Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Canada
Reload this Page >

Vancouver -> Seattle (via Victoria) Questions?

Vancouver -> Seattle (via Victoria) Questions?

Sep 25th, 2011, 02:37 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 4
Vancouver -> Seattle (via Victoria) Questions?

My husband & I are headed out to celebrate our 20th anniversary in Vancouver and Seattle. We'd worked out the logistics of travel & accomodations for all but the Vancouver to Seattle portion (deciding to focus on the all important dining research.) Now is the time, though, and so I was hoping for feedback on the following proposed plan:

We'd like to take the Victoria Clipper down to Seattle - the only Ferry for a Sunday in October is 6pm. In researching the options to get from Vancouver to Victoria, I was surprised by the duration of the trip with the bus / ferry / bus options.

I'm thinking that perhaps a sea plane option might be something to consider as the route seems somewhat direct. We've never done something like that.

Harbour Air has sea planes that would take us to Victoria where we could then check our luggage at the dock for the Victoria Clipper, leave and sightsee, and return for our 6pm ferry.

Is this an OK solution? I know that we could alternatively take a train or a bus down, but we were hoping for a scenic route!
Thanks for any feedback!
websinga20 is offline  
Sep 25th, 2011, 03:57 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,944
A seaplane ride is is an OK solution.

Do it.

BAK is offline  
Sep 25th, 2011, 04:31 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,468
Hmmmmmmmmmm, maybe that's it:

""I was surprised by the duration of the trip with the bus / ferry / bus options.""

People are "surprised" by the duration of the path to and from Vancouver Island from the mainland.

(ponders why people keep attempting to squeeze that in)
NorthwestMale is offline  
Sep 26th, 2011, 06:17 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 329
How much time do you have?

Vancouver merits 3 full days to get a proper experience. Seattle about the same and Victoria, I'd say 2 days.

It does take 3-4 hours to get between Victoria and Vancouver by bus or car and ferry... and going from Seattle to Vancouver via Victoria does add a significant detour, even though they're close together relatively speaking. It's not necessarily something I'd do in one day unless you were mentally prepared for an early rise and

Harbour Air is fantastic, however, and I would not hesitate to fly with them, ever. I fly with them for business whenever I need to do a day workshop in Victoria or elsewhere on Vancouver Island. It's safe, fast, scenic, and always a thrill. The planes, despite how tiny they are, are incredibly stable. I've never felt nervous on them the same way I feel nervous in a 747. In fact, it feels like you're in a Minivan... but it's flying. Very cool.

Anyhow... Victoria Clipper to Victoria and then Vancouver by Harbour Air is great. The *only* thing about Harbour Air is that they only fly during daylight hours and they won't fly if there's fog or if it's too stormy. So you have to have a plan B. My suggestion for a Plan B would be Pacific Coach Lines which you can pick up right in the heart of Victoria behind the Empress Hotel. It'll add significant time to your travels, but you can guarantee it'll get you to Vancouver.
BC_Robyn is offline  
Sep 26th, 2011, 06:19 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 329
... hmm, somehow that one paragraph got cut off. I was just going to say, doing Seattle to Vancouver via Victoria in one day isn't something I'd do in one day unless you were prepared that it'll be a long and busy day.
BC_Robyn is offline  
Sep 26th, 2011, 06:19 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 329
... and if you don't have much time, I'd scrap Victoria and just go straight from Seattle to Vancouver via Amtrak.
BC_Robyn is offline  
Sep 28th, 2011, 04:15 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 4
Thanks for the responses. BC_Robyn - you provide a lot of good insight into the process! We are actually travelling from Vancouver to Seattle and while Amtrak certainly seemed like the least expensive and direct route, we wanted that leg of the trip to be another "activity" if you will - an opportunity to experience something new. We have 3.5 days in Vancouver and 2 days in Seattle. While we had considered a proper visit to Victoria, our trip isn't long enough to get it all in, obviously (and I wish we had picked just one spot and stayed.) The "nod" toward Victoria is really due to the fact that we need to get the Clipper there & so we will get to enjoy a 1/2 day visit and make the most of what that will bring us.

I am a little concerned about the possible limitation on the sea plane flight as we wouldn't have a backup plan. Hmmm...need to consider that further. Seems like a rainy forecast - will they fly in the rain? Thanks again for the feedback!
websinga20 is offline  
Sep 28th, 2011, 08:26 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,883
We live in Victoria and although we haven't taken the Clipper ourselves, we know lots of people who have. Please be aware that it can be a very bumpy ride; many people get seasick. We have friends who just took that trip last week and were very grateful for their Gravol, and that wasn't even a particularly rough day. If you're prone to seasickness at all, you might want to consider another mode of transportation.
Meesthare is offline  
Sep 28th, 2011, 10:22 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 4
Thank you, Meesthare. We'll be sure to bring something for motion sickness even though neither of us is usually affected. Good to know!
websinga20 is offline  
Sep 28th, 2011, 10:56 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 329
They'll fly in the rain - they just won't fly in hurricane-like conditions. Rain is fine but extreme wind is not. Last year I had a flight postponed and then eventually cancelled because, even though it was beautiful, crisp and sunny... the surface of the water water was covered in fog.

Also be aware that Harbour Air has luggage restrictions due to the nature of the tiny planes, although I know that if you have too much luggage, they'll put some of your luggage on the next flight. They have flights leaving every 20-30 minutes.

Plan B: You'll have to go by ferry and bus. Look up Pacific Coach Lines. It'll just add an extra 3-4 hours to your transit.
BC_Robyn is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2011, 11:05 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 4
Plan C??? BC_Robyn...Meesthare...anyone...

So, the forecast has taken a turn for the extremely wet! Presently, there is a 60% chance of showers on the day (10/9) that we are supposed to fly over to Victoria and then take the Clipper down to Seattle. Honest opinions, please. Will our scheduled mode of travel for the day be a mistake? Would we be miserably tossled without the benefit of great scenery huddled inside to stay dry & warm? We really want to have the Harbour Air / Clipper experience but might we be better off on Amtrak? Want to hold out to see if the weather might change again but would hate to wait too long where we couldn't cancel w/o some sort of penalty.
any advice would be great.

websinga20 is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2011, 11:50 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 329
October 9th is a week away. Never take a weather forecast that far in advance seriously... at least not around here. The weather changes hourly in this part of the world and weather forecasts are only really reliable the day before, in my opinion.

Even this past week... it was supposed to be rainy and gross all week, but it cleared up around Tuesday and ever since, it's been beautiful.

Personally, I'd recommend going with your initial plan. It'll be an adventure, no?

Besides, Harbour Air flies *below* the clouds - you'll still have your scenery, even in the rain.

And if it becomes too stormy and they need to delay/cancel the flight, they'll help organize an alternative transport to Vancouver (ie: Pacific Coach Lines).

BTW - I'll also be in Seattle that weekend and will be travelling to San Juan on my own little Puget Sound adventure. Curious to hear how it goes!
BC_Robyn is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Jul 30th, 2012 01:02 PM
United States
Jul 18th, 2009 09:40 AM
Jul 5th, 2009 11:03 AM
Aug 15th, 2003 08:25 AM
Jim E Hansen
United States
Jan 20th, 2000 06:02 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:52 AM.