Jump to content
American Road Magazine
Celebrating our two-lane highways of yesteryear…And the joys of driving them today!
WisHxGeek

Car Ferries

Recommended Posts

Car ferries are a highlight on roadtrips (or at least for me)! Here in Wisconsin there are many to choose from and I have ridden several- hope to ride them all someday.

 

Two take you to islands-

Madeline Island Ferry- I ride this one at least once a year. http://www.madferry.com

Washington Island Ferry- http://www.wisferry.com/

 

Some cross rivers:

Merrimac Ferry (this one is free and has a ice cream or snack bar at the landings!)- http://www.tn.merrimac.wi.gov/ferry.htm

Cassville Ferry- The Cassville Car Ferry connects two National Scenic Byways; the Great River Road and the Iowa Great River Road. Not sure if it is still the case- but to call the ferry you turn on the light on the building. When switching directions the pilot house actually rotates! -http://www.cassville.org/ferry.html

 

Some cross Lake Michigan-

Lake Express- The newest and fastest (gets you to Michigan in a hurry)-http://www.lake-express.com/

The Badger- Gets you to Ludington, Michigan at a leisurely pace with lots of amenities on board.- http://www.ssbadger.com/home.aspx

 

Rode a great ferry in Kentucky near Mammoth Cave- it was a three car deal. I think it was the Green River Ferry. Now that was a small ferry! Great Fun!

 

Christine (Wishxgeek)

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We took the Cassville Ferry last year on our return trip from Minnesota. Great time!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Took the Lewes--Cape May ferry (US 9) across the mouth of Delaware Bay just about three weeks ago on my first trip to the East Coast in 8 years. What a neat 80-minute crossing!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Car ferries are a highlight on roadtrips (or at least for me)! Here in Wisconsin there are many to choose from and I have ridden several- hope to ride them all someday.

 

Two take you to islands-

Madeline Island Ferry- I ride this one at least once a year. http://www.madferry.com

Washington Island Ferry- http://www.wisferry.com/

 

Some cross rivers:

Merrimac Ferry (this one is free and has a ice cream or snack bar at the landings!)- http://www.tn.merrimac.wi.gov/ferry.htm

Cassville Ferry- The Cassville Car Ferry connects two National Scenic Byways; the Great River Road and the Iowa Great River Road. Not sure if it is still the case- but to call the ferry you turn on the light on the building. When switching directions the pilot house actually rotates! -http://www.cassville.org/ferry.html

 

Some cross Lake Michigan-

Lake Express- The newest and fastest (gets you to Michigan in a hurry)-http://www.lake-express.com/

The Badger- Gets you to Ludington, Michigan at a leisurely pace with lots of amenities on board.- http://www.ssbadger.com/home.aspx

 

 

 

 

Rode a great ferry in Kentucky near Mammoth Cave- it was a three car deal. I think it was the Green River Ferry. Now that was a small ferry! Great Fun!

 

Christine (Wishxgeek)

 

There is still a small ferry near Leesburg, Va., crosses the Potomac River about 80 miles upstream of the DC area. Sounds similiar to the Kentucky ferry...like 4 car capacity. I was surprised it was still in service two summers ago.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cincinnati is between two Ohio River ferries and I was sitting by one of them the day this thread started and drove by the other a week later. Both are small. No more than a half dozen cars each, I think. On the 11th, I was in Augusta, KY, east of Cincinnati and on the 18th I was near the Anderson ferry west of the city. Augusta's a rather historic town and I've been there when the ferry was employed in bringing a Model A caravan across the river. Definitely fun to watch. I've ridden both multiple times and always get a kick out of it. A year or two, Baby Boomer Bob, Kevin Redkin, & I crossed on the Augusta ferry together.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don’t want to claim all the “braggin rights” to auto ferries, but my home area in the Puget Sound harbors the country’s largest number of auto ferries. They are an integral part of the state’s transportation network and are operated by the State. Over 24 million passengers per year are served, more than any other system in the country. There are 28 ferries in total.

 

If anyone wants ferry photos, I got ‘em, or can take ‘em by the boatload…..note the clever play on words there.

 

In addition to the 28 state operated ferries on the Puget Sound, Piece County operates a ferry between Steilacoom and Anderson Island on the Sound which I have taken numerous times. And there are a few others operating in the Sound.

