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Traveling to San Juan Island

The San Juan Islands are located between the coast of Washington state and Vancouver Island, Canada. The most common way to get there is drive north from Seattle about 85 miles to Anacortes. Auto carrying ferries will take you to the islands and even on to Vancouver Island if you choose (click for current schedule). You'll want ferry reservations if traveling between US & Canada during tourist season by calling (206) 464-6400, or (888) 808-7977 if in WA, but reservations are not available if staying within the US.  The phone system can be PAINFULLY slow at times.  Personally I much prefer making the reservations through the secure web site at https://secure.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/webres/

More about the Washington State Ferries:

Ferries have gotten a bad rap for being overcrowded and long waits. It does sometimes happen and it always helps to bring a good book, but they're usually not that bad. Typically, ferries are crowded during the middle of the day in the tourist season for both directions and especially around 5 PM. During the off season they are often crowded in the morning going towards Anacortes and around 5 pm leaving Anacortes. Bigger ferries with more runs are available during tourist season. As a result, back-ups can be worse just before and just after the summer schedule takes effect. They can always be unpredictable, so be prepared for surprises.

Regardless of the wait, this is an exceptionally beautiful boat ride. The waters are protected and rarely rough and the islands are generally covered with fir and red-barked madrone trees. Although the ferries seem a little expensive, consider that you're paying for a round-trip unless going between US and Canada. You'll want transportation to get around the island or islands and just about any vehicle you rent will cost more than bringing your own. If you want to island-hop, consider going to Friday Harbor first so that you're always going the "free" direction from island to island. Ferry information is available by calling (800) 843-3779 or check the Washington state ferry's web page.  Have a look at my ferry pictures on the "Photos around the Island" page.

Other ways of getting to San Juan Island

There are also many alternative approaches such as:   Island Airporter (no transfers, stops along the way or carrying luggage through the ferry terminal);   San Juan AirlinesNorthwest Sea Planes; West Isle Air; Airport shuttle van (800) 235-5247; Grayline bus (800) 426-7532; San Juan Explorer boat from Seattle (800) 888-2535; Puget Sound Express from Port Townsend (360) 385-5288; San Juan Island Express from Bellingham (360) 671-1137; Victoria~San Juan Cruises/San Juan Island Commuter; Island Express Charters from Anacortes; Victoria Clipper, Kenmore Air float planes from Seattle (800) 543-9595;   West Isle Air (800) 874-4434; Aeronautical Services, Inc. (360) 378-26409 and Island Air (360) 378-2376 or toll free (888) 378-2376 .  Of course you could always include a stop to San Juan Island as part of a cruise.  Check out Starward First Travel to find our cruise that passes through the San Juans.

Kenmore Air Seaplanes www.kenmoreair.com the fast, fun, easy route from  Seattle to the San Juan Islands. Fly off the water from downtown Seattle’s  Lake Union or north Lake Washington on daily scheduled flights. Free shuttle connections to/from Seattle Tacoma International Airport. The seaplane  leader since 1946.

Need to get around the island? We've found that the following businesses have provided the best service for our guests: car rental agencies, M&W Auto Rentals and Sales (800) 323-6037, moped rentals: Susie's Moped Rentals (800) 532-0087, bicycles: Island bicycles (360) 378-4941,  the San Juan Transit bus system and taxis (360) 378-8887 and Bob's Taxi (360) 378-6777.