It’s not just those awkward dinner table conversations that Thanksgiving travelers need to prepare for — they also need to be ready for long ferry lines and heavy traffic throughout the holiday weekend. With nearly 350,000 people expected to ride a ferry from Wednesday, Nov. 21, to Sunday, Nov. 25, it’s best to leave early and use technology to help with trip planning.
One extra holiday sailing is being added to accommodate increased traffic and is not indicated on the printed or online sailing schedule: Wednesday, Nov. 21, at 1:55 p.m. from Anacortes to Orcas.
“Our WSF family’s goal is to get everyone to their destination safely,” said WSF head Amy Scarton. “While the lines are longer during holidays, once aboard, ferry travelers can enjoy one of the most scenic ways to get to their Thanksgiving dinner.”
Washington State Ferries expects the longest lines westbound Wednesday, Nov. 21, in the afternoon and evening and Thursday, Nov. 22, in the morning. Eastbound traffic picks up Thursday afternoon and Friday, Nov. 23.
If possible, travelers can save time by walking on the ferry — passenger capacity is far greater than vehicle capacity on all ferries — and by purchasing tickets online. Passengers driving onto ferries should arrive early and may want to travel during off-peak times. Vehicle reservations are recommended.
Additional travel tips
Here are some more tips to for smooth holiday ferry travel:
Check the fall sailing schedule or call 888-808-7977 for best times to travel as well as which routes run on modified schedules on the holiday. (Additional holiday sailings also are marked on schedule lists).
Sign up for ferry travel alerts.
Check terminal conditions before leaving.
Follow the WSF Twitter account for automatic updates on travel conditions.
Plan ahead for increased holiday traffic on highways on the way to the ferry terminals, with real-time traffic information on the WSDOT traffic app for mobile devices.