If you’re planning a trip to the Tucker House Inn on San Juan Island, you’ve probably heard of good old Anacortes, WA. Sometimes mistakenly called “Anaconda,” “Anacorta,” or “Anacortez,” this coastal town sends ferries to and from the San Juan Islands. If you’re making the drive up I-5 to this charming destination, here are six stops along the way that will make a few hours in the car a memorable part of your mini-break.
1. Imagine Children’s Museum, Everett
Kids love the Imagine Children’s Museum where they can sit in an airplane cockpit and explore a two-story tree house. Other adventures include: a mountain with a climbing wall and train tunnel, a farm with a milking cow, a town center and construction studios. The littlest kids can even toddle or crawl around a soft-sided castle.
The Imagine Children’s Museum, about 90 minutes to the Anacortes Ferry Terminal, promotes the power of play; learning and growing by doing what every child loves to do best…play! The interactive exhibits and activities encourage children under 12 and their families to role play, experiment, splash, think, wander and create together in a place where they can feel physically and emotionally safe. Free admission nights and discounted memberships are a few ways the Imagine Children’s Museum works to ensure that all families have an opportunity to share in the fun. Discover art, culture, history, and science while having fun!
2. Wineries & Breweries, Mt. Vernon
The Skagit Valley offers year-round opportunities to enjoy a bounty of sights and tastes that the Northwest has to offer. As you are heading north on I-5 to Rt. 20, there are 10 wineries and breweries that offer opportunities for tasting and touring. The first winery on your way north is Bertelsen Winery. They produce premium wines using Washington grapes. As you continue north you’ll visit Skagit Cellars to the southwest and Eagle Haven Winery to the Northwest towards Sedro Wooley. While you may choose to make a trip focused solely on tasting wines, don’t lose site of the other opportunities on your way to the Anacortes Ferry Terminal!
3. La Conner
Head southwest off I-5 in Mt. Vernon and wind through the bucolic farm land of the Skagit Valley where you will happen upon the town of La Conner. Tucked between the Cascade mountain range to the east and the San Juan Islands to the west, and within the Skagit River Delta and along the Swinomish Channel, La Conner has many of its old homes and buildings still intact. La Conner is wintering grounds for Snow Geese and Trumpeter Swans. Along the upper reaches of the Skagit River bald eagles congregate to feed and rest during early winter months. If you are continuing to the Anacortes Ferry terminal and visiting San Juan Island in the spring, don’t miss La Conner’s annual Daffodil Festival and the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. You will happen upon fields of daffodils, stunningly beautiful tulips and delicate iris.
4. The Store, Anacortes
This not to miss favorite was suggested to us by our very own Chef Jessica, so you will certainly want to consider the source of this recommendation. Chef Jessica loves stopping there on her way off island particularly after getting the early morning boat, that we lovingly refer to as the “red eye.” As a skilled pastry chef, Jessica raves about the muffins. She is particularly keen on the seasonal flavors that include summer berry peach or apple and oatmeal and pumpkin spice if you’re interested in the flavors of fall. In addition to their amazing selection of baked goods, they offer a healthy fast food menu offering breakfast and lunch.
With great service and very competitive prices, their wine shop is also something to peruse while visiting. Frank has been curating their wines and offers a selection of the world’s finest. The store is tucked on the south corner of the traffic circle at the intersection of Rt. 20 and 36th Street. The restaurant has a thoughtful wine list and a killer vegan chocolate coconut mousse. Adrift serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. They are closed on Sunday.
5. Dinner in Anacortes
Onto the next stop. If you have to wait for your ferry, consider enjoying a leisurely meal at one of our two favorite restaurants in Anacortes – Adrift and A Town Bistro, a few miles from the Anacortes Ferry Terminal. Both restaurants are located on Commercial Boulevard in the historic downtown and feature locally sourced cuisine. A Town Bistro is a classic bistro featuring pomme frites, French onion soup, pâté, mussels and quiche.
Adrift Restaurant uses the bounty of the Skagit Valley and surrounding waters to create memorable meals featuring locally sourced meats, seafood, and produce. Well prepared food in a casual atmosphere with a local vibe. The restaurant has a thoughtful wine list and a killer vegan chocolate coconut mousse. Adrift serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, closed on Sunday.
6. Washington Park
Washington Park is about a mile past the Washington State Ferry terminal in Anacortes. The park sits on a peninsula at the west end of Fidalgo Island. The 220-acre city park features camping, a boat launch, day use picnic sites and a group tenting area. A scenic paved 2.2-mile loop road winds through the park’s forested hills and meadows. You will even catch views of the San Juan Islands and Olympic Mountains. There is nothing more relaxing and peaceful than driving the loop and hanging out over the water watching the clouds or the day pass you by as you are awaiting your ferry. You’ll find a boat launch where you can watch kayakers launch for day or overnight trips to the surrounding islands.
There you have it! We hope these six stops will help you enjoy your ride on the way up to Anacortes. Have fun on the San Juan Ferry before your stay with us at the Tucker House Inn.