How to get to the San Juan Islands

The San Juan Islands have been welcoming visitors for centuries and getting here is an adventure in itself.  Ride the Washington State Ferries and see the island’s maritime beauty up close or take a seaplane or airplane to one of the town airfields or marinas dotting the major islands and see one of the most beautiful maritime vistas in the world from above.

The easiest way to get to the San Juan Islands is via ferry boat from Anacortes, Washington. It is easier than ever to secure a spot on the ferry for your car during the peak summer months, but don’t forget to make the reservation!  Show up at least 1 hour before the sailing to be sure you can make it through the line in time for the sailing.  Bring a few snacks and a good book. Watch the ferry arrival and departure times to avoid any last minute itinerary changes–particularly from October to May when late night sailings are not an option.

Don’t get caught by ferry lines.  Cameras viewing each major ferry lot can be found here.

Reservations for sailings to and from Anacortes can be made 2 months prior to the sailing date and can be purchased online or by phone at  1-888-808-7977 Statewide and 206-464-6400 for Out of State.

By Car: Travel North on I-5 from Seattle (approx. 2 hours), and Take Exit 230 (Burlington/Anacortes). Go West on Highway 20 into Anacortes and Follow signs to the ferry terminal. Washington State Ferry Information Online Ferry Schedule. Recorded Ferry Schedule 1-800-84-Ferry (WA).

By Foot or bike: The Washington State Ferries carry foot passengers and bicycles on every sailing.  Tickets can be purchased online or at the Anacortes Ferry Terminal.  No reservations are needed.

By Plane: Daily flights to and from the San Juan Islands are available from Seattle. Consult your travel agent for flight arrangements. Flying off the water with Kenmore Air; daily scheduled flights from downtown Seattle reach San Juan Island, Orcas Island, and Lopez Island.  Island Air, based out of Friday Harbor, also provides flights from the mainland to Orcas Island and San Juan Island.  Once again, check with your travel agent. Facilities are also available for private planes. For more information, contact Eastsound Airport, operated by the Orcas Island Port Commission: 360-376-4176.

By Bus: A number of commercial transportation companies operate tours in the San Juan Islands. For service from SeaTac airport and other predetermined pickup locations including Bellingham, Marysville and the Washington State Ferry terminal in Anacortes, contact Airporter Shuttle 866-235-5247.  Skagit Transit provides service from the Skagit Station in Mount Vernon to the Anacortes Ferry Terminal; 360-757-4433