12 Best things to do in Anacortes, Washington

Many tourists have had a happy accident with Anacortes while on their way to San Juan. Whether it be a ferry delay, the weather, or just instinct that kept them here for two days, it has certainly put this little town on the radar of the wanderers looking for something unique. A laid-back city, Anacortes is known for its large marina, the marine activities, the lush mountainous parks and the delectable seafood.

But what you can see and do today, is actually much different than what could have been! The city was officially established in the year 1879, as Ship Harbour, with a post office. The vision for this city was to make it a significant terminal for trade in the western part of the country.

However, when it did not go as planned, the city did not shy away, and instead, thrived as a cargo and fishing center. There are a number of marine sites that are a must visit for all tourists. W. T. Preston, Cap Sante Marina, and Tommy Thompson Trail are some of them. Other fun things to do in Anacortes include Washington Park, Mount Erie, and Cranberry Lake.

1. W. T. Preston

Attraction Type: Museum

The one and only snag boat on the west coast, out of the two surviving ones in the country, W. T. Preston was launched in the year 1939. It spent its entire life clearing the debris from the river beds for smooth marine activity, till it finally retired in the year 1981. Now the main attraction at the Snagboat Heritage Center in Anacortes, it is viewed by tourists and locals all year round. It is the proud holder of the title of National Historic Landmark, and the center has been successful in giving its functions and history in detail. Artefacts, models, documents and maps can be found here, and these are the details that make it one of the most popular things to do in Anacortes.

2. Washington Park

Attraction Type: Park

A 220-acre park with hills and meadows, Washington Park, Anacortes is the perfect place for a one-day picnic. The park has a number of facilities like campgrounds, boat launch, trails, picnic shelters and more. The campgrounds are huge and have 68 campsites, out of which 46 have water and electricity. Picnic shelters can be reserved for large groups, as can the group tenting grounds. Apart from these, people look forward to enjoying activities like biking, hiking, boating, camping and much more while in the park. Overlooking the gorgeous waters, the trails, marked and hidden, prove to be an exceptional experience. A languid place to visit in Anacortes, you can plan a picnic here.

3. Anacortes History Museum

Attraction Type: Museum

Another interesting point of interest in Anacortes is the Anacortes History Museum. Opened in the year 1958, it houses all kinds of artefacts that are significant to the city’s past. Carnegie Library is the building that has now been converted into a museum. Built during the early 1900s, the building itself is part of the list in the National Register of Historic Places. The museum not only has displays of all the major events of the city’s life, but also has replicated items that give you the experience of what it used to be like in the past. A fun and educative experience awaits you here.

4. Mount Erie

Attraction Type: Natural Area

Giving splendid views of the Anacortes city and the Whidbey Island, Mount Erie is one of the most exciting Fidalgo Island points of interest. The mountain is famed for its trails and climbing opportunities that are enough to lure any adventure seeker into this mountains wilderness. Lush with tall trees and dense forests, a day hike is the perfect way to enjoy the beautiful views that the mount offers. It is possible for the car to go all the way up, while is useful if you want to catch the sunrise or sunset and don’t have much time, but nothing can beat the experience of chasing the summit.

5. Cap Sante Marina

Attraction Type: Waterfront Outdoor

With the city being the boating capital of the Northwest, it would not be a surprise that Cap Sante Marina is one of the best marinas on this coast. Posh and elegant, this expansive marina has up to 950 slips. It also has a number of facilities like shops that sell bait, pop, ice and ice cream on the dock, customs dock, trailer boat launch, restrooms, showers & laundry, whale watching charters, fishing charters and RV facilities, so that tourists can enjoy an entire day here.

6. Cranberry Lake and Anacortes Community Forest Lands

Attraction Type: Lake

Located within the Anacortes Community Forest Lands, Cranberry Lake is a small waterbody, which until recently was a well-hidden gem. Now out in the open, this serene lake and its banks have become one of the top attractions in Anacortes. What was originally just a tiny pond, over the years was served by the nearby dam to become the lake that it is today. The preserve is filled with trails and bridges from where you can enjoy wonderful lake activities. The picture that it creates is stunning, with towering trees on either banks and the cool sparkling water flowing in between.

