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. The ferries run year-round, and off-season reservations are easier to make on short notice.

Allow a comfortable 1-1/2 to 2 hours to enjoy the drive and the scenery from Seattle, or Vancouver B.C., to the Anacortes ferry terminal.

Tips for making ferry reservations

We recommend making a reservation, especially from May through September and for holiday weekends. Reservations are available at www.takeaferry.com to help make trip planning easier and more predictable. Find the summer and other seasonal schedules on the Washington State Ferry website.  

Here are some additional tips:

  • You'll need to make 2 reservations -- one coming to the islands (west bound) and one leaving the islands (east bound) if you're visiting Orcas or San Juan islands. The system will prompt you to make a round-trip reservation. (Lopez and Shaw islands only have west-bound reservations.)
  • If you can’t get a reservation on your desired day or sailing - no worries! Check back two weeks or two days before your desired departure time. Reservations are released in 3 tiers to accommodate long and short-term planning by visitors and residents.
  • Walk-ons don't need a reservation. 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 approximate vehicle spaces available and parking rates. Walk-ons have a variety of island transportation options, including a seasonal transit bus and car, bicycle and moped rentals. 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.
  • You must check in at the toll booth 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.
  • 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.
  • Lopez Island Ferry Terminal Notes: The Lopez terminal is located approximately 4 miles from Lopez Village and currently offers water, soda and snacks via vending machines. There are sani-cans but no bathrooms on site.  During the summer the ferry line and wait time can be long since Lopez doesn't have eastbound reservations, so please be prepared.
  • Find a complete list of ferry tips HERE
Ferry passengers
Twilight Ferry Ride by Brandon Fralic

Questions about reservations?  Call WA State Ferries at 1-888-808-7977  (or call our office at 888-468-3701 ext. 1)

To help plan your trip, you'll find everything you'll need at www.takeaferry.com. From this page, you can also 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 AnacortesOrcas IslandFriday 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

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!