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Bargain Island Escapes

For an affordable island getaway try these four destinations.

Via Contributors
Washington State Ferry
Photo caption
Ferries shuttle visitors to the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound.

For an affordable island getaway try these: Santa Catalina, Calif.; San Juan Island, Wash.; Sauvie Island, Ore.; and Kodiak Island, Alaska.


GO Hop on a ferryboat in San Francisco (25 minutes; $14.50; www.blueandgold or Tiburon (20 minutes; $10.20;

STAY Load a pack and hike two miles to one of nine state park camping sites. Book a few months ahead. $27.50. (800) 444-7275,

EAT Before boarding the Tiburon ferry, head to Shark's Deli in town for picnic fixings including chicken salad sandwiches ($6) and cookies (two for $1). (415) 435-9130.

PLAY On a docent-led bike tour, explore the island's former military installations such as Camp Reynolds and the Nike missile site. Tour $2, bike rental $30. (415) 435-3522,


GO Boats leave from three Southern California ports: Long Beach, Dana Point, and San Pedro. About an hour; from $54.

STAY Zane Grey Pueblo Hotel—the novelist's former home—offers unmatched views of Avalon Bay. From $135. (310) 510-0966,

EAT The enticing lunch menu at Armstrong's Seafood is identical to the dinner one, but with lower prices. Red snapper: $11 at lunch, $16 at dinner. (310) 510-0113.

PLAY Take a guided tour of the Catalina Casino, the island's 1929 art deco landmark, and get free admission to the Catalina Island Museum. $15.25. (800) 626-5440,


GO Walk or drive aboard the Washington State Ferry about 80 miles north of Seattle in Anacortes. One to two hours; $10–$13.

STAY The Wayfarer's Rest, a ranch-style hostel located four blocks from the ferry terminal, offers coed and private rooms. From $30. (360) 378-6428.

EAT Check the blackboard at the Backdoor Kitchen for the Curry of the Day, which might be a Thai, Indian, or Moroccan dish. $9. (360) 378-9540.

PLAY At Lime Kiln Point State Park, hike the Lighthouse Trail overlooking the water and scan for orcas along the way. No admission or parking fees. (360) 378-2044,

Photography courtesy Washington State Ferries

This article was first published in March 2009. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.