Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Skagit County, WA

  • Published 2023/02/08

Located northwest of Washington, Skagit County is known to encompass the state’s most scenic places.

Skagit Indians were the first tribe that lived on the territory, which gave the county its name.

Many American and European explorers in the early 1790s were attracted to the county’s river along with the other resources it provided, and their settlement in the area started in the early era of 1860s.

It emerged in 1863 as a place rich in the agricultural sector after the first dike on La Conner flats was built.

Soon after, tourism, wood products, specialized manufacturing, and international trade boomed.

It made the county’s economy, together with its agricultural riches, and was regarded as one of the state’s fastest-growing areas.

Its huge, fertile valley is also known for the beautiful tulips and strawberries it grows, and the county is known to be a major producer of table beets, spinach, and cabbages around the world.

Although heavily rural, you will find yourself enjoying the many activities the county offers.

Here are some of the best things to do in Skagit County, Washington:

Enjoy the Scenic View of Roozengaarde

Windmill at Roozengaarde

Artazum /

The Roozengaarde in Mount Vernon is a family business of the Roozen family in 1985, together with the Washington Bulb Company, Inc.

Located in Mount Vernon, it covers over a thousand acres of Skagit Valley that includes greenhouses measuring 16 acres; the garden is known to be the largest in the world.

The garden changes with the season, but the best time to visit is during spring to see the beautiful rows of daffodils and tulips at the annual Tulip Festival.

Signage of Roozengaarde

Belen Strehl /

In the summer, areas, where you could go on picnics, are available, while fall is the busiest season as the staff replants the bulbs in the most beautiful arrangement.

Meanwhile, winter offers unique gift items and holiday festivals.

The scenic view of this garden will take your breath away, so make sure it is part of your itinerary!

Vibrant tulips at Roozengaarde

Pierre Leclerc /

Discover Fine Woodwork at The Wood Merchant

Representing over 200 nationally known woodworkers and the finest in the northwest, The Wood Merchant has been open since 1983 in La Conner.

The gallery began with a space that is only 300 square feet that only featured works from three artists.

Over the years, its collection grew and the gallery had to move in 1986 to its current location to build a showroom that includes an entire wing dedicated to custom-built wood furniture.

The store only features works of artists from America and Canada.

Multiple hours of fine work can be seen in The Wood Merchant, which has made it a prime destination for most tourists.

Dine at Railroad Pub & Pizza

Railroad Pub & Pizza is a locally owned, family-friendly place in Burlington that offers great pizza, meals, desserts, and drinks.

Serving the area since 2017, this place owned by Nick Crandall takes pride in the fact that they only purchase products from local businesses all over the Pacific Northwest, serving fresh meals with the best ingredients daily.

Their freshly made wood-fired pizzas consist of fresh local ingredients, homemade one-day-old dough, and malt that came from the Skagit Valley Malting.

Aside from pizza, their menu also features appetizers, sandwiches, and fresh salads.

They also have a rotating menu with the help of their sister-restaurant Train Wreck Bar & Grill, which offers baked and grilled food.

Adults can pair their meals with a good cider or beer on tap with 14 options.

Railroad Pub & Pizza’s interior consists of two brick fireplaces, huge garage doors, and vaulted wood ceilings, which provide a cozy ambiance.

Start Your Tour at the Skagit County Historical Museum

Exterior of Skagit County Historical Museum

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Serving as the official source of the county’s unique cultural history, the Skagit County Historical Museum has stood on the grounds of La Conner for over 50 years.

The museum promotes a sense of identity, pride, and understanding among the local community.

As it aims to represent Skagit County’s history and people, Skagit County Historical Museum offers activities such as educational exhibits, publications, research, and other programs.

Display in Skagit County Historical Museum

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Over 200,000 artifacts related to the county are documented, preserved, and interpreted in the facility, and collections such as Native American tools, pieces, farm equipment, dolls, quilts, and clothing are available for viewing.

1930s ball in Skagit County Historical Museum

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Experience Target Shooting at Skagit Shooting Range

The Skagit Shooting Range, which opened in April 2014, is the first public indoor shooting range in the county.

This 23,500 square-foot indoor range owned by Brent Straight has a total of 16 lanes where you can practice shooting either your own firearm or rented equipment from the facility.

