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Best Route To Island With Truck And Trailer ??

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Best Route To Island With Truck And Trailer ??

We are planning a trip to Vancouver Island to do some camping in mid June. We are coming from Calgary and have a truck and 17foot trailer. Since we are newbies and have never travel this way we need your help !! After reading the BC Ferries sched. etc. I understand you pay by the foot. I think my husband said it would be roughly $380 round trip ? Does that sound correct and any port departure points better than others ?? What time of day is best for travelling with our vehicle set up ? Thanks all !

Victoria, BC Canada
Destination Expert
for Victoria
posts: 1,063
reviews: 12
1. Re: Best Route To Island With Truck And Trailer ??

That doesn't sound right. You pay the base rate of $72 plus $3.60 per foot of length over 20 feet if you are over height (over 7ft tall). If you are 26 feet long you pay $21.60 extra. Plus the 13.50 for each person. I just got a 13ft trailer myself so I'll be learning this better soon enough!

As for departure points, I assume since you posted this in the Tofino forum that that is where you are headed first. If that's the case then I'd pick the Tsawwassen - Duke Point route. That way you don't have to drive through downtown Vancouver but you land farther up the Island for the trip to Tofino.

As for when, if it's a weekend you'll have to reserve. There aren't as many overheight spots as regular ones. Granted, you do have a place to hang out in while you wait. Personally I don't reserve but that's from growing up here. I'm willing to bring a book and wait a sailing if I have to!

Tucson, Arizona
posts: 24
reviews: 1
2. Re: Best Route To Island With Truck And Trailer ??

I intend to do about the same this this summer. Since I am coming from Arizona with a 30 foot Motorhome and a sidekick toad, I don't intend to make any reservations and just wait it out.

My plan is to work my way through Vancouver up to the Horseshoe Bay ferry going to Namaino area, and avoid Victoria completely. There seems to be a long term parking lot at Horseshoe Bay that I could utilize if I can't make it on that days ferries.

I am kinda waiting til closer to departure and then I intend to measure the length of my rig including towed vehicle. I am willing to pay a little extra instead of finding a spot to pull off and get rigs reconnected. We intend to head toward Tofino and get a spot at Pacific Rim National park.

No seems to talk much about boondocking in that area but I bet there are lots of forrested spots to spend the night. If worse comes to worse there is always WallMart, Grin.

Being retired has its advantages sometimes.

Comox, Canada
posts: 560
reviews: 74
3. Re: Best Route To Island With Truck And Trailer ??

I agree with Breezed that you should take the Tswassen-Duke Point ferry route. Given you are in an RV, you can completely avoid the Vancouver traffic, which you would have to go through on Highway 1 (Trans-Can), if you went via Horseshoe Bay. Unless you actually want to travel to Vancouver (it doesn't sound like you do), there's really no point in going through Horseshoe Bay - even if you're travelling by car.

I also agree with Breezed that you have over-estimated the cost of the ferry for you. We have a truck and 18 ft trailer and figure it will cost about $150 each way (that is with a family of 4 adults), so it should be even cheaper than that. The ferry people will actually get out and measure your whole unit, unless you are sure of the total length, since it can vary when you include the different sizes of trucks and the hitch as well. This is our first year without a class C, so we aren't even sure of the exact cost of our unit.

If you don't want to reserve, best to travel early in the morning. There are less spaces for the RVs since because of your height you can only go on the lower level and you will be competing for space with semis and other big rigs.

Just a quick note about the trip to Tofino. The road past Port Alberni gets quite windy, so you probably will have to take it slower. We're heading out there at the end of June and hoping for good weather. Hope this info is helpful. CB

Tucson, Arizona
posts: 24
reviews: 1
4. Re: Best Route To Island With Truck And Trailer ??

Thanks, I took a closer look at the ferry routes and see that the one from Twassen/Duke Point would be a better choice.

Anne from Arizona

Destination Expert
for Vancouver Island
posts: 2,335
reviews: 86
5. Re: Best Route To Island With Truck And Trailer ??

Definitely the Tsawwassen to Duke Point. The vehicle waiting area in Tsawwassen is FLAT. In Horseshoe Bay it's a "shmozzle" just getting down to the toll and then from the toll to the lineups - even with their new inovative restructuring - and you most likely will end up on the hill for a while. Not very pleasant for sitting around in your RV on a slant.

I do think you over-estimated the cost. You get the first 20' with your base rate and then every foot after is the extra. This includes the hitch and towbar area - so yes, they will likely measure your total. Most pickups are pretty close to the 20' so you'll be looking at about another 20' for the trailer and hitch.

There is a little glitch with reserving for an RV. You must have the actual total length and I believe height as well, or they won't honour your reservation even if you over estimated - as I did a few years back making a last minute call to reserve for my son & some employees heading back with a tool trailer and the reports were for heavy ferry traffic. By the way, when they don't honour a reservation (for example if you arrive 29 mins before sailing instead of the 30 mins by their clock) you don't get your money back - which is why lots of us plan the sailing or are prepared to wait.

Comox, Canada
posts: 560
reviews: 74
6. Re: Best Route To Island With Truck And Trailer ??

Quick Note to ArizonaAnne: I was just reading the post that you added to this thread. You mention finding a spot at Pacific Rim. If you are planning on camping in the park, at Greenpoint, and are planning on heading there in the summer months, I hope that you get a reservation. It is a relatively small campground (94 sites) and they book up very quickly. We are going the last weekend in June (booked back in April) and there are no longer any spots left. I doubt that you would be able to just drive up and get a spot. However, there are private campsites that you may be able to get into. Still, it is chancey when going to Tofino in the summer. The reservation website is: www.pccamping.ca/parkscanada

Also, as to boondocking - it is not very common in BC. We are not allowed to stay overnight in roadside rest stops - and there aren't very many of them anyways. BC roads also have notoriously narrow shoulders, so it is scary to stop there. There are a few pull-outs here and there, but few on Vancouver Island. There are Wal-Marts in Nanaimo and Port Alberni, both towns on the way to Tofino. Hope you find this info somewhat helpful. CB

Destination Expert
for British Columbia
posts: 5,413
7. Re: Best Route To Island With Truck And Trailer ??

For those looking for alternative place to moor an RV


Tucson, Arizona
posts: 24
reviews: 1
8. Re: Best Route To Island With Truck And Trailer ??

Sure does. My guesstamite is to spend 1 night in Port Alberni (SP) and call from there to see what is available. If nothing will spend the big bucks and go for a private one.

I don't care what facilities any of them might offer, I naver use any them. I bought this MH intending to use its facilities and that is what I usually do. Wallmart is fine for me, if necessary.

Now if I can just get out of Arizona Projects sseem to ge getting in the way. Grin.

Gasoline has gone up from 1.98 to 2.18 in the last week. Maybe some folks will cancel their long trip this summer.

Tucson, Arizona
posts: 24
reviews: 1
9. Re: Best Route To Island With Truck And Trailer ??

For those looking for alternative place to moor an RV


Thanks for the link. Added it to my collection.


Vancouver, Canada
posts: 13,841
reviews: 37
10. Re: Best Route To Island With Truck And Trailer ??

I'm not sure what the current status of this is, but BC Ferries was offering discounts on some sailings:


There's nothing listed here at the moment, but, as I recall, the Tswwassen/Duke Point run was one that was targeted for discounts occasionally, so it might be worth checking this link occasionally and see if they post anything helpful.