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Old 10-16-2019, 08:54 AM   #1
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Seattle ferry tips?

Greetings all,

The family and I are out in Seattle for a few days. We are staying near Pioneer Square about 2 blocks from the Bainbridge and Bremerton ferry docks.

Which ferry should we hop on for a fun little trip? We do also have a car and can drive anywhere to another ferry as well. My idea was to leave the car parked and hop on a boat by foot. Or should we take the car?

We are looking for a boat ride of course, but also maybe a destination for lunch or dinner and neat stuff to see.

My kids are 5 and 7 and well travel trained, walking long distances is ok.

Thanks for your ideas!

Sean and family.
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Old 10-16-2019, 09:03 AM   #2
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Both are easy to walk on. The walk on fare is about $8.50 round trip.

The Bainbridge ride is 35 minutes. The boat is a bit bigger. More to do on the Bainbridge side. The Bremerton ride is 1 hour and a more scenic trip. I don't think there is as much to do once you get to Bremerton, though.

If the ride is the priority, I'd go to Bremerton. If the destination is more important, I'd go to Bainbridge.
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Old 10-16-2019, 09:09 AM   #3
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Walk on the Bainbridge ferry and take in downtown Winslow on Bainbridge Island. Plenty of places to eat within walking distance. The Bremerton ferry gives you a longer ride through the passages with more views of shore sides and you can see the Naval shipyards. Bremerton is not as quaint or upscale as Bainbridge but dining options are available within walking distance. Enjoyed the Horse and Cow submarine bar/grill in Bremerton.

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Old 10-16-2019, 09:50 AM   #4
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Bremerton ferry is by far more scenic. Winslow which is at the end of the Bainbridge ferry is more touristy. You can’t go wrong. If you want to make lunch out of it, go to Bainbridge.
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Old 10-16-2019, 09:53 AM   #5
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If you have a car and a day, I'd suggest drive north to Anacortes and walk on the ferry to Friday Harbor.... On the way back you could detour through LaConner..... This will provide a much different vibe then Seattle..
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Old 10-16-2019, 10:41 AM   #6
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If you have a car and a day, I'd suggest drive north to Anacortes and walk on the ferry to Friday Harbor.... On the way back you could detour through LaConner..... This will provide a much different vibe then Seattle..
I agree and have done exactly that a few years ago.
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Old 10-16-2019, 12:25 PM   #7
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If you have a car and a day, I'd suggest drive north to Anacortes and walk on the ferry to Friday Harbor.... On the way back you could detour through LaConner..... This will provide a much different vibe then Seattle..
Indeed! Or...

Take the ferry (drive on) to Vashon Island, then travel the island south to Tacoma to take the Point Defiance ferry to the Tacoma side. Have dinner on Ruston Way, maybe catch a movie, then travel back along I-5 to Seattle, or thru Gig Harbor to Bremerton to catch the Seattle ferry home.
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Old 10-16-2019, 12:56 PM   #8
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Lots of options all presented above. Really depends on whether you want a scenic ride that you can get to quickly (Bremerton) or a longer scenic ride (Friday Harbor/San Juans) or just a nice lunch out (Bainbridge). I'm partial to Vashon Island as well, having grown up there, and it is a lot quieter and more rural, but the ferry for that leaves from West Seattle/Fauntleroy which requires driving.
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Old 10-16-2019, 01:05 PM   #9
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What is a bit more ambitious but super fun is the Clipper ferry Seattle to Victoria BC, though I suppose you’d have to have passports. It’s a beautiful ride and you’d also have to stay overnight in Victoria.....
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Old 10-16-2019, 01:52 PM   #10
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I'm not a "frequent flyer" on the ferries but I like Ka_Sea_Ta's suggestion. Friday Harbor is our favorite place to visit in all of Puget Sound. Yes, it's touristy but there are lots of shops to look in, good restaurants, docks to walk, etc. It's just a great place to visit. You might even make it an overnighter in FH.
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Old 10-16-2019, 02:46 PM   #11
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+1 for Friday Harbor, and if you have kids (or even for adults) there is a small tucked away place there called the Whale Museum; very interesting and fun to visit!
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Old 10-16-2019, 03:06 PM   #12
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Greetings all,

The family and I are out in Seattle for a few days. We are staying near Pioneer Square about 2 blocks from the Bainbridge and Bremerton ferry docks.

