Tuesday, June 21, 2016

San Juan Island Hopping

Anacortes Airport on Fidalgo Island
We keep our Piper Arrow, lovingly called 997, in a hanger here at Bellingham International Airport. When we are in town we like go exploring, so doing some island hopping out to the San Juan Islands is just the thing.

Our first stop was Anacortes Airport. It's technically not part of the San Juans, but it's a popular jumping off point for visitors and residents.  If you have your own plane, Anacortes makes a good day or overnight destination. If you like boats, don't miss the the Waterfront Festival.

A San Juan Airlines plane at Anacortes Airport
By car it takes us about 45 minutes to drive to Anacortes from Bellingham. By plane, it's only minutes away. You no sooner get up to altitude (2500 feet), then it's time to descend for the traffic pattern.

The 3015-foot runway is paved. There are trees at both ends, but the 241' elevation and cool sea breezes make approaches and departures fairly comfortable for most aircraft. Self-service fuel is available and ample parking.

Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes
Because the airport is several miles from town, it would be a long walk to restaurants and lodging. Americal Taxi or City Cab Co. could get you there and back with ease.

For anyone needing a ride to the islands, San Juan Airlines has scheduled service from Anacortes. You can also charter a plane for Victoria or other BC destination.

You can also catch a ferry to the islands.

Lopez Airport's runway and parking area
From Anacortes, we overflew the Lopez Island Airport. We'll save landing there for another day. Lopez is a quiet island that we want to explore at a more leisurely pace.

We know a little about Lopez because we've cruised there in our boat and anchored overnight in Fisherman's Bay.

It would be fun to see it more from the land side.

Base to final approach at Friday Harbor Airport
Before we knew it, we were at Friday Harbor Airport on San Juan Island. We've been here before and love the user friendly runway location.

Transient parking is within a few minutes walk of downtown.

You can read about another trip we took to Friday Harbor that included renting bikes to ride to meet Mona the Camel by clicking here.

Friday Harbor ferry terminal
Our tummies were growling, so we headed to our favourite restaurant, Downriggers. It's on the waterfront with great views of boats and ferries. We were stuffed, but couldn't resist an ice cream cone. Licking our sweet treats we headed back to the airport and a short flight back to Bellingham.

Looking for a fun afternoon? Try some island hopping, San Juan style. Fly high and fast. Maybe we'll see you in the friendly skies. -- Margy


  1. You really do have a wonderful view from the cockpit! Lovely to learn more about these islands and see something of their beauty.

  2. Having an airplane sure allows you to do some fun things!

  3. Fun trip. We want to explore Lopez Island too - but we'll have to take the ferry. We moved here one year after the nuns stopped running the ferry landing there and were disappointed - it sounded so interesting.


Thanks for stopping by. Comments, questions, and suggestions are always welcome. - Margy