The ultimate weekend getaway has just a few key elements: exciting outdoor activities, fantastic food and beautiful landscapes. Ideally, add places to drink while taking in those beautiful landscapes!
It’s no secret that I’ve loved living in Anacortes. I also think it’s one of the best weekend getaway destinations in Washington. Even more so in the summertime, when the town is graced with blue skies, sweet sunshine, and fun festivals.
Far more than a jump off point to the San Juan Islands, Anacortes is a true holiday destination in its own right.
Located on Fidalgo Island, Anacortes is about a 90 minute drive from Seattle and two hours from Vancouver. So you can arrive before dinnertime on Friday and make the most of your weekend.
There’s so much to do on this beautiful little island. Still not convinced? Here’s a sample of the back-to-nature fun and farm-to-table dining that awaits you on the ultimate weekend getaway to Anacortes.
The Ultimate Weekend Getaway to Anacortes…
Start your weekend getaway to Anacortes with some killer views. Arrive before dinnertime and drive (or take the short hike) to nearby Cap Sante Park, a small peak on the east side of town. Find a cosy spot on the rocky outcrop and take in the vistas of snowcapped Mt Baker and the Cascade mountains to the east, the San Juan Islands to your west, and downtown and the marina below.
Art aficionados should plan their visit for the first weekend of the month. Anacortes’ First Friday Art Walk (6-9pm) is a free event showcasing the latest gallery exhibitions, music performances and artist demonstrations around town.
In the summer months, enjoy outdoor concerts of jazz, rock or big-band music at Seafarers Memorial Park from 6-8pm every Friday.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, dine at A-Town Bistro for a delicious seasonal menu complete with great local and international wines. End the evening with rooftop cocktails at the gorgeous Majestic Inn. There’s a wonderful cocktail bar & lounge on street level if faced with inclement weather (there’s a wider selection of cocktails downstairs anyhow).
Photo credit: Majestic Inn & Spa
Arrive hungry at the Farmer’s Market for an on-the-go breakfast of delicious pastries, smoothies, espresso and other snacks. Buy some produce, baked goods, local cheese, honey and mead – you can take it home or enjoy as snacks later in the day.
Indulge with an ice-cream from nearby Mad Hatters, and take a stroll along through historic downtown and Commercial Ave. It’s home to some great antique stores, bookstores and boutiques (Thrifty Kitty, Alley Cat Antiques and Marine Supply & Hardware Co are great!). Stop for a cortado amongst the library at Pelican Bay Books & Coffeehouse or pair your coffee with the latest art exhibition at ACME Coffee Bar.
As you wander, spot the many murals that adorn the buildings. It’s part of an ongoing project, depicting the town’s local colour and characters of years passed.
This afternoon, take to the waters around Burrows Bay with Anacortes Kayak Tours. The two hour tour is a great introduction to island’s aquatic side. You just might have a close encounter with seals, porpoise and other sealife!
Next up is Washington Park, my go to for picnics and sunset drinks. Drive or walk the loop trail for fantastic viewpoints of the bay and neighboring islands. There’s a great playground near the parking lot if you’re travelling with kids, but for a quieter spot, head to Green Point. A beer or wine is the perfect companion here!
Start your evening with some local wine and cheese at Salt & Vine, before heading to tonight’s dinner destination: Adrift, a casual New American eatery known for its locally sourced seafood, meats and veggies. Give into temptation and order dessert, as the ice cream with house-made hot Russian Stout Fudge, the creme brulee and the coconut ginger chocolate mousse all come highly recommended from this sweet tooth 🙂
If delicious pub grub and local beer is more your style, make a beeline for Bastion Brewing on the outskirts of town. New to the scene, Bastion is making a splash with huge flavour, a unique lineup of beers and excellent live music each weekend. My favourite spot in Anacortes.
Photo credit: Anacortes Kayak Tours
Photo credit: Union Tavern
Brunch at Dad’s Diner, the friendliest café in town. It’s homemade greasy-spoon style, complete with house smoked meats and locally supplied goods. The Mexican French Toast is my go-to (French toast with smoked beef-wrapped jalapenos and horseradish crema), but the brisket hash and biscuits & gravy is fantastic too. To be honest everything here is top-notch.
Cap Sante Marina is just a short stroll away (you’ll need it after breakfast!). See why Anacortes is one of the Northwest’s boating capitals. It’s charming, full of commercial and recreational craft, and you can almost always spot a harbor seal or two frolicking in the waters.
Before leaving town, take the short drive to the south end of Fidalgo Island for some hiking and sightseeing around Deception Pass. Take in the views from the famous bridge, then tackle one of the many great hiking trails. The walk from Bowman Bay to Lighthouse Point is a favourite. Otherwise drive to the Whidbey Island side to walk the rocky beaches or summit Goose Head.
If you have an extended weekend getaway to Anacortes, here are a few other activities I’d totally recommend adding to the itinerary:
- Hike up Mt Eerie for epic views of Fidalgo & Whidbey Island and surrounding waters. If hiking isn’t your style, you can drive – there’s a small parking lot at the top.
- Visit Whistle Lake – a great swimming spot and rock ledge for cliff jumping (exercise caution if you decide to take the plunge!)
- Take a whale watching cruise around the San Juan Islands – you may spot orcas, humpbacks or gray whales.
- Bike or stroll along Tommy Thompson trail – a magnificent bayside trail on an abandoned railroad trestle. You can hire bikes at Skagit Cycle on Commercial Avenue.
Handy Travel Tips!
Before you book your weekend getaway to Anacortes, check out the tourist information. Your visit may coincide with one of the town’s many great festivals and special events, such as August’s Arts Festival, Shipwreck Day, October’s Beer on the Pier , the Christmas markets or Spring Wine Festival.
Where to stay in Anacortes
There’s an abundance of lovely hotels and B&B’s in Anacortes. For a splurge, check yourself into Majestic Inn & Spa. If you prefer a B&B experience, Gateway Bed & Breakfast or Nantucket Inn will be a great base for the weekend. The south end of Commercial Ave hosts many budget and mid-range hotels, and Airbnb has many affordable options too.
Ready to experience your own ultimate weekend getaway to Anacortes? Let me know below and I can give you some more great tips!
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