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Riding with BC Ferries Vancouver to Victoria

We took the ferry from Vancouver (Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal) to Victoria (Swartz Bay) with BC Ferries and it was quite the pleasant experience.  From boarding on time, easy parking of our RV to the several surprises that awiated us when we boarded the ferry including several food options, an arcade for all ages and plenty of seating all with great views!  Our ferry ride to Victoria was probably the best ferry ride we have ever gone on! This one and a half hour ride offers breathtaking sights only seen from the water, a good chance of spotting marine wildlife and much more.

Here is our experience riding with BC Ferries from Vancouver to Victoria!

Riding with BC Ferries is one of the several ways to get from mainland British Columbia to Vancouver Island.  As you cruise through the Strait of Georgia the breathtaking scenery offered from both indoor areas as well as outdoors on the top deck either way it will be an experience you will not soon forget.  With a change of seeing marine wildlife including whales, seals and much more make sure to keep your eyes on the look out and cameras at the ready.

Your cruise begins at the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal which is located thirty minutes south of Vancouver and lands at the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal in Sidney, located thirty minutes north of Victoria.  Reservations are not required but recommended especially if you are brining a vehicle or RV aboard the ferry to guarantee yourself a spot especially on weekends and busy tourist season.  If you are travelling without a vehicle you can either park your car at the terminals or there are buses that service the terminals.

There is plenty of things to do aboard the ferry on your one hour thirty minute ride including an arcade area for kids and adults alike, plenty of seating to read, relax or just watch the scenery pass by.  There is the Passages Gift Shop where you can by west coast jewellery, books, magazines, snacks, clothing and souvenirs.  If you are hungry then make sure to stop by one of the several food options including the Pacific Buffet that has a wide variety of options from sandwiches to a hot meal or the coffee shop.

Driving the Golden Circle – Alaska & Yukon

There is no better way to see some of the most scenic highways in Alaska, Northern British Columbia and the Yukon than driving the Golden Circle Tour.  Encounter snow covered mountains, majestic fjords, well maintained roads, plentiful wildlife and so much more.  The tour can start from Haines, Whitehorse or Haines Junction or anywhere in between!  We started the loop in Whitehorse, Yukon where you travel west along the Alaska Highway towards Haines Junction, Yukon.  From Haines Junction, Yukon you travel through British Columbia along the Haines Highway to Haines, Alaska.  To get from Haines to Skagway, Alaska you have to take the ferry to cross the scenic Lynn Canal.  Then from Skagway you head north along the famous Klondike Highway back to Whitehorse.  Below is a detailed breakdown of all the places to stop along the beautiful Golden Circle Tour!


Whitehorse, Yukon

Start your Golden Circle Tour journey is Whitehorse, Yukon.  The capital city of the Yukon has so much to offer sitting along the bank of the mighty Yukon River.  From the steaming Takhini Hot Springs,  the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, Miles Canyon and   the S.S. Klondike National Historic Site there are so many things you will not want to miss in this vibrant city.  Here is our travel guide to visiting Whitehorse, Yukon to make sure all your questions are covered during your stop in Wilderness City.  Make sure to check out our Top 13 Things to do in Whitehorse, Yukon so you don’t miss a thing.  The hub of the Yukon has everything you need for a single night or multi night stop over including great restaurants, hotels, groceries and more.  The next stop on the Golden Circle Tour is Haines Junction, Yukon.


Haines Junction, Yukon

As you head long the Alaska Highway towards Haines Junction the snowy mountains of the St. Elias Mountian range will begin to come into view and offer an incredible view.  While in Haines Junction make sure to spend a day visiting Kluane National Park & Reserve.  From the many hiking trails in the area to the flightseeing tours that taking you soaring 6000 feet over the mountain tops your visit to Haines Junction will leave you speechless.  On your way out of town make sure to stop in Yukon’s largest ghost town, Silver City.  Haines Junction is where the Alaska and Haines Highway meet, next head down the Haines Highway for a drive you will never forget to Haines, Alaska.


Haines, Alaska

As you travel down the Haines Highway from Haines Junction, Yukon to Haines, Alaska on the Golden Circle Tour you cross through northern British Columbia.  The drive down the highway takes you along the border of Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site dubbed the Kluane/Wrangell-St.Elias/Glacier Bay/Tatshenshini-Alesk UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Once you have arrived in Haines, Alaska ensure to check out the Bald Eagle Preserve, go bear watching around Chilkoot Lake and enjoy the beauty the adventure capital – Haines! Your next stop on the Golden Circle Tour is taking the ferry from Haines to Skagway.  The ferry terminal is located right in the harbour of the town and can either take the pedestrian fast ferry or the Alaska Marine Highway System that transports cars across the Lynn Canal.


Skagway

Once you have crossed the majestic fjords of the Lynn Canal on the ferry from Haines to Skagway you arrive in the gold rush town of Skagway, Alaska.  Make sure to spend a least a day in Skagway to enjoy the rich Klondike Gold Rush history.  Skagway was the boomtown gateway to the Trail of ’98 and the Klondike Gold Fields.  Skagway is the northern-most point in Alaska’s Inside Passage.  Home to the White Pass and Yukon Route one of Alaska’s most popular visitor attractions, as well as the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park and many more historical landmarks that bring the Klondike Gold Rush back to life for each and every visitor.  Take a step back in time and experience what it was like for each and everyone of the fortune-seekers that headed north in search of fortune and the new frontier.


Drive Back to Whitehorse

From Skagway you are less than three hours drive back to Whitehorse.  As you drive northbound on the Klondike Highway towards Whitehorse this highway takes you along the historical gold rush route.  You will be crossing back through the Canadian Border in Fraser, British Columbia make sure to pull over and take in the scenery and ever go for a quick kayak ride before you continue on towards Whitehorse.  Make sure to stop mid-way in Carcross for incredible First Nations culture as visit the worlds smallest desert!

