You can catch a ferry at the Departure Bay Ferry Terminal in Nanaimo for a trip to Horseshoe Bay just north of Vancouver in under two hours. Cars are allowed on this BC ferry, but be sure to arrive at the terminal at least 30 minutes early in order to ensure there's a space for your car on the ferry. During the summer months this ferry runs every one or two hours depending on the day of the week. Check their web site for precise schedules and fare information. The ride is pretty fun and the views from the ferry are excellent.
B.C. Ferries have two terminals in Nanaimo. The south terminal at Duke Point receives passengers and cars arriving from Tsawassen south of Vancouver and the Departure Bay terminal is the docking point for ferries arriving from Horsehoe Bay in West Vancouver.
Crossing time: Duke point-Tsawassen : 2hrs
Horshoe Bay- Departure Bay: 1 hr35 min.
Great views of the sea and mountains and Vancouver skyline can be seen from the BC ferry. The BC ferry is fairly convenient as there are restaurants and shops.