Ferries / Ships / Boats, Seattle
The ferry system is pretty comprehensive in and around Seattle. There are a few departure points in Seattle that take you across the Puget Sound to the Kitsap Peninsula, Vashon Island, and the Olympic Peninsula. Some are as short as 1/2 hour while some are as long a 1.5 hours. There are also boats that run out of Anacortes through the San Juans to Victoria and from Pt Townsend to Victoria as well. I always like to stand out front with the wind whipping around, just looking at the area. Pretty nice and definitely a must do in Seattle.
You don't need a sailboat to enjoys island hopping around Seattle... hop a ferry! Take a daytrip and enjoy the sights. Or rent a bicycle when you get off the ferry and explore whatever town you're in that way. In fact, go to to Vashon Island and rent a bike OR a canoe or kayak!
Don't worry, today's ferries look a little different than the one pictured here (Alida, year 1870, what is now Pier 51 in Seattle). And now you can sit back relax, enjoy the beautiful sights, and enjoy a cup of Ivar's Clam Chowder and cold brew!
Glide across Puget Sound on a ferry to scout Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, Kingston, Vashon Island, or just to enjoy a beautiful and relaxing ride, with or without your car.
I used to take either the Bremerton or Bainbridge ferry roundtrip every day in the spring & summer of 2001, and it was a relaxing, scenic, and beautiful ride in the wind & sun. It still is.
Some of the larger ferries have a live galley with cooks where they serve fish & chips, burgers, beers, etc. so you can sit outside on the deck and enjoy your food while you cruise the sound & slide through the scenic passages and inlets along the way. At this website are all the ferry schedules in PDF format if you have Adobe installed:
Seattle Ferry Schedules
Don't forget to look up occasionally to see the gulls "drafting" on the breeze above the ferry as they appear to float in midair & escort you to your destination.
And the ferry is not just for daytime transportation. Here's a way to enjoy a Seattle evening with a Cheap Date on the Ferry
You can't go to Seattle and not ride the ferry.
With my Go Seattle Card I was entitled to a free Argosy Cruise but based on everything I was trying to do the May schedule and I never connected. I was determined to get a view of Seattle from the water so I overheard someone mention they were catching the ferry on my tour back from Mount St. Helen’s. This family living on Bainsbridge Island let me just run and follow them. We were running to catch the 6:20 ferry. It was less than $5 for the round trip. It was about 30 minutes over, 15 minutes in port and 30 minutes back .
Most of the people on the ferry were commuters who worked in Seattle. On board there was plenty of room for seating and give observation areas. It looked like there was even wireless internet onboard. It got a little windy out on Elliot Bay that day and was a little chilly. But in the end I got what I was looking for and that was a great view of Seattle from the water.
During that time of day the ferry was busy. For example the family I chased on board, I never seen them at all on the boat! On board there were also come characters from medieval times playing violins and acting. I am not sure if this was a daily activity or I just got on at an odd time when these guys were passing through?
15 May - 5 Sept.
11:30 AM; 5:30 PM; 7:00 PM
2:15 PM; 7:30 PM; 9:45 PM
Note: Additional departures may be available on select dates, as needed. Schedule subject to change.
*No Service January 5-16, 2004 and December 25, 2004
2004 Seattle/Victoria Fares:
(one way/round trip)
(1-11 yr): $35/$58
*Prices are in US dollars.
If you are planning to drive your car to Victoria, British Columbia (and Vancouver Island), and you want to leave from the Seattle area, the closest terminal to catch a ferry that allows vehicles on the ferry is in Anacortes, WA, about 90 miles north of Seattle. This is operated by the Washington State Ferries system. The ferry ride is about 3 hours. The ferry actually will take you to Sidney, BC, and it will be a short drive to Victoria.
This service between Anacortes and Sidney is pretty limited - only twice daily during the summer and more limited during other seasons. During the summer, the ferry departs Anacortes at 8:15am (non-stop) and 2:00pm (2 stops). Vehicle reservations are recommended, and also, arrive at the ferry terminal early!
There are many options if you want to travel to Victoria, British Columbia, by ferry. First, if you are not planning to take your car to Victoria (and Vancouver Island), you can use one of the following passenger-only ferries: Victoria Clipper (departs from Seattle, WA and arrives in Victoria, BC), Victoria Express (departs from Port Angeles, WA and arrives in Victoria, BC; summer only), Victoria San Juan Cruises (departs from Bellingham, WA and arrives in Victoria, BC; summer only).
If you are planning to take your car to Vancouver Island, you can use one of the following vehicle and passenger ferries: Washington State Ferries (departs from Anacortes, WA and arrives in Sidney, BC); BC Ferries (many options; departs from Vancouver, BC area); Coho Ferry (departs from Port Angeles, WA and arrives in Victoria, BC).
The prices and schedules are all very different, so check their web sites for more information.
If you are headed to the greater Seattle area, or out to one of the many islands in and around the Puget Sound, you should definitely look into the Seattle Ferry system. Most run every half hour to various different locations around Northern Washington, and are a very effective mode of transportation for you and your vehicle!
I got this tip from other VTers and I'm passing it on to you.
A cheap way to sightsee Elliott Bay is to take the ferry to Bainbridge Island. You'll have a nice view of the Seattle Skyline along the way.
Travel time is approximately 35 minutes. You only pay on your westbound trip (i.e., going to Bainbridge Island). Regular fare is $5.40 during the non-peak season and $5.70 during the peak season. It's non-peak now (December 2003). The ferry terminal in Seattle is at Pier 52.
All year around various ferries/ships operate out of Seattle. Most numerous are the many cargo ships coming mostly to/from Asia.
You also can see the Washington State ferries going to Bremerton or Bainbridge Island, these both leave from the waterfront in Downtown Seattle.
The Victoria Clipper also operates out of Pier 69, to Victoria BC all year.
In Summer, several large cruise ships leave from Seattle to Alaska.
Having grown up in a relatively land-locked part of the country, I was facinated with the size of the ferries I encountered when moving to Seattle several years ago. They are a great way to travel to and from Seattle from other points in the Puget Sound.
This is a view of Seattle taken from the ferry from Bainbridge Island.
Ferry. If you are in Victoria, Canada you can take the Victoria Clipper or the Margarita ferry.The Victoria Clipper cost $80 dlls for the round trip.
Been there i took the monoriel, is great coz you have a good view of the city, just from the skies...
We took a ferry to Victoria Island. I believe it took around 3-4 hours one-way to go from Seattle to Victoria Island. You get some great views of both cities, the mountains, and if you're fortunate enough maybe some whales. I don't remember the cost being expensive. It was the first time we ever had to go through customs which took longer than we expected. I drove to the ferry dock thinking there would be a parking lot, but there wasn't so then in a hurry I left our rental car on some sidestreet hoping it would still be there after our two day trip to Victoria. It was still there when we got back.
From downtown water front, you can take the ferry to Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, Vashon Island, Victoria, BC.
Ok, ok! You can't get around completely by canoe but....In my opinion, it's one of the best ways to get around Seattle!