Olympic National Park Transportation Tips by goodfish Top 5 Page for this destination
Olympic National Park Transportation: 7 reviews and 11 photos
This is the fun way to get to Olympic! The Washington State Ferries carry 26 million passengers a year across the Puget Sound to work in Seattle or to visit the the Olympic Peninsula and San Juan Islands. We chose the Seattle Main Terminal/ Bainbridge Island route and the handy website helped us figure out sailing times and approximate cost. Fares vary depending on season (high season costs a bit more), the length of your vehicle and number of passengers. Our standard-sized rental cost around $15 for the car and driver and another $7 or so for 1 adult passenger; yours truly. Kids and seniors are less.
The website has directions to the terminal from whatever direction you're coming from:
• Be there 30-45 minutes ahead of departure time and even earlier during peak season when the ferries are very busy; the website can give you an idea how long wait times may be.
• Once there, drive up to the toll both, buy your ticket, pull ahead into one of the boarding lanes, shut your engine off and wait until boarding time is indicated by a crew member. Stay in the lane you're in, unless an attendant directs you to a different one, and drive slowly onto the ferry - pulling as close to the car ahead of you as possible.
• Then kill the engine, deactivate your car's alarm (mandatory, if you have one), wait until all other cars around you have stopped, take your valuables, and climb the stairs to the upper deck or cabin for nice views of the Sound during your 35-minute journey.
• An announcement will be made when it's time to return to your vehicle for disembarking. As you see the cars in front of you start leaving the ferry, turn your engine on and follow them out; easy!
You can buy tickets in advance but no real need to - they'll help you figure out the proper fare at the toll booth and pre-payed tickets don't put you in front of the line. We bought one-way tickets as we were returning to Seattle via the southern land route but if just taking a day trip to explore the little towns of the northern coast, go for the round-trip version. There are restrooms, food and beverages aboard the ferry but this route is pretty short so grab a latte before arriving at the terminal and enjoy it while waiting in line.
The easy-to-use website will tell you virtually everything you need to know including frequency of ferries, fares, rules and regs and other good stuff. There are additional terminals and ferry routes to other locations around the Puget Sound so again, see the website if planning to explore places other than just the park.
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