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2 days in Vanvouver and 1 day in Victoria

2 days in Vanvouver and 1 day in Victoria

Aug 1st, 2005, 06:45 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2
2 days in Vanvouver and 1 day in Victoria

I am planning to go to visit at the end of August, from Wednesday to Saturday. The plan so far is to arrive in Seattle early Wednesday and drive to Vancouver and see as much as we can, Thursday go to Victoria for the day, Friday see as much as we can see again, early Saturday return to Seattle and then spend the rest of the weekend in Seattle. I know it probably sounds like alot, but we are planning on taking our parents and they have to return to the Bay Area by Saturday afternoon.

I'm having problems on whether or not to 1) sign up for a tour to get to Victoria, 2) drive our car, park it and walk onto the ferry as passengers, with my concern being with getting around Victoria, or 3) taking the car onto the ferry. Also, should we rely on public transportation and our feet to see the different sights or would it be a wise decision to sign up for a hop-on/hop-off bus?

Any help would be appreciated.

Thank you,
love2swim is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 07:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,079
I would drive my car to Victoria.
The ferry dock is a long ways from Victoria itself.
I have had no trouble driving around the area. Get a map.

Two major places to see in my experiences:
Butchart Gardens and the BC Province Museum near the harbor.

Both are outstanding.
The last time we were in Victoria, we got no farther than the Egyptian exhibit at the museum. If there is no special, the rest of the museum is interesting.

As for Butchart, I am not a garden lover, but that one is special.
brookwood is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 07:55 PM
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Hello love2swim,

Why not do a clockwise or counter-clockwise journey? That would save some double backing.

On Wednesday you could drive from Seattle to Vancouver as planned. Be aware that the drive takes about 2.5 hours, and the border crossing might add an hour to that.

Once you get to Vancouver, I suggest you drive straight through downtown across to the "North Shore" and visit Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge, Grouse Mountain, and Horseshoe Bay. Return to downtown Vancouver for the night.

On Thursday I suggest you visit attractions in the central part of Vancouver, Stanley Park and Granville Island Market at a minimum. If time permits, also visit Yaletown and Robson Street.

On Thursday evening, drive to Tsawwassen, board the ferry (ideally with a reservation through www.bcferries.ca ), cross the Georgia Strait (dining aboard the ferry if necessary), disembark at Swartz Bay, and drive to Victoria. Overnight in Victoria.

On Friday stroll around the Inner Harbour area, where you can see the Fairmont Empress Hotel, the Parliament Buildings, the Royal BC Museum, etc. Then visit Butchart Gardens as brookwood suggested.

At 6.00 p.m. catch the Washington State Ferry at Sidney, BC. If I'm reading the web site correctly, it will get to Anacortes, WA at 8.35 p.m. Spend the night somewhere nearby.

Caveat : Whereas I have caught the ferry from Mainland BC to Vancouver Island, I have not caught the ferry from Vancouver Island to Washington State, so what I'm sharing with you on that score is what I've learned from the Internet.

On Saturday, drive the 1.5 hours to Seattle, and explore that city as previously planned.

I've racked my brain, and I cannot think of a more efficient way to do it. If you go from Vancouver to Victoria and back again, you'll do that ferry crossing twice, and that takes between 3.5 hours and 4 hours from one city's downtown to the other city's downtown each way. Then you would have to drive the territory between Vancouver and Seattle a second time which, including the border crossing, would take about 3.5 hours.

Something you need to understand is that the ferry terminals involved in the route I've suggested are some distance from the cities. In addition to that, it's a bit like checking in for a flight. You can't show up 5 minutes before sailing. Even if you have a reservation, you have to arrvie between 45 minutes and an hour before sailing.

Hope that helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 09:10 PM
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Hi again love2swim,

About transportation. Vancouver and Victoria have good public transportation systems. In theory it would be possible to do your entire journey by public transportation. However, yours will be a rushed trip, and there will be four of you (or will it be six?) sharing a vehicle. So I think that changes the equation. I think you could use your car a fair amount.

Day 1 - If you take up my suggestion of visiting the North Shore, you theoretically could do that by public transportation. But why do that? You'll in any case have the car that you drove from Seattle to Vancouver. Why park it and use public transportation?

Day 2 - On the day that you see the central part of Vancouver, you could use public transportation or you could do a combination of driving and walking.

If you want to use public transportation, you can use TransLink's Trip Planning page to see what would be involved:


I'm a fan of the hop-on/hop-off bus for one or two people, but if you check out the web site of Vancouver Trolley Company, you'll find it's pretty expensive for 4 or more people.

Again we come back to the fact that you have the car anyway, so there might be some merit in using it at least for some of your activities.

When you cross over to Vancouver Island, you can get to Butchart Gardens without a car. But, as before, you'll have the car, so why not use it?

Downtown Victoria is very compact and walkable.

Hope that helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2005, 05:04 PM
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I usually say you don't need a car in Victoria but because there are so many of you it is the only way to go. You pay for car and driver on BC Ferries and then individually for the rest of the passengers. That is the best option. If there were just one or two you might want to take the bus.

So many tourists in Vancouver miss some of the nicest and free spots and just go to the places recommended by other tourists who don't really know the city. If you like gardens Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver is gorgeous. It is free. Instead of spending a lot of money going up Grouse Mountain you can drive up Burnaby mountain. Simon Fraser University is there but you can drive up to a park with spectacular views of the city and the inlet. Frankly the view is better than Grouse Mountain day or night. There is also a restaurant there that used to be very good but I haven't eaten there for years. Just get a city map and you will see both of those on it. Just a couple of suggestions from a Vancouverite.
traveller69 is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 10:42 PM
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Thank you so much for all your help. I apologize for not responding, I am unable to access the internet at work and went home exhausted most nights.

I love the suggestions. I have been spending some time reading from different tour books.

I agree that if we have the rental car, with unlimited miles that we might as well use it, my biggest concern is parking and making my way through Vancouver. Also, I hadn't realized that once you get off the ferry in Victoria that the town was a bit of a distance. I have looked on the internet for tours and they are on the expensive side.

On a side note, I am somewhat concerned with my mother, in that she sometimes has a hard time walking for long distances. She'll do it and won't complain, but I can tell when too much is too much.

love2swim is offline  
Aug 6th, 2005, 08:32 AM
Join Date: May 2005
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The parking is easy in Victoria and there are tours that leave from in front of the Empress Hotel so walking there shouldn't be a problem. There is so much to see within a few blocks in Victoria so you could park close by and enjoy the inner harbour area (that is where the Empress is as well)

In Vancouver why don't you take the trolley tour - I think it is just the best way to see Vancouver if you are limited in time - or have someone like your Mom and walking is a problem. Here is their website
Their website gives you different options and it also gives you an idea of what there is to see.

Have a wonderful visit
traveller69 is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 04:53 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 603
Just to let you know, that you can get wheelchairs at Butchart Gardens free of charge. If you drive out there yourself, just ask for one when going through the pay station. They will direct you to handicap parking and an attendant will be waiting with a chair for you. Even if your mother doesn't sit in it for the whole time you're there. She can use it as a walker and rest when necessary.
Cruiseryyc is offline  
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