A ferry adventure can be one of the most amazing ways to journey north. You will have the opportunity to see some of the magnificent natural wonders and have a chance to stop and visit some of the communities you might otherwise miss. From the ports along the coast of BC to the Inside Passage of Alaska, the Marine Highway Route is an exceptional choice in your northern adventure.
Via BC Ferries
The ferry port of Tsawwassen is just south of Vancouver, and you can catch a ride to the provincial capital city of Victoria on Vancouver Island. Victoria is the epitome of charm and grace, as you take a step into a forgotten era and quieter time of life. Enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride around the Inner Harbor, and be sure to visit Butchart Gardens, which includes 55 acres of floral displays and relaxing walkways. Originally the brainchild of Jennie Butchart in 1904, it was an attempt to beautify an old rock quarry and has grown into a long-lived family endeavor.
Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Vancouver Island, named Top North American Island by Conde Nast Traveler in 2005, is home to some unique areas to visit. The city of Duncan, which has more than 80 totem poles and many galleries of arts and crafts, is one great stopping point. Or take an afternoon to explore the vineyards and cideries of the lush Cowichan Valley. The city of Nanaimo, or "Harbour City," gives you a fresh look at a vibrant waterfront community and is a great place to explore various marine adventures. Just south of Nanaimo, you will find Petroglyph Provincial Park, worth a visit to see ancient stone carvings more than 1,000 years old. Heading north, you will find the town of Courtenay, home to the Courtenay District Museum and Paleontology Center. Here you can see fossilized remains of an 80-million-year-old Elasmosaur. Step off to Mt. Washington Alpine Resort for a summer sky ride that provides amazing views of the Strait of Georgia. And don’t forget a visit into the seaside village of Comox, where you can see the beautifully landscaped grounds of the Filberg Heritage Lodge.
At the northern end of Hwy 19, you will find a fishing extravaganza in the town of Port Hardy. Charter a boat to seek out a trophy fish, or take an eco-tour via boat in Glendale Cove. At Port Hardy, access the BC Ferries to travel farther north. You can make your way to the Discovery Coast and the towns of Bella Bella, Ocean Falls and Bella Coola. Or you can take the ferry through the BC Inside Passage and land at Prince Rupert.
At Prince Rupert, you can connect with a BC Ferry to take you to the misty Queen Charlotte archipelago (Haida Gwaii), or connect to the Alaska Marine Highway System. Visit www.bcferries.com for more information.
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We’d like to offer you the option to explore different combinations of your waterway adventure. These are just a few side trip ideas that you might fi nd interesting as you enjoy your Marine Highway adventure on your journey north:
If you want to combine the best of both worlds, take your vehicle on the ferry ride to Prince Rupert, where you can disembark and continue with a drive up the highway. You will find an unparalleled experience, and you’ll make the most of your time as you travel.
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