Whether you're looking for a short, relaxing, half-day getaway; a weekend escape; or a great vacation; Washington State Ferries is the ideal way to go. We serve some of Washington's most picturesque and historic destinations. Here are just a few good ideas on places to sail and things to see.
Washington State Ferries are the primary link to the San Juan Islands. Accessible out of Anacortes, WSF has five ports of call: San Juan Island, Lopez, Shaw, Orcas and Sidney B.C.
- LOPEZ ISLAND is the first ferry stop. If you're looking for a quiet place to relax or a no-sweat bike ride, the gentle terrain and bucolic lifestyle is for you! Lopez Village on Fisherman Bay is the hub for shopping and dining. Since Lopez Village is 3.5 miles from the ferry, it's best to BYOB(bring your own bicycle); however, there are bikes for rent on the island.
- SHAW ISLAND, with a population of fewer than 150 on less than 5,000 acres, is the smallest of the four ferry-served islands. There are no facilities for visitors except a grocery store and small campground at South Beach.
- ORCAS ISLAND, with more than 36,000 acres, is the largest and considered the most spectacular. It has long been a favorite for generations of vacationers. The population is widely dispersed which adds to its feeling of privacy. Mount Constitution in Moran State Park offers panoramic views of all the archipelago, and is surrounded by miles of trails and sparkling lakes. Roads fan out from the business and social center of Eastsound village, winding through valleys, forest and along lovely coves.
- SAN JUAN ISLAND is the busiest and most populated. Approximately two hours after departing Anacortes, the ferry arrives at the largest town and county seat of the islands, Friday Harbor. This port bustles all year with a myriad of pleasure and fishing boats. Since many of the island's amenities and facilities are within walking distance or available by public transportation from the ferry landing, San Juan is the best island to visit conveniently without bringing your car. Good public beach access is available here, especially at American Camp in San Juan National Historic Park.
- BRITISH COLUMBIA It's a beautiful journey aboard the Washington State Ferries through the San Juan Islands to Sidney B.C. on Vancouver Island. Butchart Gardens is a major attraction, with hundreds of trees and masses of colorful flowers and shrubs. And what's this? Cricket matches? Double-decker buses, the majestic Parliament building, English shops with woolens and china? Sounds like London? It's Victoria, a one-of-a-kind city, capital of British Columbia, with a blend of English and Canadian architecture, flavor and charm. The Provincial Museum is a must-see.
The Port Townsend/Coupeville ferry is the connection between Whidbey Island and the Olympic Peninsula. Port Townsend is a sample of old Victorian design and eclectic businesses with a boardwalk of accommodations and restaurants. Fort Worden and Fort Flagler neighbor the town with conference facilities, vacation housing, beaches and camping. On the Whidbey Island side, Fort Casey is right next to the dock with many campsites, picnic areas, a lighthouse and interpretive center.
Take the Mukilteo ferry to Clinton on Whidbey Island, the second-longest island in the U.S. Drive north to Deception Pass and cross the bridge back to the mainland. The Deception Pass Bridge offers a bird's-eye view of boats navigating the famous tidal rapids which roil through the narrow channel. There's a state park at the pass with saltwater beaches, trails, and excellent picnic spots. While you're on the island, visit Coupeville, a town with a history. You'll see Native American war canoes, an old blockhouse, and pioneer homes dating back to 1890. Irresistible shops await you in the quaint towns of Coupeville and Langley.
The largest vessels in the fleet travel between Seattle and Bainbridge Island. The Island offers a mix of rural charm, sophisticated amenities. The terminal is just a few steps from the city center, marina and streets linked with chic shops, museums, galleries and restaurants. Heading north from the terminal you can cross Agate Pass to Suquamish, Poulsbo's "Little Norway", Indianola, and the historic old mill town of Port Gamble and Hood Canal Bridge to the Olympic Peninsula to the west, and Silverdale to the south. Alternative return routes are the Kingston ferry sailing to Edmonds or the Bremerton ferry to downtown Seattle.
The terminal at Kingston offers travelers a covered walkway and direct access to downtown shops, restaurants and marina with an adjacent park offering views of the Salish Sea. From Kingston, it is an easy drive to the surrounding historic waterfront communities like Poulsbo's "Little Norway," and the famous lighthouse and wonderful beach at Point No Point in Hansville. Loop around Driftwood Keys and continue to the historic mill town at Port Gamble, Kitsap Memorial State Park and the Hood Canal floating bridge. South of Kingston are the waterfront towns of Indianola and Suquamish.
Take a stunning one-hour ferry ride to the terminal in Bremerton, home to Naval Base Kitsap and the fourth largest naval shipyard in the world. Bremerton's Harborside features museums, arts district, fountains, restaurants and hotels. This route is your portal to Central Kitsap, Bangor Naval Base, and Silverdale, the largest retail area in the region. Heading southwest from Bremerton, is the City of Port Orchard and highway to North Mason County, Belfair and Hood Canal.
Seattle's Fauntleroy terminal is located along scenic Beach Dr. in West Seattle and is the primary transportation route for historic Vashon Island. The ferry sails past picturesque farmland, lakes, and miles of beautiful waterfront on its way to Vashon Island and the Southworth terminal. Southworth provides access to Olalla, Manchester and the City of Port Orchard. The winding, relatively flat route around the shoreline heading south offers a spectacular scenic ride for motorists and cyclists. The Southworth route offers an easy drive south to Shelton and ocean beaches. Once on Vashon Island, head south to Tahlequah and take the ferry to Point Defiance and the zoo in Tacoma.