But first you have to get there.
Victoria, B.C., is so close yet so far. It's going to take you about six hours from Everett, no matter how you shake it.
It depends how you want to shake it and where you want to shake it from.
Vessels from Seattle or Port Angeles deliver you to the Inner Harbour in the heart of downtown Victoria. You can hop off the boat and, after customs gives you the nod, bop over to The Fairmont Empress for a splash of tea.
The car ferries from terminals in Anacortes and across the border in Delta, B.C., deposit you in Sidney ports, a 16- or 20-mile commute by car or bus to downtown Victoria.
Once you get there, you won't want to leave.
To get to Victoria
The Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal is about 25 miles from the U.S. / Canada Peace Arch border post. The ferry goes to Swartz Bay Terminal in Sidney, about 20 miles from downtown Victoria.
The Tsawwassen terminal is a bustling marketplace with shops and restaurants. Park the car in line and partake.
More fun awaits on the ferry. It has that oceanliner feel. One ship, the Spirit of Vancouver Island, is a 550-foot vessel with the capacity for 2,100 people. Amenities include a buffet, shops, kids' play areas and a quiet lounge.
One-way passenger fare for adults is $15.50. Vehicle fare starts at $51.50. Debit cards not accepted.
Paid parking is available at the terminal.
For more information, call 888-223-3779 or go to www.bcferries.com.
WASHINGTON STATE FERRY
The state ferry departs from Anacortes and goes through the San Juan Islands, ending in a Sidney, B.C., port about 16 miles from downtown Victoria. Sailing time is about three hours, with stops at several San Juan terminals.
Note: The ferry to Sidney ends Jan. 11 and starts up at the end of March.
One-way adult walk-on fare is $18.70, off season. Vehicle fare is $49.85 including driver.
For more information, call 888-808-7977 or go to www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries.
BLACK BALL FERRY
The MV Coho ferry from Port Angeles to the Victoria, B.C., is a 90-minute voyage across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Paid parking is available for walk-on riders.
The Coho is named after the silver salmon found in British Columbia and Washington waters. Amenities include a gift shop and cafeteria. Duty-free products are sold on the ship.
Ferry runs are one to three times daily, depending on season.
Note: Ferry does not run Jan. 20 through Feb. 5, 2014.
One-way adult passenger fares are $17. Vehicle fare is $60.50 including driver. Vacation packages available.
Passengers get free round-trip fare for travel initiated on their birthdays, but can return any day.
For more information, call 888-993-3779 or go to www.cohoferry.com.
The passenger-only ferry goes from Seattle to Victoria Harbor.
The 2- to 3-hour cruise has meal baskets and duty-free shop on board.
Departs from Pier 69 in Seattle.
Round-trip adult tickets start at $101. Vacation packages available.
For more information, call 800-888-2535 or go to www.clippervacations.com.
Andrea Brown; 425-339-3443; firstname.lastname@example.org
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