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How To Board A Seattle Ferry To Bainbridge Island (and not miss the boat)

July 12, 2010

seattle ferry

Many islands lie off the coast of Seattle in the Puget Sound. For many, the only way to get to them is by ferry. Take Bainbridge Island for example. There are no bridges you can drive across to get onto the island. Even though you can see the Seattle skyline from its shores, the only access from Seattle to the island is by ferry.

You can enter the ferry one of three ways: foot, bicycle, or vehicle. I entered by the latter because Stephanie’s cousin Ivy picked us up on her way to Bainbridge Island.

We hopped in her car outside the ferry’s loading area and, once inside, we drove through a little toll booth area and then took our spot in line for the ferry. It is very important that you get to the loading area on time because the ferry can only hold so many cars. If there are too many cars in front of you, you have to wait another 45 minutes to an hour for the next ferry. Again, the ferry is your only way home if you live on the islands.

Cars on Ferry

The ferry finally arrived to the docks and unloaded all of the cars coming from Bainbridge Island. When the last one exited, the ferry workers proceeded to direct the cars into the bowels of the ferry. One by one the cars drove on, and we inched our way forward in line, hoping to get a coveted spot on this ferry. From the looks of things, it was going to be close.

With only two cars in front of us, the ferry worker held up her hand, signaling our line to stop. The ferry might be full, but were so close to getting on! Pleading for the cars already on the ferry to squeeze in a little tighter, we waited to see if our car would be one of the chosen few.

The ferry worker returned and began waving to our line. Maybe we would get on! The two cars in front of us loaded onto the ferry, and as we pulled up the ferry worker we winced slightly at the idea that we would be the first car to not make the ferry.

But alas, we were allowed, along with the car behind us, to load onto the ferry. We had made it with only one car to spare! Now that was cutting it close.

Saved from another hour in our car waiting on the ferry, we parked the car and headed up for the top deck to watch the Seattle skyline shrink in size as the ferry chugged across the Puget Sound.

Seattle Skyline

Have you had any close calls lately?

[Image from gemteck1]


From → Travel

  1. Cherry permalink

    I love ferry stories because I love riding ferries! Thanks for bringing back the memories.

    • You’re very welcome. And I agree. Riding the ferry is lots of fun. Did you used to live on the coast?

  2. Stephanie permalink

    Love the story baby! It was a fun adventure : )

  3. Dave and Kathy permalink

    We love following your Seattle adventure, thanks

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