Longest ferry rides in the USA

Ferry travel is an often underrated way of seeing the natural beauty of the United States. From the Pacific Northwest to the East Coast, there are ferry rides that offer unique and stunning views of the country’s landscapes.

Some are short, like the J-Mack cable ferry, which only travels about 400 feet and takes 3 minutes to cross. Other routes are longer, like Vallejo ferry, which takes 60 minutes, or 75 minutes if departing from Mare Island. Finally, there are some routes which take a day or more to complete the journey.

In this article, we’ll cover some of the longest ferry rides in the United States of America. Whether you’re traveling up the Inside Passage or down the Atlantic Coast, these ferry rides have one thing in common – they are long.

What is the longest ferry ride in the USA?

The Bellingham-Ketchikan ferry route is the longest ferry ride in the USA. It is over 2,200 miles long and takes 38 hours to complete. It is operated by the Alaskan Marine Highway System and connects the cities of Bellingham, WA and Ketchikan, a city located on the Inside Passage in Alaska.

In fact, Alaska is home to many of the longest ferries in the US including the 22-hour long Yakutat – Whittier ferry, 20-hour long Ketchikan – Juneau ferry, and the nearly 19-hour long Kodiak-Chignik ferry.

A ferry sails on one of the longest ferry rides in the USA in Alaska. The ferry is sailing on the Prince William Sound. The vessel has a blue hull with a yellow stripe. The passenger deck is white with numerous antennas and radar on top. Orange lifeboats are on each side of the deck. In the background are part of the Alaskan coastline covered in lush green trees. Way in the distance are snow capped mountains.
A ferry on the Prince William Sound in Alaska

Longest ferry rides in USA

The following table lists the longest ferry rides in the United States of Americas. It is based on data from the National Census of Ferry Operators (NCFO).[1]

RouteAverage Trip DurationTerminalsOperator
Bellingham-Ketchikan38 hoursBellingham, WAKetchikan, AKAlaska Marine Highway System
Yakutat-Whittier22 hoursYakutat, AKWhittier, AKAlaska Marine Highway System
Ketchikan-Juneau20 hoursKetchikan, AKJuneau, AKAlaska Marine Highway System
Kodiak-Chignik18 hours and 45 minutesKodiak, AKChignik, AKAlaska Marine Highway System
Juneau-Yakutat17 hoursJuneau, AKYakutat, AKAlaska Marine Highway System
Chenega Bay-Kodiak14 hoursChenega Bay, AKKodiak, AKAlaska Marine Highway System
False Pass-Akutan10 hours and 30 minutesFalse Pass, AKAkutan, AKAlaska Marine Highway System
Juneau-Sitka9 hours and 30 minutesJuneau, AKSitka, AKAlaska Marine Highway System
Chignik-Sand Point9 hours and 25 minutesChignik, AKSand Point, AKAlaska Marine Highway System
Homer-Kodiak9 hoursHomer, AKKodiak, AKAlaska Marine Highway System
Petersburg-Juneau8 hoursPetersburg, AKJuneau, AKAlaska Marine Highway System
Prince Rupert-Ketchikan7 hoursPrince Rupert, AKKetchikan, AKAlaska Marine Highway System
Grand Portage-Isle Royale7 hoursGrand Portage, MNRock Harbor, MIGrand Portage-Isle Royale Transportation Line, Inc.
Sand Point-King Cove6 hours and 45 minutesSand Point, AKKing Cove, AKAlaska Marine Highway System
Whittier-Cordova6 hours and 45 minutesWhittier, AKCordova, AKAlaska Marine Highway System
Ketchikan-Wrangell6 hoursKetchikan, AKWrangell, AKAlaska Marine Highway System
Whittier-Valdez5 hours and 45 minutesWhittier, AKValdez, AKAlaska Marine Highway System
Martha’s Vineyard Ferry5 hoursHighlands, NJ and New York, NYOak Bluffs, MASeaStreak, LLC
Whittier-Chinega Bay4 hours and 30 minutesWhittier, AKChinega Bay, AKAlaska Marine Highway System
Juneau-Haines4 hours and 30 minutesJuneau, AKHaines, AKAlaska Marine Highway System
Cold Bay-False Pass4 hours and 25 minutesCold Bay, AKFalse Pass, AKAlaska Marine Highway System
Lake Michigan Car Ferry4 hoursLudington, MIManitowoc, WIInterlake Maritime Services
Akutan-Dutch Harbor3 hours and 30 minutesAkutan, AKDutch Harbor, AKAlaska Marine Highway System
Wrangell-Petersburg3 hours and 30 minutesWrangell, AKPetersburg, AKAlaska Marine Highway System
Juneau-Hoonah3 hours and 30 minutesJuneau, AKHoonah, AKAlaska Marine Highway System
CAT Ferry3 hours and 30 minutesBar Harbor, MEYarmouth, NSBay Ferries Limited and Northumberland Ferries Limited
Ventura Harbor-San Miguel Island3 hoursVentura, CASan Miguel Island in Channel Islands National ParkIsland Packers Corp.
Seattle-Victoria, B.C.2 hours and 45 minutesPier 69, Seattle, WAVictoria, B.C.Clipper Vacations
Ocracoke-Swan Quarter2 hours and 40 minutesOcracoke, NCSwan Quarter, NCNCDOT
Lake Express Ferry2 hours and 30 minutesMilwaukee, WIMuskegon, MILake Express, LLC
Key West-Dry Tortugas2 hours and 30 minutesKey West, FLFort Jefferson in Dry Tortugas National ParkYankee Freedom III, LLC
Ocracoke-Cedar Island2 hours and 15 minutesOcracoke, NCCedar Island, NCNCDOT
Rockland-Matinicus Island2 hours and 15 minutesRockland, MEMatinicus Island, MEMaineDOT
Hyannis-Nantucket2 hours and 15 minutesHyannis, MANantucket, MAThe Steamship Authority
Ventura Harbor-Santa Rosa Island2 hoursVentura, CASanta Rosa Island in Channel Islands National ParkIsland Packers Corp.
King Cove-Cold Bay2 hoursKing Cove, AKCold Bay, AKAlaska Marine Highway System
Beaver Island Ferry2 hoursCharlevoix, MIBeaver Island, MIBeaver Island Boat Company
Tangier Island Ferry2 hoursReedville, VATangier, VATangier Island Cruises
Quonset Point-Oak Bluffs1 hour and 35 minutesNorth Kingstown, RIOak Bluffs, MARhode Island Fast Ferry
Provincetown Fast Ferry1 hour and 35 minutesBoston, MAProvincetown, MABay State Cruise Company
40 longest ferry rides in the United States of America

