Ferry Travel Tips

San Juan Island Ferry

If you are traveling via the Washington State ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor, here are some ferry travel tips:

Tickets and Reservations

Reservations may be made online at the Washington State Ferry or by phone at 1-888-808-7977 (statewide) or 1-206-464-6400 (out of state) beginning at 7 am 2 weeks before each new ferry schedule start date. Another batch of reservations become available 2 weeks prior and then 2 days prior to the sailing. For San Juan Islands summer schedule, which runs between mid-June to mid-September, the first third of space on all sailings will be released in six increments.

Tickets purchased in Anacortes are for round-trip travel to Friday Harbor.

Reservations are also available for the international crossing to Sidney B.C., Canada.

  • Plan on traveling off peak by taking one of the early morning ferries as the early afternoon ferry is always popular. There is limited space available for drive-up vehicles on each sailing for those without a reservation.
  • Washington State Ferry loads on average 20-30 additional vehicles on each sailing as standby due to reservation holders who don’t show for their reserved sailing.
  • There is limited space available for drive-up vehicles on each sailing for those without a reservation.
  • Arrive 30 minutes and no more than 90 minutes in advance of reserved sailing. For busy holiday weekends, arrive 45 minutes prior to departure. There is limited space available on each sailing for those without a reservation. If you are not processed through the tollbooth and into the holding area within this window you will forfeit your reservation and travel standby on a first-come, first-serve basis. You must arrive at the end of the tollbooth line 45-90 minutes prior to departure time.
  • If you do not show up for your reservation you will be charged a no-show fee based on the size of your vehicle.
  • Bring your printed bar code from your reservation or your confirmation number.
  • Reservations must be canceled by 5 pm the day prior to travel to avoid a no-show fee.
  • Unlimited changes are permitted up to 5 pm the day prior to the reserved sailing. One change is allowed after 5 pm but must be made more than two hours in advance for Anacortes/San Juan Island reservations.
  • No changes or cancellations are permitted after the reservation deadline, which is two hours for the Anacortes San Juan Island routes.
  • Reservations for San Juan Island travel are reserved as separate legs. if you change or cancel an outbound trip please be reminded you need to modify the return trip as well to avoid no-show fees.
  • If you do not have time for a meal before you get in line, you may wish to stop along the way and purchase a meal or snacks to bring with you. There is also food available at the Cheesecake Cafe in the ferry terminal. Once you have your car in line, you can enjoy your picnic, read a good book or a take a stroll.
  • Consider leaving your car in Anacortes and visiting San Juan Island by foot. The Harrison House Suites is only one and 1/2 blocks from the Friday Harbor ferry terminal. There are plenty of options for getting around the Island without a car, especially in summer.

Ferry Travel Tips for Furbabies

  • Four-legged friends are welcome on the ferry. They can enjoy the crossing in your vehicle, or on the car deck restrained in a crate. Only service animals are permitted on the passenger decks.

Inter-island Travel

  • Inter-island ferry travel is free for foot passengers or those traveling with a bicycle.
  • There are no reservations for the interisland sailing.
  • On your return trip to Anacortes from Friday Harobr, you can stop and visit other islands without having to pay additional ferry tarifs.