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General SJI plan and FH accommodations

Minnesota, USA
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General SJI plan and FH accommodations

My husband and I will be traveling with two other 30-something couples (sans kids) to the San Juan Islands Sept 12-16. I'm very excited but panicking a bit because it sounds like accommodations will be tough to find if we haven't booked them already, which we haven't. My main question:

Where would you recommend 6 adults to stay, knowing we will be traveling this Sept and we would like to stay under $200/couple/night? At this point we do not plan to bring a car with us to the island so we are thinking we should stay right in Friday Harbor so we can walk around to restaurants, shops, etc.and then take the shuttle around when we want to visit other areas on the island. We value a quiet and peaceful setting, but we would like to be in town so we can easily walk to food and drinks. I have tried searching sites like VRBO but when I enter "Friday Harbor" I end up with 96 rentals all over the island. Any leads on something right in the city that would not have already been booked a year in advance? We would be open to B&Bs, hotels, or vacation rentals (but we really don't want to cook much so, again, why we want to be near restaurants). I continue to check around at many places I've read about online, but thought it might be worth a post to ask you all if there's something that's not obvious.

Then my second issue I'd love opinions on for those of you who are willing: How does this seem for a plan?

We will fly into Seattle early Friday, Sept 12. The six of us will rent a car and drive to Anacortes. We will leave the car at the ferry terminal (seems like a giant waste of money so I'm looking into renting a car just one way). We will take a walk-on ferry ride to Friday Harbor and stay there four nights. Ideally we would stay in town near restaurants because we don't want to cook much. Saturday we will take the island shuttle around for activities (whale watching and/or hiking) and then Sunday rent mopeds for activities (museum, lavender farm, etc). Then perhaps Monday we will take the ferry over to Orcas Island to explore, then come back to Friday Harbor to sleep that night. Then Tuesday morning we ferry back to Anacortes, either take our same car back to Seattle or do another one day rental if possible. Then we fly back to MN Tues night.

Those who know better than me, please let me know if this sounds okay or if there's a major oversight in my plan. Thank you! I appreciate your responses.

California
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1. Re: General SJI plan and FH accommodations

Just got back last week from our first trip to see the San Juan Islands. Spent night in anacortes prior to taking ferry, 2 nights in friday harbor and 2 nights in orca island.

We booked trip last minute, so lodging was limited. When we arrived I noticed several vacancy signs on both items so can only assume that cancellations rate may be high. If doing it again, if I found a place that looked good I would call directly.

As for a car: I did see a few shuttles in Friday Harbor to see main locations such as Lime Kiln Point, but just a few. You may want to call in advance regarding schedule. We took our rental car but admit alot of time is chewed up waiting for ferries. As for Orca - you would definately need a car if you wanted to sightsee. i.e. Moran The town is much smaller then friday harbor.

Yelp food on islands. Make sure to check hours. A lot of the places closed really early.

Have a good trip.

2. Re: General SJI plan and FH accommodations

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Green Valley...
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3. Re: General SJI plan and FH accommodations

Bring... Your... Car! Far more flexible than the shuttle (or cab) service and it's costing you anyway sitting in Anacortes. And then it won't matter where you lodge, dining won't be far. The mopeds can be fun but they are slow and vulnerable to island (limited) traffic. Also, as said above, you need a car on Orcas Island.

Be at the ferry terminal an hour or more before your desired ferry. Urge you to catch an early morning ferry. See the last line in this post, following the ferry schedule, pasted below.

The ride is lovely and you'll have more time in the islands.

Consider what CaliforniaBliss did; overnight in Anacortes.

Whether coming from Seattle or Anacortes, catch an early AM ferry, lightest traffic waiting to board but even then it could fill up.

San Juan Islands This article provides specific information re: what to see and to do on the major islands, with key websites. The islands are best seen by basing on one and visiting the others as day trips. Recommend at least two nights. One island can be seen in a day, but it warrants a very early ferry from Anacortes. tripadvisor.com/Travel-g58727-c102104/San-Ju…

Hiking in the San Juan Islands, WA http://tinyurl.com/2furs3

San Juan Island Rental Houses http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=Vacation+Doorways+on+San+Juan+Island

wsdot.com/Ferries/…

On the schedule page, select "Best Travel Times", right hand column of page.

Edited: 7:07 pm, today

Green Valley...
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4. Re: General SJI plan and FH accommodations

Here is what was supposed to be on the above post: WA State Ferry Website: wsdot.com/ferries/…

Edited: 18 July 2014, 00:26
San Juan Island...
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for San Juan Islands
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5. Re: General SJI plan and FH accommodations

For the September dates you give in your post you can find out what lodging is currently available on those dates at (cut and paste) http://www.visitsanjuans.com/lodging-availability?available[from][date]=2014-09-12&available[to1][date]=2014-09-16&field_island_tid[]=6&field_island_tid[%20]=9 and looking down that list you can find the ones located in Friday Harbor and then click the website links to see if the lodgings have what you desire. If you don't want to cook as you mentioned a few times then I would think you might want to not rent a whole house but something more like the rooms they have with adjoining common areas at Island Inn at 123 West.

It would be best to have your car with you to be able to see everything you want to at your own speed and time. I get all the ferry alerts and if you leave Anacortes on the first two ferries any day you will have less wait (although none of those have filled completely that I've seen from alerts this year so the wait time may well be a moot point really for those morning ferries). Do know that Friday (even into September) mid-morning through evening is the busiest time of the week to depart from Anacortes. If you do catch a later ferry and have to wait for more than an hour it's okay though as you'll find enough to do around the rurally located terminal while you wait for your ferry. Grassy trails lead down to the nearby beach and through the shoreline wetlands on a recently added boardwalk trail. You can get something at the small gift shop, buy drinks and snacks, walk your dog in the dog-walk area and on the beach, relax at a picnic table, or go online using the terminal's wireless Internet service (which has a fee).

6. Re: General SJI plan and FH accommodations

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