BC Ferries operates one of the most extensive fleet of ferries in North America. There are major sailings between Vancouver Island and the Mainland, as well as lesser known runs that the tourist might not be aware of. There are sailings to take you up the Sunshine Coast north of Vancouver, as well as numerous runs between the Gulf Islands, just off the coast from Vancouver Island.
For a vacationer who is just visiting Vancouver, BC Ferries are of no use at all. None of the ferries actually go to Vancouver. The nearest Ferry Terminal is in Horseshoe Bay. A quick day trip to Victoria is quite involved: A 45 minute drive to Tsawwassen, an hour and a half ferry ride and another 45 minute drive into Victoria.
(TIP: If you want to do a day trip to Victoria by Ferry, Pacific Coach Lines makes the trip from downtown to downtown daily in about 3 1/2 hours one way.)
There are a number of day trips you can take from Vancouver if you want to experience BC Ferries. They all leave from the Horseshoe Bay Terminal. You can take Translink bus 250 to get there. The shortest run would be to Bowen Island. Bowen Island is a quaint, rural island just a short ride from Horseshoe Bay. A little longer trip would be to Langdale. The pretty town of Gibsons is a short bus ride from there. If you want to make a full day of it, take the ferry to Nanaimo. It's an hour and a half ride across the Strait of Georgia. Then it's a short bus ride to the center of town. If you're there in the summer, take the little passenger ferry over to Newcastle Island Provincial Park. It's right in the harbor across from Downtown Nanaimo, and is a pleasant place to spend a summer's afternoon.
Service to all these destinations are frequent, and the ferries themselves are quite nice. The best ships are the two Spirit Class ships that operate out of Tsawwassen. But the vessels they run to Langdale and Nanaimo are almost as nice.
If your going to Victoria plan on parking the car at the terminal and taking the bus once on the island. The terminal is about 45 min from Victoria and is about 20 dollars round trip and the ferry is about the same if you walk on. You can by the bus fare on the ship once you leave the port. If you decide to drive you pay fifty dollars on way for the car and the walk on fee as well.
If you wanna explore Vancouver Island or some of the smaller islands around Vancouver then head to Horseshoe Bay on the North shore.
To take you car to Vancouver Island it costs approximately $50 plus $8 per person.
If you want to have great views, BC Ferries is an excellent option to get to Vancouver. From Victoria it takes 1.5 hrs to get to Tsawwassen and then, one more hour to get to Downtown Vancouver. During the sailing you get to see wonderful views during a clear day.
The ferry has a gift shop, food court, state rooms, video arcades, play areas, telephones, wheelchair decks, washrooms, and the most important... lots of travel brochures!!!
I can only really comment on getting to anf from vancouver from Victoria. You COULD fly but why?? It is expensive for a little 15 minute flight.
Rather take the ferry.
The views from the ferries are just amazing and, if you are lucky, you may see a pod of whales.
The prices are reasonable if you walk on or take the bus. I actually suggest walking on the ferry and then buying a bus ticket as soon as you get on the boat. The busses take ou downtown or to the airport.
You can relax and collect yourself on the ferrie inide or on the deack.
The superferries have so many restaurants that ypu could NEVER go hungry.
the trip is about 1.5 hours long a,d walk on is about $10 cad.
The prices have actually gone up quite alot recently and they have added big screen televisions in the louges. If you want peace and quiet you have to pay extra to go into another lounge.
Also the prices for taking a car on the ferry have skyrocketed and we are seeing no hope of even a plateau in these costs. If you are travelling by car on a weekend or during the summer be prepared for some faily long waits.
I have not been on the ferries in about 1 year but I will be taking a daytrip to vancouver soon and I will update the tip then!!!
I would highly recommend taking the British Columbia Ferry Service. It is one of the nicest ferry services I have ever seen. It was an awesome ride. We had the chance to see the sunset over the ocean... simply beautiful. Make sure you have a jacket, it got quite cold.
A great way to get around the Vancouver area is to ride by ferry. The cost is relatively cheap and you'll get a nice view of the waterways and inlets that dot the BC coastline. Some people chose to sit out on the deck, some chose to read whileother passengers just decided to take a quick nap.
