Anacortes and Whidbey Island, Washington

For the last few days of our 2021 Washington State journey we stayed in the city of Anacortes, Washington, at the Ship Harbor Inn.  Like we mentioned in an earlier post we chose this location because of its easy access to Friday Harbor but also Whidbey Island.

The Ship Harbor Inn is located within walking distance of the Washington Ferry Terminal and a short drive from downtown Anacortes.  Although the inn is somewhat dated it has been recently remodeled.  We really enjoyed our peaceful stay at the inn and loved the amazing views from our room!

Ship Harbor Inn

Deer roaming the grounds of the Ship Harbor Inn

View from our room

Anacortes is a city in Skagit County, Washington, United States. The name "Anacortes" is an adaptation of the name of Anne Curtis Bowman, who was the wife of early Fidalgo Island settler Amos Bowman.  The entire city of Anacortes is a wildlife refuge. Deer roam freely, not just in adjoining forested areas but in town too, even in yards and across busy streets. 

Cap Sante Park is a forested, rocky, headland jutting out into Fidalgo Bay from the northeast corner of Anacortes.  The name is French for "Cape Health," and was bestowed by Anne Curtis Bowman in 1877.  At the high point, of Cap Sante, you can view Mount Baker and if it is an exceptionally clear day you can make out the summit dome of Mount Rainer, which is over 120 miles away to the southeast.  We spent each evening of our stay in Anacortes watching the sun go down at Cap Sante Park.  It was breathtakingly beautiful!

From Cap Sante looking towards the Cap Sante Marina and Anacortes

From Cap Sante looking east towards Hat Island

On the last day of our journey we drove the entire perimeter of Whidbey Island.  Whidbey Island is in the Puget Sound, north of Seattle, Washington and is the second-largest saltwater island in the continental United States.  The island's rugged terrain spans beaches, hills and farmland.  On its northwest tip is Deception Pass State Park which offers clifftop views, forest trails and freshwater lakes.  To the south is Fort Casey Historical State Park which is home to a lighthouse and gun battery.  The coastal towns of Oak Harbor, Coupeville and Langley offer boutique shopping, delicious cafes and beautiful art galleries.

To start our tour of Whidbey Island we left Anacortes and drove over the Deception Pass bridge which connects the mainland to Whidbey Island.  Deception Pass is a strait separating Whidbey Island from Fidalgo Island, in the northwest part of the U.S. state of Washington. It connects Skagit Bay, part of Puget Sound, with the Strait of Juan de Fuca. A pair of bridges known collectively as Deception Pass Bridge cross Deception Pass. 

Deception Pass Strait

Deception Pass Bridge

Our first stop on Whidbey Island was the small town of Oak Harbor where we stopped for one reason only, to sit in the Flintstone's rock car at Flintstone Park. Luckily, we also caught our first glimpse of an eagle near the Oak Harbor docks. 

Fred Flintstone, is that you?

From Oak Harbor we drove over to The Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve.  This rural historic district preserves and protects the historical record of Puget Sound exploration and settlement from the 19th century to the present. Historic farms, still under cultivation in the prairies of Whidbey Island, reveal land use patterns unchanged since settlers claimed the land in the 1850s under the Donation Land Claim Act

From Ebey's Landing we traveled on to Fort Casey.  Fort Casey, Fort Worden and Fort Flagler together were known as the "Triangle of Fire," a trio of strategically placed fortifications defending the entrance to the Puget Sound at the turn of the 20th Century. Constructed in the late 1800s, Fort Casey was equipped for defense and used as a training facility up to the mid-1940s. The fort houses a pair of rare 10-inch disappearing guns. Two additional 3-inch mounted guns are also on display in their original emplacements.

From Fort Casey, we drove over to the community of
Coupeville.  We had heard a lot about the quaint town of Coupeville and were looking forward to shopping and enjoying a delicious lunch.  Unfortunately, we found almost all the restaurants in the historic area of Coupeville were closed on Wednesdays.  We found a pizza joint, not far from downtown, and had a nice pizza lunch before heading out to explore more of the island.

Leaving Coupeville we drove 535 south to where the road literally ends at Clinton, Washington.  From this point you can take a short ferry ride over to the mainland or you can do what we did and drive the backroads, north, hugging the island's shore line to Langley, Washington.
We found Langley, Washington, enchanting and chose to get ice cream and roam around exploring before heading back to Anacortes. Langley is a waterfront village perched on the long finger of Whidbey Island. The town's charming characteristics include: resident artists and performers, farmers, county fairs, beaches, a small marina, and the oldest cemetery on Whidbey Island.

After a busy day exploring Whidbey it was time to return to Anacortes for another good night's sleep and then head towards Seattle to catch a flight home.


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