The oldest town in Skagit County, La Conner saw the arrival of its first white settlers shortly after the Civil War. They built dikes to tame the annual floods on the Skagit River and planted crops in the fertile soil, which proved some of the most productive in the world. The town grew up along Swinomish Channel, the protected saltwater slough that separates the mainland from Fidalgo Island and linked area fishermen to the Puget Sound. In 1876, John Conner purchased a trading post and named the site after his wife, Louisa A. Conner (L. A. Conner eventually became La Conner).
Today La Conner is home to only 850 people but is one of Washington’s most loved destinations. The operative term here is cute, with more frills and lace than a Victoria’s Secret catalog. More than 160 local buildings in La Conner are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Its galleries, gift shops, restaurants, museums, and 19th-century homes make for enjoyable exploring, and the bright-orange Rainbow Bridge across Swinomish Channel is a good spot for photographers to get a shot of the La Conner waterfront with a Mt. Baker  backdrop.
Skagit Transit (360/757-4433, www.skat.org ) offers daily bus service from Mount Vernon  to La Conner on Route 615. Airporter Shuttle (360/380-8800 or 800/235-5247, www.airporter.com ) provides service between Sea-Tac Airport and La Conner.