Mark my words, plan on arriving at least 3 hours early for the ferry you intend to take. We were aiming for the 4PM ferry to Nanaimo, but got there at 3PM, and instead ended up on the 7PM ferry!
It's a long boring wait.
You can catch a BC ferry for a trip of less than two hours to Vancouver Island. There are two terminals near Vancouver. One is at Horseshoe Bay and the other is at Tsawwassen. From Horseshoe Bay, the BC ferry will take you to Nanaimo (Departure Bay) on Vancouver Island. From Tsawwassen, the BC ferry will also take you to Nanaimo (Duke Point) as well as Swartz Bay which will put you close to Victoria. Vehicles are allowed on these BC ferries. The cost for a vehicle and driver is $44-$46 depending on the day of the week, and $10.25 per passenger. The ferries run once every hour or two hours depending on the day of the week. Check their web site for detailed schedule and fare information.
Ok, so your probably going to want to get out to one of the Gulf Island - there's several different departure points but the 2 most popular ones are Horseshoe Bay and Tsawwassen. Our ferries can ship cars as well as foot passengers but they do tend to get busy on the weekends (especially holiday ones ~ so book in advance 1-888-724-5223 ) To get to Horseshoe Bay, you want to get downtown and then cross Lions Gate, once across stay in the left lane and follow the hair pin. At the first major intersection make a right, you'll be on Taylor Way. Follow TW up the hill for a while till you see a sign for Whistler / Horseshoe Bay etc. Stay on the upper levels highway till you see signs for HB, take the exit !! (it's well marked so don't worry) To get to Tsawwassen take highway 99 (accessible from Oak Street) and once your past the tunnel start looking out for signs that say Tsawwassen / Ferries ~ 10-15 after tunnel ( not too long ). I'm not quite as familiar with the Tsawwassen terminal, sooooo ---->www.bcferries.com
Vancouver is surrounded by a number of different islands that are linked to gether by a ferry system. Taking your car to the various islands is expensive but possible. You can even reserve a spot in advance. This is a small ferry to one of the smaller islands (Bowen). The tourists love taking the ferries because it affords you an excellent view of the islands and sealife as you travel.
Here is a link with ferry routes, schedules and prices:
After arriving at Campbell River on Vancouver island you must take a five minute ferry ride to Quadra and then drive to the ferry terminal that then goes to Cortes, This is a 45 minute ferry ride. The few on the ferries are very beautful thought.
The community on Cortes Island is very friendly and one of the many methods of transporrtation is Hitch Hiking. Unfortunately things on the island tend to be very spread out, so not everything is in walking distance, but all the wide open space is one of Cortes Islands many draws.
I offer you a suggestion, one that solves your transportation problem, but also will give you an unforgetable experience. Take the sea plane from downtown Victoria to downtown Vancouver, or vice versa.
You are already taking a ferry from Seattle to Victoria, so a second ferry trip won't offer anything new. If you calculate the costs and time involved for 4 people on the ferry versus a float plane, you should seriously consider it. The float plane terminal is right in downtown vancouver so depending on which hotel you are staying at you may be even be able to walk to it, or at the very least a short cab ride (ALMOST door to door service).
You are correct it will be rushed, but I have no choice.
I have a question on the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria. What does cost to take the car and 2 passengers across? How early do we have to get to the dock?
To get to Victoria from the mainland is to take the ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, which is a 40 minute drive north of Victoria. Buses cost $20 from downtown Vancouver to downtown Victoria on Greyhound. Buses can also be arranged on the ferries themselves. The cost is $8 per person if you want to walk on and an extra $34 if you want to take your car.
The prices are somewhat similar to Nanaimo or Gibsons. Use the Horseshoe Bay terminal for those routes. The ferry to Nanaimo will take you to Duke Point. A good day trip would be to take the ferry to Bowen Island where you can spend a day kayaking or cycling.
The ships are decent sized and there are two places to eat on them. The one is a cafeteria style place while the other, known as the Pacific Buffet, has slightly better food (although at $15).There are also video games and a play area for the kids. A real highlight can happen if you catch a glimpse of a killer whale while transiting the waters.