Why You Should Travel Around Alaska By Ferry

Who needs a car when you can travel by water? Traveling to Juneau can be an adventure. That’s because, thanks to good ole marine technology, there are reliable ferries that transport folks straight to Juneau from Washington.

Here’s how you can discover Southeast Alaska without having to shift gears.

Meet the Alaska Marine Highway System 

Say hello to the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS), the glorious ferry service that makes traveling to Juneau possible by sea. It boasts 11 ships that cover a 3,500 mile-long route, helping locals and visitors alike reach their next adventure.

The AMHS offers mainline routes and day boat routes. The former is for the long-hall voyages, transporting folks all the way from Bellingham, Washington to Juneau, and beyond. You can even take a route all the way through the Gulf of Alaska to Homer if you’re in the mood for a voyage (no Odyssey puns intended).

If you’re in the mood for a voyage, you’re in luck! There are ferry routes directly from Bellingham, Washington to Juneau. It’s a three-day trip, and an exciting one. 

This trip begins at the Bellingham, Washington port. You can arrive by car and take your car on the ferry if you’d like. You can also go completely car-less. Passenger-only tickets are available. Plus, Bellingham’s train station is conveniently located right near the port, so you can eliminate all cars from your travel itinerary if you want to.

Ferry-Style Sleepovers

Now, you may be wondering: where do I sleep for 3 days? In my car? Before you get any stowaway ideas, AMHS ensures you have a place to sleep. In fact, they really make ferry travel as relaxing as it can be. The ferries are equipped with various accommodations. 

Comfortable and compact cabins are available with berths (aka bunkbeds) that sleep up to 4 per stateroom. These cabins come with their own bathroom facilities.

If you’re less into frills, scrap the cabins and camp instead. Yes, you can go camping at sea! AMHS allows passengers to pitch tents on their upper deck. You can also just bring a sleeping bag and hit the hay inside in the lounge. No matter which you pick, there are public showers and restrooms available for everyone to use.

Why You Should Travel Around Alaska By Ferry 1

As you can imagine, fare pricing varies based on the accommodations you choose, if you bring a vehicle, and your date of travel. AMHS provides all the pricing you need to know on its website.

Views You Can’t Beat

A boat trip isn’t complete without amazing views. And we aren’t talking about just the water. Taking the ferry to Juneau from Bellingham will give you unlimited panoramic views of British Columbia’s Inside Passage. Come prepared because you’ll be overwhelmed by beauty. 

Gorgeous glacial valleys, waterfalls, and idyllic islands engulf you as you sail up towards Alaska through breathtaking fjordlands. You may even be fortunate enough to observe the area’s majestic wildlife. Whales, seabirds, and white spirit bears are all around.

Safe to say there’s no harm in investing in a good pair of binoculars! 

Arriving in Juneau

Fortunately, your incredible journey doesn’t end with your ferry. Upon arriving in Juneau, you’ll be greeted with more opportunities to explore the stunning lands to which your ferry gave you a sweet preview. 

The best way to do this is by staying at a local spot like the Silverbow Inn. It can be your base as you explore Juneau’s most exciting excursions. With the Silverbow’s ideal downtown location, you won’t need a car to discover the best local eateries and shops. Downtown Juneau is only 14 miles from the ferry terminal. Our hotel has a parking lot if you’re bringing your car, but Juneau is easy to explore by foot, too.

When you stay at the Silverbow, you can have natural beauty plus all the modern creature comforts you want with our urban downtown destination.

Juneau's #1 Business Hotel

Right in the middle of downtown Juneau.  Walk to the capital, all downtown offices, and the harbor.  Dine at In Bocca al Lupo a James Beard awarded restaurant on site.