Washington State Ferries is now 60 years old! Washington State Ferries (WSF) is a division of the Washington State Department of Transportation. Created on June 1, 1951, WSF has become the largest ferry system in North America.
Washington State Ferries operates 21 vessels and has 17 terminals covering 10 routes from Point Defiance on the south end of Puget Sound to Sidney, B.C. (in Canada) to the north. WSF carries more vehicles than any other ferry system in the world (more than 10 million per year) and is near the top in the world for number of passengers carried (more than 22 million per year).
Here's a very cool time-lapse video showing the ferries in Seattle coming and going.
The quickest way to get to the Olympic Peninsula is via the Edmonds-Kingston Ferry, one of the routes covered by Washington State Ferries. The Ferry leaves from downtown Edmonds approximately every 45 minutes during the day. The trip across Puget Sound to Kingston is a short, enjoyable, 20 minutes. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Baker to the north, Mt. Rainier to the south and the Olympic Mountains to the west from the Ferry.
Rates vary by time of year. Vehicle fares are collected both directions whereas passenger fares are only collected west-bound. Larger vehicles and vehicles pulling trailers pay a higher, length-based, fare. If you have an iPhone (iPad, iTouch) or Android phone, get the "WSDOT" application for current traffic and ferry information.
WSF has a website with complete information on routes, schedules and fares at Edmonds-Kingston Ferry Schedule and Fares. Information about routes and schedules for the ferries as well as other public transit can also be found at Google Transit. WSF regularly uploads schedule information to Google Transit and Microsoft Bing. For the spring and summer sailing seasons, information on over 120,000 arrivals and departures was sent to Google.
For a live view of traffic, and vehicles waiting to board the ferry at Edmonds, see the Edmonds Ferry Cams.