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Should I pre-book ferry crossings for late Aug & early Sept?

Bristol, United...
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Should I pre-book ferry crossings for late Aug & early Sept?

Hi

I have posted in the Vancouver forum, but it was recommended I also post here.

We have planned a trip from Vancouver to Whistler to Victoria to Seattle to Portland to Whidbey Island then back to Vancouver. I have booked all our hotels but am now wondering if we need to pre-book all or some of our ferry crossings. I obviously know the days we need to cross but not the time, and would have to guesstimate crossing times based on driving times suggested by Google Maps.

The ferry crossings we will need are as follows -

Weds 27 Aug - Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo

Fri 29 Aug - Victoria to Port Angeles

Sat 30 Aug - Bainbridge Island to Seattle

Fri 5 Sept - Mukilteo to Clinton

We will need to take our rental car on each crossing.

I'm trying to establish -

If you think we need to pre-book?

How busy the crossings are at this time of year?

How frequent the crossings are?

The best website(s) to use to make bookings?

Thank you

Renton, WA
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1. Re: Should I pre-book ferry crossings for late Aug & early Sept?

You cannot pre-book any of the Washington State Ferry routes you mention. For BC ferries, go to

www.bcferries.com/schedules

Green Valley...
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2. Re: Should I pre-book ferry crossings for late Aug & early Sept?

Some answers for you are found on the WA State Ferry website: www.wsdot.com/ferries/schedule/Default.aspx

Make sure you select the right Summer Schedule for your trip.

Travel times are short and are shown on this schedule.

The WA State ferries you want are frequent. The Bainbridge Island ferry affords fabulous views.

How busy this time of year? Very. But, follow up on this useful information from the WA State ferry website: Ferry Terminal Vehicle Congestion Table

To help avoid long ferry waits, WSF added color-coded sailing schedules to its website that suggest both the least and the most congested sailing times for drive-on passengers. See the tab titled "Best Travel Times" on the right side of each route schedule page.

From Victoria to Port Angeles, the Coho Ferry, for which I'd make reservations: http://cohoferry.com/mai

Edited: 12 July 2014, 00:07
Tacoma, Washington
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3. Re: Should I pre-book ferry crossings for late Aug & early Sept?

You need to precook the international crossing of Victoria to port Angeles on coho ferry.

If you instead want to do port Townsend to coupeville ( on whidby island) you need to reserve this one too. It's a smaller ferry than others.

The Friday Clinton to mulkateo ferry will be hellish busy. You will likely need to wait 1-2 ferries.

For Washington ferries outside international and port Townsend you can't reserve a spot. It's first come first go. You can and should prepay for the ferry rides online.

Tacoma, Washington
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4. Re: Should I pre-book ferry crossings for late Aug & early Sept?

For your itinerary...

Why aren't you spending an extra day on the Olympic peninsula? You could do a night in port Townsend then go to Seattle via Kingston or bainbridge island.

The Kingston- Edmonds bainbridge-seattle and Clinton-mulkateo are pretty frequent baring a weather issue or a damaged boat. They run about every hr at least during the day.

The coho ferry runs every couple of hours. It's a separate ferry not run by BC or WA state

Tacoma, Washington
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5. Re: Should I pre-book ferry crossings for late Aug & early Sept?

One other thing

I wouldn't do bainbridge to Seattle if you plan to go to Portland. This will add hrs to your drive time.

Instead drive US 101 all the way to Olympia then tke I-5 to Portland then come back I-5 to Seattle.

The other rote is to drive toward bainbridge island but take route 3 to route 16 over Tacoma narrows bridge then to I-5 and down to Portland.

A third option you could do is drive from port Angeles to forks then down to Astoria and cannon beach then o to Portland.

6. Re: Should I pre-book ferry crossings for late Aug & early Sept?

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