Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 07-23-2015, 02:17 PM   #1
keb
Senior Member
 
keb's Avatar
 
City: Portland, OR
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 129
Anacortes - San Juans

We are going to be in Anacortes next week to look around the area. I am trying to show my First Mate/Admiral/Boss another option for the boating life than Florida's sunshine. Thankfully we should be blessed with decent weather. I have read through some of the old posts regarding restaurants,etc.

What are the "not to be missed" things to do and see? We have been there for two days previously but it was rather rushed. We drove around the island and south through Deception Pass State Park to Oakville and on another day visited LaConner and Bellingham. We did not catch any ferry's on that trip. We have ruled out Bellingham as it is too busy and too industrial for the most part.

We are interested in boating, beautiful scenery and views, uh ... Boating and also boating. Any ideas regarding getting on the water on short notice ... Other than the ferry's? ⛵️🔜⚓️🐠🐋🐳🐟🐡🍻🍹

Thanks for any assistance!


Kevin
__________________
Advertisement

keb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-23-2015, 03:11 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Boydski's Avatar
 
City: Olympia, WA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Sea Eagle
Vessel Model: Nordhavn 47
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 201
Hi Kevin,

Leave your car at the ferry terminal in Anacortes and hop on the ferry for Friday Harbor. Lots to do over there, whale watching, sunset cruises on an old sailing ship, etc.

You can also take the free shuttle to Roche Harbor (lots of big, nice boats there), or hop on the inter-island ferry to visit Lopez, Orcas, etc.
__________________

__________________
Scott (Boydski) Boyd
Yes Please, Grand Banks Eastbay
Sea Eagle, Nordhavn 47 (sold)
Boydski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-23-2015, 03:14 PM   #3
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
Bellingham has one of the best marina's in the northern waters. It's also a college town (Western Washington University) and so has all the attractions of one-- good restaurants, music, theatre, etc.

However it's not really a tourist town (which is great in our opinion, since we keep our cruising boat there). The drive to it is very nice, across the Skagit delta through the farmland and then up Chuckanut Drive along the water. We go to Bellingham almost every weekend but we never use I-5 from the town of Conway on up.

Probably the most interesting ferry-access island in the San Juans in my and my wife's opinion is Orcas. It has a great state park, Moran, which includes Mt. Constitution which is the highest point in the islands with a lookout tower at the top of it. The town of East Sound is rather eclectic and has a bunch of good restaurants. The marina in Westsound is one of our favorites, very local and funky and does not have the snobby upscale atmosphere of Deer Harbor, which along with Roche Harbor on San Juan Island are our two most disliked places in the islands.

Friday Harbor on San Juan Island is an interesting and fun sort of place if one has never been there. We've been there numerous times and have a sort of "been there, done that" attitude towards it. For the most part it's way too touristy for us. I grew up in Hawaii and so have seen and been around more than my fair share of tourists. So Friday Harbor is no longer one of our preferred destinations. But it's well worth visiting if one is new to the area.

You catch the ferry to Orcas or San Juan islands from Anacortes.
Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-23-2015, 03:17 PM   #4
THD
Guru
 
City: Seattle
Country: US
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 1,142
keb-I don't know of short term options for getting on the water, some of the TF'ers from up there can give you more info. But, just for checking the islands out, don't give up on the ferries. The San Juan ferry can be a great trip. With a car, it has become quite expensive, Anacortes to Friday Harbor is just over $60 for car and driver, plus $8 or so for the passenger. And getting on the ferry either direction can be a frustrating, time consuming experience, can be significant waits. That said, going as a walk-on can be great, much cheaper and never a problem getting on. Leave the car at the terminal in Anacortes. You can go from Anacortes to Friday Harbor on any boat, no wait. About two blocks from the Friday Harbor terminal is a place that will rent you a car cheap to drove around the island. You can leave early, spend the day driving around San Juan Island, and get any late afternoon/early evening boat back. San Juan has some cool places including Roche Harbor plus Friday Harbor. You can get a good feel for other anchorages, places to go in a boat. On the ferry ride, you get a good feel for how many islands there are and some vague idea of how extensive the cruising grounds are. Others here can offer more.
THD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-23-2015, 03:46 PM   #5
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
THD makes a good point. If you are going to ride a ferry as a walk-on, then Friday Harbor is the best destination because the town itself is right there. If you go to Orcas as a walk-on, you get off at the ferry dock but there's nothing really there. All the cool stuff requires a vehicle.

I believe there is a rudimentary bus service on Orcas that will take one to East Sound where a vehicle can be rented but I have no idea how often the bus runs. It may be tied to the ferry schedule, which would be a smart thing to do but I don't know if they've done that over there.

