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Old 08-19-2009, 02:36 PM   #1
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Victoria Island

Well, we shipped our (aquired) granddaughter off to Texas A&M today so we are free again. Our Alpine never sold this summer so we decided, why not take another trip. We have always wanted to visit Victoria Island and are not sure how the ferry works with pets. Do any of you have and recommedations on the ferry, RV parks etc and what to see on Vancouver Island.

Thanks so much
Lana and John
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Old 08-19-2009, 04:49 PM   #2
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Hi, Lana and John. Vancouver Island is a very worthwhile RV destination. Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. With my Alpenlite and truck I am 58 feet long and I have taken the BC Ferry from Canada mainland (Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay) and the Washington State Ferry from US mainland (Anacortes-Sidney). The BC ferry is larger but in my opinion there's lots of room and both ferries are very easy to drive on and off. A couple advantages of the Anacortes ferry: sometimes they offer 1/2 off sale prices on RV's, check the website, and reservations to and from Sidney are available online at no additional charge.

Regarding pets, we cross with our dog all the time. It's a short and scenic ferry ride (2 hours or so) and the dog stays in the RV during the crossing. I've seen some people bring their very small dogs in crates up into the ferry passenger decks-- but I wish people wouldn't bring their howling dogs up into the passenger area.

Once you get to Vancouver Island, we have enjoyed both Westbay Marina and Weir's Beach It would be good to call ahead for a reservation.

I've always wanted to take the RV up and over to Tofino on the west coast, but haven't done that yet. Good luck and have fun. -wheeler
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Old 08-19-2009, 05:03 PM   #3
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You will probably have to get a pet health certificate to verify your pet is up to date on rabies shots, etc., to go into Canada. They did check that on boarding, IIRC. I believe you are allowed to go check on your pet during the voyage.

Somebody told me you may be better off fare-wise by disconnecting the tow car and paying for it separately instead of paying the per foot fee with the toad length added to the coach length. But I don't know if that is really true or not.

I believe we stayed at Westbay Marina, but that was many years ago with a Class C motorhome. Nice from what I remember. If that is the place, they have a water taxi that will take you directly to downtown Victoria. No worries about parking downtown!

Definitely go see Butchart Gardens. That alone might be worth the trip. If you can plan to stay to tour again after dark.
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Old 08-19-2009, 09:42 PM   #4
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Best of luck to your granddaughter at Texas A&M. I'm an old Aggie, class of 1962.
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Old 08-20-2009, 02:39 AM   #5
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Just so You know there actually is a Victoria Island as well as a Vancouver Island. You can Not drive to Victoria Island!

Have a wonderful visit to Canada's Big Island!
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Old 08-20-2009, 10:27 AM   #6
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Probably the simplest way to get to Vancouver Island is by taking a B.C. Ferry. These ships are huge carrying 410 vehicles including 34 semi-trailers. Also, in the summer, they sail every hour and during the winter months every 2 hours. The Anacortes Ferry while good, probably would require an advance reservation as they are much smaller than the B.C. Ferries' ships.

A few people have mentioned the West Bay Marina RV Park in Victoria. It's o.k., it's right near downtown, but it is old and kind of cramped in. IMO, a much better choice is a new park situated about half-way between the Ferry terminal and Victoria - it's Oceanside RV Resort . It's brand new, large sites with all amenities and clean as a whistle - reasonable too. Great owners - my son lives there full-time in his RV.

Another absolutely beautiful spot is the Beachcomber RV Park which is just a few miles down the road from Oceanside. It's a small park, has a sani-dump station instead of full-hookup, and is closed during the winter months - unlike Oceanside which is open all year.

Both of these parks are only 5 minutes from the Butchart Gardens and about 15-20 minutes from downtown Victoria. They are both absolutely quiet!!

We've spent time at both of these RV Parks and if I had to recommend any park around Victoria to a visitor, I guess it would have to be Oceanside - you can't go wrong there and it's reasonably priced too.
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Old 08-20-2009, 08:14 PM   #7
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I will second others in that one place to see is Butchart Gardens. Additionally, when in Victoria, check out The Empress hotel. Victoria is one of the prettiest cities we have visited.
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:11 PM   #8
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We lived in the San Juan Islands for nearly 17 years, and we're quite familiar with both the Washington State and BC Ferries. Our strong preference would be for the BC Ferry system. Pets are absolutely no problem, though you'll need your pet's medical record at least for the return trip to the U.S. Keep in mind BC Ferries from Vancouver can take you either to Sydney (which services Victoria); or it's other route goes to the Nanaimo area. The reference to traveling with the tow vehicle detached is right on, and will save you a few bucks while making getting on and off the ferry easier.

While we agree Victoria plus Buchart Gardens are both "must sees", far too many folks think Vancouver Island ends somewhere just north of Victoria. In fact it extends far, far to the Northeast -- and becomes very remote (although easily accessible) the further you travel in that direction. Port Hardy is the most northerly point most RVs travel. If you're truly adventurous, from there you can cross either to Prince Rupert (on the mainland); or for the ultimate in adventure take the Discovery Coast route over to Bella Coola. About half way between Victoria and Port Hardy is Campbell River, just north of which is Ripple Rock RV Resort, an amazing "find" for many RVers. Although the last 2 1/2 miles in from the main highway is gravel, and a bit steep in places, any rig can easily handle it. Enjoy!
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Old 08-21-2009, 09:05 PM   #9
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For all you who cross over to the other side (yea, pun intended), is dumping the refrigerator of all your meat products required? Or is that just a Mad Cow fable?
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Old 08-21-2009, 09:46 PM   #10
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Check with the Agriculture People at the Borders for current rules and regs!
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Old 08-22-2009, 11:25 AM   #11
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You will need to turn off your propane for the cruise, so if you are used to running your fridge on propane like we do, it will need to be off for a while. But it should not be a problem. Just something to be aware of.
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