How To Get To Anacortes From Seattle: A Complete Transportation Guide

Situated on Fidalgo Island just west of the Cascade Mountains, the scenic town of Anacortes is a popular getaway destination from Seattle offering stunning water and mountain views. But how do you get there? This comprehensive guide covers all your options for traveling the 80 miles from Seattle to Anacortes, including driving, taking the ferry, flying, or even biking.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The most common ways to get from Seattle to Anacortes are driving north via I-5 then Highway 20 for about 1 hour 40 minutes, or taking the Washington State Ferry from Seattle to Anacortes, which takes about 3 hours total.

In the sections below, we’ll go through these options and more in-depth, with details on routes, transportation schedules, costs, tips and more. Whether you want to drive, sail, fly or cycle your way there, use this guide to help plan your next trip from Seattle up to beautiful Anacortes, Washington.

Driving from Seattle to Anacortes

Route options

When driving from Seattle to Anacortes, there are a few route options to choose from. The most common and straightforward route is to take Interstate 5 (I-5) northbound until you reach exit 230 for Highway 20. From there, you will continue west on Highway 20 until you reach Anacortes.

This route is well-marked and offers scenic views along the way.

Another option is to take Highway 99 northbound until you reach Burlington, and then take Highway 20 westbound to Anacortes. This route is slightly longer but may be more convenient depending on your location in Seattle.

If you prefer a more scenic drive, you can also take the Mukilteo-Clinton ferry from Mukilteo to Whidbey Island, and then drive north on Highway 20 to Anacortes. This route allows you to enjoy the beautiful views of the Puget Sound and the surrounding islands.

Typical driving times

The driving time from Seattle to Anacortes can vary depending on traffic conditions and the route you choose. On average, it takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to drive from Seattle to Anacortes. However, during peak travel times or busy weekends, it may take longer.

It’s always a good idea to check traffic updates before you start your journey to ensure a smooth drive.

Finding parking

Once you arrive in Anacortes, finding parking is generally not a problem. There are several public parking lots available in the downtown area, as well as street parking options. Most parking in Anacortes is free, but there may be time limits in certain areas, so be sure to check the signage.

If you plan to visit the Washington State Ferries terminal in Anacortes and leave your car there while you explore the nearby San Juan Islands, there is long-term parking available for a fee. You can find more information about parking options and rates on the Washington State Ferries website.

Taking the Ferry from Seattle to Anacortes

If you’re planning a trip from Seattle to Anacortes, taking the ferry is a convenient and scenic option. The Washington State Ferries offer several routes and schedules to choose from, making it easy to find a departure time that fits your schedule.

In this guide, we’ll explore the different ferry terminals, ticket options, and fees associated with traveling from Seattle to Anacortes.

Washington State Ferries routes and schedules

The Washington State Ferries operate multiple routes that connect Seattle to various destinations, including Anacortes. The primary route for traveling between Seattle and Anacortes is the “Anacortes – San Juan Islands” route.

This route not only serves Anacortes but also connects to other beautiful islands in the San Juan archipelago.

It’s important to check the ferry schedules before planning your trip. The Washington State Ferries have a user-friendly website ( where you can find up-to-date information on departure times, travel durations, and any temporary schedule changes or disruptions.

Ferry terminals

When traveling from Seattle to Anacortes by ferry, there are two main terminals involved: the Seattle Ferry Terminal and the Anacortes Ferry Terminal.

The Seattle Ferry Terminal, also known as Colman Dock, is located in downtown Seattle along the waterfront. It offers various amenities such as parking facilities, waiting areas, restrooms, and food options.

The terminal is easily accessible by public transportation and is a hub for other ferry routes as well.

The Anacortes Ferry Terminal is situated in Anacortes, a charming coastal town. It provides parking facilities, waiting areas, restrooms, and a ticketing booth. From the terminal, you can easily explore Anacortes and venture further into the San Juan Islands.

Tickets and fees

When it comes to purchasing tickets for the ferry ride from Seattle to Anacortes, there are a few options available. You can buy your tickets in advance online through the Washington State Ferries website (, or you can purchase them at the ticketing booth at the ferry terminals.

The cost of the tickets will depend on various factors such as the number of passengers, vehicle size (if applicable), and whether you’re traveling during peak or off-peak hours. It’s recommended to check the Washington State Ferries website for the most up-to-date ticket prices and information on any discounts or promotions available.

Remember to arrive at the ferry terminal at least 30 minutes before your scheduled departure to allow ample time for parking, ticketing, and boarding the ferry. Once onboard, sit back, relax, and enjoy the picturesque journey from Seattle to Anacortes.

Flying from Seattle to Anacortes

For those looking to travel from Seattle to Anacortes, flying is a convenient and efficient option. There are several ways to fly to Anacortes, including:

Kenmore Air seaplane service

Kenmore Air offers a unique and scenic way to reach Anacortes from Seattle. Their seaplane service allows passengers to enjoy breathtaking views of the Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands during their flight. The seaplanes depart from Lake Union in Seattle and land directly in Anacortes.

This option is perfect for travelers who want to combine convenience with a memorable flying experience.

Chartering a private plane

For those who prefer a more personalized and flexible flying experience, chartering a private plane is an excellent choice. There are several private aviation companies in the Seattle area that offer charter flights to Anacortes.

This option allows travelers to customize their flight schedule and enjoy the comfort and privacy of a private aircraft.