7. Causland Memorial Park

Attraction Type: Park

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Causland Memorial Park was built in the 1920s. The park is spread over an expanse of 2 acres and is famous for its unique design. It was built by Louis Lepage, with mosaic walls and terraces. While fresh green lawns, fragrant plants and picnic shelters take up part of this park, the most important part is the memorial. Built in the remembrance of the soldiers who lost their lives in the Vietnam War and the First World War, this portion is the highlight of this park, making it one of the top things to do in Anacortes, WA.

8. Tommy Thompson Trail

Attraction Type: Nature

The perfect destination for all those looking for spectacular views, someplace near water, with a little exercise involved, Tommy Thompson Trail is a must while you’re in the city. It is a 3-mile trail that lays flat across an abandoned rail trail and runs along the bay. Biking, skating, walking and jogging are some of the activities that can be enjoyed here. What makes this trail so popular is the wheelchair accessibility that it has. Giving one and all views of the bay and the marine life, it is best to spend a morning walking along the coastline here.

9. Storvik Park

Attraction Type: Park

Nine acres of all that’s fresh and fun, Storvik Park is one of the best places to visit in Anacortes with children. A community built, fantasy playground is on one side of the park, whole some other facilities that make it popular include ball fields, basketball courts, horseshoe pits, two picnic areas, a walking track, and parking. Community activities are held here often, and the open fields make perfect places to enjoy games of balls, frisbee, kite and more. The most recent addition to the park is its spray pad, which is perfect for the summers!

10. Rosario Beach

Attraction Type: Beach

Small hillocks leading into the waters, Rosario Beach is a one of a kind coast. Painting a pleasant picture all year long, you will get to view lush hillocks breaking into the cobalt waters. Part of the shoreline flaunts rugged stones and rocks, while the other parts have a pebble beach that works like therapy for all those looking to unwind. A top tourist attraction in Anacortes, you can either start your morning with a refreshing dip, or spend the evening watching the wash crash against the rocks.

11. Ace of Hearts Creek Rotary Dog Park

Attraction Type: Park

A lovely site to bring your furry friend to, Ace of Hearts Creek Rotary Dog Park is a 1.5-acre park. With all the basic amenities like waste bags, restrooms, parking, water and more, it is one of the top pet-friendly areas in Anacortes. They have separate areas for big and small dogs, both well equipped with exercise structures and games. Additions are still being made, like the gazebos which were the recent developments.

12. Sharpe Park

Attraction Type: Park

Trees, ponds, trails and more, Sharpe Park is a hidden paradise in Anacortes. An ideal spot for a weekend getaway, it is untouched by man, which makes it serene, and beautiful. Firs and madrones make up most of the forest, while the little pond adds just the blue that was required. The trail is short, just under a mile, but couple hiking with picnicking, and you have a fun holiday plan! Keep your camera close, as the sweeping views of the island and the waters are worth a couple of clicks. 

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Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Anacortes, Washington

Must see places in Anacortes ranked on popularity. Here is the complete list of best attractions in Anacortes and points of interest to visit.

  1. Cranberry Lake

    #1 of 192 Things To Do in Anacortes
    Cranberry Lake Image

    Tags: Lake

    Address: 3708 W 12th St, Anacortes, WA 98221, USA

    In order to enjoy an unforgettable outing, you and your loved ones can plan to go to the Cranberry Lake area. It won’t be wrong to tag the very lake as a hidden gem as the same is truly gorgeous...Read more

  2. Sunrise Inn Villas And Suites

    #2 of 192 Things To Do in Anacortes
    Sunrise Inn Villas And Suites

    Tags: Hotel

    Address: 905 20th St, Anacortes, WA 98221, USA

    To mark your sojourn in an extraordinary way, you can think of booking any of the accommodations that the Sunrise Inn Villas and Suites offer. It is a 3-star hotel where you are guaranteed to be serve...Read more

