Puget Sound Journals

Puget Sound Ferries--A Floating Highway

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A travel journal to Puget Sound by El Gallo

Ferry Land Photo, Puget Sound, Washington More Photos
Quote: Puget Sound is the most ferry-connected place on the Continent, maybe the world. And the big boats aren't just for commuters--travelers can plan car-free trips to the San Juans, the Olympic Peninsula, even Canada.

Puget Sound Ferries--A Floating Highway

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

Ferry Land Photo, Puget Sound, Washington
Quote:
You can take a bus ride by ferry to the mystic calm of Vashon, kill a few hours crossing to Winslow and back to see the sunset, go for a day cruise through the San Juan Islands spotting seals and killer whales, split to Victoria, Canada for a day or overnight in 'America's Olde England'--or piece together destination trips. Washington State Ferries are big and stable, and a very comfortable way to get around, with huge windows to see the Sound through as you sit and sip your latte, and heated, wind-shielded, outside observation decks. You can bring a car, a bike, or a kayak with you if you like. There are also private ferries, like the quick voyages from Seattle to Victoria.Quick Tips: The...Read More

SEATTLE

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Story/Tip

Quote:
SEATTLE There are two ferry docks in Seattle, but the smaller one at Fauntleroy only leads to Vashon Island, and thus also to Point Defiance, site of Tacoma's zoo. Not to ignore Vashon: it's a beautiful place and has a unique, teepee/ranch hostel. You can take a 118 bus across from downtown Seattle. For more on this see 'Crossing the water by Bus' in my 'Seattle's Special Spots' journal, and the AHY Hostel entry in my Seattle journal, 'Low rent/lowlife guide'. A perfect cruise for the carless. Fare for car & driver is $11 RT, walk-ons pay $2.50. Carry a bike on for $.60 But basically, 'The Ferry Terminal' is the big one at Pier 52 (thoughtfully located right on the waterfron...Read More

SAN JUAN ISLANDS

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Story/Tip

Quote:
This is a poor-man's luxury scenic cruise to be sure. For details on the San Juans, one of the West's most wonderful tourism and cruising areas, please see my journal on the Islands. Here, we're just dealing with transportation issues. Generally speaking, people get to the San Juans by Washington State Ferries leaving from the docks in Anacortes, several hours north of Seattle and not a very convenient place to try to get to on bus or thumb. But there are alternatives which we will get to. If you are driving, note that there are no reservations and in summer and big weekends there are LONG lines, so get there early. Or leave the car in Anacortes. The ferries stop at Shaw, Lopez, ...Read More

VICTORIA

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Story/Tip

Quote:
The Victoria Clipper connects Seattle directly to Victoria, and it's a connection that seems to span centuries and continents. You get on in modernistic Jetsons City Seattle and get off in Merrie Olde England. Just a look at the stately Empress Hotel and the Parliament building across from it, flanking the harbor in a stoneclad way that staunchly says, 'Americas by not amused,' is enough to make you think you've time-traveled. High tea, rose gardens, double-decker buses, knock yourself loose in Victoria. But what next? There is plenty to explore on Vancouver Island, and Vancouver is right across the way, but those are trips that seem to demand cars (o...Read More

SHORT RUNS

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Not all the Puget Sound routes are sea voyages--though all are of scenic interest. There are short runs of interest only to local commuters (which is the basic idea behind the ferry system in the first place). For instance, the Fauntleroy-Southworth crossing is of virtually no touristic significance. And most of the inter-island hops are useless to carless travelers. On the other hand, those driving around Washington should familiarize themselves with ferry possibilities, if only because they can provide some interesting alternatives to ordinary freeway driving. For instance, driving the Interstate 5 corridor from Seattle to Tacoma is boring, tedious, ugly and at times dangerous. Especially ...Read More

FERRIES AS TRAVEL

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Sure they're great for commuters and reducing road rage. And they are the best way to see Seattle and Puget Sound in general. But footloose travelers who use their heads can also use the ferry systems as a way to pursue their destinations with a minimum of hassle and a maximum of scenery and comfort. This will recap information in the other sections here, and is oriented towards travelers trying to move through the region. If you are headed from Seattle to Canada, by all means forget the boring passage up Interstate 5 and take the Clipper to Victoria. If you wanted to see the San Juans on your way, do it from there and return by Washington State Ferry. Or nip down to Port Angeles or Port To...Read More

About the Writer

El Gallo

El Gallo
Monkey Junction, Afghanistan