If you want to learn more about local history, stop by the Anacortes Museum/Carnegie Gallery, 1305 Eighth St. (tel. 360/293-1916; http://museum.cityofanacortes.org), housed in a former Carnegie Library. It's open Thursday to Monday from 1 to 5pm; admission is a suggested $2 donation. Across the street from the museum is Causland Memorial Park, the town's most unusual attraction. Built in 1919 to honor servicemen who died in World War I, the park contains rock walls constructed as giant mosaics. It's a piece of folk art that reflects a simpler era.
Any walking tour of downtown should include a visit to the historic W. T. Preston Snagboat, 713 R Ave. (tel. 360/293-1916), a sternwheeler that was built in the 1890s to clear logjams on Puget Sound and now sits on dry land in a little park at the corner of Seventh Street and R Avenue. June through August, the sternwheeler is open daily from 11am to 5pm; April, May, September, and October, it's open on weekends only. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for seniors and children ages 6 to 16. Next door, at the corner of Seventh Street and R Avenue, is The Depot Arts Center, 611 R Ave. (tel. 360/293-3663; www.depotartscenter.com), a restored 1911 railway depot that now serves as an arts center, with a collection of work by regional artists.
For a glimpse of an old-fashioned hardware store, stop by Marine Supply and Hardware Co., 202 Commercial St. (tel. 360/293-3014; www.marinesupplyandhardware.com), which is the oldest continuously operating marine supply store on the West Coast.
Nature lovers can head to Washington Park, just a short distance past the ferry terminal. The park contains not only a campground and several miles of hiking trails, but tranquil Sunset Beach, which looks out across Rosario Strait to the San Juan Islands. For even more spectacular views, head up to Mount Erie Park on the summit of 1,270-foot Mount Erie. From here, on a clear day you can see Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, and the Olympic Mountains. You'll find this park by heading south out of Anacortes on Commercial Avenue, turning right on 32nd Street and then left on H Avenue (which becomes Heart Lake Rd.), and then taking Erie Mountain Drive to the top of the mountain.
You don't have to go all the way to the San Juans if you want to do some whale-watching. Orca-viewing excursions are offered by Island Adventures (tel. 800/465-4604 or 360/293-2428; www.islandadventurecruises.com), which charges $59 to $79, and also by Mystic Sea Charters (tel. 800/308-9387; www.mysticseacharters.com), which charges $64 to $79. It's also possible to do a little sea kayaking here in the Anacortes area. Sea-kayak rentals are available at Island Outfitters, 2515 Commercial Ave. (tel. 866/445-7506 or 360/299-2300; www.seakayakshop.com), which charges $30 to $45 for a half-day rental and $59 to $69 for a full-day rental. Guided kayak tours are also offered throughout the year.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.