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WSF Visitors Center - Travel Tips

Ferry with a clear skyRiding Washington State Ferries can be a challenge and intimidating if you have never traveled on a ferry before. Here are a few tips to make it easier.

  • Wait times are available online for each terminal. Letting you know how early to arrive for a ferry might cut down on the stress of waiting in line.
  • Directions to terminals are available online for specific step-by-step instruction with Google.
  • Generally, terminals are set up consistently such that you drive up to a tollbooth and our ticket sellers will collect fares. You'll then be directed to a holding lane and wait there until the vessel is ready to load.
  • On board, the crew will direct you to park; follow their directions closely. Some of the car decks may feel tight, so drive carefully and watch out for other passengers getting out of their cars. Set your parking brake and enjoy the ride.

The San Juan Islands are a popular destination spot. Here are some ideas to make your day trip or weekend getaway more enjoyable.

  • Reservations are available for customers in the San Juan Islands. Arrive about 30-60 minutes prior to the reserved sailing time. Traffic is often heavy on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning so make sure to arrive within the recommended window to be sure you get on your reserved sailing. 
  • You can book overnight accommodations in the islands, especially in summer months, so make your arrangements before heading out. Reservations are also available off of Friday Harbor and Orcas Island, but it is first come first served from Shaw and Lopez back to Anacortes. If you do come back the same day make sure you arrive at the island terminal well in advance of the last sailing for the non-reservation routes.

Information Agents are available by phone for more details. In Seattle call 206-464-6400 or toll free in Washington state only 1-888-808-7977. The best time to call is before 9 a.m. Pacific time or after 3 p.m.

Visit the Washington State Tourism website to find out more about things to do and see when visiting the Washington state.