You can do your own low-budget "cruise" simply by hopping on one of the ferries operated by Washington State Ferries, ph: 800-84-FERRY or 888-808-7977 in Washington, or call 206-464-6400. www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries. Try the Bainbridge Island or Bremerton ferries out of Seattle for a 1 1/2- to 2 1/2-hour round-trip.
We drove about 2 hours north of Seattle to Anacortes, WA to take a ferry through the San Juan Islands to Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. It is a nice drive from Seattle to Anacortes. We stayed the night in the small town of Anacortes and then took the early morning ferry. We rented our car in Seattle from Enterprise and they allow you to take the rental car on the ferry to the San Juan Islands and to Vancouver Island. The scenery while on the ferry is beautiful and we were even able to do a little whale watching.
The Clipper is high speed ferry that offers service to Victoria, British Columbia. Victoria is a charming city with a British flair that makes for a nice visit. It is home to the famous Butchart Gardens.
The trip across Puget Sound lasts almost three hours. Food and drink are available. The voyage also doubles as a de facto sight seeing tour of Puget Sound, as you can get a nice feel for the waterway and a chance to enjoy some scenery along the way. On our return trip the boat came close to a small island where some bald eagles were nesting.
A baggage check is available to those who do not whish to lug there luggage around the ferry.
I recommend booking your trip in advance. You may do so on-line. A savings is realized by booking in advance. Also, the Clipper may fill up and leave those who did not pre-book standing at the dock.
Just next to (north) of my fave the Edgewater hotel at Pier 69 is the embarcation point for the fast Victoria Clipper. For around $60 it will get you over the water from Seattle to Victoria Island in Canada in under 3 hours.
This sucker sounds like a jet in the morning when it is warming up. The fast Victoria Clipper IV high speed catamaran reaches speeds of up to 40 knots (almost 50 mph), which may not sound like much to freeway jammers, but when you ride it over the water you really feel like you are haulin' a$s, and it is both scenic & fun.
Remember you're going to Canada, so for now it is recommended that you bring an original or certified copy of a birth certificate and photo ID, and with the new potential security immigration restrictions they are putting in place, you will eventually need to and probably now should take your passport, or you may run into some trouble.
Victoria Island & Vancouver is a beautiful daytrip from Seattle, and the Clipper is a helluva way to get there.
Puget Sound Islands. Check out Bainbridge and Vashon Islands. They're just a ferry ride away and give views of the Seattle skyline as well as provide a great retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. My favorite thing to do to get away is to drive to the ferry dock, take my car over to Bainbridge and drive around the perimeter, looking at the Sound and all the real estate. It's beautiful.
Bainbridge Island's homepage is http://bainbridgeisland.com. This site offers everything from photos to directions, shopping, etc.
Vashon Island's community council's website is http://www.vmicc.org
For all information on ferries to each of these islands just go to http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/index.cfm and click on either Seattle-Bainbridge or Seattle-Vashon.
Drive nearly 2 hours to the north, almost to the Canadian border, to Bellingham. Here you can take a ferry all the way to Alaska! I did this and it was a ton of fun! Check out my Alaska page for more info on that!
Bainbridge Island - a 30 minute or so ferry trip from Seattle. A sleepy little place - weekend getaway, good for hiking, chilling out, retreat, and charity/thrift shops funnily enough!
You MUST take a beautiful ferry ride to the Olympic Peninsula! The Hood Canal area is beauty beyond description! Hiking, biking, boating, camping and much more!