Ferry travel to and within Alaska is by The Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) provides year-round transport to over 30 Alaska communities from southern gateway cities of Bellingham, Washington and Prince Rupert, British Columbia to ports across Alaska. Many Alaska communities are not accessible by road systems, making the sea travel option, essential. This waterway route is so special it has been designated a National Scenic Byway and All-American Road; it is the only marine route with this designation.
This waterway route covers more than 3,500 miles through Southeast Alaska, across the Gulf of Alaska, to Prince William Sound, the Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak Island, and the Aleutian Chain (see maps). The ferry system connects with highways in Bellingham, WA and Prince Rupert, BC as well as the Alaska communities of Haines, Skagway, Valdez, Whittier and Homer. Motorists often combine a ferry trip with their driving itinerary, which can save you hundreds of miles of driving, depending on your itinerary. The state ferry fleet provides passenger/vehicle ferry service in 3 regions: Southeast, Southcentral/Prince William Sound and Southcentral/Southwest. There is also Cross-Gulf service in summer connecting Juneau in Southeast and Whittier in Southcentral. The Alaska state ferry system has 2 seasons: May–Sept. (summer), when sailings are most frequent; and Oct.–April 30 (fall/winter/spring), when service is less often.
Reservations: The Alaska state ferries are very popular in the summer. Walk-on traffic is usually accommodated, but reservations are strongly recommended, especially for those traveling with a vehicle or wanting a cabin. You can make reservations online or by calling toll-free 1-800-642-0066. Or use a reservation agent. Reservations for cabin space and for vehicles should be made as far in advance as possible to get the sailing dates you prefer. However, don’t assume a sailing is sold out, if you decide on the spur of the moment to include the ferry in your itinerary, phone or check online to see if there is space available.