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How can you access the Alaska Marine Highway ferries?

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Quick Answer

The Alaska Marine Highway ferries can be accessed from the home port of Bellingham, Washington, or from various ports along the British Columbia and Alaska coastlines. The marine highway is divided into four routes, Southeast Alaska, Cross-Gulf Route, South-Central Alaska and Southwest Alaska.

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Full Answer

The Southeast Alaska Route runs from Bellingham, Washington, up through the Inside Passage. The ferries travel through Canadian waters, but the only stop in British Columbia is in Prince Rupert, near the Alaska border. From there the ferries cruise the Alaskan Inside Passage up to Yakutat. Access points along the way include Juneau, the capital, and Sitka.

The Cross-Gulf Route connects the Southeast Alaska Route with the South-Central Alaska Route and runs from Yakutat to Whittier, near Anchorage. At Whittier, passengers continue on the South-Central Alaska Route to ports on Kodiak Island. The Southwest Alaska Route continues on through the Aleutian Islands to the Dutch Harbor Terminal on Unalaska Island.

Most ferries allow vehicles, but some vessels and/or ports can't handle large trucks or RVs. Passports are required for any stops in Canada. The sailing season runs from May to October, weather permitting. Detailed schedules, both in calendar and PDF formats, are available on the company's website.

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