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Frequently Asked Questions San Juan Islands & Friday Harbor

Q: I’m thinking about visiting the San Juan Islands. How can I learn more?

A: Here at the San Juan Island Inn Collection, we like to say that “getting here is half the fun,” since visitors get to enjoy a Washington State Ferry ride or a scenic tour by plane before even arriving on the island. However, we know that this can make planning your trip a little overwhelming at first, so be sure to download our free Vacation Guide. You’ll also learn more about our accommodations, special events, and dining and activity options. Then call our helpful innkeepers with any remaining questions you may have. We’re always available to help make sure you’re ready to slip into island time and enjoy every minute you’re here with us.

Q: Where to stay on San Juan Island?

A: San Juan Island offers many places to stay, from rustic campsites to luxurious Bed and Breakfasts. You can rough it in the wild and cycle to your destination with your tent or indulge in jacuzzi tubs and fine dining. If you’re looking for the latter, you’ll definitely want to explore all that the Tucker House Inn & Harrison House Suites have to offer. You’ll find 18 different accommodation options, from a cozy cottage to a beautiful first-floor suite that you can share with the entire family. How about a quaint bed and breakfast room with a king-size bed and a fireplace, or your own private hot tub? At the San Juan Island Inn Collection, your options are plentiful. Give us a call today and let our team help you zero in on the accommodation option that will perfectly suit your traveling style. Planning on multi-day kayaking trip during your stay? We’re happy to hold luggage while you’re away and welcome you back upon your return. We can’t wait to hear about your adventures!

Q: What to do in the San Juan Islands?

A:  The Tucker House Inn & Harrison House Suites on San Juan Island are the perfect home base for all your island adventures. Whether you’ll be hiking, biking, birding, fishing, kayaking, whale watching, or shopping, there’s something for all interests. And we haven’t even gotten into the beaches, farms, and restaurants yet! Did we mention the alpacas? There’s so much to do, we have an entire section of blog posts all about the best activities for you to explore. Still have questions about reserving that moped, kayaking tour, or whale watching trip? Just give our innkeepers a call! We provide complimentary concierge service for all our guests so that they can enjoy the best of the island without any stress at all.

Q: How many San Juan Islands are there?

A: There are more than 170 islands in this archipelago! That said, visitors mainly come to see San Juan Island where we are located, as well as Orcas Island, Lopez Island, and Shaw Island, all of which are accessible by ferry. To explore further, you will need a boat. Charters are available, though some islands are private or protected natural areas and not open to visitors.

Q: How do I get to the San Juan Islands?

A: When traveling to the San Juan Islands, you have many options and, as we mentioned at the top of this post, getting here is half the adventure. In addition to the Washington State Ferry system, you could also try out float planes, wheeled planes, sailboats, or yachts. This is not your everyday car trip, though you can bring your car and your furry friends with you! Check out these fun ways to arrive, including the Washington State Ferry Schedule.

Q: How do I get from Seattle to the San Juan Islands?

A: Traveling from Seattle to the San Juan Islands is a wonderful trip. Whether you go by boat, plane, or ferry, the ride will be memorable but you do need to plan ahead and leave plenty of time in case of unexpected delays. Flights leave Boeing Field and Lake Washington and arrive right in the heart of Friday Harbor. Or you can drive about 80 miles north to Anacortes and enjoy a ferry ride – bring your car to the island or leave it behind and walk onto the boat. The Tucker House Inn & Harrison House Suites are just a few blocks from the ferry landing!

Q: How many islands are in Seattle?

A: We get this question a lot! There are islands closer to the city, accessible by bridge or short ferry ride, but it’s … just not the same. Trust us; it’s worth the adventure of coming all the way to Friday Harbor. For a true island vacation, you’re going to want to travel north by northwest to get to the beauty of the San Juan Islands.

Q: How do I get to the San Juan Islands from Vancouver? How do I get to the San Juan Islands from Victoria, B.C.?

A: UPDATE 1/21/24 WSDOT has suspended this ferry route until further notice. Please check their website for updates. We have a boatload of info for you on this one, pun intended, and are excited to welcome our neighbors to the north! From Vancouver, you can drive to Tsawwassen (about an hour from downtown Vancouver) to catch the Tsawwassen ferry to Sidney, B.C. on Vancouver Island. Then drive south to Victoria (about a 40-minute drive. Learn more on the B.C. Ferries website. From Victoria (on Vancouver Island) to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, drive or walk onto the Washington State ferry from Sidney, B.C., about a 30-minute drive north of Victoria. Check the Washington State Ferries schedule for travel times and more information about how to make your trip go more smoothly. Vehicle reservations are recommended for ferry travel to and from Canada. International trips to Sidney, B.C. are one-way fares. You need a valid passport to travel between the U.S. and Canada.

