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July 7 ferry Anacortes-Orcas (& car or shuttle from Seatte?)

palo alto
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July 7 ferry Anacortes-Orcas (& car or shuttle from Seatte?)

We arrive in SEA on Saturday 7/6 and plan to stay downtown that night. We'll leave for Anacortes to Orcas Island on sunday 7/7. A few questions:

1) We can rent a car for the downtown Seattle to Anacortes drive. Or we can take the Shuttle. Any clear winner? Looks like Shuttle has a 6:25 AM bus or a 12:25 PM bus. Boy, do I hate to get up early if I don't have to . . . .

2) Traffic on ferry -- . What's the wait likely to be for people only (no vehicle) to go Anacortes-Orcas on Sunday, 7/7? (Yes, on Sunday of Fourth of July weekend)

3) Since it doesn't look like we can buy tickets for a particular ferry ahead of time, how long is typical for walk ons to wait? (We have kids, so need to plan ahead if we get there at 2pm and probably won't get on the ferry until 8pm.)

Any tips or tricks that will help us?

Green Valley...
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1. Re: July 7 ferry Anacortes-Orcas (& car or shuttle from Seatte?)

1) With kids, I'd rent a car. You'll need a car on the islands. If with car, get up early (sorry) and get the earliest ferry possible. Otherwise, you might have to await the next one and you've already indicated you know the duration between some ferries; don't do that, go to the islands then relax. There is not a lot to do awaiting the next ferry (you have to stay in line) and it will be a crazy-maker. Sure, you can walk around, use the rest rooms, check out the miniscule cafe, bird watch, read, etc. But for six hours?

2) and 3) If no car, when the ferry says to board, walk-ons simply do so, no waiting.

Tips: IMO, take a car, depart Seattle for the earliest possible ferry. Plan on a two hour drive from Seattle to the Anacortes Ferry Terminal. Worse, get there no later than 1.5 hours before your ferry's departure. I know, I hear you saying, "That early, and getting the kids up, too?" Aahh, but island time awaits you.

I hope you'll have time to explore at least San Juan Island.

San Juan Islands Specific and listed information on what to see/to do on the major islands, with key websites. Best seen with at least one overnight for each island, or base on one, visit others as day trips. tripadvisor.com/Travel-g58727-c102104/San-Ju…

Edited: 10:45 am, July 02, 2013
Green Valley...
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2. Re: July 7 ferry Anacortes-Orcas (& car or shuttle from Seatte?)

Here's why walk-on is suggested rather than a car, but also why I am a fan of early ferry with a car. And with a car (unless rented on the island if you can even get one at this date) you'll have flexibility to explore.

…wa.gov/ferries/traffic_stats/congestion/sum…

palo alto
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3. Re: July 7 ferry Anacortes-Orcas (& car or shuttle from Seatte?)

We'll have three nights on Orcas island at Rosario Resort and four nights on San Juan Island at Lakedale Resort.

I had intended to rent a car but for the size we need it comes to $1300 for the week - more than our airfare. I am looking at whether there's any fun to be had having a week with alternative transportation. Looks like there's a shuttle on San Juan island at least. Might be worth it just to rent a car one way from Seattle to Anacortes?

Green Valley...
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4. Re: July 7 ferry Anacortes-Orcas (& car or shuttle from Seatte?)

Is that the rental rate from the airport or from downtown? I checked Kayak and found much lower rates than that for decent sized cars for your family size. Perhaps I'm missing something... always possible. :)

palo alto
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5. Re: July 7 ferry Anacortes-Orcas (& car or shuttle from Seatte?)

So, to confirm, if we are walking on it should be easy to get on any ferry without wait? Or do you sometimes have to wait a long time for walk on too.

Is there any other way to get from Seattle to Anacortes without a car other than that one shuttle?

There appears to be a car rental agency on Orcas that brings the car to you and you can leave it anywhere. Anyone ever use it?

The appears to be a shuttle that goes to the tourist places on San Juan. Anyone ever use it?

Green Valley...
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6. Re: July 7 ferry Anacortes-Orcas (& car or shuttle from Seatte?)

Para #1: Yes and no, but that depends on when you arrive at the terminal before the ferry, and that depends on the shuttle schedule, which I don't know.

