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Driving from Seattle to Nanaimo

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Washington State
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Driving from Seattle to Nanaimo

I've never been to Nanaimo and am trying to figure out what's the best way to get there from Seattle in July? We've got our passports and were considering driving. What do you recommend?

Canada
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1. Re: Driving from Seattle to Nanaimo

You can take the ferry from Seattle to Victoria then drive to Nanaimo, or drive from Seattle to Vancouver and take the ferry from Tsawwassen to Duke Point.

Washington State
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2. Re: Driving from Seattle to Nanaimo

I can see that and I checked fares both from Pt Angeles as well as Vancouver...still in the planning stages, but it's about $100 for us to get from PA to Vancounver, then we'd have to take the ferry off Nanaimo. rethinking the trip and may drive to Vancouver, stay the night then drive to the ferry terminal going to Nanaimo and park somewhere there so we're not spending more money on feryr fares than on the fun we want to have. Suggestions?

Whidbey Island...
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3. Re: Driving from Seattle to Nanaimo

It's only the Victoria Clipper passenger ferry from Seattle to Victoria. You would have to renta a car or could take the bus up to Nanaimo.

http://www.tofinobus.com/schedule

Did you check the Anacortes - Sydney ferry option with WA state ferries? That is the easiest option IMHO. No border waits and a nice relaxing 3 hour ferry ride.

Kenmore Air has two daily flights if that's in your budget.

Victoria, Canada
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4. Re: Driving from Seattle to Nanaimo

if you drive from seattle to port angeles, and take the ferry to victoria, drive to nanaimo, and ferry back to vancouver (horseshoe bay), and drive back to seattle, you will only have two ferry fares.

Washington State
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5. Re: Driving from Seattle to Nanaimo

Yea, I was actually thinking about it and we may go to vancouver the first day then ferry over to nanaimo the next day and have some fun at wild play park, stay the night and then head beack via victoria/pt angeles the next day. Same way you're suggesting, just in reverse. It's just tough to know all the logistics and what make the most sense having never been there and done it. We'd rather spend more money on fun than ferry fares. Thanks for everyone's suggestions.

Nanaimo, Canada
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6. Re: Driving from Seattle to Nanaimo

Just to add a bit more about your plans.

We have tried every which way to get to and from Seattle from Nanaimo. We now always go the same way.

We take the ferry from Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay. Drive on Highway 1 for about 40 minutes to the Aldergrove border crossing. Small crossing, little traffic, almost never need to wait. From there we drive along Meridian Way and end up near the Bellis Fair shopping centre in Bellingham. Turn onto I-5 and voila, Seattle. We have found this to be the quickest, least prone to delays and most stress border crossing.

Victoria, Canada
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7. Re: Driving from Seattle to Nanaimo

second that (in either direction).

one thing: always make a reservation in advance on the Port Angeles ferry.

and depending on the day, it can be a good idea to make a reservation on the Nanaimo ferry too, unless you are completely unsure of your schedule.

yeah, reservations cost money, but waiting hours for one while you are on vacation is a real pain.

cheers,

tj

2240 pdt

Washington State
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8. Re: Driving from Seattle to Nanaimo

Great suggestions everyone. We'll take everyone's advice and make a rez for the ferry in PA. I take fthe Bainbridge/Seattle ferry during the week and understand about wait times, especially in the summer. on a side note, anyone have a great hotel they've stayed in in Nanaimo and any suggestions in Vancouver?

Victoria Capital...
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9. Re: Driving from Seattle to Nanaimo

Hello....I live in Nanaimo and am travelling south of Seattle in July and am taking the ferry back from Anacortes to Sidney BC (20mins north of Victoria). You not only see the San Juan Islands but a great drive north to Nanaimo about an hour.

Hope this is helpful.

John

Nanaimo, Canada
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10. Re: Driving from Seattle to Nanaimo

Once again we have driven to and from Seattle from Nanaimo. I realize your trip is been and gone but for future trips and for other TA readers, we took our regular route again.

Took the 3 pm ferry from Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay. Drove through rush hour on the HOV lane, crossed the border at Aldergrove (2 vehicles in front of us, total of less than 5 minutes at the border including wait time and interview) and then down Guide Meridian to BellisFair shopping centre and onto to the I-5. Arrived at the Watertown Hotel before 8 pm after stopping for gas and groceries for our long weekend trip.

Still our favourite route!