Historic Working Waterfront in Anacortes

Explore the Historic Anacortes Waterfront: five marinas, a historic sternwheeler, tugs under construction, even a pirate ship playground! Boats are everywhere on Fidalgo Island.

The sea brought pioneers here in the mid-1800s and, since then, water has served as a major shipping lane for the city’s lumber, petroleum, and seafood products-even the 2010 America’s Cup yacht! Today, “Historic Anacortes” remains an accessible working waterfront, where visitors can experience everything from jaw-dropping pleasure craft to ocean-going tankers and heavy duty marine construction and repair.

If you’re into boats, in the market for one, or simply want a taste of authentic Pacific Northwest living, cruise across the bridge from Whidbey Island or the Skagit Valley, or ferry over from Vancouver Island.

In Anacortes, the waterfront buzzes with activity every day and major boating and fishing events anchor the calendar from now through the fall. Stroll the docks of Cap Sante Marina for an up-close look at sleek sailing vessels and salt-crusted trawlers. Watch shipbuilding sparks fly at Dakota Creek Industries. Tour the W. T. Preston, a historic stern wheel snagboat. Then head into the historic downtown to browse shops and satiate a hungry appetite with fresh and local foods.

The Anacortes Boat & Yacht Show is based at a beautiful public marina in the community’s historic downtown. Accessibility is among distinguishing characteristics for this popular boat show, located in a seaside community just 20 minutes off I-5.  “This show is wonderful for the person who wants to get out and find what is available without pressure,” coordinators say. “And if you already know what you want, there’s a good chance you’ll find it here. You are welcome in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island!

Come be part of a community brined in the worlds of water and boats since its beginning. And, next time, you might just want to bring your own boat and take advantage of Cap Sante Marina’s liveaboard policy! Now, that’s an idea worth dreaming about.


Connected to resources and markets via a marine highway, Anacortes was a useful stop for regional traders and explorers. By the 1880s, Griffin lumber camp and mill were operating on Fidalgo Bay, and White’s Landing was supplying passing steamboats with wood and water.

Want to learn more about the historic Anacortes waterfront? Visit the Friends of Skagit Beaches history page and take a tour!  Friends of Skagit Beaches manages the incredibly fun and educational Trail Tales project. Trail Tales leads you on a journey to discover Fidalgo Bay’s natural beauty, diverse ecology, and history while calling us to restore and protect it for future generations.

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