Things to do in Anacortes & the San Juans

There are so many things to do right here in Anacortes, you’ll keep coming back for more!

Whale Watching in the San Juan Islands

For San Juan Islands Whale Watching there really is no better choice anywhere than Island Adventures. Even if they weren’t great friends of ours I would be able to tell you that this is the most popular whale watch company in Washington State. And for good reason, in 2005 they set an industry record for whale sighting success after logging 237 consecutive trips that saw whales! In 2006 they again led the whale watching industry in whale sightings. When it comes to commitment they have no peer, and they guarantee whale sightings!

Call Island Adventures Whale Watching toll free at 800.465.4604, or locally at 360.293.2428.

San Juan Islands Sport Fishing

Again there is an easy choice here. Jim Aggergaard of Catchmore Charters is a local legend among San Juan Islands fishermen. He has spent most of his life out on the waters of the San Juan Islands, and spent 20 years with the Department of Fish and Wildlife before "retiring" and starting a charter fishing company. If anyone is going to help you catch a fish, this is the guy. It’s kind of fun to watch the other guys try to follow him around when they can’t hook anything. A well maintained boat and quality gear will ensure that you have a great fishing experience. Call 360.293.7093

San Juan Islands Water Taxi

If you wish to hike or camp on some of the secret San Juan Islands not serviced by the San Juan Island Ferries you can call the local water-taxi service. Island Express Charters has two high speed, beach landing craft that have been custom built to land on almost any pocket beach in the San Juans. Call them toll free at 877.473.9777, or locally at 360.299.2875.

Family Activities

If you have kids and you’d like to be able to let them blow off some steam in a city park with a fun playground then here are our two sons’ favorites:

  • Storvik Park (1110 32nd Street) — With plenty of fun structures to climb around on, the biggest problem will be getting them to leave. Trust us, we know!
  • Volunteer Park (1915 13th Street) — AKA “The Spinny Park”, so named by our son Taiga due to the abundance of, well, spinning toys there. Sure to please the most discriminating child!
  • Washington Park (6300 Sunset Ave) — With a fun play area, picnic/BBQ area, and a nice beach, this has something for the whole family! Be sure to explore some of the trails there, some have fantastic views of beautiful Burrows Island where many of our kayak tours explore.

Walking, Hiking, and Mountain Biking

Fidalgo Island has an incredible amount of open space preserved for the public as the Anacortes Community Forest Lands. This progressive thinking has set aside most of the island’s interior and protects it from development. Add that to the extensive trail system in Deception Pass State Park and you’ll see that we enjoy more public trails than the other San Juan Islands. Take a walk, or bring your bicycle, and explore over 50 miles of linked trails. Some trails are around beaver formed lakes and ponds, others will lead you to some of the most stunning viewpoints in the region. All of them give you an intimate experience with a well preserved lowland forest.

Visit the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce Visitor Information Office to get maps of these trails.


If you would rather wake to the sounds of birds then there are two great choices for camping.

  • Washington Park on the west side of Fidalgo Island has 73 sites ranging from $16–$20 per night depending on whether you want electric hook-ups. Trails crisscross through the park and provide great opportunities for bird-watching, botanizing, or just ambling along. This Anacortes city park is also one of the few places in the world where you can watch Orca whales swim by on a regular basis. The views to the rest of the San Juan Islands is absolutely stunning from here.
  • Deception Pass State Park is the most popular state park in Washington. Because of this distinction it has more amenities and infrastructure than many National Parks. The 167 tent sites, and 143 utility sites can fill during the peak season so advanced reservations are recommended.


Get below the surface of the San Juans to experience a whole new world. The San Juan Islands are known as a world class dive destination due to the extraordinary concentration of sea life that occurs here. Anacortes has two great dive companies to choose from.
  • Deep Sea Charters departs from Cap Sante marina in downtown Anacortes. They run regularly scheduled trips into the San Juans all year. Winter can have the best visibility due to the lack of algal bloom.
  • LuJac’s Quest departs from Skyline marina on the west side of Fidalgo Island. They also offer group charters for various activities in the San Juan Islands.

I want to thank you so much for adding the 5 hour trip on Friday. I know that you went out of your way to accommodate me. I deeply appreciate it. I had a wonderful time with your two guides—James and Alex. James knew where to look to see all the wildlife at just the right moments. We saw seals, sea otters, eagles, great blue heron, falcons, jellyfish and beautiful purple starfish the size of a baseball glove. I hope to be back next year and try another of your tours.

Thanks again.

Steve Kirchen

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