Five Things to do for Maximum Summer Fun in Anacortes

On your mark, get set, GO! Summer fun continues in Anacortes with races, hiking, multiple dining choices, free festivities for kids, and the wildly beloved August Arts Festival.

Fun For the Kids

It’s all about kids at the Kids-R- Best Fest. In mid-July, Storvik Park (32nd Street off Commercial Avenue) comes alive with game and informational booths, giant inflatable bouncers, craft projects, and concessions. And it’s all free, except for a nominal charge for food.

Augmenting the festival are the fabulous amenities of Storvik Park. Here’s how one visitor described it: “It’s a park-loving kid’s DREAM. Brand new equipment, climbing ropes, slides, swings, a swinging tire, a ‘pirate castle’ to climb on and pretend you’re taking over the high seas, jungle gym rings, rock walls, etc.” Plus, discover the new spray pad, a ferry boat, suspension bridges, playhouses, slides, and swings in two sections for older and younger kids.

Take a Hike

There are plenty of public parks in Anacortes that do not require a Discover Pass. The Cranberry Lake area,  off Georgia Ave at Cranberry lake Road, is found near the city center. It is heavily forested and contains Cranberry Lake (approximately 27 acres) and several other small lakes and bogs. The site varies in terrain from flat to steep slopes. An extensive trail system is found in this area. Mount Erie is on the south side of Anacortes, off Heart Lake Road. At the top of Mt. Erie, elevation 1,270 ft, choose from four viewing areas and be rewarded with spectacular views in every direction.  There is a small parking area and a road to the top of Mt. Erie. Trails from this area lead into a portion of the 1400 plus acres of the Anacortes Forest Lands. To learn more about the various park sites in Anacortes, click here.

Dining in Anacortes restaurantsRelax with a Craft Drink

If you can, sit at the bar and strike up a conversation with the folks around you as you dine or drink. You’ll likely spend the next hour talking to a resident, and maybe even get some “locals-only” summer fun tips for the rest of your stay here!  H2O offers the largest selection of handles in Anacortes. The Rockfish Grill is right next door to the Anacortes Brewery, and there’s a window to watch the action. The Brown Lantern Alehouse has a wide variety of Northwest favorites plus rotating taps. The Union Tavern provides an extensive assortment of draft beers, ciders, and craft cocktails. Anthony’s has two options over by the marina, depending on the weather. Both Adrift and A’Town Bistro will give you a liquid locavore experience to match their delicious food options.

Summer Festivals

Leave it to the creativity of the Anacortes Arts Festival team to come up with new and fascinating summer fun activities to embellish the always popular Arts Festival, now in its sixth decade. Named one of the top 100 fine arts fairs in the country, over 250 booth artists will again paint the historic city streets in a multitude of colors and textures during the first full weekend in August.

There’s music galore throughout the festival, including more local than ever this year, with multiple stages devoted to local singer/songwriters. Hungry? Food trucks will be dispersed throughout the festival streets to satisfy your hunger wherever you’re shopping, listening, or watching.

Linger near the demonstrations at the Working Studios arena. You may find a young artist painting graffiti on a big metal storage container later to be housed at the city’s Depot. Maybe you’ll see blacksmithing! There could be mural painting, stone sculpture, or even chalk painting. Finally, ease on down for a break at the new Port Stage and Waterfront Pub. From there explore the Arts at the Port show, with work by over 40 artists.

Volunteers help make the Anacortes Arts Festival the star summer fun attraction that it is, enabling the organization to give some $55,000 in grants back to the community. The major recipient is youth arts, including the school district cultural arts program, artists in residence; also funding for musical instruments, arts equipment, and summer camps for students.  Additional support is provided to Fidalgo Dance, MoNA, the music at the Anacortes Farmers Market, and more.

Run for the Fun of It

Anacortes Arts Festival Art Dash

A Northwest favorite – known as one of the most beautiful runs around – the Art Dash Run  follows Anacortes’ cool waterfront shoreline with distance runs for every level of endurance.

Beginning at City Hall (6th Street, between Commercial and Q avenues), the route meanders through town, beside marinas and wetlands, and over Fidalgo Bay. In its 12th year, this USTAF certified half marathon, 10k, 5k follows the beautiful Tommy Thompson Trail along the Anacortes waterfront and ends at the Port warehouse at the north end of the Festival.   Timing this year will be done by NW Endurance Events (look for chip timing in 2018).   The cost is $50 for the half marathon, $35 for the 10k and $25 for the 5k – $5 for under 12 and over 70.  At the end of the race, runners can enjoy music on our Port stage, beverages in the Waterfront Pub, food nearby –  with the whole Festival lineup waiting.  Come for the run, stay for the fun!

The Art Dash is a partnership between the Anacortes Arts Festival and City of Anacortes Parks & Recreation, with proceeds benefiting public art.

Can’t make it that weekend? There are lot of other summer fun run options for you to choose from!

originally written July 9, 2014 by Jan Hersey, updated June 2018

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