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Horseshoe Bay vs. Tsawwassen ferry

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Charlotte, North...
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Horseshoe Bay vs. Tsawwassen ferry

My family will be driving down from Whistler on Sept. 20 and taking the ferry over to Victoria. I am trying to discern the quickest route considering drive time combined with ferry crossing time. I am not sure if it would be quicker to take the ferry from Horsehoe Bay and then making the 90 min drive from Nanaimo to Victoria, or drive further into Vancouver and take the ferry over to Victoria from Tsawwassen?

Thanks for any advice you can send my way.

Nanaimo, Canada
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1. Re: Horseshoe Bay vs. Tsawwassen ferry

Quicker to take the Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay ferry and drive. Keeps you out of downtown Vancouver and from going through Deas Tunnel.

Charlotte, North...
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2. Re: Horseshoe Bay vs. Tsawwassen ferry

Thanks for your quick reply. This was my way of thinking as well, but since I have never been to this area before, it is always comforting to get a second opinion.

Nanaimo, Canada
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3. Re: Horseshoe Bay vs. Tsawwassen ferry

You're welcome!

Quicker than Husain Bolt in the World Championships today!

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Horseshoe Bay vs. Tsawwassen ferry

Hmmm, is this like a Tar Heels vs Blue Devils question? :-)

I'm sure Coach K's strategy would be Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo. The reason I like Nanaimo to Victoria is it's out of the slow go "city" traffic that you would find going through Vancouver. You could consider visiting the Bastion Museum in Nanaimo - 30 minutes, the outdoor murals at Chemainus - 1 hour (and an ice cream) and then Victoria.

There is a section of the hwy from almost Goldstream to Victoria that is called the Colwood Crawl. It's pretty busy during the late afternoon. Other that that, IMO, it's a much more pleasant drive in mostly rural surroundings down the Island.

Charlotte, North...
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5. Re: Horseshoe Bay vs. Tsawwassen ferry

Well as much as I hate to follow Coach K's strategy, being the Carolina fan that I am, guess I will have to do so. Thanks for your help!

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: Horseshoe Bay vs. Tsawwassen ferry

It's more scenic, and less hectic, driving down from Nanaimo (i.e., after taking the Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay ferry run) than driving through Vancouver to get to Tsawwassen. The views when going over the Malahat are particularly lovely. (On the other hand, the ferry trip through the Southern Gulf Islands from Tsawwassen is also lovely. Perhaps they could do that on the way back, if they are coming back to the mainland after visiting Victoria.)

Nanaimo, Canada
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7. Re: Horseshoe Bay vs. Tsawwassen ferry

Further on Mufti's comments on the Colwood Crawl, if you are driving south later in the day then you'll be conterflorw to that traffic.

And further to itchy's comments on the views from the Malahat are spot on. There are two pull outs (pick one) that are worth going into however you are not able to turn left going south so you would need to make a u-turn at the Shawnigan Lake Road, head north and pull into one of the turnouts to have a great view of the Saanich Peninsula, Georgia Strait, Mt. Baker and Vancouver.

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: Horseshoe Bay vs. Tsawwassen ferry

Thanks for the correction Dave. Yes, of course evening rush hour OUT of Vic.

From the lookouts, they would need to drive north to ?? and turn around where ??

Nanaimo, Canada
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9. Re: Horseshoe Bay vs. Tsawwassen ferry

Hi Mufti,

When you are driving south on Hwy 1 it is a bit of extra driving to pull over and have a look from one of the viewpoints. They are designed to be accessible when driving from the south to the north. You can not turn left into either of the lookouts as you head south, so you need to pull a u-turn at the first intersection (Shawnigan Lake Road where it intersects with Hwy 1) and then back track (north) to either look out.

Exitiing the viewpoint you then again may need to backtrack by continuing north on Hwy 1 and then turning around once again and then head south to Victoria.

On a sunny clear day though it is one of the nicest views from Vancouver Island IMHO.

Sechelt, BC
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10. Re: Horseshoe Bay vs. Tsawwassen ferry

Seems I am a minority or maybe I can’t stand waiting in lines but I prefer the drive thru the city and the Tsawwassen ferry to Victoria. I don’t find the drive hectic at all and the Tsawwassen ferries run every hour on the hour so not a big deal to miss one. If I miss a Horseshoe Bay ferry I am waiting 2 hours for the next one. I know I can reserve a space on the ferry but if I have to be there 45 to 60 min before the sailing to check in and validate my reservation - I might as well just arrive early anyway and save my money - or use that time and drive thru the city to Tsawwassen.

If I am travelling during peak times however - I reserve my space at Tsawwassen.

I agree with itchy regarding the views when travelling thru the Gulf Islands. Stunning.