  3. Cap Sante Park

    #3 of 192 Things To Do in Anacortes
    Cap Sante Park Image

    Tags: Park

    Address: 1000 W Ave

  4. Causland Park

    #4 of 192 Things To Do in Anacortes
    Causland Park Image

    Tags: Park

    Address: 8TH St

  5. Island Adventures

    #5 of 192 Things To Do in Anacortes
    Island Adventures Image

    Address: 1801 Commercial Ave

    Timings: 08:00 am - 05:00 pm Details
  6. Washington Park

    #6 of 192 Things To Do in Anacortes
    Washington Park Image

    Tags: Park

    Address: 6300 Sunset Avenue, 6300 Sunset Ave, Anacortes, WA 98221, USA

  7. St Mary's Catholic Church

    #7 of 192 Things To Do in Anacortes
    St Mary's Catholic Church Image

    Address: 4001 Saint Marys Dr

    Timings: 10:00 am - 04:00 pm Details
  8. Anacortes Ferry Terminal

    #8 of 192 Things To Do in Anacortes
    Anacortes Ferry Terminal Image

    Address: Anacortes Ferry Terminal, Anacortes, WA 98221, USA

  9. Catchmore Charters

    #9 of 192 Things To Do in Anacortes
    Catchmore Charters Image

    Address: 1 San Juan Island

Tourist Attractions Near Anacortes

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Types of Things To Do in Anacortes

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  • Wilson Hotel

    804 Commercial Ave

    Historic and Protected Sites
  • W. T. Preston

    Historic and Protected Sites
  • Port Standley School House

    2970 Port Stanley Rd

    Historic and Protected Sites
  • Bellingham National Bank Building

    101 E Holly St

    Historic and Protected Sites
  • Eldridge Homesite And Mansion

    Historic and Protected Sites
  • Larrabee House

    Historic and Protected Sites
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  • Sehome Hill Arboretum

    800 E Myrtle St

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  • Little Cranberry Lake

  • Whistle Lake

  • Heart Lake

  • Trafton Lake

  • Bow Lake Watersports

    18055 Bow Lake Ln

  • Fragrance Lake

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  • Anacortes Museum

    1305 8th St

  • Bellingham Railway Museum

    1320 Commercial St

  • Children's Museum of Skagit County

    550 Cascade Mall Dr

  • Orcas Island Historical Museum

    181 N Beach Rd

  • La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum

    703 S 2nd St

  • Museum of Northwest Art

    121 1st St

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  • Anacortes Waterfront Festival

    1019 Q Ave

    Amusement Parks
  • Hart Novelty Co.

    2230 Queen St

    Amusement Parks Arcades
  • Park & Ride

    S Samish Way

    Amusement Parks
  • Everyday Nature

    421 Donovan Ave

    Amusement Parks
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  • H2o

    314 Commercial Ave

    Burgers Bars Music and Show Venues
  • Downtown Bob's Burgers & Brew

    202 E Holly St

    Fast Food Burgers Bars
  • Grand Avenue Ale House

    113 Grand Ave

    Bars Delis American
  • Aslan Brewing Company

    1330 N Forest St

    Bars American Breweries
  • Wild Buffalo House of Music

    208 W Holly St

    Bars Night Clubs Pizza
  • Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro

    1107 Railroad Ave

    American Bars Breweries
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  • Northern Lights Rv Park

    12885 Casino Dr

    Casinos and Gaming Bars Restaurants
  • Bayside Lounge

    31359 State Route 20

    Casinos and Gaming Bars
  • Global Cash Access

    5984 N Darrk Ln

    Casinos and Gaming
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  • Moran State Park

    3572 Olga Rd

    Natural Parks
  • Deception Pass State Park

    41229 State Route 20

    Natural Parks Playgrounds
  • North Cascades Institute

    810 State Route 20

    Natural Parks
  • Sucia Island State Park

    Spring Point Rd

    Natural Parks Playgrounds
  • Mt Constitution Sites

    Natural Parks
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  • Ace Of Hearts Rotary Dog Park

    Dog Parks
  • Fairhaven Dog Park

    1717 4th St

    Dog Parks
  • Clover Valley Off Leash Dog Park

    Ault Field Rd

    Dog Parks
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  • Rosario Beach

  • Anaco Beach

  • Alexander Delmar Beach

    N DEL MAR Dr

  • Cypress Head Recreation Beach

  • Crescent Beach Kayaks

    239 Crescent Beach Dr

  • City Beach Lagoon

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