Traveling to the islands can take a variety of forms, depending on your needs. The Washington State Ferry provides daily transportation to Lopez, Shaw, Orcas and San Juan Islands. Two private passenger ferries offer trips to all of the remaining islands. Paraclete Charters operates three boats and Island Express Charters has two boats making trips to the islands on a daily basis. Both companies offer an efficient time-saving way to visit the islands, without long waits in ferry lines. They have the flexibility to pick up or drop off passengers on beaches, boats or private docks throughout the San Juans. Many kayakers use their services in the summer to explore some of the beautiful outlying areas that would otherwise be inaccessible.
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.
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 services Decatur Island, Center Island and Lopez Island on an "as needed" basis. Two other barge companies are available for the other islands.
For whale watching, kayak or wildflower tours and other tourist-related activities, the Guide to the San Juans is a great source of information.
The "Paraclete" leaving Decatur Island