Above – The floating village at Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf
One of the benefits of having dual citizenship is being able to stretch out the first weekend in July to celebrate both Canada Day AND Independence Day! Our family of four, plus my sister and brother-in law visiting from Calgary decided to visit Victoria BC over Canada Day weekend (we didn’t miss the irony that they had to visit Canada during their visit to the U.S.). We assessed our options to get to Victoria from Seattle. Like most trips, we were constrained by time, budget, and how much junk we needed to haul there.
In the past, we’ve driven along the 101N Highway from Seattle to Port Angeles to take the Black Ball Ferry to Victoria (pictured above). It’s a car ferry so it’s great if you need to drive around the island and/or plan on staying a few days. They also take advance reservations – which can be a godsend during summer months. The cons are time and scheduling. It’s about an hour and a half drive to Port Angeles from Seattle – and you have to take another ferry to get to Port Angeles (either Seattle/ Bainbridge Island ferry or the Edmonds/Kingston ferry work), so there’s the issue of catching a ferry, to drive to catch a ferry (madness). The ferry ride to Victoria is another 90 minutes, which means total trip time is over 3 hours long. We only wanted to do a day-trip to Victoria, and didn’t need a car, so we decided to forgo the ferry this time.
Kenmore Air (pictured above) is a cool option I looked into - a fleet of float planes that shuttle back and forth between Seattle and Victoria. You can take off from Seattle’s Lake Union, or Boeing Field (where my husband works – how convenient would that be?), and in an hour, you’ve landed in Victoria’s Inner Harbor. You can even collect air miles through Alaskan Air! The convenience and romantic allure were enough for me to seriously consider it – alas, the price was the only drawback. $131 per person each way might not be huge deal for a couple’s weekend getaway, but for a party of six, that totaled over fifteen hundred dollars. I’m still considering it for our wedding anniversary next month though – it’s just too cool an option not to do at least once.
The convenience and value of theVictoria Clipper (pictured above) won hands down. We caught the 8:30am high-speed ferry in downtown Seattle and after two and a half hours of card playing, snacking, picture taking and napping, we landed in Victoria in time for lunch. Kids ride free, so the total cost for four adults came out at around five hundred dollars (specials, season, and time of purchase all affect price). Friendly staff, facing seats with table, and a well-stocked concessions stand all made the trip enjoyable. The con is that the passenger ferry is just that – no cars allowed. If you plan on staying a few days and want to travel around the island, the Clipper’s convenience may be overshadowed by hassling with rental cars and taxis.
Speaking of Taxis, be sure to hop on one of Victoria’s adorable water taxis that weave through the harbor – truly the best way to get around the city.
* Note – All pictures were taken by yours truly. If you grab them for your own use please credit me and this site. Thanks!
Filed under Photos, Travel