What ferry can I use to explore the San Juan Islands?
The main San Juan Islands ferry system is run by the Washington State Department of Transportation. You can use their website to find out what the current ferry schedule is. There are also private ferry services in smaller boats that come from other nearby cities, but these do not take cars.
These public ferries run from Anacortes to Lopez, Shaw, Orcas, Vancouver B.C and San Juan Island. They generally come and go from each island several times every day. The lines and cost of the ferry are the main annoying parts of ferry travel. To decrease your level of annoyance arrive early, especially in the summer, and consider walking or biking on which is much cheaper.
- Fares: Passenger tickets are about $13.00 and car with driver is about $33.00. These rates vary seasonally.
- Terminals: The ferries leave from Anacortes. The Ferry Landing on Lopez is several miles from Lopez Village. The Ferry Landings on Shaw and Orcas both have some services but the main town on Orcas Island is still some distance away. The Friday Harbor Ferry Landing is right in the downtown.
- Times: The ferries start running around 6am and run until 9-10pm depending on the season. With the earliest running ferry you can leave your car in line the night before to insure your spot. Just make sure you get there in the morning or they will tow your car.
- Phone: The website for Washington State Department of Transportation is the best way to check the schedule or different fares. For other questions you can call this number, 888-808-7977.