Anacortes Airport

Another option for flying to Anacortes is utilizing the Anacortes Airport. While not as widely known as Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Anacortes Airport offers a convenient and hassle-free travel experience. It is a small regional airport located just a few miles outside of Anacortes.

Several regional airlines operate flights to and from Anacortes, making it a convenient choice for those looking for a quick and straightforward flight.

When planning a trip from Seattle to Anacortes, it’s essential to consider factors such as cost, convenience, and personal preferences. Each flying option mentioned above has its advantages, so travelers should choose the one that best suits their needs and preferences.

Getting to Anacortes from Seattle by Bicycle

For cycling enthusiasts, traveling from Seattle to Anacortes by bicycle is a fantastic option that allows you to enjoy the picturesque scenery and experience the journey at your own pace. Here are some tips to help you plan your cycling adventure:

Cycling Routes

There are several cycling routes you can take to get from Seattle to Anacortes. One popular option is the Cascade Bicycle Club’s “Seattle to Anacortes” route, which takes you through scenic landscapes and charming towns along the way.

This route is approximately 80 miles long and offers a mix of rural roads and paved trails, ensuring a memorable and enjoyable ride.

Another option is the Anacortes Ferry Route, which allows you to combine cycling with a scenic ferry ride. You can start your journey in Seattle, ride to the ferry terminal in Mukilteo, and then take the ferry to Clinton on Whidbey Island. From there, you can continue cycling to Anacortes.

This route offers stunning coastal views and is a great choice for those looking for a more leisurely ride.

Rental Bikes and Gear

If you don’t have your own bike or prefer not to bring it, there are several bike rental shops in Seattle that offer a wide selection of bikes suitable for long-distance cycling. These shops also provide helmets, locks, and other necessary gear to ensure a safe and comfortable ride.

It’s a good idea to make a reservation in advance to secure your preferred bike and gear.

Some popular bike rental shops in Seattle include Pedal Anywhere, Recycled Cycles, and Cascade Bicycle Studio. These shops offer a range of bikes, from road bikes to hybrid bikes, to suit different preferences and needs.

Multi-day Touring

If you’re up for a multi-day adventure, you can turn your cycling trip from Seattle to Anacortes into a memorable tour. There are several campgrounds and accommodations along the way where you can spend the night, allowing you to break up the journey and fully immerse yourself in the experience.

One option is to stay at Deception Pass State Park, located between Whidbey Island and Fidalgo Island. This park offers beautiful campsites and stunning views of the famous Deception Pass Bridge. Another option is to stay at the charming town of La Conner, known for its art galleries, boutiques, and scenic waterfront.

Remember to pack all the necessary camping gear, clothing, and supplies for your multi-day tour. It’s also important to plan your route and make reservations for accommodations in advance, especially during peak seasons.

Whether you choose to take the Seattle to Anacortes cycling route or combine it with a ferry ride, cycling from Seattle to Anacortes is an exciting and rewarding adventure. It allows you to explore the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, stay active, and create lasting memories along the way.

Comparing Transportation Options

Travel times

When it comes to traveling from Seattle to Anacortes, there are several transportation options available. Each option has its own travel time, which is an important factor to consider when planning your trip.

If you choose to drive, the travel time can vary depending on traffic conditions. On average, it takes around 1 hour and 45 minutes to drive from Seattle to Anacortes. However, during peak travel times, such as weekends or holidays, the journey may take longer.

If you prefer public transportation, taking a bus is a convenient option. The travel time by bus is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes, depending on the route and stops along the way. It’s worth noting that bus schedules may vary, so it’s advisable to check the latest timings before your trip.

Another popular transportation option is the train. The Amtrak Cascades line offers a scenic route from Seattle to Mount Vernon, which is about 20 miles away from Anacortes. From there, you can take a taxi or ride-sharing service to reach your final destination.

The train journey takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes, making it a great choice for those who enjoy a relaxing and picturesque ride.


Cost is a crucial factor to consider when planning any trip. Let’s take a look at the cost of each transportation option from Seattle to Anacortes.

Transportation Option Cost
Driving Gas and toll fees
Bus Around $20 per person
Train Around $30 per person

It’s important to note that these costs are approximate and may vary depending on factors such as fuel prices, toll fees, and any additional charges.

Convenience factors

Convenience is another aspect to consider when choosing your transportation option from Seattle to Anacortes.

Driving gives you the flexibility to choose your own schedule and make stops along the way. However, traffic congestion and parking availability in Anacortes may be factors to consider.

Taking a bus offers the convenience of not having to worry about parking or navigating through unfamiliar roads. Additionally, some bus services provide amenities such as free Wi-Fi and comfortable seating, making your journey more enjoyable.

Traveling by train allows you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery along the way. Trains often offer spacious seating, onboard amenities, and the opportunity to socialize with fellow travelers.

Ultimately, the choice of transportation depends on your preferences, budget, and travel needs. It’s a good idea to consider factors such as travel times, costs, and convenience before making a decision.

For more information on transportation options and schedules, you can visit the official websites of transportation providers such as Washington State Ferries, Greyhound, and Amtrak.


With its abundance of scenic waterways, coastal access, camping and hiking opportunities in the North Cascades, Anacortes is an alluring travel destination from the urban environs of Seattle. Using this guide, you can easily choose and plan the best way to make the journey up to Anacortes – whether by car, ferry, plane or bicycle. Enjoy the adventure of getting there and experience all this scenic Washington town has to offer.

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