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Day trip to Victoria from Vancouver

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Atlanta, Georgia
4 posts
Day trip to Victoria from Vancouver

Kind of time limited but we wanted to get out to see Victoria. We have a rental car and will be coming in from downtown Vancouver, so was thinking taking the ferry from Tsawwassen terminal over to Swartz and taking the car. Is this feasable and what is cost for this? Any gotchas driving around in Victoria for someone never there before. Thanks in advance.

Destination Expert
for Vancouver
Level Contributor
2,718 posts
1. Re: Day trip to Victoria from Vancouver

Consider leaving the car behind as it will cost alot of $ to bring onto ferry

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
14,896 posts
687 reviews
2. Re: Day trip to Victoria from Vancouver

Also, to get the city transit at Swartz Bay into Victoria is quite easy....I'd be leaving the car behind as well....

Atlanta, Georgia
4 posts
3. Re: Day trip to Victoria from Vancouver

My concern is time. We want to see as much of Victoria in 5 hours as possible. A bus would run $28 per person I think I read so $56 RT. With 4 people it seems the $102 RT ferry fare for the car is the cheaper way to go right?

Port Moody, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver, British Columbia
Level Contributor
8,633 posts
112 reviews
4. Re: Day trip to Victoria from Vancouver

4 adults + car will be $226 RT. 15.50 per adult. Plus when are you going? You may want a ferry resevration which will add another $15-$17 unless you're prepared to sit for an extra hour at the ferry terminal if you don't make your ferry. Drive time to Tsawwassen is about 45 minutes. Depending on traffic. Plus you'll want to be there a minimum of 45 minutes ahead with no resevration. So 1.5 hrs. Plus 1.5 hour ferry sailing time. Plus 40 minutes to downtown Victoria from Swartz Bay..so almost 4 hours before you're in downtown Victoria....the bus saves the hassle of driving and finding parking. Victoria is compact and walkable..the only disadvantage to the bus is the time of the last downtown departure but otherwise there's not much of a time saving to be had by driving on the ferry.

As for driving in Victoria. Again it's small and simple. Lots of one way streets like Vancouver...

Destination Expert
for British Columbia
Level Contributor
6,811 posts
5. Re: Day trip to Victoria from Vancouver

The fare you're seeing for car + driver-there's a charge for each passenger as well.

Edited: 2:49 pm, June 15, 2013
Level Contributor
2,383 posts
5 reviews
6. Re: Day trip to Victoria from Vancouver

Take Pacific Coach Lines from downtown Vancouver right to downtown Victoria - leave the car behind. You'll save time and money.

Atlanta, Georgia
4 posts
7. Re: Day trip to Victoria from Vancouver

Only problem with that plan is we're heading back to Seattle from the ferry at Tsawwassan. Don't really want to take a bus all the way back to downtown Vancouver and then have to get in the rental car and backtrack again. I think if anything we're leaning towards leaving the car at the Tsawwassan terminal, take the ferry and then the #70 bus to downtown. But my wife is wanting to see Butchart Gardens, and that doesn't seem to be near downtown, once again leading towards the car option. Thanks for all the suggestions, it is helping.

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
9,583 posts
56 reviews
8. Re: Day trip to Victoria from Vancouver

Leave the car at the Ferry Terminal and buy a ticket on the Pacific Coach bus on the Ferry. It will take you right into downtown Victoria. Do the reverse on your return.

Taking the car will be a major hassle and an un-needed expense.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
Level Contributor
5,976 posts
13 reviews
9. Re: Day trip to Victoria from Vancouver

Have you thought about a float plane? It's a 35 minute flight and a gorgeous one at that. Saves you tons of time, although it's the most expensive option. You can take the flight from Sea Island in Richmond where the airport is, which means you don't even have to drive from downtown Vancouver once you return, you'll already be closer to the border.


Edited: 6:03 pm, June 15, 2013
Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
Level Contributor
45,113 posts
54 reviews
10. Re: Day trip to Victoria from Vancouver

You can get from Vancouver to Butchart on BC Ferries with the car. The car will cost $51.25 one way. This excludes the driver and pax. Each adult in the car costs $15.50 one way. Children 5-11 y.o. cost $7.75. Younger = free.

You don't have to come back to Tsawwassen to head for Seattle. There are two other choices to get to WA State. One is WA State Ferry that leaves from Sidney, quite close to Butchart and arrives at Anacortes, having gone through the San Juan Islands. The other choice is the Black Ball Coho which leaves from downtown Victoria to Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula.

You will need to allow approx 4 hours one way from downtown Vancouver to Butchart. Here's the map for getting to Butchart and then taking the WA State Ferry from Sidney to Anacortes:


Here's a map for getting from Butchart to Victoria, to Port Angeles, to Seattle:


Either way you will be taking two ferries, either BC Ferries twice or one BC Ferry and then a second ferry out of Victoria. The driving times and distances are outlined in the left sidebar of the maps linked above. You can check the American ferry schedules here. Reservations are a good idea as the American ships are smaller than BC Ferries. You also have to allow an hour in advance of sailing for US Customs pre-clearance:



With 5 hours, and I'm not sure you will even have that after a 4 hour journey to the Island, you might want to have a look at this new service. How are you figuring 5 hours? It's a HOHO bus that visits 6 attractions, including Butchart on the Saanich Peninsula. It picks up at Swartz Bay ferry terminal and drops off there too. I can't speak to it, but CVS Shuttle the company is well established in Vic, there will be no reviews yet, it includes a transfer at Butchart to its other shuttle to downtown Victoria.

The brochure: http://www.peninsulashuttle.ca/

From the parent company website: www.cvscruisevictoria.com/PAC/indexpac.html

Bottom line. Car you are free to do things the way you want. No car, you are tied to more than one transportation schedule. I just can't fathom how a 4 hour journey to Vic, a 4.5 hour journey to Seattle + plus 5 hours in Victoria is going to work.