Our Three-Day Vacation in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island
So Much To Do Outdoors With Little Travel
Longing for ocean breezes, scenery, sunsets, wildlife encounters, quirky art, and history rolled into one destination? Anacortes on Fidalgo Island is a taste of island life that will leave you charmed and craving your next trip.
We had the opportunity to spend a few days in Anacortes as guests of the Chamber of Commerce. We had a suggested itinerary for our three-day stay, but ultimately had so many great things to do, we just could not get to all of them. We will give a rundown of each day and the activities we enjoyed each of those days. While it is true we were guests, our opinions and reviews are our own.
We arrived Monday afternoon right at 3 pm for check-in at the Marina Inn. A 52 room hotel with friendly staff, comfortable rooms and notably very clean. We checked in, hauled in our belongings then took a brief stroll along a portion of the Tommy Thompson Trail. We decided we should take a drive and get the layout of the town, so we headed back to the Inn. A short distance away was the Seafarers Memorial Park. This park is on the water, alongside the Cap Sante Marina filled with moored boats. Green grass lawns, statuary, docks, and waterfront are the features of this quiet spot. We walked all around taking in the views and enjoying the serenity of this park. Gazing out over the water, from the shore, we kept spotting a couple of seals popping their heads above the surface. The laughter-like chorus of seagulls was to be the theme music that would accompany us throughout our stay.
Being near sunset, we made our way down to the Majestic Inn and Spa. The rooftop offered a small bar and light dining along with near 360 degree views. There were maybe 12-15 people there when we arrived, but there was still some seating to be had. We grabbed a table and positioned ourselves to get the best views of the sunset. The music was mellow, and the atmosphere relaxed. The kitchen was getting ready to close, so we each settled on a cocktail and sipped as the sun went down. We caught some colorful shots of the sky with adjacent islands silhouetted in the foreground. We thought we should get a bite to eat now, but the few places we walked to were closed or closing soon. We settled some snacks from Safeway and headed back to our room.
Tuesday morning, we partook of the Continental breakfast at our hotel then drove into the historic downtown area. We grabbed a coffee at Acme Coffee Bar which is attached to their art studio. We placed our drink order and admired the artwork. Caffeine in hand we set out to walk around the town. We ventured over to the Madrona Grove/Depot Center where there were sculptures on display. The buildings here were not open yet, but there was a paddle boat on display that could be toured with the purchase of a ticket during business hours. We continued on our journey of exploration, happening on a cat sanctuary and adoption center. A large, open weave fence enclosure housed some cats we could easily see from the sidewalk. The enclosure was roofed with the same fencing, so the cats were safe to roam. The compound included a shed type house on either end with small doorways and a variety of perches from which the kitties could rule their kingdom. We continued from the side of the compound toward the front to find the central office and more enclosure on the other side and in the rear.
Near The Cat’s Meow was the shipyard; a local had told us to check this out. The shipyard was servicing a ferry and working on other large vessels easily viewed from the street. We passed antique shops, bookstores, eateries, statues and lots of shops with hanging flower baskets. Many of the eating establishments had attractive; outdoor, bistro type seating.
It was still early, so we took a drive up to Cap Sante Park. This high, rocky point offered us great views of the Seafarers Park and Cap Sante Marina. The breeze at this high point was brisk and cooling as the day was warming. There were a few short trails that offered some different viewpoints. We were lucky enough to see a pair of peregrines circling above this high mass of rock.
We were getting hungry now, so back into town we went. Gere-a-Deli was our lunch destination. The interior of the deli was decorated with vintage advertising signage, with high ceilings, giving it an old school feel. Generously portioned sandwiches, soups, and salads were the bulk of the menu. We quickly made our selections and found a table. Our order was brought to us just minutes later. We ate and reviewed photos we had taken throughout the morning.
After lunch, we intended to hike on Mt. Erie and also visit Washington Park. We had a 4 pm kayak tour scheduled, however, so we knew time would not allow us to fit in the hike. We, instead, drove up Mt. Erie. We checked out all the viewpoints, the memorials and sculpture then made our way to Washington Park. We drove to the different spots around the park and stopped and appreciated the views where offered. We wanted to grab a snack to take with us on our kayak trip, so we left time for that.
We arrived at Anacortes Kayak Tours and checked in just before 4 pm. Our tour was not to start until 4:30, so we wandered around, along the water for about half an hour. Introductions in place, James, our tour guide went over safety and basic instructions and off we went. We both were seated in a tandem kayak and James in his own. James took things at our pace, checking in with us frequently to ask about how we were doing and if we had any issues. As we were leaving the marina a young sea, Lucille, who is familiar to locals made a brief appearance.
Settled into a groove, we were soon out in the waters off Burrows Island. Bull kelp, seals, jellyfishes, a peregrine, herons, were a few of the creatures and plant life we encountered. Landmarks were pointed out to us, we learned about some local geology and talked about the tides. There was just a mild breeze and waters were quite calm. We were so enjoying our time on the water; we stayed out about 45 minutes longer than our tour was supposed to last. It was a lovely afternoon, the sun was low in the sky, and the light on the water made it postcard perfect. Safely back at the marina, we removed our gear, had a few parting photos then thanked James and headed back to our room for a shower and change of clothes.
We also have a separate post of our kayaking adventure available to read.
Dinner was supposed to be on the agenda, but it was quite a bit later than we originally planned. We snacked on the food items we had gotten the night before and decided to call it a night.
Wednesday we wanted to catch the sunrise at Seafarers Memorial Park, we hustled down there before 6 am, but it was all clouds. We were up now, so we readied our gear for our 10 am whale watching tour.
We grabbed a coffee and headed to the marina. Our outing was with Mystic Sea Charters. The boat already had some people aboard. We found a seat and listened to the overhead instructions and emergency information. This trip was scheduled as a 5-6 hour tour, so we hoped we would not miss dinner again! We were fortunate. Other charters were reporting orcas not far off. The captain was great with pointing out landmarks, the various islands, Burrows Island Light and general direction.
We went out past Smith and Minor Islands before we caught up to the two families of transient orcas that were there. The whales put on quite a show for us; it was an amazing experience.
We also saw porpoise, a sea lion, puffins, seals and numerous other sea birds. The trip was fun, exciting and educational. We got back around 4 pm.
Back at our room, we showered and changed and headed to dinner. A 6 pm reservation at A'Town Bistro was waiting for us. What a treat! A creative, ample menu, gave us plenty of options. We enjoyed a lovely meal, delicious as well as visually impressive.
We took a walk around a few blocks in the quiet of the evening. There were a couple of kitties relaxing on the sidewalk that we could not help but pet. It was a cool, quiet night and we strolled, appreciating every moment. This evening was a perfect ending to our three-day stay.
Whether your idea of a vacation is an action packed outdoor experience or luxury dining and spa treatments, Anacortes will not leave you disappointed. Friendly locals, great food, and activities to suit you are all within reach. Anacortes, thanks for the memories, we will see you again soon!