Anacortes, Washington is 80 miles north of Seattle and about 80 miles south of Vancouver, British Columbia. The Washington State Ferry docks at the west end of the island and takes passengers through the amazing San Juan Islands to Vancouver Island and Victoria, BC. But the lucky passengers miss the ferry altogether and get to spend some time in this great little town.
Those who retire in Anacortes, Washington have found a great place to live. The mild climate misses much of the rain that favors Seattle and is a haven for boaters, bikers, and all kinds of sailing. The town has friendly people, great restaurants, a wonderful community theatre, a vibrant arts haven, and enough festivals to keep anyone entertained most all year long. Over 24 percent of the citizens in Anacortes are over 65 years of age – one of the highest rates in Washington. As a retirement town, people chose to live in Anacortes and it is not unusual to hear accents from all over the world!
The median household income is $44,787. Homes range in the $300,000+. You can rent a two bedroom apartment for $1,200 a month. Senior and low-income housing is available on the island.
Those visiting in mid-July will find old town closed to cars and open for Shipwreck Day – the town garage sale. Everyone brings their treasures, sets up a booth and spends the day visiting and haggling over prices. It’s the most social day of the year!
Another favorite is the 4th of July Parade. The librarians have a drill team pushing their book carts, The Soroptimist Thrift Shop hands out red, white and blue ‘treasures’, bicycles are decorated with crepe paper, dogs come in costume. The town swells to accommodate visitors who wouldn’t miss the 4th in Anacortes. After the parade, everyone goes to Causland Park for hot dogs, patriotic speeches and to hear the Town Crier ring in the 4th. The day ends with a spectacular fireworks show.
Anacortes is a long time fishing and lumber port. Founded in 1891 the original settlers hoped it would become the terminus of the railroad. The powers-that-be selected the Seattle area and instead, Anacortes became a vibrant little town with just 20,000 year round residents, 6-8 traffic lights, and a bridge to the mainland. You won’t find a Walmart or Costco on the island, and that’s not a bad thing! (Both stores are both 20 miles away over the bridge.) Here’s a secret. If you know where to look, you see bald eagles every day. We love this town!
Photo By Cheryl – Editor