There is also a 4,000-square-foot manufacturing facility within the site that holds the materials and machinery.

Several different training classes for use of firearms are available, as well as special events designed to add variety to your experience when in the range.

Release some of your stress at the Skagit Shooting Range for some adrenaline rush during your vacation.

Watch Shows at the Lincoln Theatre

Signage of the Lincoln Theatre

CL Shebley /

The historic Lincoln Theatre aims to inspire the diverse community of Mount Vernon through live performances, educational programs, and cinema.

This restored theater from 1962 was hailed for its beauty and originality, featuring silent movies and entertainment such as burlesque, song and dance, and comedy.

William Aitken, a known architect from Seattle, was the one who designed the theater, as enlisted by the original owner, Elden Weigel Pollock.

Entrance to the Lincoln Theatre

CL Shebley /

When television became popular and affordable during the 1950s and large-screened theaters started in the 1970s, theatergoers began to decrease dramatically.

The theater closed its doors in 1980 with the threat of being torn down, but the owner decided to approach citizens inclined in the field of arts to check if the place can still be saved, and in 1987 the Lincoln Theatre Center Foundation was formed.

Major renovations took place in the theater around the late 1990s to the early 2000s, and now Lincoln Theatre presents classic and current films, as well as concerts and community events.

Exterior of the Lincoln Theatre

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy Nature’s Finest at Skagit Island Marine State Park

The little area of Skagit Island Marine State Park in Anacortes is home to several beautiful sites.

This is the perfect getaway for those who want solitude, as it features a meadow, forest, sandy beaches, blue waters, and rock outcroppings.

Although considerably smaller than adjoining parks in the area, Skagit Island Marine State Park is popular among camping boaters and paddlers for its remote campsites.

You can also camp in your boat because there are two mooring buoys available on the northwest part of the island.

Get in touch with nature as you visit, and take the time to explore the park.

Weave through the History of the Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum

La Conner resident and quilter Rita Hupy founded the La Conner Quilt Museum, now known as the Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum, in 1997.

Its first exhibit featured Ann Bodle Nash’s collection of antique quilts, and the first international display was the work of Miwako Kimura, which was acquired less than a year after the museum’s opening.

It was also the reason the museum had the Japanese Folk Textile Quilts exhibit in 1998.

Hosting over 64 exhibits in early 2005, the museum featured quilt and fiber works of well-known artists from within the region, the nation, and from all over the world.

The Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum has been celebrating the Quilt & Fiber Arts Festival each year since 2006 on the first weekend of October, where 140 masterful artists from around the globe showcase 120 to 150 stunning quilts.

Each piece tells a story and is brimming with history, so take your time admiring the remarkable works of art!

See the Maiden of Deception Pass

Close view of the Maiden of Deception Pass

Michelle Baumbach /

The log carving of the Maiden of Deception Pass was built to pay homage to the legend of Ko-kwal-alwoot by the Samish tribe.

Tracy Powell, an Anacortes sculptor, carved the 24-foot-tall maiden from the donated cedar tree of the U.S. Forest Service.

Together with the guidance of the Samish elders, Powell worked for a year to accurately depict the young Samish woman who chose to live her life under the sea to make sure that the people in her village would never go hungry.

They erected the pole in 1983 at the site of a wide settlement of Samish called Rosario Beach in Anacortes.

Many visitors visit the sculpture to learn about her story—the now-silver tone of the cedar log, the way the image reminds people to maintain the balance between human culture and wild nature, and the promise to her people of their bountiful catch every time they set sail.

Have a Drink at Farmstrong Brewing + Taproom

Located in Mount Vernon, the Farmstrong Brewing + Taproom is one of the fastest-growing breweries in Skagit Valley that features its agricultural roots.

Owners Mike Armstrong and Todd Owsley decided to open a brewery and secured a warehouse measuring 10,000 square feet beside the freeway and the previous space of Sears.

They work with Skagit Valley Malting, which makes the grain they use as a primary ingredient, locally produced and farmed.

It produces much more flavorful lagers and craft ales that have received awards.

Farmstrong Brewing + Taproom 11 variations, nine of which were exclusively made with the products of Skagit Valley Malting.

Visit the Museum of Northwest Art

Exterior of the Museum of Northwest Art

© Cody Logan / Wikimedia Commons / “MoNA”

In October 1981, the Museum of Northwest Art originally opened as The Valley Museum of Northwest Art on the historic Gaches Mansion’s second floor in La Conner.

