Jamestown-Scotland Ferry



See the photo album for the 90th anniversary of the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry

Albert Jester made the first automobile ferry crossing of the James River with the "Captain John Smith" on Feb. 26, 1925.

That ferry was 60 feet long and could carry 16 Model-T Fords.

Today, the ferry fleet transports approximately 936,000 vehicles annually.

It's the only 24-hour state-run ferry in Virginia.

The Virginia Department of Transportation took over operation
of the ferry in 1945.

It has more than 90 employees.

The operations budget for the ferry is approximately $12 million annually.

The heaviest traffic volumes are over holidays and weekends.

We do not track passengers per vehicle, but it's estimated to be approximately 2.5 people per car.

When you ride on the free Jamestown-Scotland Ferry, it's not hard to imagine what the first colonists saw as they traveled on the same river 400 years ago.

The 15-minute ride will give you a unique view of the land and connect you to interesting sites on both sides of the James River.

Here are a few of them:
Jamestown-Scotland Ferry map

Historic Jamestown

On May 13, 1607, 104 men and boys landed at Jamestown to establish the first permanent English colony in America.

Shortages of supplies, a high death rate and disagreements among settlers and Virginia Company officials almost caused the colony to fail.

But it succeeded and served as the colonial capital from 1607 until 1699.

It was the site of the first representative legislative assembly in British America, in 1619.

One reason for the colony's success was tobacco, exported to England by John Rolfe, who later married Pocahontas.

Today, visitors can see the original site, Historic Jamestowne, where archaeological digs have unearthed artifacts, a skeleton and traces of the original Jamestown fort.

At Jamestown Settlement living-history museum, visitors can experience daily life in 17th-century Virginia.

Costumed historical interpreters are guides to the past in a re-created colonial fort, in a Powhatan Indian village and on board full-size replicas of the colonists' three ships.

See the Historic Jamestowne website (www.historicjamestowne.org) for more information on ongoing research at Jamestown Rediscovery. 

Visit www.historyisfun.org to learn more about Jamestown Settlement. 

Bacon's Castle

 Bacon's Castle
Bacon's Castle
Built in 1665 by English immigrant Arthur Allen, Bacon's Castle is one of the oldest documented brick houses in English North America.

In 1676, during a rebellion against Gov. Berkeley, the house was seized and fortified by troops loyal to Nathaniel Bacon.

It was later recaptured by sailors from a ship on the James River.

The house's 1680 garden is the oldest, largest, most sophisticated and best preserved 17th-century garden site in America. 

Smith's Fort

Smith's Fort
Smith's Fort

Smith's Fort is the site of the original fort built by Captain John Smith in 1609 to help defend Jamestown. It was a second line of defense against the Indians and Spanish.

Located south of the James River, this area was part of the land given by the Indian Chief Powhatan to John Rolfe on his marriage to Pocahontas.

On the land now is an 18th-century brick house, typical of small Virginia plantations built during that period.

Behind the house stands a boxwood and herb garden that was designed and planted by the Garden Club of Virginia. 

Chippokes Plantation and State Park

One of the oldest working plantations in existence, Chippokes has been farmed continuously since 1619.

Located south of the James River, the plantation was built by one of the Jamestown settlers, Captain William Powell.

Crops of corn, peanuts, rye, soybeans, and barley are still harvested.

The plantation is the site of the Pork, Peanut, and Pine Festival every July. It features the Steam and Gas Engine Show.

Page last modified: Aug. 17, 2023