British Columbia’s coastline is carved up into a mosaic of islands and fjords that make ferries a vital—and fun and scenic—way to travel. BC Ferries, one of the world’s biggest ferry transport systems, has been doing the job for half a century, sailing to 47 ports of call from Victoria to Prince Rupert.
To help folks book an entire ferry-based vacation, BC Ferries opened a BC Ferries Vacations Centre on May 11. It’s on the main floor of the swanky new Fairmont Pacific Rim on the Vancouver, BC, waterfront. While you’re there, drop in at the gift shop to pick up local art, jewellery, crafts and books from around coastal British Columbia.
First you tap on an 8.4-sq-m (90-sq-ft) high-definition touch-screen media wall to peruse info and photos of over 20 BC coastal vacation packages. Plan a circle route by ferry hopping between the mainland and coastal islands. Think of it as a road trip with a marine component. And, starting this spring on the mainland to Vancouver Island route with partnership from C Spa, an onboard spa will have you indulging in a manicure, pedicure or chair massage while afloat.
You can hopscotch through the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island on a culinary tour to nibble local cheeses and wines, then drive through old-growth forests to surf the rollers of Long Beach in Tofino.
Paddle a kayak up dramatic fjords along the Sunshine Coast, taking a break to peek in at galleries along the Purple Banner Route.
Or head north on the Northern Expedition ferry from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert. It’s an affordable way to cruise the Inside Passage and sets you up to ferry on the Northern Adventure ferry across to exotic, misty Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands) for a fishing adventure or a west coast “wildlife safari” in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site.
Once you’ve picked and planned your trip, one of the human planners will book every last detail down to the accommodation, rental car, canoe or bike rental and fishing gear you think you might need. Then all you have to do is walk or drive on board.
The Surf Lifestyle in Tofino