A Seattle to Victoria day trip is the perfect escape from Seattle’s hustle and bustle.
Recently ranked as the #3 city in the entire world in the Conde Nast readers choice awards, this crown jewel of BC’s tourist crown is located right on your doorstep.
It’s just a quick jet across the majestic Salish Sea on the high-speed Victoria Clipper passenger ferry to enjoy 6 hours exploring Victoria’s unique colonial charm, natural beauty, and rich history.
Let’s take a look at how to do a day trip from Seattle to Victoria.
The Best Day Trip from Seattle to Victoria
Firstly, let’s get the logistics out of the way.
The Victoria Clipper ferry is the fastest, most comfortable and most convenient way to travel between Seattle and Victoria.
Not only does making the trip by sea allow you to soak in the majestic Pacific Northwest in all its beauty.
The journey also allows you to skip all the typical travel silliness:
- The drab 2 hour (one-way) drive up the I-5 to Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal to grab the Vancouver to Victoria ferry
- Potential lengthy lineups at the US-Canada land border crossing
- The additional 90 minute (one way) crossing of the Salish Sea from Tsawwassen to Victoria
In short, provided you’re not willing to spring for a Seattle to Victoria seaplane, the Seattle to Victoria ferry is your only real option for a Victoria day trip from Seattle.
Day Trip to Victoria BC from Seattle by Ferry
The Seattle to Victoria ferry is operated by Clipper Vacations: this sleek passenger ferry offers passengers a full range of amenities.
You’ll be provided with comfortable seating, a duty free store and plenty of food and beverage options.
The ferry even has an outdoor deck where you can take in the stunning views of Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
As you pass through the quaint Gulf Islands you may even encounter a bald eagle, some dolphins, or even a pod of orcas!
Departure – 7:30/8:00 AM
The ferry leaves bright and early from Pier 69 in Downtown Seattle.
You should arrive one hour prior to departure time.
However, you will have 15 minutes courtesy prior to departure to make the final boarding call.
Parking is available for just $10 per calendar day at the nearby Bell Street Pier garage , directly across Alaskan Way from the Edgewater Hotel.
Aboard the Boat – 2 hrs 45 min
The ferry ride to Victoria lasts approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes – giving you plenty of time to relax and enjoy the Pacific Northwest’s stunning scenery.
You’ll definitely want to keep your camera on hand as you enter Victoria’s postcard perfect Inner Harbour.
The vessel doesn’t travel across open seas, though choppy weather is a possibility – that said, don’t expect to feel many bumps as it’s a very large ship.
After booking, you’ll have the option to upgrade to Vista Class seating on the upper deck. Here you’ll be provided with leather chairs, table seating and panoramic views of the Salish Sea.
Victoria – 10:45/11:00 AM
The Victoria Clipper arrives in Victoria at 10:45 am at the Belleville Terminal in Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
The terminal is perfectly situated for you to start exploring the Garden City the minute you get off the boat.
You’ll have a few immigration formalities to go through first: so make sure you bring one of the following documents:
- A Passport
- Passport Card
- Enhanced Driver License or an Enhanced ID Card (EDL/ID)
- NEXUS Card
Once you’ve cleared customs it should be smooth sailing.
You’ll have 5-6 hours to explore: take a tour, check out an attraction or enjoy the city’s many bars and restaurants.
You’ll then be required to return to the terminal in time for your early evening departure and do the entire procedure in reverse.
Seattle to Victoria Day trip by Ferry Prices
Below you can find the cost of round-trip transportation between Seattle and Victoria aboard the Victoria Clipper including port fees and fuel surcharge.
As you can see, the rates vary according to season. We also recommend booking your tickets online in advance to secure the lowest rates.
|Dates||Adult (11+)||Children (2-11)|
|Mar 1 to Apr 30||$171||$98.50|
|May 1 to Jun 8||$175||$100.50|
|Jun 9 to Sep 11||$185||$105.50|
|Sep 12 to Oct 31||$155||$90.50|
|Nov 1 to Dec 31||$141||$83.50|
How to Book Your Seattle to Victoria Day Trip
In writing this post on how to do a day trip to Victoria from Seattle I’ve had the opportunity to work with lots of different online travel partners.
When it comes to the Seattle to Victoria day trip via the Clipper Ferry we’ve elected to partner with Viator for the following reasons.
- Viator is a massive company that offers over 300,000 travel experiences across the globe. Moreover, the company is also part of the massive Trip Advisor family guaranteeing economies of scale
- They offer a low price guarantee to ensure you receive the lowest rates
- Free cancellation and buy now, pay later tickets are available for the utmost flexibility
- They have an exceptional Trustpilot rating with over 110,000 reviews and offer 24/7 customer service
Furthermore, their Victoria day trip from Seattle package has received fantastic reviews from past customers on this platform.
In fact, as of the time of writing the experience has been granted a 4.5-star experience with over 360 reviews!
Don’t believe us? Well check out a few yourself in the snapshot below:
For more information, to check out some more reviews and receive a low-price guarantee click on the button below:
Victoria Day Trip Itinerary Ideas
The majority of Victoria’s top things to do can be found within walking distance of the Clipper Terminal.
