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Getting To The San Juan Islands By Ferry

If you are traveling via the Washington State Ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor, here are some ferry travel tips:

There are several ferries that travel to the San Juan Islands via Seattle, Sidney, B.C., Bellingham, Port Townsend, and from Port Angeles.

The Washington State Ferry departing Anacortes, Washington (80 miles NW of SeaTac airport), is the most common way to get to Friday Harbor. Allow about 2 hours of travel time from Seattle Tacoma airport to the Anacortes terminal. Reservations may be made online at the Washington State Ferry or via phone at 1-888-809-7977 (statewide) or 1-206-464-6400 (out of state) beginning at 7 am 2 weeks before each new ferry schedule start date.

Washington State Ferry
Web: wsdot.wa.gov/ferries
Toll-free: 888-808-7977

Foot Passenger Ferry from Seattle – No routes currently scheduled for 2020. Please call for updates.
If you choose to come to Friday Harbor on foot, you can take the Victoria Clipper. It leaves daily from downtown Seattle by the cruise ship terminal off Alaskan Way – Pier 69. It runs from mid-May to September.

Victoria Clipper
Web: clippervacations.com
Toll-Free: 800-888-2535

Other Possible Modes of Travel To The San Juan Islands

Foot Passenger Ferry from Bellingham
Victoria San Juan Cruises has seasonal service to Friday Harbor from Bellingham, Washington.

Foot Passenger Ferry from Port Townsend
The Puget Sound Express offers daily passenger ferry service to Friday Harbor from Port Townsend, Washington.

Web: pugetsoundexpress.com
Phone: 360-385-5288

Paraclete Charter Service
Charter service throughout the San Juan Archipelago 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Web: paracletecharters.com
Phone: 800-808-2999

Water Taxi Service
San Juan Island Whale And Wildlife Tours offers custom taxi service to/from Friday Harbor.
Phone: 360-298-0012

Leap Frog Water Taxi offers custom taxi service between Bellingham and Friday Harbor.
Phone: 360-220-0538

Washington State Ferries Tickets & Reservations

Reservations may be made online via the Washington State Ferry website or via phone at 1-888-808-7977 (statewide) or 1-206-464-6400 (out of state) beginning at 7 a.m. two weeks before each new ferry scheduled start date. Another batch of reservations become available two weeks prior and then two days prior to the sailing.

For the San Juan Islands summer schedule, which runs from June 14 to September 19, the first third of space on all sailings will be released in six increments according to the following schedule:

Release Dates
Available Reservation Dates
Tuesday, April 28
June 14-30
Thursday, April 30
July 1-15
Tuesday, May 5th
July 16-29
Tuesday, May 12
July 30 – August 12
Thursday, May 14th
August 13 – 26
Tuesday, May 19th
August 27 0 September 19

Reservations are also available for the international crossing to Sidney B.C., Canada

  • Tickets purchased in Anacortes are for round-trip travel to Friday Harbor.
  • Plan on traveling off-peak by taking one of the early morning ferries, as the early afternoon ferry is always popular.
  • There is limited space available for drive-up vehicles on each sailing for those without a reservation. Keep in mind that Washington State Ferry loads on average 20-30 additional vehicles on each sailing due to the 10% standby + reservation holders who don’t show for their reserved sailing.
  • Arrive 30 minutes and no more than 90 minutes in advance of reserved sailing. For busy holiday weekends, arrive 45 minutes prior to departure.
  • There is limited space available on each sailing for those without a reservation.
  • If you do not show up for your reservation, you will be charged a no-show fee based on the size of your vehicle.
  • Bring your printed bar code from your reservation or your confirmation number.
  • Reservations must be canceled by 5 p.m. the day prior to travel to avoid a no-show fee.
  • Unlimited changes are permitted up to 5 p.m. the day prior to the reserved sailing. One change is allowed after 5 p.m. but must be made more than three hours in advance for Anacortes/San Juan Island reservations.
  • No changes or cancellations are permitted after the reservation deadline, which is three hours for the Anacortes San Juan Island routes.
  • Reservations for San Juan Island travel are reserved as separate legs. If you change or cancel an outbound trip please be reminded you need to modify the return trip as well to avoid no-show fees.
  • If you do not have time for a meal before you get in line, you may wish to stop along the way and purchase a meal or snacks to bring with you.
  • There is also food available at the Cheesecake Cafe in the ferry terminal. Once you have your car in line, you can enjoy your meal, read a good book, or take a stroll.
  • Consider leaving your car in Anacortes and visiting San Juan Island on foot. The Tucker House Inn & Harrison House Suites are only one-and-a-half blocks from the Friday Harbor ferry terminal. There are plenty of options for getting around the island without a car, especially in summer.
Woman wearing sunglasses smiling while looking out across the water

Ferry Travel Tips for Four-Legged Friends

Pets are welcome on the ferry. They can enjoy the crossing in your vehicle, or on the car deck restrained in a crate. Only service animals are permitted on the passenger decks.

Inter-Island Travel

  • Inter-island ferry travel is free for foot passengers or those traveling with a bicycle.
  • There are no reservations for the inter-island sailing.
  • On your return trip to Anacortes from Friday Harbor, you can stop and visit other islands without having to pay additional ferry tariffs.
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