|Throughout Anacortes’ 125-year history, there have been attempts to find a name or a theme to best describe the community. Anacortes has been referred to as “The Gateway to the San Juans,” or the “Heart of the Island Empire,” or “The Magic City.” The community could best be described today as “The City within a Park.” Anacortes is proud to boast 12.5 miles of saltwater shoreline and four freshwater lakes, surrounded by and inclusive of 3,200 acres of city-owned forestlands and city-owned parks. There are 20 different parks within the city limits of Anacortes, from a skate park, the Ben Root Memorial Skate Park, to parks with commanding views and beautiful overlooks including, Mt. Erie (160 Acres), the highest point on Fidalgo Island and Cap Sante (37 acres), with the ruins of an amphitheatre. Washington Park (220 acres) is perhaps the locals’ favorite park, jutting into Rosario Strait on the western edge of Anacortes and offering forested trails, sweeping island and water views and glorious sunsets. This park has day use areas, barbecue pits, boat launches, and 75 overnight camping sites. Picnic sites and car pullouts provide beach access along Green Point, the western shoreline of the park. A 2.3-mile loop road on the park perimeter provides access to several shoreline areas with a premier viewpoint of Burrows Bay. Cars, joggers, and walkers share this road with a few hours each day assigned to foot traffic only.
New parks have been developed in Anacortes in recent years. The wildly popular Tommy Thompson Parkway Trail, a 12-foot wide paved trail developed on the 5-mile-long rail bed of the former Burlington Northern Railroad, originates at 4th Street and winds its way south along Fidalgo Bay, finally crossing the bay over a trestle from Weaverling Spit to March Point. The city is working to extend the trail along Guemes Channel so that someday it will stretch unbroken from March Point to Washington Park. Kiwanis Waterfront Park, next to the Guemes Ferry Landing, offers commanding views of Guemes Channel, maritime traffic and island backdrops. The city also has two off-leash dog parks. John and Doris Tursi Park a new neighborhood pocket park, in the west end of town offers a covered shelter, basketball court, children’s play area, zipline and a wetland viewing area. The first phase of the Guemes Channel Trail and the SHIP interpretive trail both in the vicinity of the Washington State Ferry Terminal are well liked local additions.
Anacortes is a gateway to the San Juan Islands and Vancouver Island. Viewers participating in a survey with Seattle television station KING-5 picked Anacortes as the “Best Ferry Ride” in the Washington State Ferries fleet with its daily trips to the San Juan Islands and Sidney, British Columbia.
Anacortes boasts many outdoor activities, fishing, boating, kayaking, whale watching, bird watching, and hiking/biking along the trails of our 3,200 acres of community-owned forestland.
Anacortes is home to the Anacortes Arts Festival, which attracts over 100,000 people the first weekend in August, the Waterfront Festival, and the Oyster Run, an event that attracts thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts on the last Sunday in September. Anacortes also offers visitors a first-class museum housed in a historic Carnegie Library and the W.T. Preston, a National Historic Landmark steam-powered sternwheeler. Next to the Preston are the Maritime Heritage Center, a historic train depot and a plaza with a thriving Saturday Farmers Market.
When your activities are finished for the day, Anacortes offers may fine eateries serving a wide variety of cuisines -- seafood, fusion, eclectic, Thai, Chinese, Greek, Italian, home style and more.
Anacortes spent the past 15 years investing heavily in infrastructure including newly remodeled and expanded school and hospital facilities, new police and fire stations, a new Senior Activity Center, a new water treatment plant and a new library that is the pride and joy as well as a community hub of Anacortes.
We refurbished one of our oldest historic buildings, the 1890 New Wilson Hotel, located at 804 Commercial Avenue, by securing tax credits and grants. This upgrade has brought an underutilized building back to life with revamped commercial retail space and 26 new low-income housing units.
Boat building and boat repair continues to expand. Anacortes is now home to many successful boat building and boat repair companies who employ over 1,000 workers in skilled jobs. Custom yachts from 38 feet to 130 feet are being built, as have been fast passenger ferries and ocean-going tugboats. In 2010, revolutionary trimaran built in Anacortes for BMW ORACLE Racing by Core Builders won the 33rd America’s Cup yacht race, a prestigious international competition.
With all that is happening in Anacortes today we remain committed to being a small working community with a 2025 build-out population of 19,300. Culture and quality of life remain our number one priority in Anacortes.