Q: How much is the ferry to the San Juan Islands and where can I find the current schedule?

A: You’ll find everything you want to know about the Washington Ferry system right here. If ferry travel is new for you or it’s just been a while and you have questions, just pick up the phone and give us a call. We use the ferry system all the time and can get you up to speed on all the ins and outs, plus share our favorite car snack suggestions and stories about all the wildlife we’ve spotted just from the ferry’s passenger deck!

Q: How far are the San Juan Islands from Seattle?

A: Whether you decide that flying the 75 miles between Seattle and Friday Harbor, a ride filled with gorgeous views of the islands below, is the way to go, or you’d rather drive your car 80 miles north to catch a ferry from Anacortes, Washington, and kick off vacation with a boat ride, the trip will be the first of the wonderful memories you’ll have of your San Juan Island Vacation!

Q: How long is the ferry ride from Anacortes to the San Juan Islands?

A: Trip times depend on the island you will be visiting and what route stops your boat is making. The Washington ferry website will tell you all you’ll need to know. Check out the schedule here. The Washington State ferry operates large car ferries between the islands, terminating its service in Friday Harbor, where the Tucker House Inn & Harrison House Suites are located.

Q: What are the San Juan Islands?

A: The San Juan Islands are an archipelago in the Pacific Northwest of the United States between the state of Washington and Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. The San Juan Islands form the core of San Juan County. Read more… The islands are part of the United States, according to an 1872 decision, and lie in San Juan County of the State of Washington (not Puerto Rico or Washington D.C.; please note we are in the Pacific Northwest corner of the United States).

Q: How many people live on San Juan Island?

A: There are roughly 18,000 residents in San Juan County. San Juan Island is the second-largest and most populous of the San Juan Islands, at about 7,000.

Q: Where is Friday Harbor in the San Juan Island Islands?

A: Friday Harbor is one of two villages on San Juan Island, in the San Juan Islands. Once you land at the ferry terminal, consider yourself here. This quaint historic community has so much in store for you. Take a look here. Once you arrive and experience our quaint and friendly town, you may feel like you’ve stumbled onto a Hallmark movie set. No matter the time of year, say farewell to worry and stress and say hello to the laid-back island vibe, a temperate year-round climate, and long, lazy hours of doing just what you want. Count on temperatures around 70°F in the summer and 40°F in the winter months. A happy mixture of weather systems also accounts for the high level of air quality you’ll appreciate across the San Juans.

Q: When to visit the San Juan Islands?

A: Is there a best time to visit the San Juan Islands? We say no. Mild weather year-round and beautiful vistas shifting through the seasons offer the perfect environment no matter when you plan your visit. Design your getaway…

Q: When will I be able to see orcas in the San Juan Islands?

A: Did you know that whale watching is a year-round activity? The best time to see orcas in the San Juan Islands is during the summer months, but one could be fortunate and catch a sighting at any time. Check out this post for more information. The islands not only have an abundance of marine life beyond orcas – including porpoise, seals, sea lions, otters, and a wide variety of fish – they are full of a variety of wildlife, also. A hike around the islands will always treat you to nice surprises when it comes to encounters. Pack your camera, as you just never know what you will see.

Q: What is the best island to visit near Seattle? Which of the San Juan Islands is the best to visit?

A: We’re obviously biased, but San Juan Island makes the perfect home base for a visit and can easily fill an entire vacation with dining and activity options. But it’s also the perfect launch point for day trips to Orcas, Lopez, and Shaw islands. Grab a bike and hop on the interisland ferry to get a taste of the other island communities. The San Juan Islands offer something for everyone. While making incredible memories to take home and share, your days will fly by. Have a question not answered above? Just give us a call. We can’t wait to welcome you!
view from a kayak towards another kayaker ahead in the water at sunset
grassy shoreline with low clouds in the distance
Two sailboats moored in still waters at sunset
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lighthouse at a rocky shorline with evergree trees at back

Recognized by Travel + Leisure Magazine

We have been recognized by Travel + Leisure Magazine as the best place to stay when visiting Friday Harbor and San Juan Island.

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