 

There are also ferries still operating on the Columbia River. The Columbia Princess crosses between Inchelium and Gifford in NE Washington and is operated by the Colville Confederated Tribes. The State operates a car ferry across the River at Keller in eastern Washington. Wahkiakum County operates a ferry between Westport and Cathlamet on the lower Columbia River.

 

I guess I sort of take them for granted, but if folks think auto ferries are interesting, I’ll try to do a trip or two highlighting one or another in photos and videos.

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There is still a small ferry near Leesburg, Va., crosses the Potomac River about 80 miles upstream of the DC area. Sounds similiar to the Kentucky ferry...like 4 car capacity. I was surprised it was still in service two summers ago.

 

That's White's Ferry, no? It's just off of US 15. I would go out of my way, even missing a wonderful section of US 15, to take it. It's got quite a history too, having started in the 1820s. A bunch of Civil War history too. Great ferry.

 

Speaking of US 15, in Millersburg, PA, an old wooden sternwheel ferry crosses the Susquehanna throughout the warmer months. I remember there being some sort of Civil War reenactment there when I was a kid.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cincinnati is between two Ohio River ferries.........

 

Our area is blessed with a multitude of car and truck ferries due the proximity of the Missouri, Mississippi, and Illinois Rivers. We've ridden several and always enjoy the ride....Bliss

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don’t want to claim all the “braggin rights” to auto ferries, but my home area in the Puget Sound harbors the country’s largest number of auto ferries. They are an integral part of the state’s transportation network and are operated by the State. Over 24 million passengers per year are served, more than any other system in the country. There are 28 ferries in total.

 

If anyone wants ferry photos, I got ‘em, or can take ‘em by the boatload…..note the clever play on words there.

 

In addition to the 28 state operated ferries on the Puget Sound, Piece County operates a ferry between Steilacoom and Anderson Island on the Sound which I have taken numerous times. And there are a few others operating in the Sound.

 

There are also ferries still operating on the Columbia River. The Columbia Princess crosses between Inchelium and Gifford in NE Washington and is operated by the Colville Confederated Tribes. The State operates a car ferry across the River at Keller in eastern Washington. Wahkiakum County operates a ferry between Westport and Cathlamet on the lower Columbia River.

 

I guess I sort of take them for granted, but if folks think auto ferries are interesting, I’ll try to do a trip or two highlighting one or another in photos and videos.

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road

I suspect the interest expressed here isn't so much for the big multi-deck haulers plying big waters as for little bitty things found on smaller waters. I also suspect that the source of that interest is the same as whatever makes us interested in old gravel and packed dirt roads. Privately owned ferries were usually the first means of crossing a river without getting your wheels or hooves wet and were often replaced just as soon as a bridge became technically feasible and could be justified. Many of those that remain are in places where a bridge is feasible (Puget Sound excepted:-) but isn't justified by traffic. Crossing a river on a six car ferry feels a little like rolling down a hillside on a two lane highway. I think it's that sense of nostalgia and intimacy that makes ferries cool. In other words, the 12-car Martha S. (Columbia River), yes; the 202-car MV Wenatchee (Puget Sound), no. :D

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Denny,

 

 

If big isn’t better……what has the world come to?

 

Denny, I think I agree with you in theory, but not necessarily in practice.

 

I would imagine that waiting with 200 cars in Seattle for the evening commuter ferry loses a lot of the “romance” pretty quick. I’ve never done it, and don’t plan to.

 

On the other hand, taking a big ferry from the Olympic Peninsula to the San Juan Islands is a treat, and I know of which I speak.

 

I have taken all the Columbia River ferries, and all are small. I even took them in the old days when there were a lot more of them. There is an intimacy on the smaller ferries you certainly don’t get on the big ones. But, I submit there is a balance between hoping the cable doesn’t break, and enjoying the ride out of the rain, maybe even with a cup of your favorite hot beverage.

 

And not all the ferries on the Puget Sound are big by any means. So we could show you first hand, Sheila and I rushed this morning to catch the 10:20AM Pierce County ferry from Steilacoom to Anderson Island and missed it by 2 minutes. To its credit, it left the dock at exactly 10:20AM. I managed to take a picture but not jump on board. Maybe Wednesday, if the weather is nice.

 

ARFerry2.jpg

 

However our reward was a nice conversation with long time road traveler, Larry, at a small 4 table café in Steilacoom. He wants to visit the forum, so we gained a friend even if we missed the ferry.

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×