Trip Report: Exploring and Hiking around Anacortes, WA and the Pacific Northwest

anacortes washington

Vising the Pacific Northwest has always been on my bucket list and we finally got a taste of what this beautiful area has to offer. A few of the highlights were Deception Pass, hiking Mt. Erie, Heart Lake, and visiting the quaint waterfront of La Conner.

There is plenty of hiking and exploring to be had in and around Anacortes, Washington. Whether you have kids and the family with you (like us) or your going on a more serious hiking trip, you can find what you’re looking for in the Pacific Northwest. Let’s get on with our trip report of our July 2021 trip to the state of Washington.

Flight: LAX to Seattle with kids

This would be the first time in airplane for both of my kids! Being 9 and 5 years old, this presented a few challenges. One was keeping them feeling safe and not nervous and the other was dealing with the crazy international airports during the Covid-19 era.

Luckily for us there wasn’t many nerves and the kids were excited. We decided to book a flight early to avoid some of the airport crowd and Southern California traffic. This also forced us to get COMPLETELY packed and have the luggage ready the night before.

Family of four packed light. Two carry-on suitcases, a large backpack, plus a few personal size backpacks. I hate dealing with checked luggage.

To simplify things I left our car with “The Parking Spot” rather than having a family member or drop us off at the airport at 4:30am. Having a 7am flight I wanted to get there early and stress-free. It’s so much easier at the end of the trip to not have coordinate the pickup from friends/family. Just get on the shuttle bus in front of the airport terminal and we’re back at our car in a few minutes. Sometimes it’s just worth it to pay for convenience. We opted for the cheaper rooftop parking option at The Parking Spot. It came in around $120 for 4 days.

The Parking Spot worked out good. The airport is a mile from the parking lot and they run a shuttle every 15 minutes. Dropped us right in front of the terminal and off to the TSA security line we went. No issues there, the kids were on the best behavior and took things very serious. We talked to them about what to expect beforehand so they had some idea of the chaos they would witness.


The flight was with American Airlines and everything went — fine. The plane was small and had only one bathroom, but we plenty of room to spread out in these large, comfortable seats.

We brought some kids activity books and a Kindle Fire Kids Edition to keep them entertained during the flight. Trying to keep kids busy for 3.5 hours is no easy task, but it worked out really well. My 5-year old got a little restless towards the end and coordinating bathroom breaks was not fun.

A complaint I have with American Airlines is not that we didn’t have TV displays on the back of the seats, it’s that we didn’t know beforehand. Had I known (maybe mention it in a confirmation email) I would have downloaded some offline movies on the phones and tablets. Also, we had no WiFi options on the plane which was a huge bummer for me. I had planned to read some articles and work on this website. I ended getting a short nap to makeup for waking up so early!


Landing at Sea-Tac (Seattle Airport) was smooth and easy. We got off the plane fairly quickly and proceeded to the exit where we would find a line for rental cars. Turns out you have to board a shuttle bus and get a ride about a mile up the road to this huge rental car facility. Honestly, it’s not a bad system. It helps keep a lot of traffic away from the airport.

The Hertz Rental Car pickup experience was terrible. We got there a bit early and had to wait in a line that barely crawled for over an hour. The front desk had about six computer stations however two of them were manned. To their credit they upgraded us to a slightly larger car but it still didn’t make up for the long wait.

Getting out of Seattle was slow going but we were glad to finally have our own rental car and be on our way to Anacortes. Google Maps said we have a two our drive in front of us and it was telling the truth. I must say — it’s a beautiful drive. So much green and massive trees, with views of Mt. Rainier and other mountain ranges off in the far distance. California has some amazing scenery but Washington state is on another level.

Hiking and exploring around Anacortes

There’s so much to see in Anacortes and the surrounding areas. We hiked and walked Mt. Erie, Deception Pass State Park, and Heart Lake. All had amazing views of water and thick vegetation. Most of our hikes were more like nature walks since we didn’t have much time and the kids just wanted to run around and play, but all of this was beautiful and fun.

It’s truly amazing how green everything is in the state of Washington. Sure, my home state of California has some amazing scenery and forests… but it doesn’t compare to the giant ferns and moss growing on the giant trees. The forests are so dense with trees it feels like you’re in a movie.

Check out some photos from hiking and exploring around Anacortes…

We were lucky enough to visit family while up here and got shown around town in Anacortes and La Conner. Both have their own quaint vibes to them that made it hard to leave.

California is beautiful but Washington state takes it to a whole other level. Being able to see huge trees and deer walking around next to the ocean is a spectacular sight!

Going Home: Anacortes back to LA

Since we were flying from SEA-TAC airport back to LAX we decided it would be wise to get a room near the airport for our last night and fly out early. It ended up being a great decision! I dropped off the rental car after the family checked into the room and took an Uber back to the hotel. By the way, the rental drop-off was a breeze and fast (unlike the pick-up). Props to Hertz for making that seamless.

The next morning the hotel provided a free shuttle to the airport and away we went. The kids already knew the drill at security check and there was even a cute golden lab sniffer dog checking everyone for illegal items. I personally prefer the no-bullshit looking German Shepherds doing this job but I understand these dogs are just as good at sniffing things out.

The flight was quick and uneventful with the entire family excited to get back to our lovely home after a successful trip. Our plan for visiting this area again will be without the kids, renting a car, and exploring all that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

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