Transportation from SEA to Tofino help!

Mar 25th, 2009, 01:04 PM
  #1  
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Transportation from SEA to Tofino help!

My husband and I have our airline tickets to Seattle booked and are planning our trip to Tofino. Now, how is the best way to get there especially hoping not to back track. I was thinking of taking the train to Vancouver and renting the car there and ferry over to Nanamino, but then we would have to do the reverse coming back...right?? And that takes time with an early morning flight from SEA and worrying about the ferry and train. Or should we rent a car in Seattle and ferry it over to Victoria and drive on to Tofino? Amd I don't really know how to ferry there? And I guess that would call for backtracking too. So, I have always counted on Fodorites to help with my travels and hope someone can give me help again. Our trip is Aug 7-16. Thanks.
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Mar 25th, 2009, 03:40 PM
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Some rental companies won't let you take a car of theirs into Canada. Check out the fine print before you reserve. You could take a train to Vancouver, bus to Victoria and rent a car there to go to Tofino or you could take the passenger ferry from Seattle to Victoria, or you could take a seaplane to Victoria.

If you can find a rental car company that lets you take the car to Canada, go to Vancouver and ferry to Nanaimo, then drive to Tofino. On your return leg, drive to Victoria and ferry to Port Angeles, then drive to either Kingston to ferry to Edmonds or drive on down to Bainbridge Island or Bremerton to ferry directly to Seattle.

If you didn't want to ferry out of Victoria, you could drive to Sidney and ferry through the San Juan Islands on your way to Anacortes and drive to Seattle either by way of Mt Vernon or down Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands to ferry at Clinton.
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Mar 25th, 2009, 03:41 PM
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By the way, there isn't a car ferry direct from Seattle to Victoria or Vancouver.
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Mar 26th, 2009, 03:35 AM
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For my upcoming trip, I'm flying into Seattle and then flying on to Victoria on Alaska/Horizon Air, renting a car and then driving to Tofino.
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Mar 26th, 2009, 05:00 AM
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Thanks for responding. I looked into renting a car in Vancouver and returning it to Seattle but the price was outrageous. I think I will just fly to Seattle, train to Vancouver, stay there 2 nights, ferry to Namaimo stay 5 nights in Tofino, then hopefully ferry back to Vancouver and take the train to Seattle. Any suggestions on where to stay in Vancouver. I have a place at Tofino. Also any suggestion of where to stay our last night in Seattle where a Shuttle would take us to the airport for a 6:40 am flight? Thanks.
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Mar 26th, 2009, 12:41 PM
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What type of hotel do you prefer and what's your price range? There are a lot of great places in Vancouver to choose from.

Just about any hotel/motel at Seatac will have a shuttle to the airport. The train doesn't get in from Vancouver until around 10 PM so your best bet is to just cab it to the airport and stay out there for your early flight the next day.
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Mar 27th, 2009, 06:04 AM
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Thanks for the info. I booked a hotel in Vancouver and will definitely take you suggestion on taking a taxi to an airport hotel. Do you know of a hotel downtown Seattle that is a good value. We'll only be there overnight waiting to catch the train to Vancouver but would like to walk around seattle in the evening and get to the train station easily in the morning. Any suggestions.
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Mar 27th, 2009, 07:44 AM
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I'd suggest Hotel Andra or Mayflower Park Hotel--both are in good central downtown locations and have been offering good rates lately even for the summer months. Any place downtown will be a short cab ride to the train station.
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Mar 27th, 2009, 07:44 AM
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Oh, which hotel in Vancouver did you end up booking?
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Mar 27th, 2009, 08:10 AM
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I'm not sure why you're adding the Vancouver leg unless you just want to go there. To me it makes more sense to go straight to the island either by Clipper or plane and rent a car in Victoria. Sure, it involves a bit of backtracking, but you could always take the Clipper one way and a float plane another between Seattle and Victoria.
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Mar 27th, 2009, 09:28 AM
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NWWanderer: The vancouver Hotel is the Kingston. It is very inexpensive but had some good reviews on tripadvisor. I hope it's a good choice. And the car Budget car rental is just around the corner according to the hotel. Let me know if I'[m being mislead.
April: I don't really know why I am going to Tofino via Vancouver except that I had been to Victoria for part of a day while on an alaskan cruise and went to the Buchart Gardens and saw the Empress Hotel. Also I thought the train trip might be scenic. Vancouver looks interesting. Am I wrong?
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Mar 27th, 2009, 12:56 PM
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I don't know the Kingston--I just looked it up on TA and it sounds like it's a decent budget choice and it is centrally located (although Richards tends to be noisy at night).

If that's the type of accommodation you prefer you might be ok with the Moore Hotel in Seattle. It's got a great location. It's a bit too backpacker/basic for my taste but the price is definitely right.

