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What Is The Longest Ferry Ride From Seattle


by Birgit Kidwell



Welcome to the bustling city of Seattle, Washington – known for its iconic Space Needle, vibrant coffee culture, and stunning waterfront views. Nestled in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, this city is not only a gateway to natural wonders but also offers a unique transportation system: its ferry system.


Seattle’s ferry system is one of the largest and most extensive in the United States, connecting the city to various destinations across the region. From commuting residents to curious tourists, the ferries provide an alternative mode of transportation that allows passengers to enjoy scenic views of the Puget Sound, surrounding islands, and beyond.


In this article, we will explore the longest ferry ride from Seattle. We’ll delve into the background of Seattle’s ferry system, provide an overview of the ferry routes departing from the city, and determine the ferry ride that offers the most extended time on the water.


So, sit back, relax, and join us on this virtual journey as we embark on an adventure to discover the longest ferry ride from the beautiful city of Seattle.


Background on Seattle’s ferry system

Before we dive into the specifics of the longest ferry ride from Seattle, it’s essential to understand the origins and significance of Seattle’s ferry system.


Seattle’s ferry system dates back to the late 1800s when the city’s rapid growth and the need for efficient transportation led to the establishment of a reliable ferry network. The system initially served as a mode of transportation for goods and people between Seattle and nearby islands.


Over the years, the ferry system evolved to meet the growing demands of the region. Today, the Washington State Ferries (WSF) operates the largest ferry system in the United States, carrying millions of passengers annually.


The ferry system serves as a vital transportation link connecting Seattle to various destinations within the Puget Sound region. It provides not only a means of local transportation for residents but also offers a scenic and enjoyable experience for visitors.


Seattle’s ferry system consists of a fleet of vessels that operate on several routes, serving a combination of commuter, tourist, and commercial purposes. With a network of terminals strategically located in and around Seattle, passengers can easily access the ferry service from different parts of the city.


One of the unique aspects of Seattle’s ferry system is its contribution to sustainable transportation. By offering an alternative to cars and reducing road congestion, the ferries help mitigate the environmental impacts associated with traditional modes of transportation.


Additionally, the ferry system contributes to the economic growth of the region. It supports local businesses on the islands and brings tourism revenue to Seattle, as visitors are drawn to the scenic beauty and adventure offered by the ferry rides.


Now that we’ve explored the background of Seattle’s ferry system, it’s time to delve into the various ferry routes departing from the city and identify the longest ferry ride available for adventurous travelers.


Overview of ferry routes from Seattle

Seattle’s ferry system connects the city to a variety of destinations in the Puget Sound region, offering passengers a range of scenic and exciting ferry rides to choose from. Let’s take a closer look at some of the notable ferry routes departing from Seattle:

  1. Seattle to Bainbridge Island: This route is one of the most popular and frequently traveled. The ferry departs from the downtown Seattle terminal and takes passengers across the picturesque Puget Sound to Bainbridge Island. The journey offers stunning views of the Seattle skyline, the surrounding mountains, and the tranquil waters of the sound.
  2. Seattle to Bremerton: Another notable ferry route is the Seattle to Bremerton service, which provides a convenient link between these two cities. The ferry ride takes passengers from the Seattle waterfront to Bremerton, a charming city located on the Kitsap Peninsula. Along the way, travelers can enjoy panoramic views of the Olympic Mountains and the breathtaking natural beauty of the area.
  3. Seattle to Vashon Island: The Seattle to Vashon Island route offers a shorter ferry ride, but it is no less enchanting. Vashon Island is known for its rural charm, artistic community, and picturesque landscapes. The ferry ride provides a peaceful and scenic journey through the Puget Sound, with glimpses of wildlife and the chance to explore the island’s unique attractions.
  4. Seattle to Whidbey Island (Clinton/Mukilteo): Travelers can also take a ferry from Seattle to Whidbey Island. This route offers two options: one from Clinton to Mukilteo and the other from Mukilteo to Clinton. Whidbey Island is the largest island in Washington State and is famous for its stunning beaches, hiking trails, and charming small towns.
  5. Seattle to San Juan Islands: For those seeking a more extensive ferry adventure, the Seattle to San Juan Islands route is a must-try. The San Juan Islands are a group of idyllic islands known for their natural beauty, abundant wildlife, and recreational activities. This ferry ride allows passengers to explore multiple islands, soak in the breathtaking scenery, and maybe even catch sight of whales or dolphins along the way.

These are just a few examples of the ferry routes available from Seattle. Each route offers its own unique charm, providing passengers with an opportunity to experience the beauty and diversity of the Pacific Northwest. However, we’re still left with the question of which ferry ride is the longest from Seattle. Let’s find out in the next section.


Determining the longest ferry ride from Seattle

Now, let’s uncover the answer to the question that’s been lingering: which ferry ride is the longest from Seattle? Determining the longest ferry ride involves considering both the distance covered and the duration of the journey.


While all the ferry routes mentioned earlier offer their own unique experiences, the longest ferry ride from Seattle is undoubtedly the route to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. This ferry journey takes passengers across the international border and offers a truly unforgettable experience.