When we go to Orcas we arrange for a rental car in advance and it's delivered to the marina we use. When we leave the island we leave the car at the marina and the rental company comes and picks it up.
Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2015, 07:22 PM   #6
keb
Senior Member
 
keb's Avatar
 
City: Portland, OR
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marin View Post
Bellingham has one of the best marina's in the northern waters. It's also a college town (Western Washington University) and so has all the attractions of one-- good restaurants, music, theatre, etc.

I think it is the size of the city we are looking to get away from. What makes Bellingham's marina one of the best? We went there and it seemed a bit tired and old with closed businesses, etc. Just my first take opinion (and the first mate wasn't smitten ).

However it's not really a tourist town (which is great in our opinion, since we keep our cruising boat there). The drive to it is very nice, across the Skagit delta through the farmland and then up Chuckanut Drive along the water. We go to Bellingham almost every weekend but we never use I-5 from the town of Conway on up. Thanks for the heads up on the Chuckanut Drive - we do enjoy that if we can stay off I5.

Friday Harbor on San Juan Island is an interesting and fun sort of place if one has never been there. We've been there numerous times and have a sort of "been there, done that" attitude towards it. For the most part it's way too touristy for us. I grew up in Hawaii and so have seen and been around more than my fair share of tourists. So Friday Harbor is no longer one of our preferred destinations. But it's well worth visiting if one is new to the area.

Yeah, have never been out to any of the islands or spent much time in the PS area. Visited Port Townsend years ago and found it quite charming. We are looking for a quiet place without so much traffic, clean air and water, and yes, not too many tourists. Not partial to crowds anymore. But also close to some "action" within a reasonable distance would be desirable.

You catch the ferry to Orcas or San Juan islands from Anacortes.
Thanks!
keb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2015, 07:25 PM   #7
keb
Senior Member
 
keb's Avatar
 
City: Portland, OR
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boydski View Post
Hi Kevin,

Leave your car at the ferry terminal in Anacortes and hop on the ferry for Friday Harbor. Lots to do over there, whale watching, sunset cruises on an old sailing ship, etc.

You can also take the free shuttle to Roche Harbor (lots of big, nice boats there), or hop on the inter-island ferry to visit Lopez, Orcas, etc.
Thanks Scott! Who runs the free shuttle? Haven't seen anything about it in my research for transportation once on the island.

Kevin
keb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2015, 07:33 PM   #8
keb
Senior Member
 
keb's Avatar
 
City: Portland, OR
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by THD View Post
keb-I don't know of short term options for getting on the water, some of the TF'ers from up there can give you more info. But, just for checking the islands out, don't give up on the ferries. The San Juan ferry can be a great trip. With a car, it has become quite expensive, Anacortes to Friday Harbor is just over $60 for car and driver, plus $8 or so for the passenger. And getting on the ferry either direction can be a frustrating, time consuming experience, can be significant waits. That said, going as a walk-on can be great, much cheaper and never a problem getting on. Leave the car at the terminal in Anacortes. You can go from Anacortes to Friday Harbor on any boat, no wait. About two blocks from the Friday Harbor terminal is a place that will rent you a car cheap to drove around the island. You can leave early, spend the day driving around San Juan Island, and get any late afternoon/early evening boat back. San Juan has some cool places including Roche Harbor plus Friday Harbor. You can get a good feel for other anchorages, places to go in a boat. On the ferry ride, you get a good feel for how many islands there are and some vague idea of how extensive the cruising grounds are. Others here can offer more.
Thanks. Honestly I was a bit surprised at the cost of taking a small car on the ferry with 2 people but do understand that the ferry system can't be cheap to run. Spending one's time in a line waiting, is not my idea of fun and avoided when possible. Unless I am waiting for ice cream or a cold beer. I have researched the transportation upon your comments - thanks for the heads up. It seems the rental agencies set their pricing just below the cost of the ferry The idea of walking on without hassle and renting transportation once there seema to be a better strategy. Thanks for the suggestions!
keb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2015, 07:36 PM   #9
keb
Senior Member
 
keb's Avatar
 
City: Portland, OR
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marin View Post
THD makes a good point. If you are going to ride a ferry as a walk-on, then Friday Harbor is the best destination because the town itself is right there. If you go to Orcas as a walk-on, you get off at the ferry dock but there's nothing really there. All the cool stuff requires a vehicle.

When we go to Orcas we arrange for a rental car in advance and it's delivered to the marina we use. When we leave the island we leave the car at the marina and the rental company comes and picks it up.
Found a scooter rental agency there by the ferry dock and they rent cars for the same outfit in Friday Harbor. Will check out if we make it over there. Thanks for your ideas.

Kevin
keb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2015, 08:46 PM   #10
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
Keb--- Bellinham harbor is well run (by the Port of Bellingham) and the moorage rates are less than farther south in the Sound. However, it's a working harbor with a sizable commercial fishing/crabbing fleet, a huge cold storage company that does business (via freighter) with countries around the Pacific rim, several fish processors, a large boatyard that hauls the big seiners and combination boats as well as other commercial craft, yachts, as well as "regular" recreational power and sail boats.

