Bustling Anacortes is the principal town on forested Fidalgo Island in Washington State, about 80 miles north of Seattle and 80 miles south of Vancouver. Fidalgo Island lies at the northern end of the Puget Sound to the east of the wild and beautiful San Juan archipelago. Anacortes is the main ferry hub for the islands. You'll see green and white car ferries buzzing backwards and forwards and on a fine day, hundreds of yachts out on the water. With rocky, forested islands on every horizon and the snowy peaks of the Cascade Mountains visible on a clear day, Anacortes is a wholesome, outdoorsy kind of place, dedicated to fishing, whale-watching, sea kayaking and hiking. Excursions from here include the coves and rugged cliffs of Deception Pass State Park, where there are hikes for every level of fitness; touring Fidalgo and its neighbor, Whidbey Island; orca-spotting boat trips; and kayaking.
The town itself sprawls along one main street, Commercial Avenue, accessed from the Cap Sante Marina, where your tender will drop you. Turn right from the dock for the Old Town, lined with cafes, pubs, galleries, gift stores and restaurants. On Saturdays between May and October, there's an excellent farmers' market, selling organic produce, baked goods, freshly roasted coffee, cheeses and knick-knacks.