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What to do When you Miss a Washington State Ferry

ferry crossing open water
Content by Jennifer Furber Published on August 9, 2017

Occasionally, you can find yourself stuck in Anacortes waiting on one of the Washington State ferries. Sometimes the boats break down and they have to take them out of service. This potentially leaves travelers with hours of spare time at the ferry landing. Or, traffic along the interstate can lead to the unfortunate circumstance of missing a ferry reservation and having what seems like an endless amount of time to pass at the terminal.

Washington Park near the Washington State FerriesWashington Park

Washington Park is about 0.7 mile west of the Anacortes Washington State Ferries Terminal on the northwest tip of Fidalgo Island. This 220-acre park features campsites (RV-hook up, tent sites, and first-come first-serve sites), a boat launch, day use picnic areas, and a group camping area. In the park, there is a 2.2-mile paved loop road that winds scenically through the park’s densely forested areas and sweeping meadows. This scenic road offers beautiful views of both the San Juan Islands and Olympic Mountains.  

SHIP (Ship Harbor Interpretive Center)

SHIP is just beside the Washington State Ferries Terminal. For access, simply walk down to the beach adjacent to the ferry lane parking lot. Along this walking trail you will find 25 acres of freshwater wetlands, 5 acres of upland habitat with many species of birds. Frequently, you can see blue herons, wrens, sparrows, and eagles. Many small mammals call this area home and dungeness crabs also raise their young along these protected waters. Seagulls and other shorebirds also call this area home. 200 feet of sandy beach is home to pristine native eelgrass beds.

There is a very defined trail system that protects sensitive areas undergoing native restoration efforts.  This is still a work in progress and overtime, more educational signs and partitions will go up along the pathway. These signs educate the public on marine habitat stewardship and support. This walk is a perfect place to take a leisurely stroll while skipping rocks, collecting shells and admiring marine life.  

The Terminal Cafe

The Terminal Cafe in Anacortes at the ferry landing is open from 6:00 am – 9:00 pm. They now offer beer and wine! You must consume alcoholic beverages on the Cafe premises. They have a nice seating area adjacent to the checkout – so get to know your fellow boozers! The Cafe also offers a nice assortment of salads, sandwiches, breakfast foods, snacks, and ice cream. It is the perfect place to get a snack, fill you up with a last-chance meal, or have a treat to pass the time.  

Fortunes, Palms, and Astrology

A medium can read your fortune or palm in the building adjacent to the ferry ticketing booth. This is certainly a different way to pass the time.  Inside the building, there is a certified Spiritual Psychic Reader and Medium.  She is also a fortune teller, for an extra fee. The posted hours are Monday through Sunday, 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. However, the “open” sign does appear to vary quite regularly.  

So, if you find yourself with many hours to pass, don’t be alarmed.  It’s a common experience for islanders and we all trust you’ll make it eventually to the beautiful islands. If you don’t have a good book, a beautiful hike, walk, or an adventure in fortune telling and astrology awaits you all within less than a mile of the Washington State Ferries Terminal.  

Once You Finally Make It

There is no better feeling than the clunk clunk of your tires crossing onto the ferry after hours of waiting. The moment of relief is usually met with a cheer from my family. And now you get to enjoy the ride out to San Juan Island – which usually includes puzzles, amazing views, great conversation, or a much-needed nap. Once you make it to the Harrison House Suites, our team will be awaiting your arrival with a cheer of our own!

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