Please see our travel advisory HERE.
Riding the Washington State Ferries
Getting here is half the fun aboard a Washington State Ferry! Take a scenic ride through the islands as you make your way to your final destination. You can drive your car right onto the boat, or board as a foot passenger and simply walk on. There are several sailings each day to and from each of the four main islands - Lopez, Orcas, San Juan, and Shaw. An inter-island ferry allows island hoppers to travel between the islands and an international ferry offers service to Sidney, B.C. March - December. The ferries run year-round, and off-season reservations are easier to make on short notice. However, we recommend making reservations in advance from March through September and for holiday weekends.
Where do I catch the ferry?
All San Juan Islands ferries depart from the Anacortes Ferry Terminal located at 2100 Ferry Terminal Rd, Anacortes, WA 98221.
Allow a comfortable 1-1/2 to 2 hours to enjoy the drive and the scenery from Seattle or Vancouver B.C.
Things to do while you wait for the ferry at the Anacortes ferry terminal
Which ferry should I take?
You can view the current and upcoming Anacortes/San Juan Islands/Sidney, B.C. ferry schedules here:
Winter Schedule (Jan 5 - March 28, 2020) (No service available to Sidney, B.C. during winter schedule)
Summer Schedule (June 21 - Sept 26) will be released on April 21, 2020 at 7:00 a.m.
How do I make a ferry reservation?
Ferry reservations can be made online at www.takeaferry.com or by calling the Washington State Ferries at 1-888-808-7977.
You'll need to make 2 reservations -- one coming to the Islands (westbound) and one leaving the Islands (eastbound) if you're visiting Orcas or Friday Harbor/San Juan Island. The system will prompt you to make a round-trip reservation. (Lopez Island and Shaw Island only have westbound reservations. During the summer the ferry line and wait time can be long since Lopez doesn't have eastbound reservations, so please be prepared.)
You must check-in at the toll booth/ferry line at least 30 minutes ahead of your sailing time or you will lose your reservation and will travel standby. Bring your printed reservation sheet with barcode for easy scanning.
For Step-by-Step Instructions on making a ferry reservation visit the following links provided by the Washington State Ferries:
How to Make an Online Reservation as a Guest - Recommended for visitors and infrequent ferry travelers.
How to Create a Reservation Account - Recommended for Island residents and frequent ferry travelers.
For Walk-ons and Bicycles
Walk-ons don't need a reservation, but will need to purchase a walk-on ticket in the terminal. You can leave your vehicle at the Anacortes terminal and walk on the ferry with your luggage and/or bicycle or kayak. Use the Washington State Ferry website to find parking rates. Walk-ons have a variety of island transportation options, including a seasonal transit bus and trolley as well as car, bicycle and moped rentals (depending on the Island.) If you're headed to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, the ferry arrives within easy walking distance to activities, attractions, lodging, dining and shopping. If you're headed to Orcas Island or Lopez Island, you'll need to check into transportation options.
For the Inter-Island Ferry
Reservations are not available, or typically needed, on the inter-island ferry. Walk-on passengers ride free on inter-island ferries, but vehicles are charged a fee if traveling westbound from each Island.
What if I can’t get the ferry reservation I want?
If you can’t get a reservation on your desired day or sailing - no worries! Check back exactly two weeks or two days before your desired departure date at 7:00 a.m. when reservations open each morning. Reservations are released in 3 tiers to accommodate long and short-term planning by visitors and residents. (Reservations for vehicles over 30’ are only released in the First Tier).
Or try to Travel Stand-By. You can view how many drive-up spaces are available at each Island terminal.
How much will it cost?
Fares are based on the season, the route's geographical location, the length/width/height of your vehicle, as well as the length of time you will be traveling onboard the ferry. Fares are also calculated based on the age or disability of each passenger and are collected either for round trip travel or one-way travel, depending on the departure terminal. The driver is included in the vehicle fare, and passengers are added to the fare.
Where is my ferry?
If your ferry is late, you can check the location and ETA at Vessel Watch. https://www.wsdot.com/ferries/vesselwatch/default.aspx
Questions about reservations?
Call WA State Ferries at 1-888-808-7977 (or call our office at 888-468-3701 ext. 1)
Need more help? Go to www.takeaferry.com. From this page, you can find more information about Washington State Ferry terminals, including addresses and directions, ferry cams, amenities and ADA information to make your trip go more smoothly. Web cameras are also available to view the ferry lines at Anacortes, Orcas Island, Friday Harbor/San Juan Island, and Lopez Island. You can also view an aerial image of the Anacortes terminal to find parking, toll booths, and more. Read the Washington State Ferry blog for more helpful tips!
What to Do
Start planning your activities from the moment you step off the boat! Find a list of adventures perfect for your island getaway!