Hi Darla ~
If you want to go to Tsawwassen from Nanaimo, you would need to get to the Duke Point ferry terminal, about 15 minutes south of Nanaimo. It takes about 3.5 hours to drive from Tofino to Duke Point. You need to be at the terminal an hour ahead of sailing. The sailing takes 2 hours. From Tsawwassen to Bellingham should take bout an hour, but if there is much traffic heading into the States (we do like to shop in WA State), the wait time at the border could be UP TO another 2 hours or so. So a travel day of between 6.5 to 8.5 hours.
Here is the route map for the whole distance to Bellingham:
In July, I think it is a good idea to make a reservation. You then need to arrive at the Duke Point ferry terminal between 60 and 30 min ahead of sailing. 29 minutes and you forfeit your ressie and end up in general boarding where it's first come, first served.
The border cams for Peace Arch and the other 3 crossing are here. They're live so you will only be able to see anything in daylight. Let's see what the wait time is today, Victoria Day long weekend, when the hordes are coming back from the States. (did I say shopping?)
Aha, the wait back into Canada right now is 45 minutes.
I'm not sure if the webcam images are "stuck" at the time I posted. There is a "refresh" link just under each image.
Darla, Nanaimo is on the east coast of Vancouver Island, Tofino on the west side. It is about three hours driving time, but most of us take longer because there are so many wonderful places to stop along the way.
Remember that July is super busy on the ferries, and will be until Labour Day weekend in September! You can reserve a ferry here. http://www.bcferries.com/ If you arrive 29 minutes before departure, you will lose your reservation! You must be there at least 30 minutes before. Sometimes it is hard to guess which ferry is the best one, especially if you are crossing a border as well, then driving through the city of Vancouver. When you reserve, you are only paying a reservation fee. You pay the rest of the fare when you arrive at the ticket booth. Also, they don't take debit!! Cash or credit card only.
You can get to Nanaimo from the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal (West Vancouver) or from the Tsawwassen terminal (south of Vancouver). If you opt for the Tsawwassen terminal, you will be arriving at Duke Point, south of Nanaimo. That route avoids going through the center of Nanaimo. It also takes two hours on the ferry. The Horseshoe Bay route takes one hour, 40 minutes. Just a bit shorter.Edited: 6:54 pm, May 20, 2013
I didn't see the second page! I repeated a lot of what Mufti said already...
Joan, I do that more often than I would like to admit. :-) Often get linked to the first 10 posts, just catch the box with the 2 in it at the last second before clicking on that submit button. So much scrolling on this new design.
Once off the ferry follow the signs for Parksville. Once at Parksville follow the signs for Port Alberni. As said it's a 3.5 to 4 hour drive to Tofino. It's a beautiful drive, I did it just 2 weeks ago. We stopped at Little Qualicum Provincial Park to stretch
and also at Cathedral Grove to see an 800 year old tree. That is on the left side of the road when heading to Tofino.
It's suggested you fill up in Port Alberni since the next gas station is in Ucluelet or Tofino.
Don't just stop in Port Alberni to fill up the gas tank.... fill up your stomach at Bare Bones! Fantastic fish and chips! It's in an old church, and easy to miss. Left hand side of the road, right in the "downtown" of Port Alberni, down the hill, right on Johnston Road, as you are following the route to Tofino. YUM!!!
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