The ferry ride from Seattle to Victoria is operated by the Washington State Ferries in partnership with the Victoria Clipper, a high-speed passenger ferry service. The vessel departs from the Seattle waterfront and cruises through the stunning waters of the Puget Sound, passing by the San Juan Islands and picturesque coastal landscapes along the way.


The journey typically takes around 3 to 3.5 hours, covering a distance of approximately 60 nautical miles (111 kilometers). Passengers traveling on this route have the opportunity to witness the breathtaking natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, including rugged coastlines, majestic mountains, and the possibility of encountering marine wildlife.


Upon reaching Victoria, passengers are greeted by the charming capital city of British Columbia. Known for its British colonial architecture, stunning gardens, and rich history, Victoria offers a range of attractions for visitors to explore. From the iconic Inner Harbour to the world-famous Butchart Gardens, there is no shortage of sights to see and experiences to be had in this vibrant city.


It is important to note that while the Seattle to Victoria ferry ride is the longest in terms of distance and duration, there are other ferry routes from Seattle that may offer longer travel times due to factors such as traffic, weather conditions, and stops along the way. However, in terms of pure distance and uninterrupted travel time, the journey to Victoria stands out as the longest ferry ride from Seattle.


So, if you’re looking for a truly remarkable and extended ferry experience from Seattle, hop on board the ferry to Victoria and immerse yourself in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.


Ferry ride to Victoria, British Columbia

The ferry ride from Seattle to Victoria, British Columbia, is a captivating journey that takes passengers across the international border and offers a unique blend of scenic beauty and cultural exploration. Let’s embark on this ferry adventure and discover what awaits us in Victoria.


Departing from the Seattle waterfront, the ferry takes travelers on a picturesque voyage through the stunning waters of the Puget Sound, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. As the vessel cruises along, passengers can enjoy breathtaking vistas of the San Juan Islands, lush forests, and majestic mountains that exemplify the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest.


The ferry ride to Victoria typically takes approximately 3 to 3.5 hours, covering a distance of around 60 nautical miles (111 kilometers). During this time, passengers have the opportunity to relax and unwind, soaking in the serenity of the open waters and marveling at the ever-changing scenery.


As the ferry approaches Victoria, passengers are greeted by the sight of the iconic British Columbia Parliament Buildings, which stand majestically along the city’s Inner Harbour. These grand structures, with their striking architecture, serve as a symbolic gateway to Victoria’s rich history and vibrant culture.


Once ashore, visitors can explore the charming streets of Victoria, known for their quaint shops, multi-cultural restaurants, and vibrant arts scene. The city’s British colonial architecture adds a touch of old-world charm, while its modern amenities and attractions make it a vibrant and cosmopolitan destination.


One of Victoria’s highlights is the world-famous Butchart Gardens, a stunning garden paradise that draws visitors from around the globe. With its meticulously manicured gardens, vibrant floral displays, and tranquil ambiance, Butchart Gardens offers a sensory feast for nature lovers and horticultural enthusiasts alike.


For those seeking a more historical experience, a visit to the Royal BC Museum is a must. This museum showcases the rich heritage of British Columbia through its engaging exhibits and displays, providing visitors with a deeper understanding of the region’s cultural and natural history.


After a day of exploring, visitors can indulge in Victoria’s renowned culinary scene, which boasts a diverse range of cuisines. From farm-to-table restaurants serving fresh seafood to cozy pubs offering locally crafted beer, there is something to satisfy every palate.


As the day comes to a close, passengers can board the ferry for the return journey to Seattle, carrying cherished memories of their time in Victoria. The ferry ride back offers yet another opportunity to appreciate the scenic beauty of the Pacific Northwest, bidding farewell to the charm of Victoria and welcoming travelers back to the vibrant city of Seattle.


The ferry ride to Victoria from Seattle offers a truly memorable experience, combining the thrill of international travel with the enchantment of exploring a vibrant and culturally rich city. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or simply seeking a delightful getaway, this ferry adventure promises to leave you with lasting memories of the beauty and charm of the Pacific Northwest.


Ferry ride to Alaska

If you’re looking for a truly epic ferry adventure from Seattle, consider embarking on a ferry ride to Alaska. While this route may not be a direct journey from Seattle, it offers a remarkable experience for adventurous travelers willing to explore the stunning landscapes of the Last Frontier.


The Alaska Marine Highway System operates a series of ferry routes that connect various ports in the Pacific Northwest to cities and towns throughout Alaska. These ferries are a lifeline for many Alaskan communities, providing both transportation for residents and access for tourists to the remote and scenic regions of the state.


To begin this ferry journey, you can start by taking a ferry from Seattle to Bellingham, Washington. From there, you can board an Alaska Marine Highway vessel and set sail along the Inside Passage, a breathtakingly beautiful coastal route that winds its way through a maze of islands, fjords, and glaciers.


The ferry ride to Alaska offers an unparalleled opportunity to witness the raw and untouched beauty of the region. Passengers can admire snow-capped peaks, towering glaciers, and pristine forests as they navigate through the narrow passages and open waters of the Inside Passage. Along the way, keep an eye out for wildlife, including whales, seals, sea lions, and a variety of bird species.


