Vancouver Island Bound As A Family of Four!

Typically when going to the island, we book a reservation so we know which sailing we will be on and not have to wait 2 hours for the next one.
When we have a reservation, we usually end up on an upper deck, so we’re able to remain or return to our vehicle during the trip.
This is useful for many reasons – if we have our fur baby with us, if we want to access our cooler for snacks or drinks, or just to sit in the quiet for awhile (my husband napped the entire ferry ride there).

This time, we decided not to make a reservation on the way there and try to make the 6 p.m. sailing after work, which didn’t work out due to highway traffic, but we got on the 8 p.m. just fine. There wasn’t much to photograph in the dark, but I got some nice photos on the way home on our midday sailing.

The loading process is always interesting. Ferries are fun to explore! There are many levels, with different seating areas indoors and outdoors. Indoor seating was busy so I didn’t take any photos, but there is a multitude of options, from comfy chairs in rows to small workstations with outlets, tables with chairs in the cafeteria area, tables with stools near the small café. We usually try to sit at a table so we can play games.

The outdoor seating is usually at least partially enclosed, and on the ride back there was an extra curtain hanging and propane heaters blasting heat! So we spent the majority of the trip up there, playing games and enjoying the scenery and fresh air.

Typically traveling very early or very late gets you a discount, but sometimes when traveling with kids, the savings just isn’t worth the cranky kiddos.

In the summer, they often run educational programs for kids on the daytime sailings too!

Cell service can be spotty on the ferry, so sometimes we bring walkie talkies. Now that our kids are 10 and 13, they love their independence. So if they stay together and take a walkie-talkie, they can explore on their own and they love it! I always make sure when we get out of the truck, we make a note of the deck number we are on, as well as the sea creature on the closest stairwell (for example an orca) so we all know where we need to end up to get back to the truck.

We always pack games for the ferry ride. One time, my son and I had an epic round of Uno – we went through the entire deck twice! When we looked up, we realized we had a small audience assembled around us! He still talks about that.
This time, we’ve packed Uno, Yahtzee, and a Chess Board, so we have lots of options.

Coloring books, reading materials, and journals are also nice to have for the ferry ride. I keep everything together in a bag so it’s easy to bring on board.
I pack our own snacks in a bin for the truck so we have stuff to snack on during the drive, as well as avoiding eating the overpriced ferry food.

I love sitting outside on the ferry, on the upper decks. Wind in your hair, and ocean all around you, there’s nothing better.

The ferry also has a small gift shop, but is rather expensive so we usually window shop to kill time. There’s also many rows of brochures, usually divided into Island Information and Mainland Information, so no matter which direction you’re heading, you can find something about the place you are heading.

To look at sailing times or book a ferry, check out their website here.

As always, thank you for reading! Comment below if you have any ferry traveling tips and tricks!

Published by Road Trip Mama

I am a 34 year old Mom of two, married to my wonderful husband living in Beautiful British Columbia. My kids are 9 and 12 and pretty much complete opposites! My daughter loves to Road Trip like her Mama and my son is more ‘are we there yet?’ From 8 hour road trips to see family, ferries to the island or just a good old drive up a dirt road, I’ll have tips to keep the kids entertained, food to pack and road reports! We are so fortunate to live in this beautiful place surrounded by mountains and rivers and endless trails to explore! Follow me and see how I maintain my sanity on these trips!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: