One of the best parts about staying on the island is how you get here: the Seattle to Bainbridge ferry ride is as quintessential northwest as it gets. A peaceful 35-minute ferry sailing might be one of the only times you’ll enjoy public transportation. Head up to the top deck, feel the wind in your hair, and take in the stunning views of the Seattle skyline, Mount Rainer, and the lush green forests along the shores.
In fact, Washington is home to the largest fleet of ferries in the country, with ten routes and twenty terminals servicing areas across the Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands. Each year, millions of locals and visitors ride the Seattle to Bainbridge ferry, either by foot or drive-on service. The distinctive behemoth white ferries with green trim can carry up to 2,500 passengers and 202 cars on one sailing.
Before you grab your Seattle to Bainbridge ferry tickets, you should consider staying on the island for longer than just a day. Bainbridge is a lovely bedroom community with a charming main street full of boutiques, cafes, restaurants, and galleries. For those hoping to spend a night or more, the Eagle Harbor Inn is the only hotel in downtown Winslow, and we offer elegant guest suites and multi-room townhomes for your stay.
Tips and Tricks for the Seattle to Bainbridge Ferry Ride
Whether you’re walking the gangplank onto the boat or driving your car, taking the Seattle to Bainbridge ferry for the first time can be confusing for some. Here are our insider’s tips for making the journey across the Puget Sound as easy as possible.
- Seattle to Bainbridge Ferry Schedule: For the latest and most up-to-date sailing schedule, you’ll want to check the Washington State Ferries website. Here you’ll also find Vessel Watch, which tracks the ferries in real-time, and information on delays or changes. The Seattle to Bainbridge ferry route does not allow ticket sales in advance, so you’ll take care of that on the day of your sailing, either online or in person.
- Walk-On Passengers: For those on foot, you’ll use the downtown Seattle ferry terminal on Alaskan Way. It’s a bit of a trek, so plan accordingly based on the time of your sailing; we suggest arriving at least 30 minutes before the scheduled departure. All passages will disembark via the overhead walkway on the boat on the Bainbridge side.
- Drive-On Traffic: For drive-on passengers, there’s a holding lot for cars at the Seattle ferry terminal. Due to construction in this area, pay close attention to the signs for where to go. You’ll also want to plan on arriving even early for car service, especially during the summer months when tourism is at its peak. Pro tip: before leaving your car to head upstairs, deactivate your car alarm! The vibrations of the ferry set those off right away.
- Things to do on the Ferry: While aboard the Seattle to Bainbridge ferry, you’ll find comfortable booths, tables, and rows of chair seating, all with great views out the windows. While the galley remains closed at this point, they have plans for reopening this summer. Hopefully, by the time you ride, you’ll be able to grab a local beer, glass of wine, or snacks to enjoy during the sailing. Be sure to check out the upper deck in the crisp sea air for the best panoramic views of the city skyline and mountains.
The Only Boutique Hotel in Downtown Winslow
Now that you know all you need to know about the Seattle to Bainbridge ferry ride, here’s more about our beautiful boutique hotel in downtown Winslow. Not only are we within walking distance from the ferry terminal and all of the best things to do in Winslow, but we offer elegant suites and two townhomes for those looking for an intimate or group getaway. The Grand Forest Room (pictured above) is our most romantic room, and the king-bed is perfect for two with a spacious bathroom, cozy seating area, and all the modern amenities to fully relax.