Enjoy sparkling, blue water everywhere
Experience all of the exhilarating adventure opportunities that come with saltwater sea and fresh lakes. But don’t miss the wonder of Fidalgo Island’s public forestlands and “friendly” mountains. This community is truly a Pacific Northwest recreationist’s paradise! From young to old, buff to not-so-much, Fidalgo Island boasts a year-round recreational menu to satisfy all appetites.
To start with, the City Parks and Recreation Department stewards more than 2,700 acres of public forestland boasting a web of trails ranging from beach to 1,273 foot Mt. Erie. A waterproof map is available for sale at City Hall or the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Information Center.
Within a stone’s throw of the state ferry terminal at historic Ship Harbor is the Guemes Trail. This is a level, paved path that runs parallel to the shore. It offers a sweeping water view that includes ferry and pleasure boat traffic moving to and from British Columbia and the San Juan Islands. No age limits or imposing physical challenges here! Yet it still appeals to the adrenaline lover who wants to take things up a notch.
Also popular for its views and minimal elevation gains is the Tommy Thompson Trail. It is a wide, three-plus mile paved route leading from downtown Anacortes through marinas. It also weaves along the city’s northeast shoreline and ultimately across a retired railroad trestle to scenic March’s Point.
If it’s a Pacific Northwest forest adventure you seek, grab that trail map and select any of several classic natural “neighborhoods” to enjoy. A family can opt to drive to destinations including Washington Park, Little Cranberry Lake, Campbell Lake and the summit of Mt. Erie. Hitch up your own boat, strap down your paddleboard, or put your bike on the rack. You can also choose to leave the hardware to local providers.
The hiker, climber or mountain biker looking for a greater challenge can choose among numerous options including Sugarloaf Mountain, Whistle Lake or the rocky face of Mt. Erie. A less imposing climb takes one on a path from Rotary Park at Cap Sante Marina to the top of the popular promontory.
Public beaches abound, from Seafarers’ Memorial Park near Cap Sante Marina to Rosario Beach on the Fidalgo side of Deception Pass State Park. Rosario offers both easy beach access and challenging climbs connecting beach to uplands.
For those drawn to the sea recreational choices run the gamut, from whale watching excursion to ferry rides (Guemes Island, San Juan islands, Sidney, B.C). The city is also home to saltwater fishing charters as well as sail and power boat charters. Again, visit the Chamber Visitor Information Center (VIC) or local marina offices for details.
A more intimate encounter with the saltwater is available from local kayak and paddleboard businesses. Connect with experts at companies including Anacortes Kayak Tours, voted No. 1 by Evening Magazine and King5.com in the “eco-adventure” category.
Also honored with No. 1 honors by Evening Magazine’s “Best Northwest Escapes” is HarborSUP, a company offering adventure experiences on Fidalgo and Whidbey islands. On this side of Deception Pass, experience a guided paddleboard tour out of Bowman’s Bay on south Fidalgo Island. Tours include exploration of the breathtaking coastline, as well as a stand-up lesson with a certified instructor. Although the season generally runs from June to mid-September, you can call for special arrangements. Classes and tours accommodate 6-10 clients, with HarborSUP providing your board, wetsuit, lifejacket – and an introductory paddleboard lesson.
by Steve Berentson