Neither the Seattle-Bainbridge nor the Edmonds-Kingston ferries accept reservations.
The Tacoma route will be more driving but cheaper (toll bridge instead of ferry) while going via Bainbridge will be more scenic but potentially slower due to traffic congestion in Seattle and possible waits for the ferry. After a six-plus hour flight from the east coast, I'd probably take the ferry, even if it results in a slightly later arrival time in PA. The 40 min. on the ferry with fresh air and NOT having to drive might be a good pick-me-up.
This is tough. The Tacoma route is a little faster if you are already at Sea-Tac,but, as Ibgardyloo suggests, it is a less pleasant route. Getting to the ferry, however, requires driving to downtown Seattle and waiting for the next sailing. The wild card is the July 4 holiday, which, on top of everything else, is on a Friday this year. Typically, the ferry gets very backed up on summer fridays, and travelers often have to wait an hour or more. For that reason, I would guess that it might be better to take the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Either way, you may face heavy traffic heading toward Port Angeles. Let's hope that most visitors to the Olympic Peninsula will leave on Thursday this year.
Right, forgot about the one-way tolling on the bridges.
With a 10 AM arrival you're probably looking at a noon ferry from Seattle. No way of knowing, but that might be a relatively slack time on the boats; the morning traffic has left, too soon for the evening traffic. There aren't any sporting events on the 4th (Mariners and Sounders both traveling) so the stadium area won't be a problem, and the eternal road construction on the waterfront should be shut for the holiday.
No question on the 4th take the Bridge! I commute on the ferry.
About 2.5 hours.
July 4, so no commuter traffic to worry about. And construction projects should be halted for the day. Seattle could be crowded. You say "the ferry." There are, of course, several routes. I'd probably take the Edmonds ferry over any requiring me to drive through downtown Seattle, even on a holiday. Tacoma route, as you say, more of a sure thing. We'll already be in P.A. on the 4th, and plan on seeing the fireworks from near the harbor. You could consider any of several ferry routes on your return, even Southworth-Fauntleroy, if you want to avoid Seattle (ferry free going east, and you avoid the bridge toll). www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/pdf/wsfroutemap.pdfEdited: 09 June 2014, 23:53
With the construction at the Bainbridge Ferry terminal, wouldn't it be better for a person not familiar with the area to just take US 16 to Port Angeles?