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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).

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

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.
Web: https://www.whales.com/
Phone: 800-443-4552

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

Water Taxi Service
Outer Island Excursions offers custom taxi service to/from Friday Harbor.
Web: outerislandx.com/watertaxi
Phone: 360-376-3711

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) .

90% of the space on each vessel is available to reserve. The remaining 10% of vehicle deck space is always held open for emergency and stand-by vehicles. Additional stand-by space may also be available due to no-shows. Space is released according to the following schedule:

2 months before the season start date at 10:00 a.m. PT:

  • 30% of standard vehicle space is released

2 weeks before each sailing date at 7:00 a.m. PT:

  • Additional 30% of standard vehicle space is released

2 days before each sailing date at 7:00 a.m. PT:

  • Final 30% of standard vehicle space is released
  • 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 25% standby + reservation holders who don’t show for their reserved sailing. Travelers holding reservations must be through the ticket booth at least 30 minutes before the reserved sailing.
  • Arrive at least 45 minutes and no more than 90 minutes in advance of reserved sailing. For busy holiday weekends, arrive 1 hour 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.
  • Reservations must be changed or canceled before 5:00 p.m. PT the day before travel to avoid a no-show fee.
  • A final change is allowed after 5:00 p.m. PT the day before the reserved sailing with no charge. If a reservation is canceled after the final change has been made, a no-show fee will be charged.
  • No changes or cancellations can be made less than two hours in advance of the reserved sailing.
  • 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 Salty Fox at the Friday Harbor 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.

Reservations are also available for the international crossing to Sidney B.C., Canada – currently unavailable due to suspended travel.

Woman wearing sunglasses smiling while looking out across the water

Ferry Travel Tips for Four-Legged Friends

All pets should be kept in a container or kennel while in terminal buildings or interior cabin spaces on boats. However, pets are allowed to be restrained outside of their kennel on the exposed upper decks of boats on some routes. Please ask terminal staff for loading procedures, as vessel and terminal configurations vary. Animals that are not people-friendly should be muzzled or transported in a pet carrier.

These restrictions do not apply to service animals who are trained to perform a task for those with a disability.

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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