You’ll instantly recognize the iconic Fairmont Empress Hotel, as well as the Provincial Legislature. But what is the best way to maximize your time in Victoria?
Well, if you’re truly looking at seeing as much as possible, I’d suggest a half-day Victoria Hop on Hop off tour. This allows you to cover 15 of Victoria’s top sites in one afternoon for as little as $40 USD.
But if you’d prefer the self-guided route, I’ll leave a few suggestions below:
Stop #1: Grab a Coffee or a Quick Lunch (1 hour)
If you’re looking for a quick bite, Red Fish Blue Fish offers some of the best fish and chips in town, smack dab in the heart of the Inner Harbour.
This outdoor pier-side eatery is just a 5-minute walk from Belleville Terminal. So you’ll find fantastic views of the Inner Harbour and a lightly battered halibut that’ll put England to shame.
If you’re looking for a more formal sit-down meal, the 10 Acres Bistro is a short stroll away on Courtenay St. They offer sustainable farm-to-table dining using only the finest local ingredients – always a crowd pleaser.
Related: The Best Places to Stay in Victoria
Stop #2: Breathe the Sea Air of Victoria’s Inner Harbour (1-2 hours)
During the summer months, the Inner Harbour is clearly Victoria’s beating heart. Here you’ll find festivals, buskers and the best people watching in town.
Not to mention, the area is home to the city’s most iconic buildings: the Empress Hotel and the British Columbia Parliament Buildings are automatic stops – as well as the Royal BC Museum and Miniature World.
If you’ve got the time, high tea at the Empress (three sittings a day, must be booked in advance) is one of the most prototypically Victoria experiences of all.
Stop #3A: Feel the History in Oldtown/Chinatown (2 hours)
Just north of the Inner Harbour you’ll find the neighbourhood of Old Town. The area is known for its colonial architecture, cobblestone streets and historic character. Today the area remains home to much of the city’s commercial core, Chinatown, and the Waterfront.
On a day trip to Victoria from Seattle, I’d recommend checking out Antique Row, a three-block section of Fort Street which houses dozens of antique and collectible shops. Or if you’re seeking an authentic Cowichan Sweater or indigenous art, a visit to Cowichan Trading Co. is a must.
Vibrant Bastion Square contains some of the finest restaurants, pubs, and cafes in Victoria – as well as a seasonal artisan market. And the area is also home home to North America’s second oldest Chinatown between the 5-600 block of Fisgaard Street.
Fan Tan Alley is likely the area’s most popular attraction. This quaint alleyway that houses a variety of restaurants, cafes and boutiques is considered to be North America’s narrowest street.
Related: The Best Victoria Seaplane Tours
#3B- Pick One of the Heavy Hitters (2.5-3 hours)
If you’re willing to forgo the culture of Oldtown and cut back a little on your time spent in the Inner Harbour you should still have plenty of time to partake in one of Victoria’s “big two” attractions – Butchart Gardens or a Victoria whale watching tour.
The whale watching tours depart from the heart of the Inner Harbour, right next to Belleville Terminal.
This will give you plenty of time to make it back in time from your 3 hour tour to catch your evening boat back to Seattle.
But perhaps the most quintessentially Victoria experience is a visit to world famous Butchart Gardens. Located 25 minutes north of town in the suburb of Brentwood Bay, this 55 acre botanical garden attracts over one million visitors a year.
Despite its location, shuttles are available from outside the Fairmont Empress Hotel. So if you manage to book your visit online in advance a trip is more than doable. You may even have time to pair your visit with a trip to nearby Butterfly Gardens.
Seattle to Victoria Day Trip FAQs
Can you do a day trip from Seattle to Victoria?
A day trip between Seattle and Victoria is easily doable. However, since the round-trip travel time using Canadian or American vehicle ferries may prove excessive, you’ll likely be better of leaving your vehicle at home.
Consequently, the most convenient and efficient manner of transportation between the cities are the Victoria Clipper and Seattle to Victoria seaplane. Both options transport you directly to Victoria’s Inner Harbour and should leave you with 5-7 hours to explore the Garden City.
How long is the ferry between Seattle and Victoria?
The voyage aboard the popular Victoria Clipper passenger ferry takes 2 hours and 45 minutes to travel between Pier 69 and Victoria’s Inner Harbour. The ferry travels north up Puget Sound through the Southern Gulf Islands before crossing the Salish Sea into Victoria.
What are the customs procedures when taking the Victoria Clipper?
Since you’ll be travelling between Canada and the United States, it will be necessary to pass through customs and border patrol at the border. As such, you will need one of the following travel documents:
- A Passport
- Passport Card
- Enhanced Driver License or an Enhanced ID Card (EDL/ID)
- NEXUS Card
When heading to Victoria you’ll be processed through Canadian Immigration and Customs upon arrival. However, when leaving for Seattle you’ll be required to pass through U.S. Immigration/Passport Control before departure. So be sure to give yourself plenty of time to clear customs before sailing time.
Still not sold on a Seattle to Victoria day trip?
I’ve done my best to get your Seattle to Victoria day trip in gear, but maybe you’ve still got a few questions.
If so, I’m always available in the comments below for custom travel advice whether it’s Seattle to Victoria or other destinations throughout British Columbia.
Enjoy your Victoria from Seattle day trip ⛴️