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 Home > Travel BC > Ferry Systems

Ferry Systems to see BC's Coastline
British Columbia's coastal region seems to be endless. You can either experience the wilds of the west coast or discover the endless islands and fiords in and along its countless passages. BC's Pacific Ocean region stretches from Washington State in the south to just north just north of Prince Rupert at the Alaska panhandle The question comes right down to how do you see this awesome scenery?

Least Expensive Way is Using BC Ferries
One of the easiest and least expensive ways has to be the using BC Ferries. Operating safely and effectively for over 40 years, BC Ferries can assist you on getting to most communities located along the west coast of Canada. With BC Ferries you will have a choice of various routes that will show you some of North America's most beautiful and remote areas along the Pacific.

All You Need Is Your Camera
For those who love ocean scenery, all you need is your camera. The sunrises and sunsets along the water are breathtaking. If you're lucky while you're on BC Ferries, you'll spot pods of killer whales skimming along the water surface. Watch bald eagles soar and then dive for salmon. The nature and scenery opportunities are truly one of a kind.

Touring Holiday around BC
One of the biggest things that BC Ferries has going for is large number of possible ferry routes available. If you're on a touring holiday there a lots of access points to the ferry terminals utilizing British Columbia's highway system. With this in mind, depending on how much time you have, there is number of circle routes available that really lets you experience BC's Coastline.

Sunshine Coastal Circle Route
A trip you might want to consider is the Sunshine Coast circle route. Close to Vancouver and Victoria this trip has so much to offer. Just the recreation alone from catching a fish outside of Gibsons to canoeing at Powell River, then sea kayaking and scuba diving at Lund, then a round of golf at any one of Vancouver Islands fabulous golf courses. This trip requires that you four ferry routes circling through the Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast, Powell River, Comox, Nanaimo, then back to either West Vancouver or Delta.

Southern and Northern Gulf Islands
British Columbia is home to a number of small islands between Vancouver Island and BC's mainland. A large number of these islands can be reached by using BC Ferries. There is the Southern Gulf Islands; you access these from various terminals on Vancouver Island or Tsawwassen terminal in Delta, Kuper and Thetis Islands from Chemanius, Gabriola Island from Nanaimo Harbour terminal. From Horseshoe Bay terminal in West Vancouver Bowen Island can be reached for a nice day trip. Then there is the Northern Gulf Islands; Texada Island is reached from the terminal in Powell River, Quadra Island and Cortes Island from Campbell River and Alert Bay and Sointula from Port McNeill.

Take a Day Trip to Victoria
You don't need a car to experience BC Ferries. One of the easiest ways to discover the BC coast is to take a day trip Vancouver to and from Victoria utilizing the public transit system of by using Pacific Coach Lines daily service. The trip is beautiful and if you leave early enough from Vancouver allows for connection on visiting Butchart Gardens or having high tea at the Empress Hotel in Victoria.

Inside Passage Route
BC Ferries also serves the northern communities of Bella Coola and Prince Rupert. The trip is just excellent making for an all day ferry adventure starting in Port Hardy going north or Prince Rupert heading south to Port Hardy. From Port Hardy you can also go to Bella Coola about half way up the coast. The ferry stops off and visits the smaller communities of Shearwater (Denny Island), Bella Bella, Klemtu and Ocean Falls on the way in and out of Bella Coola.

Enter BC's Heartland
You can later make a driving circle route by getting off at Bella Coola and travelling east on Hwy 20 to Williams Lake. Once at Williams Lake the Cariboo and enter the rest of British Columbia's heartland are at your grasp. You can eventually take a circle route back to the Lower Mainland or Vancouver Island.

Prince Rupert and the Haida Gwaii
One of the ways you can visit the Haida Gwaii-Queen Charlotte Islands is to travel BC Ferries Prince Rupert to Skidegate. Take the Yellowhead Hwy 5 at Prince George or BC Ferries from Port Hardy to get to Prince Rupert. The ferry crosses Hecate Strait, a very exciting piece of the Pacific Ocean off of British Columbia, normally in 7 hours. (There is an overnight trip once a week that takes at least 9 hours) Once on Haida Gwaii there are some great trips to be found along coast with easy day trips out of Masset or Queen Charlotte City to some of the best ocean beach areas in British Columbia.

Going to Alaska
If you are going to Alaska, another ferry system that operates in BC is the Alaska Marine Highway. There are scheduled sailings that leave Prince Rupert and sail into Alaskan waters making for a coastline adventure. If you want this makes a nice extended trip if you return to British Columbia via the Alaska Highway.

Are you coming from Washington State?
BC Ferries is not the only ferry system that operates in southern British Columbia waters. If you are coming from Washington State, there are a few options. By car, you need to take the Coho ferry out of Port Angeles. It arrives in downtown Victoria on a daily schedule. Another way is to drive to Anacortes and take your car aboard the Washington State Ferries that travels to Sidney situated north of Victoria. This trip travels through the beautiful San Juan Islands.

Passenger-only ferries to Washington State
Besides car ferries there are also passenger-only ferries from Washington State. The Victoria Clipper from Seattle and Victoria Express from Port Angeles.

Pedestrian Traffic Only
There are a few non BC Ferries operating along the British Columbian coast offering non vehicle ferries to various coastal communities. One route is aboard M.V. Centurion VII to False Bay on Lasqueti Island. You load the private passenger ferry at French Creek located just north of Parksville on Hwy 19A.

Information on Ferry Systems

 

Spirit of Vancouver Island
MV Spirit of Vancouver Island

 

MV Spiriit of British Columbia
MV Spiriit of British Columbia

 

MV Skeena Queen
MV Skeena Queen

 

Going through Active Pass
Going through Active Pass

 

Washington State Ferries
Washington State Ferries

 

MV Coho - Victoria Harbour
MV Coho - Victoria Harbour

 

Victoria Clipper to Seattle
Victoria Clipper to Seattle

 
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