Sea Excursions, Woodland Hikes, and History Walks – This is Winter in Anacortes

This article originally appeared on Experience Anacortes.

It is winter in Western Washington, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be trapped indoors on your Fidalgo Island getaway. In fact, Anacortes is in the “Banana Belt” and receives less rainfall than Seattle and has around 23 more days per year of sunshine. Depending on what type of island adventure you want, you can fish for salmon, SUP in lakes or bays, climb indoors or on a mountain, and walk through time.

Experience Winter in Anacortes

Go charter fishing in winter in Anacortes, Washington. Fishing Charters

In the Anacortes fishing world, there are two words on everyone’s lips during the winter months–blackmouth salmon. The stomping grounds for these juvenile Chinook salmon are the San Juan Islands, and it’s common to catch a fish weighing into the teens. Charter companies like R&R ChartersHighliner ChartersCatchemore Charters, and Jolly Mon Charters provide all fishing gear, one-day fishing licenses, and have covered and heated boats. Check their websites for rates and customized trips. If you plan to stay overnight, R&R Charters has a Fishing Package with the Swinomish Casino and Lodge, and the Majestic Inn & Spa has a Catch & Keep Fishing Excursion with Jolly Mon Charters.

Go SUP'ing in winter in Anacortes, Washington. Stand Up Paddleboard

Sound Yoga and SUP offers stand up paddle board lessons and guided tours. Choices range from SUP’ing in one of Fidalgo Island freshwater lakes or the calmer seas near Seafarers’ Memorial Park or Deception Pass, as well as, a SUP tour with a picnic lunch. Sound Yoga and SUP also provides wetsuits and booties for most people. It’s best to call and talk over the details of your experience. SUP rates range from $50 to $75 depending on the length of time and gear required. Once a month, they also have SUP yoga at Fidalgo Pool & Fitness Center from 9:45 to 11:15 a.m.  If you need a board, the cost is $25, if you bring your own $15. Pre-registration is required. (SUP Photo courtesy of Experience Anacortes.)

Causland Park in winter in Anacortes, Washington. Walking Tour of Historic Downtown Anacortes

Want to experience Anacortes history at your own pace? The self-guided Walking Tour of Historic Downtown Anacortes identifies 30 historic buildings and takes about 1.5-hours. Along the route some of the highlights are a century old park the community built, a historic Carnegie library turned museum, and a 126-year-old building that was rolled eleven blocks in 1904 to its current location – it is now the Majestic Inn & Spa.

Walking your dog outside in winter in Anacortes, Washington. Fidalgo Island Hiking

Anacortes has almost 2,800 acres of forests lands with 50 miles of multiple use trails. What can one expect when hiking the trails? Patches of old growth forest, extensive woodlands, marshlands filled with birdsong, and breathtaking seascape and island views. Anacortes Forestlands include Whistle Lake, Cranberry Lake, Heart Lake, and Washington Park.

The paved and mostly flat Guemes Island and Tommy Thompson trails are popular with bikers and dog walkers.

The Ship Harbor Interpretive Preserve trail, near the Anacortes ferry dock, is a favored spot for spotting freshwater and saltwater birds. Another prized destination is Deception Pass State Park, and its three parks on Fidalgo Island– Pass Lake, Rosario Beach, and Bowman Bay. Pass Lake is also a fly-fishing only freshwater lake and most days there will be one or two fisherman angling to catch German brown and rainbow trout. And, Sharpe Park Montgomery-Duban Headlands is a spot to hike and take in the sunset.

Anacortes Outdoor Rock Climbing

Climb in the great outdoors! Mt. Erie’s eight south-facing wall groups draws rock climbers from Canada, Montana, and California. The rock has a variety of routes, like beginning top rope routes, multi-pitch trad, and 5.13 sports routes. For those unfamiliar with Mt. Erie, the book Rockin’ on the Rock, a Guide to Mt. Erie Climbing lists over 400 routes, and includes contour maps, color topos, and photographs. It is available digitally, and hard copies are available for purchase at the Lake Erie Grocery Store, which is also a great place to pick up drinks or snacks.

Note: This article has been slightly changed from its original format. 

Useful Anacortes Links:

Useful links from Small Town Washington & Beyond about winter in Anacortes:

Winter in Anacortes, Washington.

 

19 thoughts on “Sea Excursions, Woodland Hikes, and History Walks – This is Winter in Anacortes”

  1. We spent one day only in Anacortes, part of a week-long road trip around the San Juan islands, coming from Vancouver Island. Too short a visit for sure, as we really liked the feel and vibes from the small town. Granted, it was in Summer and not in Winter, but I can see the charm and attraction in the colder months as well!

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  2. I’d probably opt for the hiking. Paddleboarding in winter seems a wee bit too cold! And that comes from somebody who lives in Ireland and is used to chilly weather! 🙂

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    • Els, I hike every week and love it. In regards to SUP, we’ve been having warmer weather of late, sometimes we get days in the 50s, and that makes it more pleasurable.

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  3. We’ve been looking for a little winter getaway and we’re just across the border. We really need to check out Washington. I didn’t realise there was climbing there!

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  4. When we visited Olympic National Park, we took a side trip to the San Juan islands but we didn’t spend any time in Anacortes! We need to go back and have a do-over. Sounds like many activities to choose from even in the cold temps.

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  5. I feel like paddleboarding is totally underrated as an awesome activity. I tried it somewhat recently up in Northern Ontario and I’m a big fan. I hadn’t connected paddelboarding to Washington state though. In truth, I didn’t even have Anacortes on my map, but perhaps I need to change that!

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    • Christopher, I did it for the first time last year, and loved it. Happy to help you find a new destination in Washington to explore! 🙂

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  6. The hiking and SUP sound wonderful, especially since the wetsuit is provided. I love that there are always so many great things to in the Pacific Northwest. Thanks for a wonderful, informative article.

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  7. It looks like a beautiful area! Hiking would definitely be to on my list! But I’d also love to try stand up paddle boarding. Your blog is always reminding me I really need to get back to Washington!

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    • Kaylene, We have great trails and I’m out there every week. Love seeing the change of seasons in the forest. SUP is fun, and a lot easier than I thought it would be. I hope you get to try it soon and return to Washington!

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  8. So, I love a fishing charter. Honestly I would never have thought of going out in winter, because I would expect the seas to be too rough for me, but I like the idea of trying it.

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  9. I drove up along the main coastal freeway from California and loved my time spent in Washington. I don’t think I passed through this town though. It sounds like a great place to spend a few days!

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  10. Wow, sounds like Anacortes has a lot to offer. The hiking and SUP sounds awesome. But all the talk of Salmon is making my hungry. I have always wanted to go on a Salmon fishing trip, but have yet to pull the trigger. I need to.

    Reply

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