So it doesn't have the "cater to the upscale crowd" atmosphere that other recreation-only marinas in the area have. This is one reason we so despise Roche Harbor and Deer Harbor out in the islands--- they seem to go out of their way to let folks know that if they don't have a helicopter on their boat deck they'd just as soon not see them anywhere near the place.

So you're correct, Bellingham doesn't fit the upmarket image so many recreational boaters and tourists seem to want. Which, of course, is great with us as it tends to keep the place "real."
Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2015, 09:29 PM   #11
keb
Senior Member
 
keb's Avatar
 
City: Portland, OR
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 129
Marin,

Thanks for the message. I am eating crow here. I confused in my mind the condition of Skyline Marina in Anacortes with Bellingham's Marina. We did walk the docks in Bellingham and it was quite nice. Sorry about MY confusion.

I had to go to google maps satellite view to bring me back to reality. The city still didn't wow the missus though. We'll see.

Kevin
keb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2015, 09:49 PM   #12
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
Quote:
Originally Posted by keb View Post
The city still didn't wow the missus though. We'll see.

Kevin
It's not a pretty city by any means. It has a fascinating history, being one of the oldest communities in Washington. One of the houses here was built by George Pickett when he was stationed here in command of the US forces who faced the British forces in the San Juans. Pickett, of course, went on to achieve notoriety for his failed charge at Gettysburg during the Civil War.

But the city's roots are industrial. Logging, coal mining, paper manufacturing, commercial fishing, railroading, cement--- the list goes on.

The Georgia Pacific mill closed a few years back and the city acquired the property on the waterfront. There are great plans to turn it into a park and other things, but plans require money to happen and so far the money hasn't materialized.
Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-25-2015, 08:16 AM   #13
TF Site Team
 
Larry M's Avatar
 
City: JAX, FL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Hobo
Vessel Model: Krogen 42-120
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 5,737
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boydski View Post
Hi Kevin,

Leave your car at the ferry terminal in Anacortes and hop on the ferry for Friday Harbor. Lots to do over there, whale watching, sunset cruises on an old sailing ship, etc.... or hop on the inter-island ferry to visit Lopez, Orcas, etc.
This time of the year, leave the car and walk on. When we're in the PNW we split our time between Lopez and Friday Harbor. There's nothing worse then being on Lopez and the ferry from Friday Harbor is full and you have to wait for the next one to Anacortes. Walking on is a guaranteed seat, (assuming the ferry doesn't have mechanical issues) and you'll get to your destination. The ferry system is now taking car reservations which helps but still, if you take you car, allow some extra time.
Larry M is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-25-2015, 11:01 AM   #14
keb
Senior Member
 
keb's Avatar
 
City: Portland, OR
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry M View Post
This time of the year, leave the car and walk on. When we're in the PNW we split our time between Lopez and Friday Harbor. There's nothing worse then being on Lopez and the ferry from Friday Harbor is full and you have to wait for the next one to Anacortes. Walking on is a guaranteed seat, (assuming the ferry doesn't have mechanical issues) and you'll get to your destination. The ferry system is now taking car reservations which helps but still, if you take you car, allow some extra time.

Larry,

Thanks! What is the draw on Lopez for you two compared to other islands?

Kevin


Kevin
keb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-25-2015, 12:00 PM   #15
TF Site Team
 
Larry M's Avatar
 
City: JAX, FL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Hobo
Vessel Model: Krogen 42-120
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 5,737
Quote:
Originally Posted by keb View Post
...What is the draw on Lopez for you two compared to other islands?...
It has great bicycling, good marinas, the sense of community and not a lot of commercialization. The year round population is less than 2400. Compared to Friday Harbor it's a sleeper but still has a good hardware store, grocery and a great library. Unfortunately the ferry landing is not convenient to town but it's one of the stops the ferry makes. If you do decide to stop on foot, you can hitch hike very easily around the island. Here's a link for the San Juan Islands put out by the San Juan Island Visitor's Bureau. They're all good!

Welcome to the Official Travel Site | San Juan Islands Washington Visitors Bureau | Orcas Island | Lopez Island | Friday Harbor | San Juan Island
Larry M is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-25-2015, 01:08 PM   #16
Senior Member
 
Nsail's Avatar
 
City: Benicia CA
Country: USA
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 498
Quote:
Originally Posted by keb View Post
Thanks Scott! Who runs the free shuttle? Haven't seen anything about it in my research for transportation once on the island.

Kevin
Don't know of a free shuttle. The only one I know of is $5.00 each time you get on it, unless you get an all day pass for 15.00, which is actually a great deal if you want to get a quick tour of the island. Sort of like the hop-on hop-off tour buses all the big cities have now. If you have some place you want to spend some time at, get off, explore, and get back on a later scheduled shuttle that comes through.

http://www.sanjuantransit.com/
__________________

Nsail is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:35 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012