If you're driving a vehicle onto a BC ferry, it is important for you to get to the terminal as early as possible. I would say about 30 minutes before departure your car should already be in line ready to board the ferry. The ferries are pretty big and can hold a lot of vehicles, but still just to be on the safe side, arrive early. On the ferries you will find restaurants, coffee shop, gift store, etc. so it is a pretty convenient and comfortable ride. The views from the ferries are excellent too.
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.
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.
BC Ferries offer car passenger and walk-on service to the many islands scattered along the coast. The ferries are catered. Most have 1 -2 restaurants on board. There's plenty of areas to sit, as they prefer you don't stay in your car if you have one. one thing to note that on long weekends if you are taking your car on the ferry it's a good idea to book in advance. There can be long line-ups at the terminals!
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.
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:
BC Ferries now has 40 vessels, and up to 46 destinations. Schedules include frequent, year-round sailings to Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast and some remote corners of the Vancouver coast.