Whether you're a local or an out-of-towner, why not take a ferry ride if you're looking for either a fun day trip somewhere, exploring one of the islands that are west of Seattle in the Puget Sound, or maybe just to get out on the water for a little while on a beautiful Pacific Northwest day? The Washington State Ferries offer an easy way to get to one of the islands, with the possibility of perhaps seeing some Orcas swimming about if you're lucky! Travel to Bainbridge, Vashon, or Whidbey Islands, or maybe the San Juans, etc., and have a day or a weekend of water travel.
Rides vary in length based on location, and the prices vary depending on the time of year you travel (summer rates go up in April, about three dollars each way for cars). The ferries are big, holding a huge amount of cars and people, and travel back and forth constantly, so if you miss one, the next is not much of a wait. There are comfortable spaces on board to sit, watch the water, take a nap, relax, read, and eat. The prices for food and drinks are steep, but it's like any tourist attraction in that regard. Tons of seating inside, or you can stay in your car.
The outside decks are nice, but pack a jacket because it can be a warm, sunny day, but once you're on the water, it gets pretty chilly out there. Plenty of tourist info inside with lots of brochures, maps, etc. for you to take; all free. Walk-on is the cheapest way to go, and you only pay going one way. Cars with drivers are a little pricey if you're riding often, but for a one-time trip, it's very reasonable! I have been traveling quite a bit between Bainbridge and Seattle since I'm doing a long-term house sitting job on Bainbridge, and I really do enjoy the ride. That big ol' ferry is smooth, with a nice, low rumble and gentle movement that makes for a nice nap in the car if you choose.
There is a lot to explore on our islands, and it's amazing how many locals never even check them out, so c'mon, why not? You can ride your bike or walk on, take your car, whatever you want. (Note: if you're going to Bainbridge, the Bainbridge Historical Society Museum about a block and a half from the ferry terminal is awesome and very cheap: $4.00! It's packed full of interesting Bainbridge info, and the older folks who are docents there are full of helpful, friendly information...living history right there. Plus, it's free on the first Thursday of the month!).
Ride the ferry. Meet others on board for a friendly way to pass the time. Go explore an island. Find some natural beauty you didn't know existed! You can get more information, and also check schedules and fares at www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries!
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