Para #2: Don't know.

Para #3: We bring our car.

Para #4: Have seen it (there are cabs as well), but we bring our car.

Drifiting Clouds is a SJI expert and has commented on the shuttle before; help!

Edited: 11:29 am, July 02, 2013
San Juan Island...
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7. Re: July 7 ferry Anacortes-Orcas (& car or shuttle from Seatte?)

I'm a bit confused about what ttruher is asking as so much as been discussed here back and forth already. I think what is now being asked by ttruher is 1) what are all the ways one can come to the islands from Seatac airport 2) what is the difference in wait time between those who walk-on the ferry and those who have to transport a vehicle and 3) how can one get around on Orcas and SJI without taking a rental car from the mainland with them.

If you do come out to the islands without a car note that this summer there is a special 1/2 price deal with the shuttle van tickets on the Islands. You can find out how to get that deal at this newspaper article: sanjuanjournal.com/lifestyle/208378881.html… Of course the wait time for the ferries as a walk-on is much less than with a car....I have not ever heard of them filling up with walk-ons ever but they sure do with cars. The San Juan ferries have lots of room for walk-on passengers but the space for cars in limited to under 150 per vessel. Basically if you have a car you should always get to the ferry an hour in advance but in the summer especially mid-day on the weekends one should figure on a 90 minute to 2 hour wait to be assured of getting on the ferry you want with a vehicle.

There are a number of different ways one can come out here from Seattle with or without driving a rental car. You could rent a car and drive to the WS ferry in Anacortes and then have that car to use for your whole trip. Or you could get to the ferry landing via any of the shuttle or small airplane or clipper boat ways and then either rent a car here from M&W auto on SJ island or use the shuttle van in the summer months to get to most of the places of interest here on the island (and some days/months of the summer on Orcas too). Info on all of these options:

The Airporter Shuttle has daily round-trip service between SeaTac Airport, downtown Seattle, and the Anacortes ferry terminal and as can be seen online by looking at their schedule at airporter.com/schedules/…ana they leave SeaTac and arrive at the Anacortes ferry many times in a day. This shuttle bus does make multiple stops and involves a brief transfer to a connecting bus to get to the Anacortes terminal. You'll need reservations. Airporter Shuttle: 1-866-235-5247

Kenmore Air takes you by van from SeaTac to one of their terminals (Boeing or Lake Union), where you board a land or seaplane bound for Lopez Island, Orcas Island, or for San Juan Island. Kenmore Air can be reached at 866-435-9524 or http://www.kenmoreair.com/

If your timing for flights is right the easiest most direct way to get here to SJI without a car or flying from Seatac would be The Island Airporter at http://www.islandairporter.com/. The cost is $50 per person one way and that includes your ferry ticket and the shuttle takes you right onto the island here. The one big disadvantage to this way is the owner of this small company only travels both ways once a day.

There is also the Victoria Clipper passenger only boat which leaves from downtown Seattle (you'd have to make your way from SeaTac there) & comes directly to the town of Friday Harbor here on San Juan. This is a fast moving boat so don’t expect it would be warm enough to sit outside during the trip, if that makes a difference to you. The trip takes around 3 hours each way, and the cost is around $70.00 per adult. (800) 888-2535

For those who come out here without a car if you come in the warmer months you can use the San Juan island shuttle bus http://www.sanjuantransit.com/schedules.html to get around the island or you could rent a car here on the island at M & W auto which rents cars year round on SJ island. M&W has a web site for car rental information at sanjuanauto.com/car-rental-friday-harbor-san… Over on Orcas the shuttle van runs on a extended weekend schedule, so not daily but it does operate on the days most tourists are out on Orcas. There is also a place you can rent cars on Orcas and they are online at http://www.orcasislandshuttle.com/ I see they rent cars and mini-vans but I myself don't know anything else about them.

You can find out a lot more about the islands at the San Juan Visitor Bureau web site: http://www.visitsanjuans.com/ You can find more suggestions for things to do in Friday Harbor at: visitsanjuans.com/the-islands/friday-harbor And here is a calendar of events for San Juan: http://www.sanjuancalendar.com/

8. Re: July 7 ferry Anacortes-Orcas (& car or shuttle from Seatte?)

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