a few spots within Deception Pass State Park. But honestly, if you have more time spending a day or two year would definitely be time well spent.

woman sitting on the beach with deception pass state park bridge in the distance in Anacortes, WA

9) Spend a day (or more!) on Whidbey Island

Easily one of the best parts about visiting Anacortes was spending a Saturday on Whidbey island. However, really one day isn’t nearly enough. Whidbey island is so charming and each small city has it’s own vibe and allure. If you’re spending only one day, here are some tips to have the best day on Whidbey island.

I’ll be honest, at first I had planned on staying on Whidbey island, but I’m glad we ended up staying in Anacortes. Anacortes is a big enough city with a small town feel and just the right amount of restaurants and things to do but it also seemed really low key and not rushed. Where we would have ended up staying on Whidbey would have been a little more remote and a lot less to do and places to grab a bite. But, when you’re in Anacortes definitely take a day or two to explore Whidbey island.

Beyond Anacortes, WA: more Washington Travel

Winthrop, WA

North Cascades National Park

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