Longest Ferry Rides in Washington

Washington state is home to the largest ferry system in the USA – Washington State Ferries (WSF). WSF currently operates 10 ferry routes, two of which are the longest ferry rides in Washington.

Anacortes-San Juan Islands

The Anacortes-San Juan Islands ferry is one of the longest ferry rides in Washington state. The ride can take 65-85 minutes and covers a distance of approximately 19 miles. Non-stop trips from Anacortes to Friday Harbor take approx. 65 minutes. Trips that make stops at the other islands — Lopez Island, Shaw Island, and Orcas Island — take upwards of 85 minutes to complete.


The Seattle-Bremerton ferry is the longest uninterrupted ferry ride in Washington. The ride is 60 minutes and covers a distance of approximately 16 miles. It is also one of the best ferry rides in Seattle because of the gorgeous scenery and landscapes you see along the crossing.

Longest Ferry Rides in California

California has a vast network of ferries throughout the state. In Northern California there’s Golden Gate Ferry and San Francisco Bay Ferry — two ferry operators that shuttle commuters and tourists around the San Francisco Bay Area. In Southern California, there is the historic Balboa Island Ferry and the Catalina Express. But, what is the longest ferry ride in California?

What is the longest ferry ride in California?

The Ventura Island-San Miguel Island ferry is the longest ferry ride in California with a crossing time of 3-3.5 hours. It is not uncommon to see Humpback whales and dolphins during the crossing.

The route is operated by Island Packers Cruises[2] whom also operates the second longest ferry ride in California — the Ventura Harbor-Santa Rosa Island ferry which takes between 2-3 hours to complete.

Other notably long ferry rides in California include the Larkspur Ferry, which can take 80 minutes for some trips, and the South San Francisco Ferry which takes 55 minutes to cross from South San Francisco to Alameda.


  1. https://www.bts.gov/NCFO
  2. https://islandpackers.com/home/