If you are anywhere near Seattle, WA in the beautiful Pacific Northwest you should plan to drive a bit further North to Anacortes and take (at minimum) a day trip to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. The Anacortes ferry departure point is about 80 miles north of Seattle. We live about 5 hours away, so we opted to say in Anacortes for the night so we could get on the ferry in the morning. We were very much looking forward to Friday Harbor, but the ferry ride itself ended up being pretty fabulous too.
We crossed over to San Juan Island the end of July of last year for a multi-day Vintage Vacation, but once we were there I could see how easy it would be to just go over to the island for the day. This was one of the magical views from the ferry.
The ferry to Friday Harbor all starts here in the ferry line if you are going to take your car with you. But as of this year, it now all starts here at the Washington State Ferries Reservations page. This is a new reservation system that saves you from wondering how many vehicles will be in front of you in line and if you & your car will make it onto the ferry you are trying to catch. But, what I would recommend for a day trip is just walking on and leaving your car parked at the terminal. It is way less money to get across, you don’t need a ferry reservation, and there is enough to do by foot or bike/moped rental once you get to Friday Harbor.
There are lots of indoor and outdoor areas on the ferry to ensure you enjoy the ride over. If you drive on, you park your car and then you can walk upstairs to the viewing levels. Even with the ferry full of cars (we were one of the last ones on) there was a ton of space to sit or stand pretty much anywhere we wanted.
It is was a nice smooth ride and lasted a little over an hour not including waiting and boarding and un-boarding. Is un-boarding even a word? Maybe off-board? I don’t know. I was never bored even with all the boarding and un-boarding.
I’m pretty sure there is even a little food counter inside. We were so preoccupied with the majesty all around us that we were outside for the entire ride over. We also had picked up Jack-in-the-Box breakfast sandwiches before we got in the ferry line so we could eat while we waited.
If you want to venture all around the island you can walk up to Susie’s Mopeds where you can rent a bike, moped, or Scoot Coupe for the day.
Since we had our car (for part of our trip), we ventured beyond Friday Harbor too, but I’ll highlight some of the other things we did in another post. I just want you to know that I didn’t go directly from lunch to massage to dinner. I swear I didn’t.
If we had more time in Friday Harbor we could have gone to the Museum of Art, Paradise Lanes to bowl (which we always get a kick out of doing because we aren’t particularly good at it), a number of art galleries, and the Whale Museum (which gets good reviews). There are also whale watching boat trips, kayaking expeditions, and a zip line course with transportation from Friday Harbor. You can also take a taxi tour of the island. I ended up sorta doing this when our vehicle broke down, but that’s another story for another day. Bob’s Taxi & Tours comes highly recommended by yours truly.
We stayed at Lakedale Resort while we were on the island. I’ll post about that amazing place soon. It deserves a post of its own, but here is an evening shot of the ferry terminal awaiting the evening ferry shuttle back to Anacortes or a number of other island destinations.