Transportation to the 3 Major San Juan Islands
Traveling by Ferry Washington State Ferry fares are round trip from Anacortes; i.e., there is no charge to return to Anacortes. Here is the ferry schedule (make sure you select the right sailing season): http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/
You can either take your car on the ferry or park it at the ferry terminal and walk aboard, thus avoiding ferry lines.
However, you need a vehicle to explore each island (exception, see San Juan Island topic, below).
Important Tips Regarding Ferry Travel from Anacortes Seattle to Anacortes Ferry Terminal, plan on a two hour drive. The ferries are not frequent and the wait for the next is several hours long. If you take a very early morning ferry to the San Juan Islands, arriving at the terminal an hour beforTransportation to the 3 Major San Juan Islands The islands are accessible by ferry, plane, private boat and charters.e departure is probably fine. For later sailings, it might be wise to arrive at the terminal two hours prior to departure. There’s some birding around the terminal, rest rooms, a little cafe. Very early morning ferries are best as they involve less waiting time in the ferry lines and allow more time for the islands.
The WSDOT bulletin page posts cancellations and changes to the scheduled sailings. Webcams at the Anacortes, Friday Harbor and Orcas Island ferry terminals provide current ferry line status, but the situation can change quickly. You can set up an email alert account with WSF: https://secure1.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/…
Ferry Terminal Vehicle Best Travel Times
To help avoid long ferry waits, WSF added color-coded sailing schedules to its website that suggest both the least and the most congested sailing times, by day of week and season, for drive-on passengers. See the tab titled “Best Travel Times” on the right side of each route schedule page.
Good News! Ferry reservations now available; see the website. http://tinyurl.com/ncaffx6
Waiting for Your Ferry In all cases, it’s a good idea to ask ferry employees when to be in line for your desired ferry. Also, see Wait Time advice on each ferry terminal website.
Anacortes Terminal – Terminal has restrooms, a small snack bar and gift shop.
Friday Harbor Terminal – While the car sits in its designated lane, you can walk around, dine, shop.
Orcas Island Terminal – Nearby is a grocery store, restaurants and shops.
Lopez Island Terminal – Waiting room and food service.
Without a Vehicle If you want to visit the San Juan islands without a vehicle, there are several ways.
1. The Victoria Clipper (passenger only) boat leaves from downtown Seattle and goes directly to the town of Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. The Clipper also provides a combo whale watch and visit to FH. The trip takes about 3 hours each way. You can find out more by going to: http://www.clippervacations.com/clipp… or by calling (800) 888-2535. To get to the Victoria Clipper from SeaTac: http://www.clippervacations.com/direc… If you wish to continue by boat to Victoria or to Vancouver (city) from Friday Harbor, you must board the WA State Ferry to Sidney, north of Victoria, then cab or bus into Victoria or to Swartz Bay for the BC Ferry to Tsawwassen and Vancouver. http://www.bcferries.com/schedules/ma…
2. The Airporter shuttle has daily year round service between SeaTac Airport, downtown Seattle, and the Anacortes ferry terminal. This shuttle bus makes several stops and involves a transfer to a connecting bus to get to the Anacortes terminal. You’ll need reservations. Airporter Shuttle: http://www.airporter.com/schedules/sc… 1-866-235-5247
3. The Island Airporter runs from/To Sea-Tac to Friday Harbor, on San Juan Island, only. http://www.islandairporter.com/.
4. Kenmore Air takes passengers by van from SeaTac to one of their three Seattle area terminals for a land or seaplane bound for Lopez, Orcas and San Juan Islands. Kenmore Air – 866-435-9524 http://www.kenmoreair.com/San-Juan-Is…
5. San Juan Airlines has scheduled service to the islands from Bellingham and Anacortes and will do charters from Seattle. http://sanjuanairlines.com/
If You Don’t Bring a Car to the Islands from Anacortes You can leave your car in the designated ferry parking lot(s) at or near the ferry terminal in Anacortes. Balance your needs for flexibility against the costs of bringing your own car Most recommend bringing a vehicle or renting a car or moped in the islands. If you walk on the ferry there is cab service on San Juan, Orcas and Lopez Islands. In the summer months on San Juan Island a shuttle van service runs to the most popular tourist spots: http://sanjuantransit.com/ .
Distances from the Ferry Terminal to Towns Friday Harbor on San Juan Island is a located at the ferry landing. Eastsound, on Orcas Island, and Lopez Village, on Lopez Island, are roughly 15 – 20 minutes driving distance from their ferry docks.