Island Travel

Island Transportation Options

People ask me all the time how people and things are transported on and off the islands. I explain to them that its the same way travel happens anywhere except our highway is liquid instead of asphalt. It maybe takes a few more steps to bring our groceries from the store to the kitchen, but the end result is pretty much the same.

Traveling to the islands by boat:

The Washington State Ferry provides daily transportation to four of the islands…Lopez, Shaw, Orcas and San Juan Islands. 
Private passenger ferries serve all of  the remaining islands.  Paraclete Charters operates three boats and Island Express Charters  has two boats making trips to the islands multiple times a day. 
The water taxis offer an efficient time-saving way to visit the islands without long waits in ferry lines.  They can access beaches, boats or private docks throughout the islands. 
Many kayakers and hikers use the passenger ferries to explore some of the beautiful outlying areas that would otherwise be inaccessible.

Water taxi dock at Skyline Marina

Island Express Charters

Traveling to the islands by air:

If traveling by air is more desireable, there are a number of private airlines offering daily flights to the islands.  San Juan Airlines and Kenmore Air both offer direct connections to SEATAC airport, while Island Air  primarily concentrates on inter-island travel. Deliveries of UPS and FEDEX also come in by air.


Transporting Equipment and Materials:

When there is a need to transport vehicles or building materials to the islands, one of the local barge companies can help you do that.  The Island Transporter  operates out of Skyline Marina in Anacortes, and primarily goes to Decatur, Center and Lopez Islands. Pintail Marine offers excellent service from San Juan Island and large freight can be moved on the MV San Juan Enterprise from Anacortes.

Barge binging contractor to Decatur Island

For whale watching, kayak or wildflower tours and other tourist-related activities, the Guide to the San Juans is a great source of information about the various companies providing those type of transportation options.

Arriving on the beach-Paraclete Charters