Best and Worst Times to Travel on Washington Roads and Ferries This Thanksgiving Weekend


Don't travel cold turkey this year.

Though travel times vary each year and holiday, traffic analysts with the Washington State Department of Transportation have issued their annual holiday traffic guide on when roads might be busiest.

WSDOT's traffic charts and forecasts for Thanksgiving weekend from Wednesday through Monday can be found at for Highway 2 between Skykomish and Stevens Pass, Interstate 90 between North Bend and Cle Elum, and Interstate 5 between Lacey and Tacoma.

Snow has already fallen in the mountains and travelers should be aware that adverse weather may worsen travel times. According to WSDOT, Snoqualmie Pass is expecting snow on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, and on Friday.

Conditions and tire and chain requirements for mountain passes are posted at

Travelers can expect to see much more traffic than usual on the highways, especially on I-90, and longer wait times at ferry docks. To check the best times to ride the ferries, visit

According to Washington State Ferries spokesperson Dana Warr, the agency expects the same number of riders or even more than last year, which saw nearly 250,000 between Wednesday and Sunday.

Wednesday before Thanksgiving is typically the busiest day and passengers should know some routes are still only operating with one vessel, she said. Peak travel times on most routes will be westbound onto an island on Wednesday or Thursday and then eastbound, off an island, Friday and Sunday.

Over the last few weeks, overall WSF ridership has averaged around 30,000 people per weekday and around 50,000 on the weekends, Warr said.

In Seattle, weekend toll rates will be effect on Thanksgiving, Thursday, Nov. 24, on the Highway 520 bridge and Highway 99 tunnel. The Interstate 405 express toll lanes will be free and open to all drivers.

For those traveling through Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, reservations for parking spots are sold out for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, according to spokesperson Perry Cooper.

Plan your trip accordingly, and know that Wednesday is Sea-Tac's single busiest day of the year, with an estimated 155,000 passengers expected to pass through the airport.

WSDOT is active on Twitter and a good way to get real-time updates is through these accounts:

  • @wsdot — Statewide updates.
  • @wsdot_traffic — Traffic and construction reports for King, Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties.
  • @wsdot_sw — Traffic reports for Vancouver and Southwest Washington.
  • @wsdot_passes — Mountain pass reports.
  • @wsdot_tacoma — Traffic and construction reports for Pierce, Thurston, Mason and Kitsap counties.
  • @snoqualmiepass — I-90 construction updates.
  • @wsferries — Ferry alerts and updates.
  • @wsdot_east — Traffic and highway news and information for east of the Cascade Mountains.
  • @wsdot_north — Highway traffic information for Whatcom, Skagit and Island counties.
  • @wsdot_520 — Highway 520 traffic information and construction updates.
  • @Amtrak_Cascades — Information and updates regarding travel aboard Amtrak Cascades trains.