When the weather’s nice and your kids are jonesing to soak up the sun, there is no shortage of fun things to in Mount Vernon, Anacortes, and throughout the County. From sporting events to fun by the water, there are plenty of kid-friendly outdoor activities in Skagit County. Check out this list of highlights to plan your fun-filled family day.
When the Skagit Valley’s bountiful berry orchards are ready for harvest, nothing beats hand-picking your own berries right from the source. Skagit County has plenty of farms with U-Pick options, allowing you to self-gather blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries with your children. Many of the farms also practice organic growing techniques, meaning you don’t have to worry about having your kids walk through fields sprayed with pesticides.
And if picking berries isn’t your thing, you can always pick up a fresh batch at one of Skagit County’s local farmers markets; they’re filled with friendly local vendors selling produce and other cool artisan wares.
Take in Some Racing at Skagit Speedway
If your children feel the need for speed, take them to Skagit Speedway for an evening of furious local racing action. Racing, which takes place almost every Saturday night from April to September, features local drivers of all ages, tearing it up in sprint cars on a fast dirt track.
In addition to the actual racing, Skagit Speedway offers affordable food concessions and several family-friendly grandstands that are alcohol and smoke-free. Make sure to bring hearing protection for the young ones, and also note that the closer they sit to the turns, the more likely they are to have a fine coating of dirt on them at night’s end.
Children 10-years-old and under are always free, and children 11- to 15-years-old are just $5 when accompanied by an adult. Special family pass ticket rates are also available.
Be a Tourist for a Day
Sometimes it’s fun to do touristy things, even in the area where you live. Consider taking a day trip to the towns of La Conner, Edison and Anacortes, hunting for cool knick-knacks and finding fun things to buy. There is no shortage of fun shops in La Conner or Anacortes, and each February, Edison is home to a chicken parade that’s wonderfully silly. It’s fun, friendly, and supportive of the local economy!
Most children have memories of the first time their parents took them fishing. My first encounter with a fish, attached to the end of a plastic Mickey Mouse fishing pole, is preserved on home video. Taking your children to the water for some fishing is an activity that can produce priceless memories for both adults and kids.
In Skagit County, there are plenty of options, from fly-fishing the Skagit River – home to one-third of the Puget Sound region’s salmon run – to catching trout in one of numerous local lakes. There’s also saltwater fishing and clam digging, allowing your children to get a little sand in the britches.
Do Some Whale Watching
Denizens of Western Washington live amongst the gentle giants of the ocean, and Skagit County is a perfect departure point to get out on the water and glimpse some of them.
The San Juan Islands are home to multiple pods of orca whales, and local waters can also see grey and humpback whales making their way through the region. In addition to a whale watching tour’s namesake creature, your children have the chance to witness bald eagles, puffins, sea lions, harbor seals, seagulls and more.
Take a Ferry Ride
Whether you’re walking on or bringing your car, taking a ferry from the Anacortes Ferry Terminal provides a gateway to the wonders of the San Juan Islands. The ferry route, through Rosario Strait, gives your children a chance to stand on the bow of a ferry and reenact the scene from “Titanic,” or just enjoy the amazing scenery. On a day with great visibility, you can see the snow-capped grandeur of the Olympic Mountains, and the glaciated majesty of Mount Baker.
The ferry system is the starting point for a camping trip to Orcas Island, a fish and chips lunch on Friday Harbor, or a trip across international waters into beautiful British Columbia. For more information on ferry routes and schedules, see the WSDOT Anacortes ferry page.
These, of course, are only a few suggestions. The number of fun outdoor activities in our county is as varied as the people who participate in them. Go have some fun!