Seaside at Anacortes, Washington

Seaside at Anacortes, Washington

Seventy-five miles north of Seattle, 20.4 miles west of Mount Vernon, on the Puget Sound, lies a secret - a hidden emerald on the banks of Fidalgo Bay - the small seaside destination town of Anacortes, WA.

Known as “The Gateway To The San Juans," it is an archipelago of over 400 small islands in Northwest Washington, but it’s a lot more than that. It’s a nature-lover’s paradise, riddled with hiking trails and fresh water boating. It’s a cultural hub, with loads of insanely talented local musicians. There’s also art galleries, museums, places of historical interest, tasty restaurants, modest camping, lavish lodging, and a warm and friendly community. Anacortes is small, but not rural. It’s a cosmopolitan mecca - somewhere between a tourist stop, a college town and a beatnik holdout.

Sitting in The Donut House, looking at a vague world, semi-shrouded in mist on one of Anacortes’ nearly-unavoidable wet days, enjoying a blueberry fritter the size of your face for less than a dollar, the hidden face of the Pacific Northwest reveals itself - ½ Twin Peaks, ½ post-grunge ennui. There is something for absolutely everybody in Anacortes. Take the ferry to the San Juan Islands, or enjoy a nice Italian dinner at a bistro. Explore Anacortes’ rich maritime history with museums, watch some whales, or simply stroll around Fidalgo Bay at sunset.

Places To Stay

Majestic Inn and Spa


For the utmost in class, the Majestic Inn and Spa is Anacortes’ premier top shelf hotel and spa ranging from modest to lavish. Even the studios are luxurious with every room offering a full or partial view of Fidalgo Bay and every modern amenity you could need or want.

Enjoy fine dining on-premise at the upscale 5th Street Bistro with farm fresh local dishes, as well as numerous local wines and microbrews. Remove all your stress at the Apothecary Spa, with a full range of massage, facials, waxing and body treatments to look and feel your best.

The Marina Inn

The Marina Inn
photo credit: kpstudios 2009

If you’re on your way to the San Juan Islands, The Marina Inn is a great deal. Just a few minutes from the ferry to the San Juans, it’s easy to wake up in style, enjoy a cup of coffee from the complimentary in-room Keurig machines, and be on your way to wet-and-wild Pacific Northwestern adventure. It is a perfect homebase for those exploring Anacortes’ rich outdoors. It’s not as lavish as the Majestic, but it offers all the amenities of a modern hotel at a very reasonable price.

Things To Do

Mount Erie

Mount Erie

Rising like an emerald crown from the Fidalgo Bay, Mount Erie acts as a lighthouse, drawing curious travelers from all over to its misty summits. Mount Erie is rife with hiking trails, from easy to difficult. At the peak, you’re treated with a breathtaking view of Mount Baker, Mount Rainier on a clear day and a panoramic view of Anacortes, Fidalgo Bay, and the San Juan Islands. Be advised, some of Mt. Erie’s trails can be strenuous, but it’ll be worth it to catch your breath at the top.

Deception Pass

Deception Pass
Bridges are a major part of Anacortes’ local color. The bridge at Deception Pass is particularly epic as nothing can prepare you for its monolithic size. The bridge connects Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands, as well as the North and South portions of Deception Pass. It’s a wonder of the Pacific Northwest and one of Washington’s most photographed locations. Deception Pass State Park features miles and miles of quiet, serene forests, remote beaches, and tons of wildlife. There’s also kayaking, jet skiing, and camping for those that like to stay active.

Where To Eat

As a tourist/destination town, of course there’s plenty of boardwalk fare - pizza by the slice, saltwater taffy, fresh fudge. If you’re only expecting refried Americana, however, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Anacortes is a foodies’ delight.

Gere - A - Deli

Gere - A - Deli
Gere - A - Deli is the Taj Mahal of Resort Town Sandwich Shops. Quaintly nestled in an old brick bank building on Anacortes’ main drag, Commercial Avenue, Gere - A - Deli is bright and bustling, diffused with natural light and shimmering with polished brass. It sources the highest quality ingredients for their classic Italian Deli menu along with an impressive salad menu and soup bar. You’ll feel like a 5-year-old on vacation when you dig into the dessert menu, with everything from local ice cream to fresh baked pies, cakes, cobblers and cookies. Gere - A - Deli’s service is always fast and friendly. With lots of menu items for less than $5, it makes you want to move to Anacortes just to eat there weekly.

Ciao Bella

Ciao Bella
For those on a romantic getaway to Anacortes, Ciao Bella is an essential stop for gourmet, five-star Italian cuisine. It is an intimate eatery, perfect for quiet conversations as you enjoy their flavorful cuisine. Italian standards, like gnocchi, lamb shank and chicken valtellina are elevated to the next level, nicely complemented with a full Tuscan wine list. For those looking for a bit of seaside flavor, there’s lots of delicious seafood dishes to delight, from the rock fish special to Ciao Bella’s legendary Crab Bisque. Service is always speedy and attentive, and Ciao Bella frequently has open tables, even on weekends, making it possible to dip in without a reservation.

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