Which ferry should we hop on for a fun little trip? We do also have a car and can drive anywhere to another ferry as well. My idea was to leave the car parked and hop on a boat by foot. Or should we take the car?

We are looking for a boat ride of course, but also maybe a destination for lunch or dinner and neat stuff to see.

My kids are 5 and 7 and well travel trained, walking long distances is ok.

Thanks for your ideas!

Sean and family.
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Old 10-16-2019, 03:55 PM   #13
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Old 10-16-2019, 05:02 PM   #14
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Good advice above. We almost always take our of town guests on the ferry to Bainbridge. From where you are staying it all walkable and there are lots of shops, food and beverages in Winslow. It also runs more frequently to if you only have "X" hours it works well.

Streamliner Diner for breakfast
Docs or The Public house for Lunch/Dinner
The Bainbridge Brewery on your way back to the ferry

I also recommend walking down to the public docks and along the marina. Lot's of fun and some terrific vessels to drool over.
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Old 10-16-2019, 06:36 PM   #15
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Bremerton has a decommissioned Navy destroyer that you can tour. The kids might get a kick out of that. There is also the Puget Sound Navy Museum ( that I haven't visited yet).

If you did take the car on the ferry to Bremerton, a visit to the Keyport Navy Undersea Museum is very interesting (and free). And that could be combined with a visit to Poulsbo which is fun to walk around. Decent food options here.

I find that the restaurants in Bremerton are adequate at best. Bainbridge better for food.
Lots of options.
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Old 10-16-2019, 07:35 PM   #16
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...a visit to Poulsbo which is fun to walk around.
Two words: Sluys Bakery
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Old 10-16-2019, 09:07 PM   #17
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Bremerton has a decommissioned Navy destroyer that you can tour. The kids might get a kick out of that. There is also the Puget Sound Navy Museum ( that I haven't visited yet).

If you did take the car on the ferry to Bremerton, a visit to the Keyport Navy Undersea Museum is very interesting (and free). And that could be combined with a visit to Poulsbo which is fun to walk around. Decent food options here.

I find that the restaurants in Bremerton are adequate at best. Bainbridge better for food.
Lots of options.

That would be a great day’s outing. The ferry trip from Seattle to Bremerton is very nice. It gives you a good sense of Puget Sound. The destroyer and the museums mentioned would be good. The drive from Bremerton to Poulsbo is quick and easy and Poulsbo offers the three major food groups; lefse, baked goods, and beer. Poulsbo has a number of breweries/brew pubs.
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Old 10-17-2019, 01:43 AM   #18
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We are staying near Pioneer Square about 2 blocks from the Bainbridge and Bremerton ferry docks.
I lived in Pioneer Square quite a few years. Now on the Eastside. BUT: ther's a flappin' lot of noise on this thread of people who I don't think have lived downtown, ridden the ferries a lot.

I had both a car and motorcycle(s) (several) parked a few blocks from the Seattle ferry terminal. I had family spread on the Key Peninsula and Camono Island, So I always looked for the best route. The Seattle, Ferry? I never used it. Basically useless if you want to actually tour; it's for commuters.

Unless you are forced to commute across the sound, what's the point? IF you have bags and a desire to explore, you need a car. Also, even if time is of the matter, look at the ferry times vs. what the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (two spans) now does. I used to use the Bremerton and Southworth Ferry a lot, but now it is not so competitive in time vs. price, or either, given increased SR16 flow.

Hey, I'm also a Midwesterner at source. PM me if you want some WA awesome drives.

Now if your goal is just to see stuff, buy a pedestrian pass, go to Bremerton and come back. Much like I used to do on the Staten Island Ferry. ;
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Old 10-17-2019, 11:02 AM   #19
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I think the OPs point was to sightsee while visiting. Puget Sound ferries are a good way to see the Sound and are an iconic part of the PNW. OTOH, if you like spending hours stuck in some of the worst traffic in the US, take a drive to anywhere from Seattle. I will agree that the drive across the Narrows Bridge is interesting to visitors, but to get there from Seattle is simply not worth the aggravation.
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Old 10-17-2019, 11:36 AM   #20
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