victoria itinery

Old May 25th, 2004, 12:04 PM
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victoria itinery

Hello to all my fodor friends! I am planning a trip Wednesday, July 8, flying into Seattle (arriving 12:30 p.m.) and spending the night at the Sheraton Towers. I plan to leave the next morning for Victoria, spend Thursday & Friday night (possibly Helms Inn) in Victoria, then return to Seattle to spend Saturday night (Westin) and fly home Sunday about noon. I am bringing my husband and parents (77 & 81). Must see Butchart Gardens and Empress Tea. Is it possible to leave Seattle in the morning and go directly to Victoria, tour the Gardens afternoon/evening and then have the entire next day to wander Victoria, have tea, shop, etc.? We will have a car and I was thinking of traveling back to Seattle via Vancouver for a scenic look/see then spend our last evening in Seattle. Any help you can offer re how long to travel and best routes would be appreciated. We've never been to this area before.

Looking forward to your ideas!
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Old May 25th, 2004, 01:08 PM
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I take it you mean you'll be arriving in Seattle on Wednesday, July 7th.

>>>>>>Is it possible to leave Seattle in the morning and go directly to Victoria, tour the Gardens afternoon/evening and then have the entire next day to wander Victoria, have tea, shop, etc.?<<<<<<

Yes, I would have thought so.

According to the Victoria Clipper's schedule, a ferry leaves Seattle at 8.45 a.m., and arrives in Victoria at 10.45 a.m.

The Washington State Ferries' boat leaves Anacortes at 7.45 a.m., stops at Orcas Island and Friday Harbor, and arrives in Sidney (near Victoria) at 10.45 a.m.

Black Ball Transport's "Coho Ferry" departs from Port Angeles at 8.20 a.m. and 12.45 p.m.

As for your having a "scenic look/see" of Vancouver on the Saturday, that is indeed all you would get. By my calculation, you might be able to spend 4 hours in Vancouver. If I had that little time to be in Vancouver, I would head straight to Stanley Park, and spend all of my time there.

According to the BC Ferries' schedule for June 29, 2004 - July 28, 2004, a ferry leaves Swartz Bay (near Victoria) for Tsawwassen (south of Vancouver) every hour on the hour, from 7.00 a.m. through 7.00 p.m. (There are some evening ferries beyond that, but their departure times vary according to the day of the week.)

You need to be at the ferry dock a bit before departure time. The crossing takes 1 hour 35 minutes.

According to Mapquest, the drive from Tsawwassen to Vancouver is 35 minutes.

The drive from Vancouver to Seattle is 2 hours 35 minutes.

By my count, that adds up to 4.75 hours. Let's round that up to 5 hours from Swartz Bay to Seattle, not counting stops.

I myself wouldn't dream of undertaking your proposed itinerary. Vancouver has nearly 4 million people. It's a cosmopolitan city located in a beautiful setting. How you could even begin to have a "look/see" in 4 hours is beyond me. However, if you insist on doing that, then I would recommend Stanley Park, as I said before.

You can get a tourist's overview of Victoria in a day.

If I were you, I would catch the ferry from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen on the Thursday evening so as to have all of Friday in Vancouver.

Actually, if this was my trip I wouldn't be going to 3 destinations in 5 days, but that's another story.

Well that at least is my opinion.

Oh, and by the way, whatever else you do, make prior reservations on the ferries you intend to catch. This is very, very important, otherwise you'll be waiting at the docks for hours and hours. BC Ferries operates the run from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen:
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Old May 25th, 2004, 01:55 PM
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Thanks for all the good info, Judy. I'll take your ideas back to the group for fine tuning. My original plan included spending a night in Vancouver, howeve it seemed too much to do 3 cities in 5 days, as you mentioned, so I thought my parents might enjoy Victoria more. Anybody else have thoughts to add?
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Old May 25th, 2004, 04:33 PM
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Hello Trigo,

Suggest you post this question at Fodors' U.S. forum too, which may help you to generate more answers.

Much as I hate to say this, because I love Vancouver, I think you should exclude it from such a short itinerary. (But I hope you'll come back to visit Vancouver one day.)

If you aren't committed to your Seattle flights, there are a couple of itineraries I think you could consider.

(1) Fly into Seattle as you had intended to do. Take a day trip, by ferry, to Victoria. When I did the previous Google search, I noticed that Victoria Clipper offered a day's excursion from Seattle to Victoria and back that gave the passenger 7.5 hours in Victoria. This would be enough to visit the Butchart Gardens, see a little of downtown Victoria, and have high tea somewhere.

If you did this as a day trip, I don't even think you'd need to take a car to Victoria, as the Victoria Clipper docks right in Victoria's inner harbour, and you could catch a cab from there to Butchart Gardens.

If you followed this itinerary, you could spend the rest of your time seeing the sights in Seattle, maybe visiting Bainbridge Island, etc. (I'd expect the U.S. forum to be the best place to get this advice.)

(2) You could fly to Seattle and do an overnight excursion to Victoria. If you did this, it might be an idea to head straight for Victoria on your arrival in Seattle. For example, I noticed Victoria Clipper has a ferry that departs Seattle at 3.15 p.m. and Black Ball Transport has a ferry that departs Port Angeles at 5.15 p.m.

The advantage of this would be that you'd sleep in Victoria and then Seattle, meaning you'd have two hotel stays. If you went Seattle - Victoria - Seattle, you'd have three hotels stays.

(3) You could do an open jaws flight, into Seattle and out of Victoria. I must confess I haven't done a price comparison on this idea.

(4) You could fly in and out of Victoria, spend your entire trip on Vancouver Island, and forget about Seattle this time around.

Hope this helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Old May 25th, 2004, 10:10 PM
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You have to drive out of Seattle to get on a car ferry. The Black Ball Coho does not take reservations and there is no guarantee you'll get on especially in July. Personally, I don't take that ferry unless I arrive very early and catch the first one, which, in your case would be inconvenient.
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Old Jun 6th, 2004, 11:26 AM
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We just returned from Seattle/Victoria. The only mistake we made was spending two nights in Victoria. If you take the Clipper from Seattle in the AM, you have a full day in Victoria to see the Gardens and walk around. The Clipper leaves to go back to Seattle in the evening, so that gives you the following day to explore more. That is plenty of time. Great restaurant in Victoria is Camille's.
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