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Seattle Ferries - Your Getaway Gateway

Washington State Ferries was created by the state in 1951 to keep up with increased demand for reliable ferry service. Over the past 50 years ferry boats have become a staple and a hallmark of the Emerald City and one of the best vantage points to view Seattle’s inspired skyline crowned by the Space Needle.  Just ask any Grey’s Anatomy fan.

Today WSF boasts the largest ferry system in the United States, and the third largest in the world, carrying 10 million vehicles and more than 22 million people annually. Seattle ferries are also your getaway gateway to the San Juan Islands, British Columbia and the Olympic Peninsula.

See the Space Needle from Washington State Ferry, puget sound, vacation, vashon island, bremerton, bainbridge island

Tourist Tips

  1. Check the schedule ahead of time and arrive at least 50 minutes prior to boarding for peak times and 20 minutes prior to boarding for non-peak time of day travel.
  2. Pack a light snack and beverages, the upper decks have tables and are lined with windows.
  3. Even in the summer, a strong breeze can be a little chilly. You may want to take a sweater or coat along for you and the kids.
  4. Take your camera and get ready for the view!

Top 3 Ferries for Sightseeing

These three routes have the best views of the downtown Seattle skyline as well as providing an island tourism experience unique to a Seattle vacation.

Seattle Pier 52 - Bainbridge Island Ferry

  • You may drive or walk onto the ferry by foot or bicycle.
  • Park and Ride is also available.
  • Check the Current Route Schedule
  • Approximate ride time is 35 minutes.

Washington State Ferries - SeattleThis route runs between the Colman Dock (Pier 52) in Seattle to Bainbridge Island at Winslow,  the main shipyard for the Washington State Ferry system. This is the busiest ferry route hosting 6 million rides per year and is 8.6 miles long.

When boarding on the Seattle side you can check the time of your ferry arrival on the Colman Clock a reminder of James Murray Colman the man who built Pier 52 in 1882.

What People are Saying

“Transportation with a view”  Reviewed September 20, 2012

Frequently take the Washington ferries to get from downtown Seattle to Bainbridge Island. Always enjoy the view of Seattle from the water. Take a ride just for fun.

 “MUST DO in Seattle”  Reviewed September 13, 2012

When I lived in Seattle I traveled to work on the Ferry and there is really no better way to get a complete Seattle vacation without a Ferry ride. What you need to know:
1- Bainbridge Island - GREAT day trip from Seattle
Exit the ferry and walk up the road - turn left and head into the small town. There are cafes and loads of little shops to explore. It is a bit of a walk (probably 10 minutes) so prepare accordingly.

“Trip to Bainbridge Island”  Reviewed September 13, 2012

This has got to be the best bargain in Seattle. Reasonable roundtrip cost to the island. The ferry and the ferry dock facilities are great. The Island was picturesque and easy to walk around.

Seattle Pier 50 - Vashon Island Ferry

  • You may drive or walk onto the ferry by foot or bicycle.
  • There are a few ferries which are passenger-only, make sure to check the schedule ahead of time.
  • Check the Current Route Schedule
  • Approximate ride time is 20 minutes.

Seattle Skyline at Night from the Water, Vashon Island, Bremerton, Bainbridge Island, Vacation, HolidayThis route runs between Seattle's Pier 50 and the north end of Vashon Island. You may want to drive onto this ferry since the main town of Vashon is several miles from the dock. During your visit you'll encounter shops, galleries, restaurants, parks and farms. Don't forget the scenic views, amazing forested areas and driftwood covered beaches. There are equestrian facilities also.

What People are Saying

Vashon DelightsReviewed July 16, 2012

Arrive via ferry from Pt. Defiance to Vashon Island. You drive through 2 tiny little towns before you get to Vashon. The drive is beautiful in the spring with the flowering bushes. You can smell the lilacs. Watch all the little stores & note where they are because you might just forget things once you get settle in. ... When you get to Vashon, you'll find a movie theatre, several little bakeries, galleries, cafes, some coffee shops, gift shops...

 

 Seattle Pier 52 - Bremerton Ferry

  • Departs from the Colman Dock (Pier 52)
  • Drive or walk on. Park and Ride.
  • Check the Current Route Schedule
  • Approximate ride time is 1 hour.

Seattle Skyline with Space Needle and NEW Pier 57 Ferris Wheel, on the water, puget sound vacation, Vashon Island, Bremerton, Bainbridge Island"Located on the Kitsap Peninsula, Bremerton is home to a naval shipyard and features a museum with a former life as a destroyer. The USS Turner Joy is open for tours, moored near the ferry dock and easily reached if you walk onto the ferry. You will stroll along a wide waterfront boardwalk to reach the museum, with sweeping views of the water, fountains, parks, and places to eat and relax." - according to USA Today Travel

What People are Saying

 “Perfect sunset cruise.”  Reviewed September 12, 2012

Don't pay expensive cruise lines to take a sunset cruise. For $7.50 round trip, you can take this ferry over to Bainbridge island and get a fantastic sunset view. Trips is about 35 minutes each way with about a 10-15 minute wait in the middle. Can't beat it. Bathrooms and a cafeteria. Pick up some fish at Ivars and eat it on the ferry.

 “Day Trip”  Reviewed September 11, 2012

The views from the ferry and really worth going for. We took a short trip to Bainbridge Island, walked in to town, had a quick bit to eat and caught the next ferry out. An inexpensive way to experience Seattle and get some great photos.

 “Bremerton ferry”  Reviewed July 16, 2012

Following a suggestion of a couple we met we took the Bremerton ferry back from Olympic Pennisula to Seattle instead of the Bainbridge ferry. It took us the same amount of time to get there from Port Townsend and it was very scenic. The ferry was very efficient. There was no long line. We got there and got right on the incoming ferry and launched quickly after loading.

Ferries provide an experience surely worth returning to over and over again through the next 50 years.

 
* Reviews and photographs courtesy of TripAdvisor.com and Flickr.com

 

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