Most travelers to the San Juans arrive by Washington State Ferries which originate in Anacortes. San Juan Island is also accessible by ferry from Sidney, near Victoria, British Columbia. Be advised that ferries are often crowded and it is best to arrive early at the terminal in order not to be overloaded to a later sailing. Reservations are highly recommended, especially in the summer season. Be sure to arrive at least 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time to avoid the WSF reservation no-show fee.
It is also possible to park your car at the Anacortes terminal and board the ferry on foot. The problem is that except for Friday Harbor, where the ferry dock is right in town, there isn’t much you can see and do on arrival without transportation. Auto, moped, and bicycle rentals are available in some cases, and some of the major resorts will pick you up by advance arrangement.
Air transportation is available from various mainland points, or by charter, to each of the larger islands; but again you will need to arrange for transport on arrival.
If you are a boater you can of course cruise the archipelago at your pleasure and find moorage at any number of ports and marinas.
Although the islands now have a great variety of facilities for tourists including inns, resorts, motel-like lodges, and bed-and-breakfast establishments, as well as overnight parks and campgrounds, all of these places are in demand much of the year. It is never wise to come to the San Juans without a firm reservation.
Is there room on the next boat? Click on the title to get the details on the applicable ferry terminal, sailing or just to look at the camera images