Ferry Reservation

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"sunset sail on the ferry"
"sunset is the best time to take the ferry"

This information is from Washington State Ferries (WSF). Please check their site for the most up-to-date information.

If you are driving a vehicle, don't forget to make your ferry reservation from Anacortes to Orcas Island, WA.

  • Vehicle reservations are not required, but are strongly recommended. Limited standby space is available on all sailings.
  • Vehicle reservations are one way. Be sure to make reservations for both your outbound and return trips.
  • Reservations are for vehicles only. Walk-on passengers and those bringing bicycles can buy a ticket online or pay when you arrive.

Reservation Release Dates

The summer sailing season begins June 16, 2024. Vehicle reservations will be available beginning Tuesday, April 16 at 10:00 a.m. PT. On the Anacortes/San Juan Islands routes, space is released according to the following schedule:

  • 2 months before the season start date at 10:00 a.m. PT: 25% of standard vehicle space is released and all 75% of tall, non-standard vehicle space is released
  • 2 weeks before each sailing date at 7:00 a.m. PT: Additional 25% of standard vehicle space is released
  • 2 days before each sailing date at 7:00 a.m. PT: Final 25% of standard vehicle space is released

During normal operations, 75% of the space on each vessel is available to reserve, and the remaining 25% of vehicle deck space is held open for emergency and stand-by vehicles. Additional standby space may also be available due to no shows. In the event of a service disruption, new reservations may be unavailable, and existing reservation holders will be prioritized over standby traffic.

TIPS: Set your alarm and have your computer ready to go, website open, ready to select the time you want, with credit card info, etc. or risk not being able to check out. Also, if you miss it initially, check again after 30 or 60 minutes when the unpaid carts get re-released. This is the game we all play 2 weeks and 2 days beforehand. In 2022, we had more luck checking out as a guest and not logging into an account. You'll also have less frustration trying on the 2 weeks and 2 days before release dates because the initial release date 2 months prior is for sailing dates for the entire summer, not just one specific day, so there is a lot more website traffic on that day. Normally, carts expire in 30 minutes but in 2022 everyone's carts were timing out before they were able to check out and WSDOT caught on and changed it to 60 minutes; so if you keep refreshing and wait until 8a, you may get lucky. It is also recommended to do random checks because if someone cancels their reservation, it becomes immediately available again on their website.

**New in 2024, WSF has implemented a virtual waiting room to prevent website overload and deliver fair access during this high-demand period. Customers accessing the site who are directed to the waiting room will see their place in line, estimated expected wait time, and will have the option to receive a notification and come back to the site when it is their turn.

Day of Travel

"ferry water trail"

You must arrive in advance of your sailing time. Plan to arrive and join the line 45-60 minutes in advance of a reserved sailing.

Drivers must check-in at a tollbooth at least 30 minutes before the reserved sailing time. If you don't check-in by that time, you will lose your reserved space and will be put in the standby queue (even if you are 1 minute late). On busy sailings, vehicles will have to wait in line before reaching the tollbooth or attendant. Keep this in mind when planning how far in advance to arrive.

Make sure to bring the printed or mobile barcode from the attachment in your confirmation email or the reservation confirmation number.

Change/Cancel Reservation

You can change or cancel your vehicle reservations online.

  • Reservations must be changed or canceled before 5:00 p.m. PT the day before travel to avoid a no-show fee.
  • A final change is allowed after 5:00 p.m. PT the day before the reserved sailing with no charge. If a reservation is canceled after the final change has been made, a no-show fee will be charged.
  • No changes or cancellations can be made less than two hours in advance of the reserved sailing.

Ticket Info

  • Tickets for vehicles including the driver are roundtrip (you only pay at Anacortes, not Orcas Island)
  • Vehicle and Passenger Tickets are only required when departing from Anacortes
  • All tickets for travel through the San Juan Islands are for roundtrip fares and cover the cost of your departure and return trips

(Your reservation is not your ticket. The credit card you entered to make your reservation is only used for the no-show fee; you can pay for your ticket however you want when you get to the tollbooth.)