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Old 01-04-2017, 08:05 PM   #1
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Vancouver Island

Planning a trip Seattle throughout Vancouver Island. Places we hope to visit are Nanimo, Campbell River, Torfino, Sook, Victoria. In other words, as much of the Island as possible in 3-4 weeks. Not sure yet on best (i.e. cheapest) ferry crossing to the Island. Plan to "base camp" as needed and use our smart-for2 dingy. Appreciate any and all route, park, sights, suggestions.
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Old 01-04-2017, 09:34 PM   #2
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I think the Washington ferry is cheaper, but you might double check the BC Ferries web site to be certain. With the exchange rate, who knows? Be sure to put proper snow tires on that little car, we've been having winter for a change.
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Old 01-08-2017, 02:00 PM   #3
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If you are in Kingston then the Black Ball ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria is the best option...otherwise you would need to take two or three ferries just to get to Vancouver Island (Kingston-Edmonds, Mukilteo-Clinton and then Anacortes-Sidney) via Washington State Ferries, though you could skip the Mukilteo ferry by going up I-5). Going to Vancouver and across on the BC system would entail a tougher border crossing though only the single ferry.
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Old 01-08-2017, 02:39 PM   #4
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I think you will find the Tsawwassen to Duke Point (Nanaimo) your best bet for price if you are starting from Seattle. We stayed at Living Forest in Nanaimo last summer and loved it. Never made it to the west side so that's something we are looking forward to in the future.
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Old 01-08-2017, 05:16 PM   #5
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Don't miss Butchart Gardens just north of Victoria on east coast - highlight of our trips north! Prepare to spend a day.
If your going the Victoria/Port Angles ferry route, try to time it for the 'Port Townsend Wooden Boat Show', another unforgettable experience!
If you have a long low trailer, check the tide tables online - they have some high range tides and getting on and off some ferry's sometimes is interesting.
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Old 01-13-2017, 01:11 PM   #6
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Many thanks for your replies.

Actually, we are pretty familiar with the southern end on Vancouver Island, i.e. Victoria, Butchart Gardens, Sidney, Gulf Islands (we're former boaters). But Nanaimo and all the way north, as well as Tofino and Port Renfrew will be new to us, so any words of wisdom as to roads, RV sites, things-not-to-miss would be well appreciated.

Yes, the September Wooden Boat Festival is a classic not to be missed.

As for cheapest ways to the Island from Kingston, the Kingston-Anacortes-Sidney routing is actually the cheapest by about $100 - 200, including mileage, and even involving two ferries. The Anacortes-Sidney BC ferry starts up for the Summer just as we plan to head out.

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Old 01-13-2017, 04:46 PM   #7
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You might want to double check the fares. The Coho from Port Angeles is $64 plus $5.25 a foot over 18'. 40' would be $179.50. It looks like Kingston-Edmonds plus Anacortes-Sydney would be $247.55.
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Old 01-13-2017, 11:44 PM   #8
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Tsawwassen to Duke Point (Nanaimo) for 40 feet and two passengers comes out to about $168 with Canadian exchange rate.
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Old 01-14-2017, 12:23 AM   #9
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Ferry costs

Not to belabor the topic and it is good to factor in the good (for those of us going north) exchange rate BUT remember they are going from Kingston so must go to Edmonds hence another not so minor ferry cost in addition to the Naniamo crossing And NWGetaways has it figured correctly. Alas those of us out on the Kitsap or Olympic Peninsulas need to factor in the expense of ferry travel. While the San Juan crossing is a spectacular route anther reason for going the Port Angeles way is to minimize the hassle of two ferries - less time waiting in line, less concern over reservations, and just getting on/off which is normally smooth can be challenging with things like low tides, traffic congestion, or the unexpected.
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Old 01-14-2017, 01:42 AM   #10
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What time of year are you coming over?


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Old 01-14-2017, 02:17 AM   #11
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North of Nanaimo on Hwy 4 is Coombs is a tourist village with many shops and an interesting market and restaurant with grass on the roof and goats grazing on it. The road north to Port Hardy is pleasant with little traffic and small towns. We found several nice little parks with lots of wildlife.

We took a side trip to Port Alice and spent a couple of hours with two wonderful Scottish lades at the restaurant at the golf course. One of the high lights of the trip.

Port Alberni is a nice port with some great sea food. We stayed at the Stamp Falls Provincial Park campground which was spotless.

The west coast is a National Park and the fees start. The parks in Tofino were crowed and spendy. Lots of excursions by boat and air and nice restaurants but expensive.

If you decide to take the Coho give us a yell. You go right by our place on the way to the ferry.
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Old 01-14-2017, 06:14 PM   #12
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You may want to verify but I'm not sure that the Anacortes to Victoria ferry runs this time of year.
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Old 01-14-2017, 07:33 PM   #13
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Jan 17 to feb 3 the Coho is in dry dock.
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Old 01-14-2017, 07:47 PM   #14
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Interesting thread. We also are interested in spending some time touring the island. In our case we would try to do it in the fall (mid sept- end of Oct). Is that a decent time of year to go? We would try and spend 4- 6 weeks so if anyone can give us a little input on the hot spots to go, we're all ears....
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Old 01-14-2017, 09:36 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Arcticfox View Post
Interesting thread. We also are interested in spending some time touring the island. In our case we would try to do it in the fall (mid sept- end of Oct). Is that a decent time of year to go? We would try and spend 4- 6 weeks so if anyone can give us a little input on the hot spots to go, we're all ears....
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After Labour Day, the summer tourists have thinned a bit but there are still lots of European tourists who seem to like to travel the area in late summer/fall. Hot spots would depend upon what you like to do.
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Old 01-19-2017, 03:45 PM   #16
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Road Condition

There's a road between Shanigan Lake and Port Renfrew shown in part as gravel, and on my map it also says "restricted road". Any local wisdom?

Mike
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Old 01-19-2017, 03:52 PM   #17
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What time of year are you coming over?


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Probably April 2017
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Old 01-19-2017, 06:51 PM   #18
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There's a road between Shanigan Lake and Port Renfrew shown in part as gravel, and on my map it also says "restricted road". Any local wisdom?

Mike
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Old 01-19-2017, 06:54 PM   #19
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Probably April 2017
Should be good, weather wise and tourist wise as most of the Provincial parks don't start taking reservations till May12. Should be fine with most of the RV parks as well. That's about the time we start getting out to the south part of the Island.

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Old 01-19-2017, 08:10 PM   #20
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There's a road between Shanigan Lake and Port Renfrew shown in part as gravel, and on my map it also says "restricted road". Any local wisdom?

Mike
Don't know it well. Narrow, no shoulders, winding, few services. Active logging trucks would be my concern.
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