Picture-Perfect Weekend Getaway

Anacortes - your picture perfect weekend getawayYou’ll pack more into your weekend getaway and keep the lid on your budget when your island destination is picturesque, fun, historic Anacortes on Fidalgo Island.

The best-kept secrets often are closer and easier to access than you think! Anchored by a vibrant, friendly downtown and surrounded by water, infinite adventures await. So grab your camera for a weekend getaway, make sure your memory card is empty (or that you have fresh rolls of film). Pack up, and prepare to be surrounded by scenes from a Pacific Northwest picture-book.

Show up on the first Friday of the month to join the Gallery Art Walk, 6 – 9 pm, where locals flock to see the latest exhibits, catch up with friends, and grab a late supper of nouveau Mexican, seafood, or inventive fresh and local. The city’s art scene is tucked into numerous corners of Old Town. You’ll find everything from Native American art, carvings and basketry to avant-garde installations, and pastoral landscapes. There’s also photography, hand woven rugs, vintage wearable’s, crafts and more. Most galleries are open daily as well, when you’ll also be tempted by terrific shops and boutiques.

Getting up close and personal with the waterfront is as easy as a stroll through Cap Sante Marina. Enjoy its hundreds of pleasure and authentic working boats. Or find your way to any of the city’s dozens of parks for water views and playgrounds for a picnic. For a great side trip, park at the Guemes Ferry landing at 6th Street and I Avenue. Then, take the five-minute ferry to Guemes Island and walk 100 yards up the road for lunch or ice cream at The Guemes Island General Store. You can also take your car and explore this small laid back island. For Guemes Island ferry fees and schedules, click here.

To really experience the mood of Fidalgo’s waters, book a kayak, jet boat, or whale watch trip. With historic Deception Pass Bridge just down the road on the southern tip of Fidalgo Island, you’re guaranteed sure-fire natural drama.

Finally, to guarantee you’ll bring home some awesome weekend getaway memories, here are a few of our favorite photo op sites at our public parks:

Cap Sante Park – Take 4th Street east to a right on Y Avenue. Follow it up hill to Cap Sante’s rocky promontory with expansive views of Mt. Bake, the Cascades, Fidalgo Bay marinas and downtown Anacortes. Click.

Mt. Erie – From 41st Street, head west on Heart Lake Road. Watch for Ray Auld Drive on your left, which takes you to the highest point on Fidalgo Island (take it slow on the sharp turns). Mt. Erie boasts a 160-acre park with several lookouts that, combined, give you an almost 360-degree view of the Cascade Mountains and waters of the San Juan Islands. Trails in the adjacent forest lands offer more views, old growth forests and critter-filled ponds. Click, click.

Washington Park – Heading west, 12th Street becomes Oakes Avenue; follow it a couple of miles to its end. This 220-acre gem of a park can be circumnavigated on a 2.2-mile loop road. Whether you drive it slowly (speed limit is 10 mph), ride your bike, or walk, you’ll find multiple payoffs where beaches and overlooks open up to the grandeur of Rosario Strait, Burrows Channel, and the San Juan archipelago. With its playgrounds, picnic and boat launch facilities and dynamite sunsets; Washington Park is just the ticket for an end-of-day picnic. Too tired to head home? Simply pitch your tent in the park’s popular campgrounds (reservations at 360-293-1927).

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