Seattle/Vancouver/Vancouver Island trip

Old Jul 23rd, 1998, 08:54 AM
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Seattle/Vancouver/Vancouver Island trip

We are taking two teenagers from San Francisco flying to Seattle, then train to Vancouver. Then we're renting a car for 4 days or so and want to go on the ferry, etc, and see the San Juan Islands and Victoria. The number of ferries to different islands confuses me. Any suggestions as to a possible itinterary once I rent the car and go around the islands. Also we need either B&B both in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island. Total trip time is 7 days. No idea as to how long ferry takes and where to stay once I get to the islands, also can I even take a car onto San Juan Islands. Someone told me to just take the ferry from Vancouver over to Vancouver Island then drive down past the islands, but how do I actually get on them? Many thanks for suggestions.
Old Jul 23rd, 1998, 01:26 PM
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Seattle then train to Van is a good way to go. The train trip is one of the country's best shoreline routes. From here to you can do an number of things to get to Vancouver Island. Ferry north of Van (Horseshoe Bay) goes to Naniamo. Yellow Point Lodge near there is fabulous. No kids under 14 there. Then drive down to Victoria. You can take a shorter trip from south of Van to Sydney then a short drive to Victoria. Or, you can drive down to Anacortes, WA and take the Washington State ferry through the San Juan Islands, stop along the way or not, and also end up in Sydney. If you are leaving your car back in Van you can do any combination above. Oak Bay Inn in Victoria is nice but be sure too stay on the water side. Sooke Harbor house is also great but pricey. Beautiful area, have a great time!
Old Jul 23rd, 1998, 02:22 PM
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Thanks for the info. Can I take a car onto the ferry that goes to the San Juan Islands, or even the Gulf Islands? Also, would it be better to rent a car in Seattle and drive to Vancouver and then take the train to Whistler for the day, leaving the car parked in Vancouver? (The kids definitely want a train journey included in our one week trip). How much time and how much to see on Vancouver Island besides Victoria? Many thanks....
Old Jul 23rd, 1998, 05:37 PM
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We just returned form Vanvouver last weekend. Cannot find words tell you what a wonderful experience it was. The city is very cosmopolitan and unbelieveably friendly and accomodating. Suggest you see an IMAX movie at Canada Place, visit Queen Elizabeth Gardens, tour Robson Street (funky shops, lots for teens, and Planet Hollywood, all a short walk).
Re: ferries-North Vancouver Pacific Coach Lines run buses to a ferry we took. Not expensive (bus, ferry, GST...all for $51 Canadian). Trip to Vancouver Island took about 2 hours. Ferry was full of stuff to do, including a fabulous breakfast buffet. The islands along the way will knock you out...we saw at least a dozen bald eagles.
We walked Victoria, did not rent a car...wish we had. Downtown has all the beautiful architecture as in brochures, but PACKED with tourists! A little crowded for my taste. Buchart Gardens is also fabulous, and also crowded.
Highlight of our trip was BC Rail to Whistler/Blackcomb. Outstanding scenery. And while we were there, we remarked several times that our 18 and 20 year old kids would LOVE it. The town is pedestrian traffic only and there are 150 shops and trendy restaurants to chose from. Also hiking and ATV rentals. We plan to return for skiing.
British Columbia was by far the best trup we've ever taken. Wish we'd had time for Stanley Park and Capilano Suspension Bridge, and next time I'd want two weeks to tour more towrd the middle of BC.
Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Old Jul 10th, 1999, 11:43 AM
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Capilano Suspension Bridge is a tourist trap -- skip it.
Old Jul 11th, 1999, 07:00 AM
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Nobody has answered your question regarding the ferry service to the San Juan islands.

Yes, you can take your car on the Washington State ferry from Anacortes to Sidney, BC. You can also just go to the San Islands but never the less, the Annacortes ferry is the one. I would suggest the following route. BTW, the Anacortes ferry through the San Juan islands is the most scenic ferry trip by far. MAKE sute that you are at the ferry well ahead of time.

Proposed trip:

Seattle to Vancouver via train as planned. Fool around in Vancouver for whatever time you need. Drive north from Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay ( 20-25 miles ). Take the BC ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo ( 60-65 miles north of Victoria ). Drive down the island to Victoria. I recommend this way so you can see some of the scenery of Vancouver Island and driving over the Malahat. Fool around in Victoria for whatever time you need. Drive to Sidney, BC ( about 20 miles from Victoria ) and take the ferry to Annacortes, WA ( approx. 60 miles north of Seattle ). Drive back to Vancouver and drop the car. Return back to Seattle via train or whatever.

I realize that this route is not the most efficient but it is NOT bad and serves the purpose of traveling through the San Juan islands. I personally think that the trip through the San Juans is WELL worth it.


You must be at the ferry in plenty of time. It is usually not as bad on the Sidney - Annacortes direction vs the other way but still be prepared. Avoid weekends if at all possible. BTW, I assume that you mean summer. There can be long lines at the border so try to avoid Sunday afternoons or similar busy times.

WOW, I just noticed that this question was posted almost a year ago. My reply is pretty late but maybe somebody else can benefit from it.

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