Tucked Away on the Bay – Anacortes, Washington

Up on the northern end of the town of Anacortes in the state of Washington is a ferry port that will send people out into the San Juan Islands and beyond. You can work your way down to Seattle, and if you plan it right, you can even find a way to get up to the southern shores around Ankorage, Alaska. There are many sailboats that make their way up here, and if you look out into the water from certain points, you can see the constant flow of boating activity. At the same time, you can also move a little further into the bay and avoid all of this activity, and find yourself a quiet little bay instead.

This completely changes what Puget Sound can be. Instead of being staying on a place where you are constantly watching the passing of boats, you can nestle back in a chair and enjoy the quiet beach and calm waters. It makes the place the perfect place to come on vacation. A calmness comes over you as you sit back and enjoy the scenery, but there is still enough to do so you don’t get bored with your time there.

Most of it involves being on the water. I was amazed at how few boats I found on this cove, but the ones I did see were very active. There were a couple of motor boats that were floating waiting for their owners to come use them, and a couple of sailboats doing the same thing. But the others I saw were manpowered, and that was the way most people enjoyed this little corner of the Puget Sound. I went out a couple of times on a kayak, and my wife took it a step further to go paddle boarding. The currents in this bay made being on a paddle board difficult if you moved away from the shore. Kayaks were a little more stable but it was still a bit of a workout.

Getting across the bay took me to places even quieter than the simple Air B+B that I was staying at. There was some tribal land that is available to hike, but you are not allowed to dock your boat there. It does not make it any less beautiful as you can simply coast down the shore and look at the forest, beaches, and cliffs that make its landscape.

There are a couple of other islands that have easy access from this bay as well, some of which can give you the perfect private beach for an afternoon picnic. It does take a little bit of effort, but not enough to wear you down before you get there, and not so hard as to make it a chore to get back home. All of this, and free from the crowds that can found a little further to the north. It is a great escape, and if you can find that perfect little bay, you will get that quiet weekend getaway we are all looking for.

Deception Pass – Anacortes, Washington

On the northwestern tip of the contiguous states of America lies one of its greatest treasures, the Puget Sound, and the San Juan Islands. There is a lot of protected land out here, and many little place to explore using many different ways to explore those areas. The main town to jump off and explore this area is Anacortes, Washington, the home of the ferry that will take people out to the islands, mainly the biggest attraction out there, Friday Harbor. Many people make there way out here to take this journey and explore that town, but they miss a great spot that only takes a short drive from Anacortes to explore, Deception Pass.

Deception Pass is a state park that is celebrating its 100th year this year, and cover over 3,800 acres in the San Juan Islands. Its most prominent feature though is the Deception Pass Bridge which was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1982. The bridge basically connects two islands, Whidbey and Fidalgo over the expanse of water that rushes between them that gives the park its name. The reason that this rush of water has earned the name, Deception, is because of the way the water has caused problems for so many sailors over the years. The water changes speed based on the flow of the ebb of the tide. At its greatest speed it can reach 8 knots that can make life difficult for people in kayaks, and they can be sped through this narrow pass, making it hard for a return trip.

The bridge is of course, a great viewpoint for the area, and there are walkways that people can take to safely walk leisurely over it. But this is not the only reason to come out to visit this state park. There are horse trails, bike trails, and 38 miles of hiking trails that will take visitors to various beaches, tide pools, and lush forests to explore. There is also kayaking, fishing, boating, camping and of course, for those just coming up for the day, picnicking.

The wildlife out there is worth the trip as well. There are tons of birds hunting for their next meal in the water with the herons being the most impressive of the ones that I saw. I also saw a few small fury creatures scurrying about, and there were signs for deer, so I am sure that there are sighting for those as well. If you stand at the shore long enough, you will also see seals pop their heads out from time to time. And of course, it is dog friendly, and there is always one of them that are willing to come up to greet you.

It is a beautiful park, and a must see if you ever make it up to this part of the country. It is a twenty minute drive from I-5 on highway 20 in Washington, and the drive over there is just as amazing as the park itself. It is also a great jump off point for exploring other parts of the San Juan Islands as well. I just spent an afternoon exploring what it had to offer and barely scratch the surface of this place. It will be a place that I will come back to visit again sometime.