If you haven't been to Vancouver before, I think it's well worth a few days. I've been to Tofino many times from Seattle and will often stop in Vancouver for a day or two to break up the trip to or from.
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Mar 27th, 2009, 01:54 PM
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heyjude2919,
No, you're not wrong. You might as well go to Vancouver if you've never been.
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Mar 28th, 2009, 06:41 AM
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Found a $129 night deal at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel. Is that a good location? It's a non- refundable or it's 179. In Vancouver, I thought we would hop the trolley and then walk around Stanley Park. And the next day maybe to that Suspension bridge and the Grouse Mountain tram. Those interested me the most. Of course they are touristy things. Do you have any suggestions of other less touristy things to do. We like vistas and nature, not really into museums particularly. Thanks
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Mar 28th, 2009, 07:10 AM
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Yes, the Sheraton is in a good location.

Definitely take the time to walk the seawall around Stanley Park--it's my favorite thing to do in Vancouver (well, aside from eating in the great restaurants, LOL). I also like to spend time in the English Bay and Yaletown neighborhoods just poking around, and visit Granville Island for the market and the cute little ferry you take to get there. Commercial Drive is another cool neighborhood but it's outside of downtown so you'd have to take a bus or Skytrain. And if you like views, renting a car and driving at least part way up to Whistler on the Sea to Sky Highway is a must (you could combine that with the suspension bridge and Grouse Mt). Btw, there's a free, less touristy canyon with a suspension bridge--the name is escaping me but it's something like Lynn Canyon I think (hopefully someone else will chime in).
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Mar 28th, 2009, 09:30 AM
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Thanks so much. I have just finished reading about Lynn Canyon and it's suspension bridge. We get in by train at 11:45 so maybe we can see Stanley Park in the afternoon and head to Grouse Mountain in the eening and rent our car the next morning and head to Lynn Canyon. I don't know about the Skytrain. That must be only in the City proper. It doesn't go to Lynn Canyon or Grouse Mountain , does it? I was hoping to wait and pick up our car the morning we ferry to Tofino but certain can get it ahead of time. Is there a bus to GM or LC?
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Apr 1st, 2009, 07:29 PM
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I just skimmed many of the questions and answers, but if I can add my two cents – you might check flights via Alaska Airlines SEA to Victoria. Seattle is their HQ, so they have some decent flights out of that city with a good selection of web specials out of SEA off and on. Or, as suggested try taking the Clipper out of Seattle. I think you can pair it up with the bus to get into Victoria.

As far as Vancouver goes, the Kingston is a small hotel about a block from the central library and 1/2 block to Robson Street. There's a popular pub inside the hotel. Haven't stayed there, but I've walked by many times and it seems quite nice.

As a consideration, if you are traveling to Vancouver Island from Vancouver (and staying at the Kingston) you could consider taking one of the West Vancouver blue buses (this is public transportation) that picks up at the main Vancouver post office which is 1/2 block from your hotel). Catch the bus that takes you to Horseshoe Bay (about $5 per person). Go as a walk-on on the ferry ($13 per person) and rent a car in Nanaimo where the ferry docks. Budget rent-a-car will pick you up at the ferry (about $35 per day, but perhaps cheaper for mulitple days). Cheaper than the fare to drive a vehicle onto the ferry. AND you won't have to worry about ferry line-ups for vehicles. It's usually quite busy during the summer, and one or two sailing waits are not out of the question. That said, your option is to reserve a spot for your car, which costs more. Tofino is closer to Nanaimo than Victoria. Check out the BC Ferries website.

Skytrain operates within downtown Vancouver, and out to Surrey and other areas. However, you could take the skytrain to the seabus terminal (in downtown) – and take the seabus over to North Vancouver (about a 15 minute ferry ride). From there, there would be a bus which can take you to Grouse Mountain or Lynn Canyon. This is all public transportation. Probably a 2 zone fare at around $5 per person. See translink.bc.ca for more info on public transit. It's not difficult.

Whistler, as mentioned, is a lovely drive.

Have fun. : )
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Apr 2nd, 2009, 09:42 AM
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What great information, SMac, everything you've suggested
is a brilliant solution to their logistical problems -
have a great trip, heyjude - I'm betting Tofino will be
a highlight.

Lynn Canyon is easy to get to by bus from the SeaBus
Terminal in N.Van.

The suspension bridge is just as 'dramatic' as the 'other'
one it's free and surrounded by a great hiking/walking park.
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Apr 2nd, 2009, 04:04 PM
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Thanks so much for all of the info. I knew that you fodorites would come thru for me. I'll definitely write a report upon my return.
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Apr 3rd, 2009, 10:56 AM
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Have you already booked a place to stay in Tofino? If you haven't, there are some nice cabins located along a couple of the beaches south of the village. In town you'll find B&B as well as a fishing resort-type place called "Weigh West". Of course, "if money is no object" then the Wickaninnish Inn is the place to stay. This is located south of the village along Long Beach.

I wouldn't recommend waiting too long... space is very limited since it's a very popular spot, especially in August. (We've even had to reserve a month a head of time for a campsite).

http://www.tofino-bc.com/accommodations/
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