Anacortes offers many opportunities for people of all ages to play – leave your busy schedules behind and come relax, play, and stay for a weekend of family fun on Fidalgo Island.
The Anacortes Farmers Market happens every Saturday from early May through late October – it’s a great place to go for fun, farmer produce and value-added local goodness, fabulous foods and incredible art. Enjoy live music every week and educational workshops in the Depot every other week. It’s the biggest and best season ever so come and be part of the magic – it couldn’t happen without you!
Explore nooks and crannies inside the WT Preston, an original stern-wheeler snag boat that once kept the Skagit River free of log jams and open to boat traffic. The W.T. Preston was placed on the National Register for Historic Places in 1979. In 1981, the Corps retired her from duty and solicited proposals to preserve the snagboat. Impressed with the plan offered by the city of Anacortes, the Corps transferred title to Anacortes in March 1983. The city allocated $40,000 to prepare a waterfront site for the W.T. Preston beside its old Great Northern Railroad Depot. After being towed to Anacortes, the W.T. Preston was taken out of the water and on June 22, 1983, hauled overland to her new resting site. She was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989, serving as an important reminder of Puget Sound maritime history. Click here to learn more & check hours of operation.
See how many kinds of boats you can discover at the 950-slip Cap Sante Boat Haven. The marina is open to the public – please be safe when walking around, and respectful to the boaters who have their slip there. It’s a great family activity in any season, but especially in the summer and early fall.
Explore the tide pools! Some of Anacortes’s most valuable treasures aren’t found on Commercial Avenue or in the Anacortes Museum. Rather, look to the island’s perimeter to discover natural wonders hiding under rocks, buried in sand, and clinging to kelp in fascinating yet fragile ecosystems called tide pools. It’s here you’ll find essential links in the interdependent food web on which all life depends—including our own. To explore this fascinating world for yourself, pick up some picnic fixin’s or sandwiches at The Store Grocery or Gere-A-Deli and head for the shore. Tide pools are found along rocky shores where, when the tide goes out, pools of saltwater are left in depressions in the sand and rocks. The best Anacortes tide pools are at Sunset and West beaches in Washington Park (on Oakes Ave., just beyond the ferry landing) and at the southern end of Rosario Beach in Deception Pass Park (Discover Pass required). In town, look for marine life clinging to dock pilings and rocks at city waterfront parks, marinas, and along the Tommy Thompson Trail. To learn more about the tide pools and how to keep them safe, visit our blog post.
Anacortes’s family friendly jewel Storvik Park – a quick way to pop the cork on pent up kid energy. Located only a block off Commercial Avenue on 32nd Street, Storvik boasts nine acres of grass, trees, ball fields, horseshoe pits, a walking track and best of all a fantasy-filled new playground in the northeast corner. The imaginative blend of exercise and creativity was dubbed “Our Town, Our Park” by the local schoolchildren who participated in its design. True to the city’s maritime heritage, the plan incorporates suspended bridges, boats and ferries, as well as castle towers to climb, swings, slides and even a stage for budding performers. A safe and happy place for the whole family, the playground is served by a single entrance/exit, is segmented for different age levels and affords adults visual contact with their children throughout. The expansive facility was built by hundreds of volunteers who let loose their imaginations and rolled up their sleeves; funding came from a partnership of local businesses, service organizations and the City of Anacortes Parks and Recreation Department. For those beyond the playground stage, there’s plenty of room to throw a Frisbee, fly a kite, or spread out a picnic. For walkers, a paved track winds around the park perimeter.
Fidalgo Pool and Fitness Center, located at 1603 22nd Street offers wellness and fitness programs for every age and ability. The facility has a 25 meter by 25 yard 280,000 gallon swimming pool. The water is treated with an Ultraviolet System, so chlorine is minimal and prevention from water-borne illnesses is optimal. Fidalgo Pool and Fitness Center is opened seven days a week – interested participants can drop in and pay a daily fee or purchase one of several membership levels. More specific information about the facility can be found on fidalgopool.com.
If you’re visiting in the winter, enjoy the Winter Wonderland Walk at Washington Park Campground (happening mid December). The bedecked campgrounds at Washington Park brighten up the season Northwest style. In 2011, the Anacortes Parks & Recreation team came up with the idea to gussy up wooded campsites with festive lights and decorations. Each year the event grows with community groups, businesses and families illuminating their favorite spot with cheerful ornamentation. Carols and music drift through the air. Marshmallows roast over campfires. Cocoa warms chilled hands. It’s a joyous free event for all. Insider tip: A luminary path lights the way to the campsites, but with your own flashlight it feels like a camping adventure.
Experience the water with Deception Pass Tours. Learn about Deception Pass, the Bridge and surrounding area on this amazing tour aboard the “Island Whaler.” Enjoy the thrill of the fast jet boat through Deception Pass with a knowledgeable interpreter. Take a unique ride on a seated open deck boat and enjoy a 360° unobstructed view as we pass through the waters of Deception Pass on a one hour tour. Perfect for any family wanting a quick adventure on the water. Also, look for wildlife such as bald eagles, seals, porpoises and maybe an occasional whale. Tickets can be purchased for Deception Pass Tours at the ticket booth in the parking lot at the south end of the bridge.
While you’re at Deception Pass State Park, go Canopy Climbing! Recreational tree climbing, also known as canopy climbing, is an unforgettable amazing experience and a fast-growing sport. Open to almost anyone, this is something everyone should experience as a fun family activity. This adventure gives a sense of freedom, power and connectivity to nature like nothing else. Enjoy a half day experience located at Deception Pass State Park, where you will climb on multiple trees between 150 and 300 feet high. Depending on the group and the ability of your fellow climbers, you will ascend one or two trees. Climbing 20 stories up in Coastal Douglas Fir Trees offers a shocking perspective and a view few have ever seen. Sign up with AdventureTerra – it’s great for groups with children over 7 years of ago – minors do require a consent form.
Plan your weekend around one of our many festivals!
- Early June – The Anacortes Waterfront Festival celebrates the nautical heritage of Anacortes with a fun, family friendly event, which runs the first Saturday and Sunday in June at the beautiful Cap Sante Marina.
- June – Bark in the Park, hosted by the City of Anacortes
- Mid-July – 10 blocks of treasures can be found at the Annual Shipwreck Day Flea Market on the third Saturday in July.
- July – Kids ‘R’ Best Fest, hosted by the City of Anacortes
- Early August – In its 6th decade, The Anacortes Arts Festival, is a celebration of arts in all forms. The festival runs the first full weekend in August each year. Plan to stay for the weekend and enjoy one of the area’s longest running festivals.