Getting to Salt Spring
There are three different ferry terminals on Salt Spring Island, all of them accessible for both walk-on passengers as well as vehicles.
**Located on the northwest side of the island, is the terminal that connects Salt Spring to Crofton on Vancouver Island. Crofton is located between Duncan and Nanaimo, the latter of which is also the location for the ferry to Horseshoe Bay, on the mainland, slightly north of Vancouver. Should you be arriving from this area of Vancouver Island, all places north of Nanaimo, or from the Horseshoe Bay area, the Crofton to Vesuvius Ferry is the best option for you to take. There are several sailings each day with a crossing time of only 25 minutes.
**On the east side of Salt Spring is the Long Harbour ferry terminal that facilitates travel to and from Tsawwassen, which is 39 km. south of downtown Vancouver. The sailings on this route are infrequent and varied with only two a day in the fall, winter and spring and usually one more added to the roster in the summer months. The sailing time depends on the particular routing chosen and averages between 1 hr and 30 min. on the direct route to 3+ hrs on the sailing that stops at a couple of the other Southern Gulf Islands. If your timing is flexible and you prefer to stay on the same ferry rather than have to change, as is the other option from Tsawwassen, you are sure to enjoy the spectacular scenery and amenities on this route. We recommend that you make a reservation on this ferry.
**The Fulford Harbour terminal is located at the south end of Salt Spring, and is a 14 km drive into Ganges, the main hub of the island. There are multiple sailings on this route and the most direct way to reach our island from Victoria or anywhere near it. If you are travelling from Vancouver or elsewhere on the mainland, this may also be the best route to choose if the times of the Tsawwassen to Long Harbour are not convenient. Should you choose this routing, you will want to request a Thru Fare ticket at the ticket booth. This route goes from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, a 1hr. and 35 minute crossing, and then a transfer in Swartz Bay to the Fulford Harbour ferry which is a 35 minute crossing. The Thru Fare ticket will save you money as opposed to paying for a separate fare on each route. * Take note: BC ferries will not offer a Thru Fare ticket for the final 2 sailings of the day from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay in the event that the sailing is delayed and the final 9 pm daily sailing to Fulford Harbour has already left.
*If you choose this route when leaving Salt Spring Island, there is no charge for the passage from our island to Swartz Bay. However, you must purchase a ticket in lounge 4 of the Fulford Harbour ferry which you will give to the ticket agent prior to purchasing your ticket to Tsawwassen. Only with this ticket will they grant you the discounted Thru Fare rate.
On this routing from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay and then on to the Fulford Harbour ferry, here is a bit more information: When you drive off the ferry in Swartz Bay you leave the terminal and drive down the (Pat Bay) Highway to the first right exit which is somewhat of a cloverleaf. You will follow the signs that take you back to the terminal and then head for the lane and the booth that says Salt Spring Island. If you have purchased a Thru Fare ticket, you need to show this to the agent at the ticket booth in order for her to calculate the balance owing. Be sure to take the correct lane to access the Salt Spring booth as in mid summer there will be line-up on the other ferry routes that you do not want to get stuck in. The Fulford ferry is busy as well in the summer, especially on a Saturday when many “day trippers” come over for our very popular Saturday Market. You should plan to arrive at least one hour ahead of time at the terminal, to ensure that you get on, and even longer on a Saturday.
The web address for B.C Ferries is: www.bcferries.com
**Travellers may also reach Salt Spring Island by seaplane. Both Harbour Air and Seair have scheduled, though infrequent, flights to Salt Spring from the river near Vancouver International Airport in Richmond. Harbour Air also offers service to Salt Spring from Coal Harbour in downtown Vancouver. All seaplanes arrive in the harbour in Ganges.
Seair Seaplane: www.seairseaplanes.com
Salt Spring Air /Harbour Air: www.saltspringair.com