As the ferry makes its way up the coast, it stops at several ports of call, allowing passengers to explore different communities and experience the unique culture and traditions of Alaska. From the picturesque town of Sitka, with its rich Russian heritage, to the bustling city of Juneau, the state capital, there is no shortage of fascinating stops along this ferry route.


Continuing north, the ferry passes through the stunning Tracy Arm Fjord, known for its towering glaciers, crystal-clear waters, and mesmerizing blue ice. This is a prime opportunity to witness calving glaciers and marvel at the forces of nature at work.


The ferry journey culminates in the town of Skagway, a gateway to the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. Here, visitors can step back in time and immerse themselves in the history of the gold rush era, reliving the excitement and challenges faced by the prospectors who embarked on the arduous journey to strike it rich in the Yukon.


From Skagway, travelers can extend their Alaska adventure by exploring other parts of the state, such as Anchorage, Denali National Park, or even venturing into the remote reaches of Alaska’s vast wilderness.


While a ferry ride to Alaska from Seattle may require careful planning and a longer time commitment, it offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience to witness the untouched beauty and majestic landscapes of the Last Frontier.


So, if you’re seeking a grand adventure and are ready to embark on a journey of exploration, consider the ferry route to Alaska from Seattle and get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime.


Ferry ride to Hawaii

Are you dreaming of a tropical getaway? While a ferry ride from Seattle to Hawaii is not a direct option, we can explore the possibility of reaching the enchanting islands of Hawaii by ferry through an extended journey. Let’s embark on this imaginary ferry adventure and set sail for Hawaii!


To start our journey, we would first need to take a ferry or other means of transportation from Seattle to a West Coast city like San Francisco or Los Angeles. From there, we can explore the possibility of boarding a cruise ship or finding alternative transportation options to make our way to the Hawaiian Islands.


Currently, there are no direct ferry services between the West Coast and Hawaii. However, numerous cruise lines offer voyages from California to Hawaii, allowing travelers to experience the beauty of the islands.


Once on board the ship, we would embark on a multi-day voyage across the vast Pacific Ocean. During the journey, passengers can take advantage of the ship’s amenities, including restaurants, entertainment, and various activities, to make the most of their time at sea.


The cruise ship would make several port stops in the Hawaiian Islands, typically including popular destinations such as Oahu (home to Honolulu and Waikiki Beach), Maui (known for its stunning beaches and the famous Road to Hana), Kauai (with its breathtaking landscapes and the magnificent Na Pali Coast), and the Big Island of Hawaii (home to active volcanoes and diverse ecosystems).


Each island offers a unique experience, from exploring the vibrant city life of Waikiki to discovering the lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and black-sand beaches of the Big Island. Passengers have the opportunity to soak up the Hawaiian culture, indulge in delicious local cuisine, and partake in a range of activities like snorkeling, surfing, hiking, or simply lounging on the sun-kissed shores.


It’s important to note that while a ferry ride to Hawaii from Seattle is not currently available, a cruise ship journey can provide a fantastic alternative for those seeking an extended adventure to the Hawaiian Islands.


So, if you’re yearning for a tropical escape, consider exploring cruise options from West Coast cities to Hawaii. It’s a chance to experience the beauty and aloha spirit of the Hawaiian Islands while enjoying the amenities and comfort of a cruise ship.


Bon voyage on your imaginary ferry ride to Hawaii – a destination that promises memories of sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and the warm embrace of Hawaiian hospitality.



Seattle’s ferry system offers a myriad of exciting and scenic options for travelers seeking memorable journeys. From the bustling city streets to the tranquil islands scattered across the Puget Sound, there is no shortage of destinations to explore. While determining the longest ferry ride from Seattle, we discovered that the route to Victoria, British Columbia, takes the crown, providing passengers with a captivating journey through the stunning waters of the Pacific Northwest.


However, the adventure doesn’t stop there. We also explored the possibilities of ferry rides to Alaska and Hawaii, even though they are not direct routes from Seattle. These extended journeys offer unique opportunities to witness the untouched beauty of the Last Frontier or bask in the tropical paradise of the Hawaiian Islands, respectively. While these ferry rides require additional planning and travel arrangements, they promise unforgettable experiences and breathtaking landscapes.


Whether you’re seeking a day trip to one of the nearby islands or embarking on an extended ferry adventure, Seattle’s ferry system opens up a world of exploration and discovery. It not only provides a convenient mode of transportation but also offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in the natural wonders and vibrant cultures of the Pacific Northwest and beyond.


So, the next time you find yourself in Seattle, consider hopping aboard one of the ferries and embarking on a journey to remember. Whether you choose the longest ferry ride to Victoria, embark on a ferry adventure to Alaska, or explore the possibilities of a cruise ship journey to Hawaii, the beauty and charm of these destinations will leave an indelible mark on your memories.


Enjoy the serenity of the open waters, take in the stunning vistas, and embrace the sense of adventure that comes with exploring new horizons via Seattle’s ferry system. Your next great journey awaits!