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North America > United States of America > Pacific Northwest > Washington (state) > North Cascades > Anacortes

Anacortes

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Race day off Skyline Marina in Anacortes

Anacortes is a city in the North Cascades region in Washington. It is the major Washington State Ferries terminal to the San Juan Islands.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

From I-5 north or south, take the exit for Highway 20 in Burlington. This runs turns into Commercial Drive, and runs through the heart of town, and on to the Washington State Ferries terminal.

By ferry[edit]

For security and immigration processing when traveling between the US and Canada, a 60-minute advance arrival is strongly suggested for vehicle traffic. Walk on passengers need to arrive 30 minutes in advance. Vehicle reservations are recommended. Please speak with Washington State Dept of Transportation Information Agents in Seattle at 1-888-808-7977 or reserve online. Passports are required to enter either country.

  • Washington State Ferries offers ferries to Shaw, Orcas, Lopez and San Juan Islands from Anacortes with continuing service to Sidney BC. If traveling on weekends, be prepared for long waits for the ferries. A 60-minute advance arrival is recommended for vehicle traffic. A 1-hour advance arrival is advised for the 8:30AM International sailing. For the afternoon sailings, a 90-minute advance arrival is advised. Passengers should arrive at least 30 minutes prior to sailing at the ferry terminal at 2100 Ferry Terminal Road Suite A.

By air[edit]

Anacortes airport, between the town and the ferry terminal, offers scheduled and charter service in small propeller airplanes, serving the San Juan Islands. It also welcomes general aviation. General commercial air service is offered through Bellingham to the north or Sea-Tac.

By boat[edit]

Anacortes is an official U.S. ports-of-entry and can process boaters through customs. The Cardinal Rule is touch land at customs dock before any other stops, fines for not doing so can be up to $5000. Besides a passport for everyone on board, you will need your boat's license number and User Fee Decal number.

Customs enforces USDA guidelines for what foods are acceptable to bring into the country and these guidelines are constantly changing so it is best to check in with them before arriving. Boaters are responsible for knowing the prohibited foods and can be fined for not declaring them.

By bus[edit]

Anacortes is accessible via the Skagit Transit bus system. Buses are cheap ($1 for a single ticket, $2 for a day-pass as of Dec 2018!). However, they are infrequent and, depending on your destination, may require transfers. Nevertheless, they make it possible to connect to downtown Anacortes as well as the Washington State Ferry from (among other places) the Amtrak station in Mount Vernon.

Get around[edit]

See[edit]

The City of Anacortes occupies roughly half of Fidalgo Island, the westernmost island in the San Juans archipelago. The city itself comprises 15 square miles, approximately half of which is public park and recreational lands and waters. The city has 12 miles of shoreline and 67 miles of public trails. Its population is 16,000. The city is home to thousands of boats and close to two million visitors each year use Anacortes ferry connections to the other San Juan islands and to Victoria, BC.

Fidalgo Island is a beautiful place, covered in northwest forest, with a number of freshwater lakes, Mt. Erie, many parks, and a thriving small town. The city serves as a wonderful "home port" for boaters exploring local waters or on their way to Alaska--in fact, Anacortes has been named on many "best boating" destination lists over the years.

Do[edit]

There are many things to do in Anacortes.

The city offers a full service marina--Cap Sante Boat Haven--operated by the Port of Anacortes. The marina is within easy walking distance of old town and easy re-provisioning. A number of boat chartering companies operate out of the Boat Haven, offering half-day whale watching, fishing and transport services, or the rental of boats on a weekly (or longer) basis. There are also a number of kayaking companies, offering equipment and/or tours. Many use Anacortes as "home port" for additional journeys throughout the sound - Anacortes is the ferry terminus for both the San Juan Islands and Victoria, BC.

Anacortes is a boater's paradise, with an award-winning marina and a wide variety of services.

There are over 67 miles of public trails, maintained by the city. The system connects to a number of freshwater lakes, stocked with fish, and a number of other scenic points. Bag lunches are available from local restaurants and delis.

The flavor and character of Anacortes has been largely maintained in the city's old town area. Comprising a roughly ten-block neighborhood, old town is home to a variety of boutiques, restaurants, and hotels. This area is very walkable and a great excursion for shoppers.

The city has a number of cultural pursuits, including a state-of-the-art library, a community theatre, a museum (housed in the town's old Carnegie Library), book stores, a hometown newspaper.

  • Anacortes Kayak Tours, 2009 Skyline Way (Drive past the San Juan Island ferry terminal, onto Sunset Drive. Take a left onto Skyline Way and proceed to the Skyline Marina building. Destination is on the left.), +1 360-588-1117, toll-free: +1-800-992-1801, . Offers guided sea kayak trips departing from Anacortes, Deception Pass State Park, San Juan Island, and Orcas Island.

Buy[edit]

Anacortes is home to a variety of interesting hotels, restaurants, and stores. Come check out antiques, book stores, crafts, art galleries. The city is home to the oldest marine hardware store west of the Mississippi.

Eat[edit]

Anacortes offers a wide variety of restaurants, offering all cuisines, from Mexican, to Asian, to Mediterranean and Northwest fare.

  • Esteban's Family Restaurant, 1506 Commercial Ave, +1 360-299-1060. Large plates filled with well-made but ordinary interpretations of the usual Mexican fare, plus a few burgers and other US favorites. Also some children's selections. Beans and cheese options for many of the dishes. $10/person.
  • Calico Cupboard, 901 Commercial Ave. (between 9th and 10th), +1 360-293-7315, . M–F 7:30AM–3PM, Sa Su 7:30AM–4PM. A cafe with hearty breakfasts (omelettes, pancakes, hashes) and lunch (soups, salads, sandwiches) as well as baked goods. Outdoor seating area is pleasant on sunny days. Also has branches in Mount Vernon and La Conner.
  • Thai Season, 710 Commercial Ave, +1 360-299-9542. Daily for lunch and dinner. Delicious Thai Food. Expensive, but the best Asian food on the island. Serves draft, domestic and imported beer, wine and hot or cold sake. Offers takeaway
  • Greek Islands, 2001 Commercial Ave. Very, very good! Extremely friendly staff, and very authentic Greek Food. Best Greek Food north of Seattle!

Drink[edit]

Anacortes offers a wide variety of drinking establishments, from upscale restaurants to wonderful pubs & taverns, many of which offer live music nightly.

Sleep[edit]

Anacortes offers a full spectrum of lodging, with accommodations ranging from high-end European-style hotels to economy rooms. There is truly something for every budget.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Anacortes
Port TownsendOak Harbor  S WA-20.svg E  BurlingtonNorth Cascades N.P.



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