How to Travel to Alaska by Ferry

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The Alaska Marine Highway System connects Alaska with Washington State.
The Alaska Marine Highway System connects Alaska with Washington State. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The Alaska Marine Highway System has been providing year-round service to Alaska from Canada and the lower 48 states for almost 40 years. The ferries travel from Bellingham, Wash. and Prince Rupert, British Columbia north to Alaska. The ships follow the coastline of western British Columbia into the Inside Passenger and on to the Alaskan capital Juneau. They service an additional 30 communities within the state. The system carries an average of 400,000 passengers and 100,000 vehicles per year.

Things You'll Need

  • Method of payment
  • Sleeping bag (optional)
  • Tent (optional)
  • Passport
  • Cooler (optional)

Make your reservations early as cabin and vehicle space is limited on some vessels. If space is not available on your date of choice, ask to be put on the waiting list. Measure your vehicle for height, length and width. The size of your vehicle will determine the cost (you can use an on-line calculator to determine the price of the trip. Have passports and other documentation ready before boarding.

Alaska state ferries travel the Inside Passage and Lynn Canal to Juneau.
Alaska state ferries travel the Inside Passage and Lynn Canal to Juneau. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Save money by taking a tent and sleeping bag instead of renting a cabin. Pitch your tent on the deck or sleep in the solarium on one of the reclining chairs provided. Washrooms and shower facilities are available. If you do rent a cabin, expect the bare necessities.

Sleep on deck and enjoy the view.
Sleep on deck and enjoy the view. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Bring a cooler with extra snacks and beverages to supplement available food service. Pack books, games or crafts to keep occupied. On many vessels, members of the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Wildlife Service offer public lectures on local wildlife and history. Keep your binoculars handy.

Learn about Alaska marine life during your journey.
Learn about Alaska marine life during your journey. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

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