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Victoria to Birch Bay

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3 posts
6 reviews
Victoria to Birch Bay

We are going to Nanaimo, Vancouver Island for a week in mid October and then going to Birch Bay in Washington State for our second vacation week. What is the easiest way to get there. Should we take the ferry to Vancouver, Port Angeles or go via the border. Is it also cheaper to take our rental car with us if we go on the ferry or rent a car when we get to Port Angeles or Vancouver.

5 replies to this topic
Seattle, Washington
Destination Expert
for Seattle
Level Contributor
7,636 posts
1. Re: Victoria to Birch Bay

How are you getting to Nanaimo in the first place? Can I assume you're going to have a car all the time? Where are you flying in/out?

What I would do would be to drive from Nanaimo down to Sidney BC, near Victoria, and take the Washington State ferry through the San Juan Islands to Anacortes, from which the drive to Birch Bay will take around an hour. The ferry ride is extremely scenic, and I believe cheaper than the BC Ferries alternative (below.) You can (must) book the Anacortes boat in advance - http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/

The BC Ferries alternative is to take the ferry from Nanaimo (Duke Point) to Tsawwassen on the BC mainland just north of the US border, then south to Birch Bay. This will mean you'll have to go through US border controls at Blaine, which in the summer can be a giant PITA. http://www.bcferries.com/schedules/mainland/

Edited: 05 June 2016, 02:29
Level Contributor
3 posts
6 reviews
2. Re: Victoria to Birch Bay

Thanks for replying so quickly and for your help.

We are flying into Victoria where we will rent a car and drive to Nanaimo. The flight has already been booked but not the car. We thought about taking the ferry from Victoria (I guess it leaves from Sidney, BC) to Birch Bay. Cost wise would it be better to return the car to Victoria instead of taking it on the ferry and rent another one in Birch Bay. Our return flight is leaving from Seattle.

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
32,328 posts
62 reviews
3. Re: Victoria to Birch Bay

There is no ferry to Birch Bay. The nearest ferry terminal to Birch Bay is the Tsawwassen terminal. The easiest route would be the Duke Point > Tsawassen crossing with BC Ferries, cross the border at Peace Arch and then its about 20 minutes down the I5 from there. Birch Bay is north of Bellingham. Coming around via Anacortes would be pretty, but a long loop around and a significant detour. It depends on what you want.

Blaine, Washington
Level Contributor
1 post
12 reviews
4. Re: Victoria to Birch Bay

You could also charter a flight for 3-5 people for about $400-$500 to fly from Victoria to Bellingham. You can pick up a car at the Bellingham airport.

It is a little expensive, but you'll save on the ferry and car drop off, and it is a super scenic flight that will save you at least 2-3 hours of time.

San Juan Airlines

Level Contributor
5,607 posts
109 reviews
5. Re: Victoria to Birch Bay

If you return the car in Victoria, you need a way to get from there to Sidney to take the ferry. And car rental over here would be in Bellingham. Do what ibgardyloo suggested. Drive to Sidney and take the WA state ferry to Anacortes. I wouldn't charter a flight bc the ferry ride is an experience in & of itself.

~ Colleen

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