The museum board decided to look for a larger place in 1982 to house its exhibits, and the plans took a decade to push through.

Fortunately, support for the museum grew over the years and many exhibits were mounted, such as works from Clayton James, Mark Tobey, Philip McCracken, William Ivey, and more.

Exhibits and collections in the museum include contemporary art from all over the Northwest, including British Columbia, California, Alaska, Montana, Idaho, and Oregon.

The Museum of Northwest Art offers free admission, so make sure to visit!

Honor Veterans at Heritage Flight Museum

William “Bill” Anders and his wife, Valerie, founded the Heritage Flight Museum in 1996 in Bellingham.

They moved in 2014 to their new home in Burlington, which housed several antique military vehicles, a library, 15 aircraft, and many veteran-donated artifacts.

The P-51 Mustang “Val-Halla” was the first of the vintage aircraft collection of the museum, and over the years, it steadily grew.

Anders had a connection to NASA as he was one of the crew members of the historic Apollo 8 mission; he was also named Apollo 11’s backup Command Module Pilot and was appointed as the Aeronautics & Space Council’s Executive Secretary by the President.

He was involved in the aircraft and vehicles of the Apollo 8, Saturn V, LLTV, and T-38 in the years that he was with NASA.

Bill and his son, Greg Anders, had distinguished careers in the U.S. Air Force that started during the Cold War, which helped them determine the areas to focus on with regard to the museum.

The Father and son also flew aircraft such as the F-89, F-101, F-15E, A-10, and B-52.

You will love Heritage Flight Museum if you’re into aircraft and history!

Go Hiking at Little Mountain Park

Tall trees at Little Mountain Park

RonaldL /

There is a total of 10 miles worth of trail in the Little Mountain Park in Mount Vernon.

Beautiful and always open, it features trails and hiking spots that people can easily access whatever the season, including winter.

In 2016, it was listed as the best hiking spot in Skagit Valley in the Best of Skagit issue of Cascadia Weekly.

Skyline views from Little Mountain Park

RonaldL /

Mountain bikers can take on the challenge of the Sidewinder or the Bonnie and Clyde Trail, and trail runners can use the Up Only Trail with its steep climbs.

But the best thing about Little Mountain Park is it is protected by local communities surrounding Puget Sound, ensuring that each visitor can enjoy the outdoor recreational activities.

Since 2009, hundreds of volunteers have dedicated over 17,000 hours to make the park what it is today.

Get All the Pumpkin You Need at Gordon Skagit Farms

Located in Mount Vernon, the Gordon Skagit Farms was founded by Ed Gordon and his wife, Amelia, back in 1936.

In 1955, the couple’s son, Eddie, together with his wife, Betty, took over operations, but it was only in 1969 that Eddie, together with his brother Todd, began growing the famous pumpkins and started running the farm.

Pumpkins are planted on the 60-plus acres of the farm and distributed in different states, including Seattle, Alaska, and the western part of Washington.

Open throughout October as pumpkins are seasonal, Gordon Skagit Farms offers fun activities for visitors, such as the corn maze, apple or pumpkin picking, sipping hot cider and eating baked goods, and more.

Make sure to schedule your visit to Gordon Skagit Farms for these fall activities!

Discover Maritime History at Maritime Heritage Center & W.T. Preston

Exterior of Maritime Heritage Center & W.T. Preston

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Maritime Heritage Center and W.T. Preston showcases the history of Anacortes’ maritime activities.

A series of displays and exhibits on the city’s boating history, shipping industry, transport, and milling history are available within the museum.

You can discover artifacts and objects such as antique replicas of wheels and boats and photographs.

But the main highlight of the museum is the W.T. Preston, the historic and remarkable steamboat.

The snagboat was launched in 1939 and was operational for over 40 years.

In 1989, the snagboat was designated as a National Historic Landmark that serves Puget Sound’s important riverine and maritime history.

Final Thoughts

Enjoy the natural beauty of Skagit County, the history its cities and towns hold, and the bountiful activities the area offers.

Since it’s mostly a rural area, you will enjoy tranquility when exploring the natural areas.

During your trip, don’t forget to make these best things to do in Skagit County, Washington part of your itinerary!

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