When traveling on the BC Ferries system, paying for a reservation is definitely worth the extra Reservation Fee, in my opinion. My mom refuses to pay the extra and will sit and wait, however I feel our time is worth the $10 Fee and having to sit there with your kids and watch the ferry leave when you were one car away from getting onto it is a sad moment. (Trust me, we have been there)
Reservations usually get a top deck on the ferry, meaning you are allowed to remain in your vehicle as long as you like.
This has a few benefits; you do not have to be in the mad rush of people heading up the stairs while encouraging your kids to climb the stairs as quickly as possible! Also, we pack a cooler so that we do not have to pay for the overpriced ferry food. We pack sandwich stuff so we can make “tailgate sandwiches” on the ferry, or in the lineup waiting for the ferry, depending when the kids get hungry! Finger foods and packaged snacks are also helpful to bring in your bag on the ferry so when the smells from the cafeteria hit you, you have something free to munch on!
We usually bring a board game or card game and if the weather is nice we will sit at one of the covered tables on the upper deck outside and play at least one round of whatever game we brought. My son and I were sitting inside playing Uno once and we ended up attracting a small audience, he felt like a celebrity.
Every ferry has a different playroom, and some are not as good as others. If you get really lucky, there are one or two ferries left with an old school arcade in them. My husband had just as much (if not more) fun than the kids!
Parking on the upper deck also means that if the kids get tired/bored and want to go back to the truck, we can do that. This is where portable DVD players come in handy if you have a 2-hour ferry ride, it is nice to be able to return to your vehicle whenever you need, get the kids comfortable and again miss the mad rush of people hurrying down the stairs. Often when we can see our destination from the Ferry, we will head back down to the truck so we can get the kids down the stairs and comfortable in the truck without needing to rush.
Card games are great- Go Fish, Uno, Skip Bo are just a few we commonly play. We really enjoy the Unicorn Surprise board game my daughter got for her birthday and even my son enjoys making the Unicorn ‘poop out’ the gems for the game! Checkers and chess are also great, and there are some very portable and affordable board options available nowadays.
The scenery is always amazing on the ferry, and we try to spend most of our time on the outside deck if the weather is nice. The kids can play, you can compete to see who can get the craziest hair going in the wind, and if you are lucky you might even get to see a dolphin, whale, or sea otter!
In the summer months they have educational programs going on for the kids that are very informative and also interactive. My kids really enjoyed it and my daughter went up and asked a ton of questions afterwards and received answers to all of them!
The ferry terminals usually have playgrounds, so make sure you let the kids stretch their legs and burn off some energy before you board the boat!
One thing when booking your ferry, try to do it several weeks ahead of the date you are traveling, especially if it is on a long weekend. Their website will tell you when a sailing is fully booked and if more than one sailing per day is fully booked, you can assume it will be very busy that day. Keep in mind things do happen like mechanical failure, weather problems, and sailings can be cancelled or delayed. Therefore, if you are able to travel on a day when it is less booked, you will have a better chance of a Smooth Sailing.
I always bring a book to read while my daughter plays in the playroom. My son brings a book too and he will either sit with me and read together, or we read our separate books. I love reading, so this is my favourite part of the ride when we sit down together and dive into a good book!
Thank you for reading! Don’t forget to Click the Like and Follow buttons below to be notified when I post again!