Washington Island Ferries and Cruises
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The most luxurious way to Washington Island is a narrated cruise aboard the Island Clipper (920/854-2972, www.islandclipper.com), a 65-foot cruiser specifically designed by a Sturgeon Bay boatbuilder for the Death’s Door crossing. A basic crossing ($12 adults) is available, as is a ferry plus “Viking Train” island tour ($24). There are up to 10 departures 10 a.m.–5 p.m. daily in peak summer season.
Northport exists solely to accommodate the second of the ferry lines to Washington Island. This pier was established as an escape from fierce prevailing winds on the Gills Rock side. Northport, in fact, has eclipsed Gills Rock as a departure point to Washington Island, as it is virtually always free of ice and saves precious crossing time. Those who wish to drive their cars over to Washington Island will have to come here for the Washington Island Ferry (920/847-2546 or 800/223-2094, www.wisferry.com), which takes autos and passengers. It also hooks up with the Cherry Train tour of the island if you take the 9:45 a.m. or earlier crossing from Northport, 11 a.m. from Gills Rock.
The schedule for the ferry is staggering; check the wall map. In high season, July–late August, 21 round-trips depart to and from the island beginning at 7 a.m. from the island, 7:45 a.m. from Northport (no early trip on Sundays!). The farther you are from this zenith chronologically, the fewer trips depart. December–January, only four trips depart per day; February–March there are only one or two per day, and vehicle reservations are mandatory. Call anyway for verification in the off season. A car costs $25 (passengers not included), each adult is $12, bicycles are $4, and motorcycles are $15—all prices are round-trip.
© Thomas Huhti from Moon Wisconsin, 5th Edition