San Juan Island Ferries
First get a copy of the schedule and rates from the ferry terminal(Most likely anacortes).
Next unless going all the way to Victoria or from Victoria you only pay tolls on West Bound trips. They don't take credit cards at most of the island ferry terminals except Anacortes so remember to have some cash.
For the more popular routes and days, get your car in line early. We did see some cars have to wait for the next ferry. We did weekday travel which didn't seem bad but we'll bet the weekend travel requires some waits. The ferries occasionally run late but I wouldn't count on it. Most of the one's we saw left within minutes of their scheduled time. If you are walking or biking you just need to get there in plenty of time to actually get on the ferry.
Finally if you are bringing your bikes, use a rear carrier not a roof carrier. Due to height restrictions you may be forced to pay a larger toll and are put in the oversized section(the middle of the ferry)
They are really not kidding...
They are really not kidding when they say plan on a two to four hour wait if you are coming to and from the island via the ferry system with your car. Going back to Seattle, my friend and I were there three hours ahead of our desired 1 pm sailing and were turned away until the 5 pm sailing! Luckily, I was ever curious and we ended taking another ferry to Orcas Island, with a departure for Anacortes that ultimately got us back into the city earlier than if we had stayed in Friday Harbor. The ferry system is wonderful, comfortable, convenient, but really does get bogged down with all the summer tourism. Plan ahead.
I would not have wanted to be there without our vehicle... we might have missed so much of the island. However, we did see couples cruising around in cute little egg-shaped motorized carts. Looked fun. Maybe next time!
The Ferry! But walk on and...
The Ferry! But walk on and rent a car or moped here. It will minimize your wait time for the ferries dramatically.
Bicycle, car or moped. When you are in town, parking can be a huge challenge in the summer.
You can get to the San Juan...
You can get to the San Juan islands a number of different ways. If you are coming from Seattle you can fly here via either West Isle Air (phone info # 800 874 4434) or Kenmore Air Harbor(Seaplane) and their # is 800 543 9595. The private company Victoria Clipper has passenger ONLY boats from Seattle. They have a web site at http://www.victoriaclipper.com/san%20juans.html
The Washington State Ferry comes from the town of Anacortes. That's how most people get out to the islands. They have a web site at http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/
If you can stand the waits in lines and have a few days to see the islands, it is best to bring your own car. For a day visit in the summer my advise would be to walk on the ferry and use the San Juan Transit shuttle van. They have a web site at
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