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Traveling from Vancouver to Victoria by ferry in a car

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Traveling from Vancouver to Victoria by ferry in a car
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My husband and I are going to Vancouver and spending one night in Victoria in mid Sept. We are taking the Ferry with our rental car which I've never done. I wanted to know what route would be better to take. I was planning to take the 11 am Ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay and make a stop at Buchart Gardens before we check into the Fairmont. To go back the next day to Vancouver, Should we leave from Horseshoe Bay and get into Nanaimo or should we leave from Swartz Bay back to Tsawwassen ? Basically, we're only there a night so I wanted to make the most of it. Is it worth going in or out of Horseshoe Bay? Any suggestion would help.

Vancouver-by-the-Sea
Destination Expert
for British Columbia
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11,310 posts
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1. Re: Traveling from Vancouver to Victoria by ferry in a car
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'leave from Swartz Bay back to Tsawwassen'

It's the only choice that makes sense given your time frame.

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Traveling from Vancouver to Victoria by ferry in a car
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No, that is a substantial detour and will come at the cost of seeing Victoria.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
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3. Re: Traveling from Vancouver to Victoria by ferry in a car
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I think you could make a rewarding loop up to Nanaimo to take the Departure Bay > Horseshoe Bay ferry back to Vancouver. It depends on how much of Victoria you want to see because you would need about 5-6 hours to do the following.

Drive up Island to Nanaimo, 2 hours plus any stops. Enjoy the ride and the experience of a countryside drive as well as a few of the attractions on the way. A bit of a walk in the trails/forest of Goldstream Provincial Park, the Malahat lookout, Chemainus outdoor murals. Arrive at Departure Bay an hour ahead of sailing and take the 1.5 hour ferry ride to Horseshoe Bay, then about 40 minutes more into downtown Vancouver.

Map: https://goo.gl/maps/w74pyHi5HJC2

On the return, the ferry + the drive on the Vancouver side, using either terminal will take approx 2.5 hours from sailing + the 1 hour wait for the ferry. It will be a decision between visiting Victoria for X hours or driving up Island for X hours.

One more thing, if you take the Swartz Bay > Tsawwassen ferry on a weekday, know the rush hour on the Vancouver side will be difficult from about 3h30 to about 6h30. Therefore, I would suggest you take the 5 pm or 7 pm ferry from Swartz Bay. Sunset will be about 7h30 pm in mid September.

If you decide that Victoria has enough to keep you going, and it does, you still need to arrive at Swartz Bay terminal an hour ahead, take the 1.5 hour ferry ride and drive the hour from Tsawwassen into Vancouver.

Some tips about the ferry. If you are taking the ferry on a Friday or Sunday, you might be wise to make a reservation. $10 in advance of 7 days from your chosen sailing. Then pay the ferry fare once at the terminal. On other days, it probably won't be necessary in mid-September. You will want to arrive 60-30 minutes ahead of your sailing if you make a reservation. 29 minutes and your ressie will be forfeited.

It's Butchart. Think Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Edited: 3 years ago
3 posts
4. Re: Traveling from Vancouver to Victoria by ferry in a car
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Thank you for all of the suggestions.

5. Re: Traveling from Vancouver to Victoria by ferry in a car

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