There are several modes of transportation to Orcas Island and the beautiful San Juan Islands. Most often, people take one of the iconic Washington State Ferries from Anacortes to the islands. It’s highly recommended you make a reservation on the ferry for your car (walk-on passengers don’t require reservations.) It’s suggested to make reservations for your trip to Orcas, and your return to Anacortes. Visit TakeAFerry.com to see schedules and make reservations. The current schedule is here
Reservation space is released in tiers. A portion (30% of each sailing) is released up to two months before the first sailing of the season (fall, winter, spring or summer sailing seasons). Another 30% is released two weeks prior to sailing, and the final 30% is released two days before departure. There is no charge to make a reservation (no-shows do incur a $10 charge). If you are coming by Washington State Ferry, your ticket is good for a round trip — you only pay going westbound (coming to the island). Payment is made at the ferry terminal in Anacortes.
Directions to the Washington State Ferries Anacortes Terminal: If you are coming by car and taking a Washington State Ferry, the mainland terminal which serves the San Juan’s is located in Anacortes, Washington, 80 miles northwest of Seattle. Follow Interstate highway I-5 north from Seattle, take Exit 230 and follow Highway 20 west to Anacortes. Once you are in Anacortes, take a left on 12th Street (Safeway market will be on the right), then follow the signs to the ferry terminal and ticketing booths (just 5 minutes away).
Visitors can also come by private boat, airplane or seaplane (including Kenmore Air) directly from several locations listed below, depending on the season. No matter how you get here, the scenery is spectacular and getting here is half the fun! If you’ve traveled to the island without your car, you still have plenty of travel options. Rental cars, seasonal bus shuttle service, mopeds and bicycles are all possibilities. Contact the Chamber by phone or email and we’ll help you with those plans.
Wireless internet service is now available at the Washington State Ferries terminal in Anacortes. The service is available through Boingo, the world’s largest network of Wi-Fi hotspots. Once you are parked in the ferry line or you’re inside the terminal area, select the wireless network “Boingo Hotspot” and launch your internet browser. Charges may apply; wireless service is not available on ferries serving the San Juan Islands.
Traveling Between the Islands: Visitors wanting to make a trip to another island can take the Washington State Ferries Inter-Island ferry, or can fly aboard Kenmore Air or San Juan Airlines. For more information call our Visitor Information Center at 360-376-2273.
Kenmore Air provides land and seaplanes, with daily direct, scheduled flights from Lake Union, Lake Washington, and Boeing Field/King County Airport. Visit Kenmore Air, 1-800-543-9595. They provide free shuttle service between SeaTac and their terminals.
San Juan Airlines provides charter service from Boeing Field and SeaTac Airport, https://www.sanjuanairlines.com/ or 1-360-676-9999.
Bellair Airporter Shuttle provides daily bus service from SeaTac and downtown Seattle to the Anacortes ferry terminal, https://www.airporter.com/ or 1-866-235-5247
Greyhound Bus Lines provides service from Seattle to Mt. Vernon, https://www.greyhound.com/, 800-231-2222 or 360-336-5111. Once in Mt. Vernon you must transfer to the Skagit Transit bus system, or 360-757-4433. From the Greyhound Bus Terminal in Mt. Vernon catch the Number 208 bus to the Cascade Mall where you will transfer to the 410 route to the Anacortes ferry terminal (410 not available Saturday and Sunday)
Washington State Ferries provide over a dozen sailings to the San Juan Islands each day, for walk-on and drive-on passengers. Note that each scheduled ferry may not visit every island. Visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/ or call 206-464-6400 or 1-888-808-7977. Visit their website for schedules, fares and parking information.
San Juan Airlines provides daily scheduled flights, https://www.sanjuanairlines.com/ or 1-800-874-4434
San Juan Airlines provides daily, scheduled flights, https://www.sanjuanairlines.com/ or 1-800-874-4434
Passports are required for travel between the U.S. and Canada. Regularly scheduled air service is available between Orcas Island and Victoria via NorthStar Air Tours (website). San Juan Airlines provides charter service, https://www.sanjuanairlines.com/ or 1-800-874-4434. Washington State Ferries (WSF) provides April-December sailings from nearby Sidney, B.C., for walk-on and drive-on passengers, www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/ or 206-464-6400 or 1-888-808-7977. Visit their website for schedules, fares and parking information. (If you would like to go to Victoria from the San Juan Islands, in most cases you will need to spend at least one night there due to the ferry schedule. During summer there are two ferries each day. Check the Washington State Ferries website for schedule information or call our office for assistance at 360-376-2273.)
Charter boats also transport Orcas Island visitors to Victoria, B.C. Contact the Chamber for more information (360-376-2273).
Passports are required for travel between the U.S. and Canada.
B.C. Ferries provide daily service from Tsawwassen, B.C. (near Vancouver) to Swartz Bay, B.C. (north of Victoria), https://www.bcferries.bc.ca/, 888-223-3779 or 250-386-3431. In nearby Sidney, board a Washington State Ferry to Friday Harbor, then transfer to a ferry bound for Orcas Island (Washington State Ferries only make runs to Canada during certain seasons).
San Juan Airlines provides charter service, https://www.sanjuanairlines.com/ or 1-800-874-4434