Washington State Ferries
One of the best ways to see Seattle is from the water. Washington State Ferries (206/464-6400, 888/808-7977, or 800/843-3779 for automated info, www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries) operate almost continuously from before sunrise to after 1 a.m. daily, leaving from the main terminal at Pier 52 for Bainbridge Island and Bremerton. To either destination, summertime car-and-driver fares are $14.45 each way; passengers and walk-ons pay only $6.70 round-trip. A passenger-only Seattle–Vashon Island ferry ($4.30 round-trip) has daily departures from Pier 50 in the summer, with Mon.–Sat. departures in the winter.
The Fauntleroy ferry dock in West Seattle serves Southworth on the Kitsap Peninsula and Vashon Island about every 20–50 minutes daily. Summertime car-and-driver fares are $14.80 one-way; passengers and walk-ons pay just $4.30 round-trip. The crossing to Southworth takes approximately 35 minutes, while the Fauntleroy–Vashon Island takes 15 minutes. Get to the Fauntleroy dock by heading south on I-5 to exit 163; follow the signs from there.
There is a $1 surcharge to carry bikes on all these ferry runs. Fares for vehicles are lower in the off-season (mid-October to mid-May), and discounts are available for seniors, children, and people with disabilities. If you're going to be traveling a lot on the ferries, ask about frequent-user coupon books. There are no state ferry connections from Seattle to the San Juan Islands; you must leave from Anacortes or Sidney, B.C., or take the Victoria Clipper.
Victoria and San Juan Islands Ferries
Car ferries no longer operate between Seattle and Victoria; you will need to drive north to Anacortes, where you can catch a state ferry through the San Juan Islands to Vancouver Island. For a daylong excursion to Canada, take the passenger-only Victoria Clipper (206/448-5000 or 800/888-2535, www.victoriaclipper.com, $149) from Pier 63 to Ogden Point in Victoria. Reservations are required for this high-speed catamaran cruise, and it takes two hours to reach Victoria. The round-trip cruise can be completed in one day (8:30 a.m. departure and 9:30 p.m. return) while allowing a brief stay in Olde English Victoria. For variety, take the Clipper to Victoria and fly back on Kenmore Air (206/486-1257 or 800/543-9595, www.kenmoreair.com). The Clipper also offers optional one- or two-night stays in Victoria, a "triple play" that includes a night each in Victoria and Vancouver, and a wide range of other tours into British Columbia. In addition, it has service between Seattle and the San Juan Islands, and between Victoria and the San Juans ($59–69).
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition