Feb 17th, 2005, 08:18 AM
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I am leaving from Seattle to Vancouver by car and returning back to Seattle. Should I visit Victoria as a day trip from Vancouver without the car or should I take the car from Vancouver to Victoria and then return from Victoria to Seattle? Which way is more convenient as I am traveling with four kids?
DBRomo is offline  
Feb 17th, 2005, 09:36 AM
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I've done the reverse -- drive Seattle to Port Angeles, ferry with the car to Victoria, and then ferry with the car to Vancouver.

It was fun, and with kids who like boats, it would be a good adventure.

Besides, there are some interesting things to see between the ferry docks on Vancouver Island and the city of Victoria. Depending on which ferry you take from the mainland, you arrive on two different communities on Vancouver island, and then have to drive to Victoria.

My preference is to leave on the north route, from Horseshoe Bay, and arrive at Nanaimo, and then drive south to Victoria.

The drive from Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay is interesting, and you can drive past beautiful homes, right by the water, if you are not in a rush.

If you take the southern ferry, you have to drive all across Vancouver, and it's pretty dull. Besides, you would have seen that area on your way into the city from Seattle.

BAK is offline  
Feb 17th, 2005, 03:16 PM
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I would take the car on the ferries, because the BC ferries don't actually take you right into Victoria - you will have to take buses, which might be a hassle with 4 kids. If you are going just for the day, I'd recommend the Tsawwassen-to-Swartz Bay ferry, which will involve less driving. The ferry leaves from both sides every 2 hours, starting at 7am, and ending at 9pm.

The WA State ferry from Sidney to Anacortes is probably not a good option for you, as it leaves only once per day, in the late morning.

The Black Ball Line ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles is the choice described by BAK, and it is a fine scenic crossing, but Port Angeles is still 4-ish hours from Seattle, requiring yet another ferry crossing of Puget Sound. This might not be the best choice for a day trip, where you would want to spend most of the day in Victoria.
ALF is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2005, 07:11 AM
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Thank you for the information.I would also like to know how long does t take from Vancouver to Victoria and from Seattle to Victoria.
DBRomo is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2005, 02:58 PM
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Hi DBRomo,

With 4 kids along on your trip I think I might try to cut the TIME on the ferry down as much as possible. To me that means driving from Seattle to Vancouver and then eventually taking the ferry from the lower mainland across to the island (Victoria) and then doubling back the same way. BC Ferries run more often and are slightly more convenient for that reason. Ferry time across there is still a couple of hours, but not the longer journey it could be. (and yes, you definitely want to take the car across to Victoria, despite the costs involved)

Since you have it, drive up the hill from downtown Victoria and have a gander at "Craigdarroch Castle" (spelling??)

To be clear, the ferry from ""Vancouver"" to Victoria really runs from a place just barely north of the U.S. border, and all the way to the WEST... and not so much "Vancouver" itself.
NorthwestMale is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2005, 03:18 PM
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One more thing:

You talk of taking 4 kids but don't mention anything about their (other) parent(s).

Thought this would be a good point to advise that you have a written note from the parent who is NOT there which tells that he/she is aware and approving of your taking the children across international boundaries.

You should be bringing both your and their birth certificates OR passports, just to assure that you're not delayed at the international border.

NorthwestMale is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2005, 05:12 PM
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Hey, NorthwestMale, I know you are well-intentioned. However, a family of 4 kids is not uncommon, especially amont "blended" families. In our family, 5+ kids is more the norm. (I myself only have 1, but plus 4 stepkids that is 5.)
sludick is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2005, 05:49 PM
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Well, sludick, DBRoma did use the first person singular pronoun when he/she mentioned travelling with kids.

The point is that, regardless of how few or how many kids there are and regardless of whether the kids all are your birth children or not, if you are a lone adult travelling with those kids, you may be asked to provide evidence that you are their sole guardian or that you have permission from their other parent(s) to cross a border with them.

