Friday Harbor Laboratories


Friday Harbor is on San Juan Island,
~ 80 miles northwest of Seattle, Washington

Students, faculty, teaching assistants and other visitors to Friday Harbor Labs will need to arrange their own travel to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Most visitors travel through Seattle, Washington (SeaTac Airport) and then on to Friday Harbor.

Travel from Seattle to Friday Harbor can be by commuter aircraft or by ferry. Ferries, operated by Washington State Ferries, depart from Anacortes, about two hours drive north by car or by bus from Seattle.

When scheduling your flight to Seattle it is advisable to take into account the extra time needed to travel to Friday Harbor, e.g., plan to arrive in Seattle no later than 12:00 noon in order to arrive in Friday Harbor by late afternoon. In making your return reservation, it is easiest to fly out from SeaTac (Seattle-Tacoma Airport) after 12:00 noon. You can fly out earlier but you'll need to catch a very early ferry or plane from Friday Harbor or spend the night in a hotel near SeaTac; many SeaTac area hotels offer free shuttle service to and from SeaTac Airport.


There are a number of ways to reach Friday Harbor from SeaTac Airport in Seattle: plane (small wheeled plane or seaplane), shuttle bus plus a ferry trip, or car (rental or yours) plus a ferry trip:

• From Seattle to Friday Harbor on Kenmore Air scheduled flights:

You can choose between airplane or seaplane travel. Please check the website for Kenmore Air or call 1-800-435-9524 or 360-378-1067. (Kenmore Air provides shuttle transportation from SeaTac Airport to their point of departure.) It is advisable to book by phone as the Kenmore representative can assist with the shuttle connections. If you prefer to book online at Kenmore Air, for a wheeled plane choose Seattle (Boeing Field) as your point of departure and Friday Harbor Airport as your destination. For seaplane travel, choose Lake Union in Downtown Seattle as your point of departure and Friday Harbor Marina as your destination.

• From Seattle to Friday Harbor on a chartered flight:

Charter flights are charged per flight rather than per person, so if you can arrange to fly together with one or more other people it may be less expensive than a regularly scheduled flight (through Kenmore Air). There are two airline charter companies in the area: please check the website for Westwind Aviation or call 360-378-6991 or 360-317-5331, or Island Air or call (360) 378-2376 or (888) 378-2376.

• From Seattle to Friday Harbor, first to Anacortes by shuttle bus, then from Anacortes to Friday Harbor via Washington State ferry:

If you'd rather take a shuttle / ferry combination, there is van service from the airport to Friday Harbor using Airporter Shuttle which operates every 2 hours throughout the day. Another option is Island Airporter which operates once a day (including ferry passage) Monday-Saturday, leaving the Seattle airport at noon.

• From Seattle to Friday Harbor, first to Anacortes by car (driving directions), then from Anacortes to Friday Harbor via Washington State ferry:

Google map with driving directions, Seattle airport to Anacortes ferry dock

The Washington State Ferry schedule can be found on the web at:

The departing Washington State Ferry terminal is in Anacortes (an 80-mile drive north of Seattle) and the arriving terminal is Friday Harbor. Schedules vary by date and by day of the week. Read the schedule carefully as not all ferries leaving Anacortes come to Friday Harbor!

You may bring your car or walk on the ferry. If you are bringing a car, a reservation for the ferry is highly recommended. Although a reservation is not required, reserving a spot for your vehicle guarantees a space on the ferry. Walk-on ferry passengers do not need a reservation. A debit card or credit card is required to make a reservation. (If you do not travel on your reserved sailing or any time within the same service day from the reserved departure terminal a no-show fee will be charged to your credit card on file.)


Within Washington State there is a toll-free telephone number: 1-800-84-FERRY. Outside of Washington State the phone number is: 206-464-6400. Ferry rates are available at

There are pay parking lots at the ferry terminal where you can park your car and walk on the ferry. If the lower lots are full, there is additional parking up the hill (follow signs) but this is a 5-10 minute walk.

Plan to arrive at the departing ferry terminal 30-60 minutes ahead of sailing. Driving to the Anacortes ferry terminal from Seattle takes approximately 2 hours but often heavy traffic can extend that time. Take the Burlington/Anacortes exit off of the I-5 highway and follow the signs to Anacortes and the San Juan Island ferries.

You may purchase a discounted "book" of 5 car/driver tickets or 10 walk-on tickets, good for three months, from the website or at the tollbooth). The ferry usually begins loading 15-20 minutes before departure.


• From Seattle to Friday Harbor via the Victoria Clipper, a passenger only ferry:

From mid-May to late September the Victoria Clipper offers passenger-only ferry service (with luggage up to 50 lbs per person) once per day from downtown Seattle to Friday Harbor. (In September the Clipper Ferry operates on weekends only.)


To get to FHL from the ferry landing (1.5 miles) you can drive, ask for a ride from someone else on the ferry, call for a taxi (5 minute ride) or walk (20 minute walk).

Directions from ferry dock to FHL

San Juan Taxi: 360-378-3550

Bob's Taxi: 360-378-8388


Washington State Ferries provide sailings during part of the year (not in winter) from nearby Sidney, B.C., for walk-on and drive-on passengers, or 206-464-6400 or 888-808-7977. Visit their website for schedules, fares and parking information. The international sailings will accept reservations and we strongly advise making these as soon as possible.

San Juan Airlines provides charter service, or 800-874-4434.

Island Air provides charter service, or 888-378-2376.

Northwest "Sky Ferry" air charter service will fly you to San Juan Island, Seattle, or other Canadian cities with scenic detours, or 360-676-9999.

Victoria Express provides seasonal, daily, passenger-ferry service to Friday Harbor, or 360-452-8088.

North Shore Charters can transport people on their boat between the San Juan Islands and Victoria, or 360-376-4855.


The easiest route is to drive on the freeway from Vancouver to Anacortes, Washington and take the Washington State Ferry to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.

Catch-A-Train/Amtrak provides daily service from Pacific Central Train Station via Amtrak and Washington State Ferries. Trains operate between Vancouver and Mount Vernon. Car service operates between Mount Vernon and Anacortes. Washington State Ferries operate between Anacortes and Friday Harbor. or 800-457-3549.

BC Ferries provide daily service from Tsawwassen, B.C. (near Vancouver) to Swartz Bay, B.C. (north of Victoria), 888-223-3779 or 250-386-3431. In nearby Sidney, board a Washington State Ferry to Friday Harbor.

San Juan Airlines provides charter service, or 800-874-4434. Island Air provides charter service, or 888-378-2376. Northwest "Sky Ferry" air charter service will fly you to San Juan Island, Seattle, or Canadian cities with scenic detours, or 360-676-9999.