I know there are some PNW and BC moms here -- I'm hoping you might be able to help me. I'm going to Seattle in May, and want to spend a couple days in Victoria while I'm in the area. What's the best (quickest) way to travel there?
In looking online, I saw that there's a 3-hour ferry between the two cities. Would it be any faster to drive to Anacortes and take a ferry from there? The only ferry I see from there is a vehicle + passenger ferry, rather than a high-speed passenger-only one, so it wouldn't cut the time down at all. Any insight on the best way to do this? Thanks!
That's a good time between the two cities. Remember, you have border crossings to deal with, and depending on when you travel, the delay at the Peace Arch on 1-5 can be long. Here's a link I found from a 2009 Seattle Times article. I have crossed the border, but not to go to Victoria.
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I would say it would depend if you need/want a vehicle at all. Downtown Victoria is pretty foot accessible and the bus system is fairly good. However depending on how far out you need/want to be from downtown then you may want a vehicle. So if you don't I would take the Clipper.
The biggest negative to the Coho is that they tend to pack the vehicles *verytight* together. A few people complain about the dings and dents after this. However I'm told it's the fastest through Customs. And also takes you right down town.
The biggest negative to the Anacortes is that it takes you to Sidney and that's about 30-45+ mins out of downtown depending on traffic. However Sidney itself is adorable and quite fun to walk around in!
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I highly recommend the Victoria Clipper (the foot ferry Seattle to Victoria). The train is nice as well. Amtrak cascade route. crossing boarder by car is sometimes very very long wait (3-4 hrs) LOTS of Canadians coming south to shop. The anacortes ferry is beautiful, but won;t save you time compared to clipper.
In case you haven't booked yet, and aren't planning on taking a vehicle, you can also take a small seaplane between the two cities - it's a super-fast, beautiful trip. I haven't done it in a few years, but it wasn't insanely expensive when I did it, and it gets you from downtown harbour to downtown harbour in about half an hour. I think Harbour Air is one of the companies that flies the route.