Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Going From Port Angeles, Wa To Orcas Island, Wa
RV Park Reviews Campground Discussion Forum > RV Park and Campground Discussions > General Chat
neuronz
We are pulling a 16' trailer and driving up from Portland in mid July; we would like to get to Orcas Island by way of Port Angeles, WA and not go through Seattle/Anacortes. It looks like there is a ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria, but I'm not clear how we go from there (or if we can). From what I can tell, we'd have to drive up to Sidney and then take another ferry, but I can't figure it out from there. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
nedmtnman
QUOTE(neuronz @ May 28 2011, 05:04 PM) *

We are pulling a 16' trailer and driving up from Portland in mid July; we would like to get to Orcas Island by way of Port Angeles, WA and not go through Seattle/Anacortes. It looks like there is a ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria, but I'm not clear how we go from there (or if we can). From what I can tell, we'd have to drive up to Sidney and then take another ferry, but I can't figure it out from there. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


We took that ferry a few years ago and it is a passenger only ferry. No cars. You go into Canada so customs is involved and then back into the US so US customs leaving Canada and then reentering the US.
JDOLLEN
QUOTE(nedmtnman @ May 29 2011, 06:51 AM) *

We took that ferry a few years ago and it is a passenger only ferry. No cars. You go into Canada so customs is involved and then back into the US so US customs leaving Canada and then reentering the US.


We haven't been across in years but I know that when we did cross, we always took our vehicle with us. I was surprised to hear it had changed so I Googled "Black Ball Ferry". Check out the URL http://www.cohoferry.com It lists Rates, Schedules and includes the notation "Tour Busses and Commercial Trucks please call for Rates and Reservations," That indicates to me that it should still include RVs.

Customs is definitely involved so be prepared. We have never had any issues crossing. It's just like any other border crossing.

I hope this helps

Darrell
DXSMac
I can understand not wanting to go through Seattle, but why do you want to avoid Anacortes?

I would travel to Port Townsend, take the ferry to Coupeville, then go to Anacortes and take that ferry to Orcas Island. That way, you avoid Canada and customs. But you do have to be cautious, because once a day, a ferry that goes to Anacortes does originate from Sydney, BC. If you get on that ferry, you have to clear Customs even if you never set foot in Canada. I got caught in that once.

JJ
neuronz
Wow! Thanks to everybody for your help in planning our trip to Orcas Island. I did call the company that runs the ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria, Black Ball Ferry, and described our trailer length, etc.; they charge $152.50 one way. They recommend that we make reservations, since mid July is their busy season.

The suggestion to go to Port Townsend is very helpful and we may try that. It looks like a lot of people commute up to Seattle using that route, judging by the numerous trips the ferry makes every day. I'm going to inquire as to whether the ferry company, WSDOT, can accommodate trailers, how much they cost, etc.

The advantage of going to Anacortes is that it's one ferry trip to Orcas Isand; the disadvantage is navigating through Seattle. Have any forum members made this trip?

jamarynn1
If you do have to go through US customs coming back, make sure you read up on what you can bring back into the US. Coming back from the Olympics last year, we got caught with a bag of oranges we had bought in Washington and were bringing back the ones we didn't eat. We spent about an hour on the "Group W" bench (and those of you who remember the 60's will understand what I'm talking about). After a stern lecture and a toss-down of the camper, we got back to Seattle to find out that they had left two of the oranges in the refrigerator. Sometimes I wonder if they're still looking for us - LOL.
neuronz
Boy, it gets more complicated. When you buy a ticket to go from Anacortes to Orcas, it's $181.20 "round trip" (and an additional fee per passenger); you have to buy a round trip ticket. Any eastbound travel through the San Juan Islands is free. However, to go eastbound from Sidney, BC (which is about 10 miles north of Victoria) to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island is $119.00 and then another fee ( I didn't catch the amount but it's not that much) to go from Friday Harbor to Orcas Island. I think going through Port Townsend/Coupville is probably the least expensive way, and a lot less getting on and off ferries, but other forum members can chime in with their advice/suggestions.

Thanks for the advice about bringing fresh fruit back into the States. That's funny about the two oranges they missed in the refrigerator.

Thanks for your help.
nedmtnman
QUOTE(jamarynn1 @ May 30 2011, 05:23 PM) *

We spent about an hour on the "Group W" bench (and those of you who remember the 60's will understand what I'm talking about).


Did you play with the pencils and other implements of destruction ?
Texasrvers
QUOTE(jamarynn1 @ May 30 2011, 07:23 PM) *

We spent about an hour on the "Group W" bench .


This is absolutely hysterical. We have been laughing out loud ever since we read it. laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif I'm sure the "kids" on the website will not get it, but we know exactly what you are talking about.
jamarynn1
QUOTE(nedmtnman @ May 31 2011, 08:53 AM) *

Did you play with the pencils and other implements of destruction ?


Well, that would have been fun, but they made us leave our purses and cellphones in the camper. We did have a pleasant chat with a nice German couple who somehow managed to get INTO Canada from Washington State without passports, but wasn't having an easy time getting back INTO the US without them.
Jerry S.
neuronz,

Am I missing something here? Why is it a big deal "navigating through Seattle"?. You hop on I-5 in Portland and about 230 miles later you exit at Burlington, WA and head over to Anacortes. I've driven through Seattle in an RV, both north and southbound, on I-5 several times in the past 5 years. As long as it isn't rush hour or some traffic problem, it shouldn't take much more than 2 hours to drive the 100 miles from Olympia (south of Seattle) to Everett (north of Seattle) on I-5. Taking an extra ferry (time and money) or going through Canada (time, money, and hassle) doesn't seem justified if all you are trying to do is avoid Seattle traffic.
neuronz
Jerry S.
I didn't explain our entire itinerary. We plan to drive up from Portland and camp in the Olympic Pennisula area (any suggestions, by the way?); from there we plan to go on to Orcas Island. It would seem like a lot of extra driving to go back down to Olympia and then up through Seattle to get to Anacortes; that's why I was wondering about going through Port Angeles. I didn't know about the Port Townsend option. It now sounds like going through Port Townsend/Coupville and then up to Anacortes is the best way to go. All the input from forum members has been really helpful; thanks.
Jerry S.
neuronz,

No problem. It is just that your posts implied that your route through Port Angeles was simply to avoid Seattle. I, too, would have gone via the Olympic Penninsula because it is the Olympic Penninsula. As others have suggested, I would have advised the Port Townsend to southern Widbey Island ferry. Last time I was out that way I tried to get on that ferry with only a few days notice in July and they did not have anymore room for RVs for at least a week. I ended up going from Anacortes through Seattle to get to the Olympic Penninsula. I'd call as soon in advance to make sure you can get the ferry on the day you want it.

There are quite a few RV parks in the Port Angeles/Sequin/Port Townsend area. Check the reviews on this site. Many of them get pretty good reviews here. I've stayed at the kinda dumpy park that is actually in Port Angeles for the convenient location and the family oriented/vacation type KOA that is in the area.

Good luck with your trip.
neuronz
Dear Jerry S and all others,
Thanks for your help. One tip I can give forum members when it come to making reservations on the WSDOT ferries: you can only make them 1 month in advance. I called and tried to make a reservation for July 16th and they said, "Call back on June 16th". Of course you can always just try your luck, but that could be risky, especially if you have a reservation at a spot on one of the San Juan Islands.

This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.