Getting to Salt Spring Island...
Salt Spring Air
A few important notes about BC Ferry Travel
Ferry travel during the busy summer months can be quite hectic for the traveller who hasn't planned in advance.
During peak travel times - especially on the ferry sailings betweeen Long Harbour and Tsawassen, and vice versa - it's not uncommon for most of the available space on a sailing to have been previously booked, thereby relegating those travellers without reservations to "stand by" status.
To reserve space for people and/or vehicles on those routes where reservations are accepted call BC Ferries at 1 888 BCFERRY or visit their website:
From Vancouver Island:
1.) Swartz Bay to Fulford Harbour
Swartz Bay is a 30 minute drive (30km/19 miles) north of Victoria, or a 10 minute drive (10km/6 miles) from Victoria International Airport or Sidney.
This is usually the busiest ferry connection to Salt Spring Island, so arrive at least half an hour before departure during peak travel times (weekends and morning & evening commute during the week) to ensure you get on board.
This route usually has sailings every two hours with a crossing time of 35 minutes; reservations are not accepted for this route.
2.) Crofton to Vesuvius
Crofton is about a 20 minute drive (16km/10 miles) north of Duncan, or a 45 minute drive (40km/25 miles south of Nanaimo.
Ferry sailings on this route are usually an hour apart, with a crossing time of 20 minutes; reservations are not accepted for this route.
1.) Tsawassen (south of Vancouver, BC) to Long Harbour (Salt Spring Island, BC)
If you want to "cruise" the Gulf Islands on the way to Salt Spring Island, then this is the ferry to catch (it's usually just as quick, or quicker than the other routes, and saves you from driving and/or transferring between a larger ferry and a smaller one).
Reservations are highly recommended for this route...
2.) Horseshoe Bay (near West Vancouver, BC) to Departure Bay (Nanaimo, BC)
After getting off the ferry in Nanaimo you'll need to get to Crofton which is about a 45 minute drive south of Nanaimo (40km/25 miles) to catch the Crofton to Vesuvius ferry (see above).
3.) Tsawassen (south of Vancouver, BC) to Swartz Bay (near Sidney, BC)
If you plan on traveling this route, and making a connection to Salt Spring Island the same day then ask for a "thru-fare" ticket to Fulford Harbour when purchasing your tickets in Tsawassen as it will reduce the overall cost of your ferry travel.
Reservations are recommended for the Tsawassen to Swartz Bay portion of this trip.
Ferry sailings on this route are usually an hour apart, with a crossing time of 1 hour and 35 minutes.
After disembarking from the "big" ferry in Swartz Bay you'll need to catch the smaller ferry to Fulford Harbour (see above).
To do this, exit the terminal and proceed to the first highway exit on your right (Wain Rd., about 1km/0.6 miles) and follow the signs directing you back to the ferry terminal.