If you are not the kids' parent at all, then of course you need a letter of permission from their guardians.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2005, 06:11 PM
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Sometimes they want contact information for the parent(s) as well in case they question your note. Have a way of getting a hold of the parentz(s).
Miss_Lynne is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2005, 09:08 PM
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sludich NorthWest male did not make any comments about having 4 kids being abnormal. He simply offered very good advice about making sure you have proper identification when travelling as a lone parent with any child. Proper documentation is a must - the border guards can be very strict because there have been many instances of non-custodial parents disappearing into the neighbouring country with children.
And, DBRomo was asking for the most convenient way to travel with 4 kids. That indicates he/she is aware that long trips can be trying with that many children.
taggie is offline  
Feb 24th, 2005, 09:11 AM
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also the ride from Tsawwassen is more
scenic than the ride from Pt Angeles -
sunbum1944 is offline  
Feb 26th, 2005, 01:26 PM
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Point taken, all. I was a little shrill in my comment. Must've been having a bad day..
sludick is offline  
Feb 26th, 2005, 04:40 PM
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Maybe the kids were getting to you!
taggie is offline  
Feb 28th, 2005, 08:25 PM
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Ferry note Anacortes/ Sydney doesn't run until mid March.

Tsawassen to Sydney (for Victoria) is getting busy .I waited 2 hours to get a car on going to Vancouver Island 2 Sundays ago and 2.5 hours last Friday to return to Tsawassen. The good news is for about $15 you can make a reservation. While the ferry parking lot had the atmosphere of a tail gate party ( sunny weather) I'm not sure you all will enjoy the wait which gets worse as the weather gets better.

The Washington State ferries do not take reservations and the waits through the San Juans can be very long in season for cars.

AndrewDavid is offline  
Mar 1st, 2005, 08:27 AM
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I am going to Victoria from Seattle this summer and can give some opinions from the research I have done since and I am also traveling with children. If traveling in the summer the WS Ferry will have two sailings, I was advised by them that even though the schedule does not post until the middle of March, one usualy leaves at 8:00 and one at 2:00. Reversations are only accepted when going from Anacortes to Sidney and vise versa. Do not accept reservations to the San Juan Islands. Not sure what date they would start accepting reservations. I know the BC Ferry out of Tsawwassen have sailings like every hour, and they also accept reservations ($15 extra) however, if you are going to Vancouver anyway, it would make more sense to go of Tsawwassen/Swartz Bay terminal. I live in Seattle and going to drive to Anacortes since I prefer a shorter drive and longer ferry ride. I am traveling with children and long car rides in addition to waiting in line to cross the border to take the ferry out of Tsawwassen would be more stressful for us.
PS The drive from Seattle to Anacortes is approx. 90 minutes and the ferry to Sidney is 3 hours.
The drive to Vancouver from Seattle is approx. 3 hours and the ferry ride is 1 1/2 hours.
One more option to think about no matter which terminal you choose is leaving the car behind and just walking on. Less stress for one day. I am sure you can find out about a possible shuttle service from the terminal to Victoria because once in Victoria, people have said most attractions are within a walking distance. Hope this helped!
jojo7 is offline  
Mar 7th, 2005, 07:48 AM
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Why not take the Victoria Clipper high speed passernger ferry to Victoria from Seattle. It's about a 2 to 3 hour ride and puts you out right on the Inner Harbour - you can walk to the hotels. Take the morning ferry to Victoria, check into a hotel for overnight, spend the evening & the next day in Victoria, catching the afternoon ferry back to Seattle, jump in your vehicle & drive to Vancouver. You won't want to have a vehicle in Victoria - it's very compact.
If you want to visit areas outside of the city a vehicle would be convenient but you would require more than one overnight in Victoria. If I was taking a vehicle to Victoria I would recommend taking the Back Ball Ferry out of Port Angeles which docks at the Inner Harbour in Victoria. It's also a pleasant, not to long of a drive, to Port Angeles from Seattle. After your visit in Victoria you would catch the BC Ferry north of Victoria to Vancouver. The ferry docks south of Vancouver so you will have a drive through some built up areas enroute to downtown Vancouver. Just my thoughts as I have done both and enjoyed both trips.
Shea is offline  

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