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BC Ferry Trip - October - need recommendations

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Berkeley, CA
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BC Ferry Trip - October - need recommendations

We're travelling to Vancouver for 5 days in October. My kids (9 and 5) love ferries so we'd like to take them on a ferry trip. Any recommendations? We've done the trip from Tsawwassen to Nanaimo before without them as well as Swartz Bay to Anacortes. I'm tempted by Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay for a day trip but is it worth it? Other than going to Victoria which may be too long a day or Butchart Gardens, is there anything else there to see? Any other recommended trips that would be as pretty? Thanks.

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: BC Ferry Trip - October - need recommendations

There is a BC Ferries from Horseshoe Bay to Bowen Island, 20 minutes one way, the fare includes return. You can take you car or you can walk on. Once on Bowen you can find the trail right near the ferry dock and walk up to Killarney Lake, and around it if you wished. Or you could visit Crippin Park, again right near the ferry dock. There are several nice places to eat lunch such as The Snug. I personally am not such a big fan of Doc Morgan's these days. There's a nice little area called Artisan's Lane where there are more shops and restaurants. With a car you could explore more of the island.

http://www.bowen-island-bc.com/

The sidebar on the next link will include subtopics to browse through.

hellobc.com/en-CA/…BowenIsland.htm

There is another ferry, 40 minutes, from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale on the Sunshine Coast. (There is a second ferry further north if you continued on. You get one way on two ferries, or return on one of the ferries.) You can go up as far as Egmont and return on one purchased fare. On the next link, the larger communities are outlined. I like Davis Bay for its beach and waterfront. I love the Pender Harbour area for its variety. I really like Ruby Lake restaurant (Italian) for the food of course, but also to be entertained the ducks playing around in the pond. Gibson's has Molly's Reach, a restaurant that was used in a Canadian TV show called The Beachcombers. (long time ago.) A table in the window will let you watch the activity on the waterfront.

hellobc.com/en-CA/PopularAreas/Children/Vanc…

Try to avoid the weekend of Oct 9-10-11 as that is our Thanksgiving long weekend and the ferries will be very busy, usually requiring reserving a space for peace of mind.

You could suss out both these ideas on Google Maps to see how they look to you.

Nanaimo, Canada
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2. Re: BC Ferry Trip - October - need recommendations

Or go to Victoria and take the kids to the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre in Sidney near Swartz Bay and then to the Royal British Columbia Museum and the Bug Zoo (or a combo of these three)!

Vancouver
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3. Re: BC Ferry Trip - October - need recommendations

There is SO MUCH to do in Victoria! Its a great place and I would suggest spending the night.

Take the Pacific Coach Line bus straight from Vancouver all the way to Downtown Victoria! Or rent a car of course!

Bug Zoo, Butterfly Gardens, the Observatory, the Museum... all great places to take the kids!

Sechelt, BC
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4. Re: BC Ferry Trip - October - need recommendations

MuftiMixandMatch has given you some excellent options for shorter trips.

If you do travel on Tsawassen/Swartz Bay route it will be a full day. As you know from your previous travels Swartz Bay is not Victoria and if you wish to spend time in Victoria you will have additional travel time. With a 5 & 9 year old I would skip Butchart Gardens. The harbour has lots to do - the Royal BC Museum, the Bug Museum, horse drawn carriage tours, walking, grab lunch. The ferry ride is beautiful - much more scenic than the Tsawwassen/Nanaimo route as you travel much closure to the shoreline of the islands. With this trip I hope your kids really like ferries as you will be spending atleast 3 hours (an hour and a half each way) on a ferry. I would also suggest Pacific Coach Lines. If you do travel with PCL and spend time in Victoria you are looking at a schedule like this: leaving Vancouver at 7:30, arriving in Victoria at 11:20, leaving Victoria at 5:45, and returning to Vancouver at 9:30.

In addition I wanted to mention the little boats that travel across False Creek (very small passenger only boats)- not a ferry by any stretch of the imagination. But if your children like boats they will probably take great delight in using this as a transportation option. These "ferries"are a great way to travel between Science World, downtown, Granville Island.

http://www.granvilleislandferries.bc.ca/

http://www.theaquabus.com/

Another option to get out on the water in the Vancouver area is the Seabus. The Seabus is part of the transit system in the Vancouver area. It crosses the Burrard Inlet and provides transportation from downtown Vancouver to the north shore. The north shore terminus is at the Lonsdale Quay - a nice destination for lunch and to do some shopping. You could also combine a seabus trip with a trip to any of the popular north shore destinations (i.e. Capilano, Lynn Canyon, Grouse Mountain, etc.)

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: BC Ferry Trip - October - need recommendations

There is also a BC Ferries sailing to the Gulf Islands. If you took it for the day you could have a stop at Saltspring Island for a short visit and have a nice slow trip between the other islands.

Delft, The...
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6. Re: BC Ferry Trip - October - need recommendations

Last weekend we did the ferry trip from Horshoe Bay to the Sunshine Coast to Power River. You have to take 2 ferries and it is a nice trip, at Power River we spend a few hours kayakking and went back the next day to Vancouver. Perhaps kayakking is an adventure for your kids too?

www.footprint-natureexplorations.ca

Vancouver, Canada
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7. Re: BC Ferry Trip - October - need recommendations

Just a reminder, yes you can take 2 ferries ... or not. You can stop short of getting on the second ferry. Lots to see and do before the second ferry.

Sechelt, BC
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8. Re: BC Ferry Trip - October - need recommendations

I think it would be good to know from the original poster if he/she was thinking of a day trip or multi-day trip.

Nanaimo, Canada
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9. Re: BC Ferry Trip - October - need recommendations

The OP wrote: 'I'm tempted by Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay for a day trip but is it worth it?"

Vancouver, Canada
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10. Re: BC Ferry Trip - October - need recommendations

I've done most of the southern ferry routes. The Bowen Island trip is very scenic, and short. I've been over for an evening for dinner. The Tswwassen Swartz Bay trip is really very nice and probably the most scenic (IMO) of the southern routes. For a day trip where taking a ferry is the focus, I'd go for a morning ferry from Tswwassen to Saltspring Island (Long Harbour?), drive around Saltspring, then take a later ferry (but not too late as you'll be getting into the shorter days) on to Swartz Bay from (Fulford Harbour?), and then they turn you around inside the ferry terminal to put you on the ferry back to Tswwassen, so you can come back through Active Pass.

Of course, this is all dependent on good weather....