Anacortes, Washington

24th June 2024

During the past few years, the Port Commission and city leaders have taken steps to increase Anacortes’s appeal to boaters. With the latest improvements to Cape Sante Marina and historic downtown, and as a result Anacortes is considered a cruising destination by boaters.

The marina’s features include roomy fairways, wide stable concrete floats for boats up to 130-feet with wheelchair accessibility, 30- & 50-amp power and free Wi-Fi. A few of other marina attractions are a couple covered activity floats with a barbeque, which are a big hit with group and yacht club rendezvous. The 120-foot, Fido’s Fuel Dock offers diesel and ethanol free gas at among the lowest prices anywhere in the San Juan Islands.

The marina monitors VHF 66A for slip assignments. Reservations are recommended during the summer months.

The shoreside facilities are well maintained and spotless. Laundry, shower, and rest room facilities are in the harbor office building, at the top of the gangway. A 24/7 self-operated waste pumpout barge is available at no charge. There is also an on-dock portable unit available during normal business hours. If there is something you need, talk to the staff and they will do everything in their power to fulfill your needs.

For provisioning, there’s a supermarket only a block from the marina, as well as a West Marine Store, within a five-minute walk. There are a number of ethnic restaurants, pubs, coffee houses, delis, bakeries, bookstores, art galleries, antiques, and shops of all kinds on the city’s main street, Commercial Avenue. Allow time for some serious browsing. Downtown Anacortes is flat and easy to walk; even so, the Port of Anacortes keeps a fleet of complimentary bicycles on hand for use.

The crown jewel of Anacortes’ retail stores is the Marine Supply and Hardware with its squeaky wood floors and overflowing bins and shelves. Located at the north end of Commercial Avenue and established in 1913, it’s said to be the oldest continually operating chandlery on the West Coast – and a legend throughout the Pacific Northwest.

There are no shortages of restaurants when in town. It’s hard to beat Calico Cupboard Cafe for breakfast. Gere-a-Deli offers a vast selection of sandwiches, soups & salads. Enjoy a pizza at Village Pizza & The Wheelhouse Bar. For a burger it’s the Brown Lantern Alehouse Tavern. There is no shortage of selections for dinner: Adrift Restaurant for Asian and Mediterranean influences; Anthony’s at Cap Sante Marina, overlooking the marina, for Northwest seafood; Frida’s Gourmet Mexican Cuisine is not your average burrito & taco bar; and finally for Northwest cuisine and locally brewed ales and lagers, it’s the Rockfish Grill.

One of Anacortes’ many unique features is the Anacortes Mural Project, brainchild of lifelong Anacortes resident Bill Mitchell. His vision has resulted in the creation and display of more than 100 life sized murals, which are based on photographs of early life in Anacortes. The murals are an eclectic mix of local characters – mayors, bartenders, gold miners, railway conductors, priests, boxers, musicians, storekeepers, skippers, and fisherman.

One of the many heritage maritime attractions is the Maritime Heritage Center & W.T. Preston.  The W.T. Preston is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 163-foot steam-powered snag boat. The fully restored Preston is a national historic landmark. During her 50 years of service, Preston and crew kept Puget Sound and river waterways clear of snags and other navigational hazards.

Next door to Preston is the historic Anacortes railway depot, and while passenger trains no longer stop here the building is a community gathering place and is the location of the Saturday Anacortes Farmers Market.

There is always something happening in Anacortes, regardless of when you visit. Each year, the city hosts a colorful schedule of events including On-the-Water Boat Shows in April and October, Waterfront Festival in June, Shipwreck Day in July, and the Art Festival in August. Twice a week during the summer the Port of Anacortes hosts concerts in Seafarers’ Memorial Park, at the south end of the marina.

For a little exercise, follow the esplanade to the east side of the marina where a trail leads to the top of Cap Sante Head, providing a rewarding view of the marina, downtown, San Juan Islands and Mount Baker. On a summer evening the view of Fidalgo Bay and the setting sun reflecting on Mount Baker is outstanding.