 

Visiting Chilkoot Trail National Historic Site

Visiting the Chilkoot Trail National Historic Site is a bucket list experience for a lot of people. Situated along the legendary fifty-three kilometre Chilkoot Trail that takes you from the tidewaters in Dyea to the shores of Bennet Lake.  The trail is managed by Parks Canada and is the exact same trail that was tried and tested the First Nations traders and the stampeders heading north to try their luck at finding gold.  The pull off for the Chilkoot Trail National Historic Site Log Cabin Rest area is located at kilometre 43.9 along the South Klondike Highway where the White Pass and Yukon Route railway crosses the highway.  There is very little left along of the once booming settlement but if you head down the railway tracks you will see remnants of some of the old buildings standing next to the train tracks.

Here are some of our photos from our visit to Parks Canada’s Chilkoot Trail National Historic Site!

Driving through Fraser, British Columbia

Beautiful Fraser, British Columbia is a Canadian Border port of entry and has no permanent residences nor businesses.  Fraser began as a location of a water tower for the steam engines of the White Pass and Yukon Route railway connecting Skagway to Whitehorse.  The water tower still stands, but today the railway is used as a mode of transportation for tourism and travellers.  Fraser is located a kilometre 36.5 of the South Klondike Highway in northwestern British Columbia and is 34 km north of Skagway, Alaska and 69 km south of Carcross, Yukon.  If you plan on visiting Fraser, British Columbia make sure that you bring along your passport as you will be crossing between Canada and the United States of America.

Even though Fraser does not have any permanent residences or businesses it is sure worth pulling over after you have gone through the Canadian Border to stop and admire the breath taking mountains reflecting in the water.  If you are up for an adventure there is a company right next to the border crossing that rents out Sea Kayaks and can take you on a tour of Bernard Lake.  Whether you spend five minutes of a few hours exploring the area it is well worth the stop in Fraser, British Columbia! Be sure not to blink or you will miss this beautiful stop.

Here are some photos from our time driving through Fraser, British Columbia!

Visiting Haines, Alaska

Haines, Alaska is a small town with big heart.  So many things to do in this beautiful mountainous town it is a must stop on your journey to either British Columbia or Alaska.  From spectacular hikes, wildlife viewing to relaxing in a quaint coffee shop and enjoy the scenery.  This charming port town on the Chilkat Inlet is perfect for both land and sea based exploration.  Haines is known as the ‘Adventure Capital of Alaska and it is easy to see why! Below are our top things to do while visiting this beautiful port town of Haines, Alaska.


Chilkoot Lake State Recreation Site

Located only 8 miles south of Haines on Mud Bay Road this incredibly scene state park is a must see while visiting Haines.  One of the best places to see grizzly bears eating salmon out of the river is right here in the park.   Make sure to drive to the end of the road in the park that follows the river to the beautiful emerald green Chilkoot Lake where you can rent canoes, kayaks or even try your hand at fishing.


Bear Viewing

Nothing provides a thrill quite like seeing bears in their nature habitat.  In Haines you can find black bears and grizzly bears.  Bears can be found anywhere throughout the Chilkat Valley but there are specific areas that are better known for optimal bear viewing.  The Chilkoot Lake and Chilkoot River offer some of the best bear viewing in Alaska.  The bears can be found anywhere along the river but often are seen on the bridge pulling salmon right out of the river.  To see all our photos from our bear viewing in Chilkoot Lake make sure to check them out here!


Take the Ferry to Skagway for a Day Trip

Take the fast ferry for pedestrian serve between Haines and Skagway during the summer season to visit the gold rush town of Skagway. There is plenty to do in Skagway including mining for gold, have a bite to eat or drink in an old brothel, exploring the historic buildings from the gold rush or taking the White Pass & Yukon Route up the mountain to name a few things.

 


Visit the Hammer Museum

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit the first museum in the world that is entirely dedicated to hammers.  The museum was opened in 2002 thaChilt features over 1,400 hammers and related tools that range from -re-historic hammers, to colonial days to current day.  If you enjoy tools or just are interested to see what it is all about make sure to swing by the museum and try counting all of the hammers while you are in there!


Visit the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve

The Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve is the world’s largest concentration of Bald Eagle and their critical habitat.  Additionally it protects the natural salmon runs and allows for traditional uses.  Bald Eagles are attracted to the area by the wide available of the spawned-out salmon and open waters in late fall and winter.  The eagles can be seen along the Haines Highway in several different pull offs where you can stop and view them on the flats in their natural habitat.

2017 Canada 150th Birthday Bucket List

2017 means a new year filled with new adventures and possibilities as well as marks the year of Canada 150th Birthday! This year we will be focusing on our travels within Canada as our beautiful country celebrates its 150th birthday and all of the parks, national historic sites and national marine sites are free to the public.

To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday admission to all Parks Canada places will be free for the entirety of 2017.  In order to gain free admission to the parks you must order your free parks pass by ordering their 2017 Discovery Pass (free of charge) here: http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/voyage-travel/admission.aspx

With 47 national parks, 171 national historic sites and 4 national marine conservation areas there is so much to discover from coast to coast.  We plan on attempting to explore as many of these national parks and historic sites before the end of 2017. Below is our bucket list items to celebrate Canada 150th birthday broken down by province.

*Note: Each of the site links will not be clickable until we have visited the site and written a blog post on it! If there is a road symbol next to it its still on our bucket list.  You can tell we have visited the site when there is a check next to it!

 During 2017 for Canada 150th Birthday we have visited 7/47 National Parks, 19/171 National Historic Sites & 1/4 National Marine sites so far.