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Best way to travel San Fran. to Victoria, Vancouver Island

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Wollongong
posts: 26
reviews: 15
Best way to travel San Fran. to Victoria, Vancouver Island

I will be in SF in August 2013. I need to get to Victoria, VI for a few days in the middle of my trip and then back to SF. I planned to travel by plane one way and an alternate means of travel (train/ferry?) the other. The visit will be no more than 10 days SF to SF.

I will be travelling with an elderly companion.

Would it be better to fly both ways and do a separate train trip while in Canada (a 1-2 night trip)?

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 35,852
reviews: 54
1. Re: Best way to travel San Fran. to Victoria, Vancouver Island

Hi oztraveller ~

So you've got 10 days for "North America", and a few of those to be spent in Victoria? Is that right?

Yes I would fly to Victoria. You can fly non stop from SFO to YYJ on Air Canada or United.

Then you might like to take the seaplane (35 minutes), if it's a particularly clear sky day, from Vic harbour to Van harbour and make your way by cab to Pacific Central Station for the scenic afternoon Amtrak Cascades train down to Seattle, a 4 hour journey. But you might consider staying one night in Vancouver to take the morning train in daylight. Sunset in mid August is about 8h30 with a half hour of dusk following that, so you would get a decent evening's light if you took the afternoon train, which arrives Seattle at 10h10 pm, if it's not running late.

Alternatively, there is a very good coach service, Pacific Coach Lines, from downtown Vic to Pacific Central Station over 4 hours, including a 1.5 hour scenic ferry ride.

www.amtrak.com

www.harbour-air.com

www.pacificcoach.com

Here is an article from the Top Questions of the Vancouver Forum outlining the procedure for non-Canadian passport holders for Amtrak passengers.

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g154943-c181211/Vanco…

And of course, you could fly both ways.

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 8,205
reviews: 53
2. Re: Best way to travel San Fran. to Victoria, Vancouver Island

I am trying to figure out your post and I am having trouble...

If you want to get back and forth from SF to Victoria...the easiest, CHEAPEST and simplest way would be to fly to Seattle and take the Victoria Clipper ferry to Victoria and return to SF exactly the same way.

You can't take a train to Vancouver Island, so I am assuming that you are talking about taking a train from the Pacific Northwest back down to San Francisco. It's a long slog and not particularly scenic. It is so much more efficient to fly.....

Nanaimo, Canada
Destination Expert
for Nanaimo, Vancouver Island
posts: 4,479
reviews: 295
3. Re: Best way to travel San Fran. to Victoria, Vancouver Island

Fly from San Fran to Victoria return, especially if you have an eldery travel companion.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 35,852
reviews: 54
4. Re: Best way to travel San Fran. to Victoria, Vancouver Island

The last time somebody posted about an "elderly" travel companion, it turned out the person was 63 y.o. Just sayin'.

Wollongong
posts: 26
reviews: 15
5. Re: Best way to travel San Fran. to Victoria, Vancouver Island

Many thanks to all of you for your very informative replies. They are a huge help! BTW, my elderly companion is a wonderful lady who is 82.

Thanks again. :)

Seattle
posts: 36
reviews: 7
6. Re: Best way to travel San Fran. to Victoria, Vancouver Island

You can travel to Victoria on several ferries, if you're able to either drive or take the train north. The Coho Ferry dock in Port Angeles is about 15 hours from Seattle. That will put you right into the center of Victoria with either your car or just passengers.

San Francisco to Seattle is about 13 hours' drive, more if you drive up the coast instead of Interstate Highway 5 (although the coastal drive is gorgeous). From there you can take the passenger-only Clipper, or drive about 1 hour North to Washington State Ferries from Anacortes.

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 8,205
reviews: 53
7. Re: Best way to travel San Fran. to Victoria, Vancouver Island

Frugal...I think you meant 1.5 hours hours from Seattle....not 15 hours from Seattle.

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 15,720
reviews: 47
8. Re: Best way to travel San Fran. to Victoria, Vancouver Island

Clearly the OP is not planning to drive - I'm guessing they are not planning to rent a car. I also guess that they are looking for a more scenic option one way - so a flight in one direction, and then a more leisurely and scenic trip in the other direction.

Mufti has given you some good options at the top. When I first read your question my thought was to suggest that you use the Clipper to get to Seattle by water, and then get on the Amtrak train from Seattle to San Francisco. Going from Vancouver is also an option.

Wollongong
posts: 26
reviews: 15
9. Re: Best way to travel San Fran. to Victoria, Vancouver Island

Many thanks for all of your replies. There are some great suggestions.

Seattle
posts: 36
reviews: 7
10. Re: Best way to travel San Fran. to Victoria, Vancouver Island

Sorry. I meant from San Francisco, not Seattle. It's about 2.5-3 hours from Seattle.