Getting Around With BC Ferries
“I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” -Robert Louis Stevenson
BC Ferries provides year-round passenger and vehicle service from the mainland to various islands on its routes in the West Coast. BC Ferries provides essential service on 25 routes to 47 terminals, with a fleet of 35 vessels. It is the largest passenger ferry line in North America and the second largest in the world. BC Ferries is subsidized by the Governments of British Columbia and Canada.
See “All Routes Schedule” for detailed information about routes, times and passenger/vehicle fees.
BC Ferries offers Private Vehicle Reservations for travel between:
- Vancouver (Tsawwassen) to Victoria (Swartz Bay)
- Vancouver (Tsawwassen) to Nanaimo (Duke Point)
- West Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) to Nanaimo (Departure Bay)
- Powell River (Westview) to Little River (Comox)
All BC ferries have a variety of amenities, including a coffee shop, gift shop, restaurant and Kids Zone with video games. The gift shop has Aboriginal silver giftware, beauty products, books, children’s toys, jewellery, magazines, and men’s and women’s clothing.
The Pacific Buffet is available on select sailings between Vancouver (Tsawwassen) and Victoria (Swartz Bay). The buffet features a selection of hot and cold items, a salad bar and dessert bar for one price.
The Self-Serve Restaurant is perfect for a quick bite so that passengers can get out on deck and enjoy the view. The restaurant has a variety of items including burgers, sandwiches, wraps, sushi, roast chicken, and a selection of fresh salads.
The Seawest Lounge offers a relaxing space for quiet travel, and a variety of baked goods, cheeses, crackers, fresh fruit, yogurt and an assortment of beverages.
Regional Districts Served
There are various options for travelling by bus throughout the West Coast. BC Ferries has provided a comprehensive list of bus companies operating in the region on its website.
Vancouver to Nanaimo
For visitors going to the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal from Downtown Vancouver, take Bus 257 – Horseshoe Bay Express westbound on West Georgia Street at Seymour Street. The ferry ride is approximately 95 minutes.
Prior to your ferry ride, take the time to explore the Village of Horseshoe Bay. Horseshoe Bay is well known for its breathtaking scenery, fabulous restaurants and quaint marina. Ferries can also be taken from Horseshoe Bay to Bowen Island and Langdale.
A local bus to Downtown Nanaimo is conveniently located in front of Departure Bay Ferry Terminal.
Vancouver to Victoria
My favourite way to travel from Metro Vancouver to Victoria is by ferry. Taking public transportation to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal in Delta is convenient and easy. For visitors coming from Downtown Vancouver, take the Canada Line to Bridgeport Station Southbound and then take Bus 620 – Tsawwassen Ferry Via Ladner Exchange. The ferry ride is approximately 95 minutes.
Prior to boarding the ferry, visit the Tsawwassen Quay Market to see Canadiana souvenirs and handmade crafts made by local artisans. The market also has several fresh food vendors and restaurants.
Getting to Victoria from the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal is easy. Take Bus 70 – Swartz Bay/Downtown Express from the ferry terminal to Downtown Victoria. The ride is pleasant and takes you through Sidney-by-the-Sea, one of Vancouver Island’s best kept secrets.