Argosy Cruises is Seattle’s largest water sightseeing tour operator, offering excursions of Seattle’s harbor, Lakes Union and Washington, the Hiram Chittenden Locks and Puget Sound. The one-hour, narrated Harbor Cruise departs from Pier 55 on the Seattle waterfront and cruises Elliott Bay (Seattle’s busy harbor) several times daily with hours changing seasonally. Argosy offers a two and a half hour Locks cruise which departs from the Seattle waterfront and cruises Elliott Bay through the Hiram Chittenden Locks into Lake Union, featuring Seattle’s floating houseboat community. Lake cruises offer either a two-hour trip from AGC Marina on South Lake Union or a 90-minute cruise of Lake Washington from Kirkland (ten miles east of Seattle). Argosy also offers dinner, brunch and lunch cruises year-around aboard the Royal Argosy, a 180-foot classically designed cruise ship featuring white linen tables, mahogany trim, marble tops, chandeliers and several accessible decks. Live music on selected sailings. The Royal Argosy departs from Pier 56 on the Seattle Waterfront.
A scenic boat excursion from Pier 55 on the Seattle waterfront combines a taste of traditional Northwest Coast Native American culture with the pristine beauty of Blake Island State Park. The four-hour tour includes a delicious appetizer of steamed clams and nectar, a traditional salmon bake and dances and legends from Northwest Tribes. Blake Island State Park offers visitors the chance to extend their stay to explore a lowland forest with 16 miles of hiking or biking trails and five miles of saltwater beaches. While there, browse the gift gallery and enjoy artifact and craft displays and demonstrations.
Gray Line offers an array of motor coach tours in and around Seattle. The three and a half hour City Sights Tour showcases in-city neighborhoods, while the 2010 City Sights/Cruise the Locks Tour combines a City Sights Tour with a cruise through the Ballard Locks. For travelers seeking more flexibility, the Hop-On/ Hop-Off Double Decker loop offers plenty of downtown sightseeing options and reservations aren’t required (tickets are available on board). Gray Line also offers sightseeing excursions to Mt. Rainier National Park, Tillicum Village, Future of Flight & Boeing Tour and in partnership with Clipper Vacations, the San Juan Islands and Victoria, B.C.
The largest full-service seaplane operation in the world, Kenmore Air boasts a fleet of 25 planes which annually log more than two million miles and carry more than 125,000 passengers. Regular flights between the airline’s two Seattle terminals (at Lake Union just north of downtown Seattle and Kenmore, ten miles north on Lake Washington) feature the San Juan Islands, Oak Harbor, Victoria, B.C., the Gulf Islands, Vancouver B.C. and the Inside Passage. Special packages and excursions including sport fishing, whale watching, waterside picnics and more are also offered. From Seattle, Kenmore also features 20-minute scenic “flightseeing” trips that popular with visitors.
Tour Seattle by land and sea with Ride the Ducks. The tour features vintage DUKW vehicles (“Ducks”), amphibious landing craft developed by the United States Army during World War II. The Seattle tour encompasses downtown Seattle by land and Lake Union by water.
Seattle Seaplanes offers year-around 20 minute sightseeing flights from Seattle’s Lake Union, in addition to “dinner flights” to popular restaurants and resorts in the San Juan Islands, Victoria, B.C., Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula and the towns of Port Ludlow, Port Hadlock and Poulsbo on the Kitsap Peninsula. Charters, special occasion flights and flight instruction are also available.
The Underground Tour offers a 90-minute guided tour below the streets of the Pioneer Square neighborhood in Seattle’s historic district. The tour takes visitors though the subterranean passages that once served as the main roadways and first-floor storefronts of old Seattle. The great fire of 1889 destroyed much of the original wooden city, but Seattle was rebuilt with brick and mortar atop the ruins. Today visitors can tour the remnants below the streets via guided tours that are rich with history, anecdotes and a subterranean joke or two.
Clipper Vacations operates regular catamaran service between Pier 66 on the Seattle Waterfront and Victoria, B.C. (year-around), and the San Juan Islands (seasonally). Victoria Clipper IV, which can travel up to 30 knots, is known as one of the fastest passenger vessels in the western hemisphere, making the Seattle-Victoria trip in just two and a half hours. Schedules and fares vary depending on the season and destination. Additionally, Clipper Vacations offers a wide range of single and multi-day excursions via catamaran, motor coach and train throughout the Northwest and Canadian Rockies.
The Washington State Ferry system is the largest in the U.S., carrying more than 23 million passengers each year aboard 28 vessels operating from 20 terminals. From the Seattle waterfront, ferries carrying up to 2,500 passengers and 202 automobiles travel to and from Bremerton on the Olympic Peninsula (60 minutes one way) and Bainbridge Island (35 minutes one way). Both routes offer panoramic views of the Seattle skyline and harbor and visitors often jump aboard for quick cross-sound sightseeing trips.
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