San Francisco to Vancouver Island
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Sep 27, 2012 9:09 AM Last Post By: VinnyD
Sep 26, 2012 12:16 PM
I've been out of the travelling game for a few years and me and the missus want to go to San Francisco (probably a couple of days; Alcatraz, whale watching and stuff) then drive up through the forests and wine country to see the redwoods and general bucolic beauty. We reckon we'd have about five days for that, then we'd like to go to see friends on Vancouver Island (they're about half way up in Comox) for a further week.
In my naivety I thought we'd just hire a car in SF and drop it at Vancouver, but it seems to be a really expensive option, what with one way flights and a drop off fee for the car. Any genius ideas would be very welcome. Thanks
Sep 26, 2012 12:45 PM
Sep 26, 2012 2:00 PM
2AMTRAK serves San Francisco to Vancouver BC with stops in Portland and Seattle. Then there is flying of course. Or, AMTRAK to Seattle, then a ferry to Vancouver. Or, there's even float plane service Seattle to Vancouver from Lake Union in Seattle. Of course there is always Trailways/Greyhound, but that would be my last choice.
Sep 26, 2012 2:03 PM
Sep 26, 2012 4:58 PM
4Rent a car in San Francisco & drive a Northern CA. "Loop"... Then fly Oakland-Portland & have a looksee... AMTRAK to Seattle & on to Van by evening train...Sit on the left side, for a sunset view across the sound,of the Olympic Mtns. Customs is nicely done aboard as the train rolls along...Happy t(rails) ... carracar
Sep 26, 2012 5:55 PM
5One-way drop fees are now the standard on rental cars, and they're quite high. However, since your description of what you want to do involves a fair amount of driving through some marvelous country (wine country, Redwoods, presumably the Oregon coast, etc.) then avoiding the one-way rental drop fee means you'd have to use some other means of getting to Canada from California.
Amtrak runs inland and IMO is far from the most scenic trip between the Bay Area and Portland/Seattle/Vancouver. You can fly fairly cheaply, but of course you don't see the sights that way. And since you're going to Comox and not Vancouver city, just getting you to Vancouver doesn't really solve any problem.
I guess it's all in the numbers. You could drive up the coast the whole way - Redwoods, Oregon coast, Olympic National Park coastal strip and rainforests, then take the car across on the ferry from Port Angeles (WA) to Victoria, then just drive up the island. Or else you could stop short in Seattle, take the train to Vancouver (immigration and customs at Vancouver station, by the way, not on the train) then rent a "local" car there to get to the island, albeit with more car rental and ferry charges applying. Sort of depends on what you want to see and the attendant benefit/cost calculations. You have adequate time with 5 days to get from SF to Comox.
Sep 27, 2012 6:51 AM
6Yep, there's a ferry directly from Seattle to Victoria, from Port Angeles to Victoria, or bus or train from Seattle to Vancouver and then ferry to Victoria or Nanaimo. I hope the one-way fee to Seattle isn't too high...or do the Northern California loop as suggested and then fly to Seattle or Vancouver. Have fun!
Sep 27, 2012 7:26 AM
7...there's a ferry directly from Seattle to Victoria...
And the (car) ferries from the lower BC mainland to Vancouver Island don't depart from Vancouver city, they leave from ferry terminals located to the south (Tsawwassen) or north (Horseshoe Bay) of the city, and the Victoria boats don't go into Victoria proper. Going to Comox, the OP would have to ride buses or rent separate cars if they didn't have one already, in order to get where they're going. If we're talking about cost (never mind convenience) then all the separate bits have to be counted - transport to/from ferry terminals, etc.
Sep 27, 2012 9:09 AM
8Would your friends drive down to Victoria to meet you?
It might be cheaper to leave the car in Port Angeles (parking near the ferry ranges from $6 to $10 a day; for the cheap one you will need the exact amount to put in an envelope in a cash box), and go as foot passengers on the Victoria Ferry, returning the car to San Francisco afterwards. That would mean paying rental fees for however many days the car was unused in the lot, but depending on timing etc it might be cheaper than the drop-off fee.
And the Port Angeles ferry does drop you in the heart of Victoria, steps from the Parliament building.
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