Q: We want to take a ferry with one vehicle and two passengers from Bellingham, WA, to Anchorage. How do we do that? --Lightnin'
A: The Alaska Marine Highway System is a great way to get both to, and around, Alaska. You can’t take a ferry to Anchorage itself, but you can definitely do this trip.
Here’s how you might do your trip: Board a ferry in Bellingham, WA, and take it to Juneau (about two and a half days), using the AMHS’s Inside Passage route. From there, you’d pick up the Cross-Gulf route ferry to Whittier (a little less than two days). Whittier is the ideal spot to start driving—this is the roadhead for Alaska’s highway system—so from there you have about a two-hour drive to Anchorage.
Riding the Alaskan ferry is like a back-to-basics cruise: You can book a cabin, learn about wildlife from experts, or even set up camp on the deck while watching scenery float by. You can also bring your own car, bicycle—even your pet.
The fares for the Bellingham to Juneau section would run about $326 per person, and then $431 more for the car, while the Juneau-to-Whittier leg would cost $221 per person, and then $304 for a car. One problem: The Cross-Gulf route doesn’t run as often as other routes, so your best bet is to talk to a reservations agent at AMHS, who can help you map out the best routes for your itinerary. You can reach them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 800/642-0066.