Take a Day Trip to a Quaint Waterfront Town

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La Conner is most well-known for its proximity to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival (held in April every year), but this town is not just about tulips.  There’s plenty of family fun to be had in this quaint, waterfront community year-round.  A Victorian-era village that takes you back to the days before screen time, La Conner offers a great destination for a fun day trip full of outdoor experiences, unique shops and restaurants, and a history lesson to boot.

La Conner Boats

Go: Any time of year. You can visit the La Conner Chamber of Commerce for a full calendar of fun family events. This fall, pack up the kids for an easy day trip about an hour’s drive from Seattle. You’ll find beautiful rural scenery along the way.  Keep your eye out for Trumpeter Swans and Snow Geese. Once you’ve arrived you’ll be able to park in town and walk to La Conner’s many sights, museums, and picturesque waterfront.

Get there: From Seattle, drive north on I-5 for approximately 50 minutes.  Take Exit 230 and head east on State Route 20 to La Conner-Whitney Road.

What to bring: La Conner is a compact, pedestrian-friendly town.  You can get to most places on foot and street parking is generally easy to find.  A stroller or baby carrier would be a good idea if you plan to spend the day exploring.  Some snacks and drinks for the little ones will keep them happy touring around town while you pick which yummy restaurant you want to visit for lunch.

How to dress: It can be chilly along the waterfront in the fall, so layering would be a good idea. Since you’ll probably be spending a fair amount of time outside and walking around town, you’ll want to dress for the weather and bring a rain jacket or umbrella.

What to do: Whether you choose to shop, dine, visit a museum or two, or just explore all the outdoor sights, your family is sure to have a great day in one of the Northwest’s most unique, historical towns.

La Conner’s beautiful waterfront – the Swinomish Channel – and you just might be treated to a visit by Seals, Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons or Otters.  Walk along the La Conner Marina and view the restored vintage wooden boats.

Skagit County Historical Museum
The Skagit County Historical Museum, “At the Top of the Hill” in La Conner features exhibits, educational programs & events related to Skagit County History.

501 S. Fourth Street
La Conner, Wa
Open Tues-Sun 11:00 am-5:00 pm
Adults: $4, Children 6-12: $3, Families: $8, Children 5 & under: Free

Museum of Northwest Art
This Museum features revolving exhibitions paired with a permanent collection of art and education programs focusing on art of the Pacific Northwest. Bring the family and take part in the Museum of Northwest Art (MONA) Family Art Day, part of La Conner’s Art Community.

121 S. First Street
La Conner, Wa
Open daily 10:00 am-5:00 pm
Adults: $5, Children under 12: Free

La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum
The Quilt and Textile Museum is located in the Historical Landmark Gaches Mansion, which it also works to maintain. This unique museum features three stories of quilts and textiles that range from traditional to contemporary, with a focus on works from the Northwest.

703 S. Second Street
La Conner, Wa
Open Wed-Sun, 11:00 am-5:00 pm
Adults: $7, Children under 12: Free

For some educational, outdoor time, visit La Conner’s famous Pioneer Park and view the mural located under the Rainbow Bridge. You can walk across the bridge – built in 1957 and now a National Historical Landmark – and watch the pleasure, fishing, and tug boats pass by. Be sure to check out the Louisa Ann Conner Memorial and learn how the town got its name. Back downtown, explore Magnus Anderson’s hand split-log cabin built in 1869, located by La Conner’s Town Hall on Second & Commercial Streets.

Where to Eat: There are so many great places to grab a bite in La Conner; you may have a tough time choosing where to have lunch! The following choices are all family-friendly and feature great kids’ menus.

La Conner Waterfront Café
This Waterfront Cafe has a great outdoor waterfront deck, fish & chips, and local seafood. Perfect for little ones and parents alike!

128 S. 1st Street
La Conner Wa
Online: laconnerwaterfrontcafe.com

La Conner Brewing Company
La Conner Brewing Company is one of those fabulous family friendly Northwest brewpubs with upscale pub food, micro-brew, and a relaxed atmosphere for the kiddos.

117 South First Street
La Conner, Wa
Online: laconnerbrewery.com

Calico Cupboard
Calico Cupboard is open for breakfast and lunch and serves truly homemade food, with all of their bakery items made in house from scratch, and all of their breakfast and lunch menu items made from fresh, unprocessed ingredients.

720 S. 1st Street
La Conner, Wa
Online: calicocupboardcafe.com

This is a truly locally inspired bistro and bar, located in the historic Seed Company building. Seeds serves delicious seasonal fruits and vegetables from their local farmers, free range chicken, fresh seafood, grass-fed beef and naturally nested eggs and more.

623 Morris Street
La Conner, Wa
Online: seedsbistro.com

Pioneer Market
This market is great for to-go/picnic food, deli sandwiches, and soupssalads. Plus Pioneer Market has a bakery filled with homemade goodies. As an extra bonus they also feature a hardware store with clothing and cute gift items.

416 E. Morris Street
La Conner, Wa
Online: facebook.com/Pioneer-Market-La-Conner

Bonus: For an evening without the kids, check out the Taste of La Conner! This fun event takes place once a month.  You can select from 5 stops: La Conner Seafood & Prime Rib House, Waterfront Cafe, La Conner Pub & Eatery, Nell Thorn, and Seed’s Bistro & Bar. Tickets are pre-sold ($25) and can be picked up at the Visitor Information Center located at 606 Morris St (next to La Conner Library). Or you can purchase your tickets over the phone and pick them up at will-call which is at Seed’s Bistro & Bar located as you enter La Conner on Morris Street. Call (360) 466-4778 or stop by 606 Morris Street to purchase your ticket. Don’t wait – last two Tastes were sold out!

Online: Visit La Conner’s website at laconnerchamber.com.

— Susan Ossinger