Arriving By Ferry
Quick Ferry Links:
Lopez Ferry Quota (scroll to the bottom)
The ferry to Lopez is about 40 minutes and leaves from the Anacortes Ferry Terminal. You can drive or walk on. During summer months a round-trip ticket costs $13.50/person or $46/person+car. $10 reservations are highly recommended.
Getting To Anacortes
Most people drive from Seattle, it takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
There is also a convenient shuttle from SeaTac Airport or downtown Seattle. Here's a link to check times and make reservations. It costs $40 one-way.
MB's Anacortes Ferry Pro-Tips
The ferries are definitely an element in visiting the San Juan Islands. But they don't necessarily have to be. Here's the gist of what you need to know:
Make A Reservation! Unless you're traveling in the winter or mid-week in the shoulder season, save yourself the stress and make a reservation. It is $10 you don't pay if you actually show up. You can change or cancel up to 5pm the day before and get your $10 back. If you no show, you lose the $10. Reservation spots are released in advance of your sailing date. They open up at 7 am and again they go fast for popular times for weekend sailings so just set a reminder in your phone.
First 1/3 of the spots are released when the sailing schedule is released
Next 1/3 of the spots are released 2 weeks in advance
Last 1/3 of the spots are released 2 days in advance
Show Up Early! In order to keep your reservation you HAVE to be in Anacortes 30 min before departure time. Give yourself wiggle room! It's an hour and 45 min drive from Seattle and it's not a fun one of you spend the entire time worried you're not going to make your boat. Give yourself extra time, and get a coffee or snack at the terminal. To the right of the terminal is a beach you can walk down to, easy to entertain dogs and children.
Feeling lucky? Last minute trip? You can check space availability for same day sailings. As people cancel reservations the day before or get on an earlier boat same day, you may see spots open up.
Leaving Lopez By Ferry
There are no reservations for getting off the island. This means during peak travel times (Sundays in the summer, holidays, etc) you need to physically line up early to ensure a spot. Afternoon ferries are usually the busiest whereas early morning and night ferries see much less traffic.
MB's Lopez Ferry Pro-Tips
Check The Quotas! Although there aren't reservations, there are a certain number of spots reserved for Lopez cars, check the quotas here (scroll to the bottom). This will give you a better idea of your chances of making it on.
Stage Your Car! Determine when the prior ferry is leaving and have someone drive you to the ferry terminal and leave your car in line. Just be sure to get there before the next ferry takes off or you're a huge jerk :)
If you are lining up early, bring snacks! Some people pull out their beach chairs. There are no services at the ferry dock, just a vending machine and portapotties so plan ahead. If you have time to kill, stick to your right, past the parking lot are the portapotties, keep walking and you'll see a trail that goes down to a rocky outcropping with stunning views. Perfect spot to have a picnic or read your book.
No Ferry No Problems!
If that all sounds stressful to you, walk or bike on! No need for a reservation. You can park at the lots in Anacortes and either have someone pick you up or bike from the ferry terminal to the property. We highly recommend this option if you don't absolutely need your car and there is already someone on island who can pick you up.
But again, make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to park and walk on. During busy months you'll need to park in the upper lots and it's about a 10 minute walk down to the terminal.