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Traveling to San Juan Island Without a Car

Ferry docked in the harbor
Content and photos by Jennifer Furber published on July 19, 2017

One of the best things about San Juan Island is how easy it is to get from the mainland to Friday Harbor without a car. You can take a ferry right from Anacortes. And, the Harrison House Suites and Tucker House Inn are just a block and a half away from the ferry landing.

annacortes ferry terminal

Washington State Ferries

The Washington State Ferries embarked on a Save-A-Spot reservation system for vehicles. While this reduces wait times and assists those with well-thought-out travel plans, the reservation system occasionally makes it tricky for the last minute traveler. Although there are only a certain amount of drive-up spots, there’s not a guarantee. It can also become a bit expensive for a car and driver ticket for the WA Ferry, especially peak season. While many people still travel this way, there is an alternative! Just walk on the ferry rather than take your car.

Getting to the Terminal

The Anacortes Ferry Terminal offers both short term and long term convenient parking. The cheaper parking is a half mile walk, so make sure your bags are small, light, and/or easily carried. There is also FREE parking in Anacortes at the Cap Sante Boat Haven. Park your car, unload your bike and it’s a four mile ride to the Terminal. Or you can catch SKAT (Skagit Transit) to the ferry terminal Monday through Saturday.

Once at the Terminal

At the Terminal, a round trip walk-on passenger ticket is $13.25 for an adult. The fare is significantly lower for children and seniors. Always buy your ticket at the booth with a credit card for the fastest service.This helps if you’re in a hurry. The ferry boards walk on passengers twenty-five minutes before scheduled departure and before loading the cars. If you walk up to the walkway five minutes before they announce the boarding of walk on passengers, you’ll miss the mass of walk on tourists and have the best choice of seats aboard the ferry. Also, carry change on the ferry. Sometimes the food service galley is closed and the only available food and drink is from the vending machines aboard the ferry. However, there are water fountains for your refillable water bottle we hope you packed for your island journey.

When You Make it to Friday Harbor

The Friday Harbor Ferry Terminal is in the heart of town. As you begin to pull into the harbor, you’ll see a variety of shops and restaurants. They eagerly await your patronage! As you exit the ferry, you’ll see the transportation hub.

What are your Options?

The San Juan Jolly Trolley is a historic trolley that services all the major sights along the scenic byway, $20 all day pass for adults and $10 for children. The San Juan Transit Shuttle also stops along the popular sights, $15 day pass for adults and $10 for children. Friday Harbor Taxi and Bob’s Taxi & Tours are available for all your destinations, as well as Susie’s Moped & Car Rental. M&W Auto also rents cars. Bicycles are available for rent from Islands Bicycles Transportation and Meat Machine Cycles.

As our guest, The Tucker House Inn and Harrison House Suites offer complimentary bicycles. Biking the island is a wonderful way to see the sights at the pace and vibe of the island. Simply download the San Juan Islands Scenic ByWay Map that details distances and information on must-see stops along the way of the island. Hitchhiking is legal in San Juan County. Just look for the sjRIDESHARE signs along the road and on the ferry. Then you can safely connect with people willing to share a ride with you.

San Juan Island is easy to travel by foot, pedal or transit. Maps are available many places. You can easily find them on the ferry or our Inn locations. The Chamber of Commerce in the heart of Friday Harbor also has a variety of maps. Pack lightly, travel with patience and be ready to take in all the sights of the island.

See You Soon!

Now that you know just how to travel to the San Juan Island without a vehicle, you’ll never want to go back! And with our Inns just a couple blocks from the ferry landing, we are the perfect base for your Island vacation. Give us a call today and we will help you find the perfect suite, cottage, or room available at either the Harrison House Suites or the Tucker House Inn both part of the San Juan Island Inn Collection.

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