Maps
A ferry on the water in front of large mountains behind it

Getting Here & Around

Visitors to BC Can Arrive by Air, Road, Rail, or Ferry

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Air

Vancouver International Airport is the main gateway to British Columbia, and there are dozens of smaller airports throughout the province. Seaplane and helicopter service is available along the coast, and seaplanes fly to many remote lakes. BC’s major airlines are:

 

Rail

VIA Rail operates two routes from the coast to the Canadian Rockies, one starting in Vancouver, the other in Prince Rupert.

Rocky Mountaineer offers three scenic routes from Vancouver to Jasper and Banff in the Canadian Rockies. 

Amtrak operates a scenic rail journey to Vancouver, passing through multiple cities in Washington, USA, including Portland and Seattle.

Ferries

BC Ferries, serving almost 50 ports of call, is the province’s main provider of ferry service. Access Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, the Sunshine Coast, Haida Gwaii, and other coastal communities on their fleet of 35 car-accessible vessels.

The BC Government provides free passenger/vehicle ferry service via Inland Ferries across lakes and rivers that are not spanned by bridges. And water taxis provide access to many remote islands and inlets along the coast. They also ferry people short distances in waterfront cities and towns, such as Vancouver and Victoria.

Enjoying the sun deck aboard BC Ferries | BC Ferries

New BC Ferries Saver Fare

This summer, travel for less on BC Ferries’ new BC Ferries Saver fare from $49 for a standard vehicle and driver, including a free reservation. Saver fares are available on select sailings on routes between Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island.

Save Now

Buses

Metro Vancouver’s buses, SkyTrain, SeaBus, and the West Coast Express commuter train are operated by Translink. Visit the Translink Customer Service Centre at Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver to purchase transit tickets, get wayfinding advice, and more. The rest of the province is the domain of BC Transit

Pacific Coach connects Vancouver and Whistler, and Vancouver International Airport and Victoria; the BC Ferries Connector joins downtown Vancouver to downtown Victoria; and Vancouver Island Connector & Tofino Bus services a number of communities on Vancouver Island. On northern Vancouver Island, Waivin Flags operates between Campbell River and Port Hardy.

During the ski season, SNOWBUS provides daily service between Vancouver International Airport and Whistler, with pick-up and drop-off points in Vancouver and North Vancouver. 

For those travelling greater distances, Rider Express connects communities between Vancouver and Calgary; Mountain Man Mike’s Bus Service runs from Vancouver to Kaslo, and Kaslo to Calgary with many stops along the way; Ebus travels between Vancouver and Prince George and serves communities in the central and north Okanagan; Silver City Stagelines, based in Trail, operates between the Nelson/Castlegar/Trail area and Kelowna with many additional stops; Adventure Charters operates in the Williams Lake area; and BC Bus North covers communities in Northern BC.

Highways

BC has a well-maintained network of highways and roads with good signage, making road trips an ideal way to see the province. Car rental companies are conveniently located at or near most airports, and in larger communities. RV travel is also popular here, and many campgrounds offer RV-specific accommodation with hook-ups and other amenities. The majority of RVs do not require a special license to drive or tow.

Here are some resources if you are going to be driving in BC:

  • Visit ICBC to get familiar with BC’s driving rules and regulations as well as insurance coverage for your vehicle.
  • Consult DriveBC for up-to-date information about road conditions and closures.
  • Plan ahead with BCAA’s Ultimate Guide to Safe Road-Tripping in BC, including helpful resources such as the BCAA vehicle checklist, how to pack for an emergency, and more.
  • Highways outside of Metro Vancouver and Southeast Vancouver Island require winter tires from October 1 to March 31. Visit Shift Into Winter for more information on winter driving in BC.

For information about rules and regulations, see our Need to Know page.

Electric Vehicles

B.C. has an extensive network of charging stations to meet the needs of visitors with electric vehicles. This provides drivers with a large choice of conveniently placed stations province-wide. Go Electric BC provides information on the location of public charging stations along highways, and in communities throughout the province, making it easy to explore B.C. in an electric vehicle.

To save time when charging your vehicle, it is recommended that you register for one or more charging networks before your journey. Most stations can be activated through your mobile phone or a membership card provided by the network.

Visit the PlugShare website and keep the app on your mobile device so that you can plan your charging stops. Signage at the charging stations will also provide instructions and customer support information.

Currently, there are six main networks in British Columbia:

* Networks that are interoperable with each others’ mobile app.

Travelling through B.C. in an electric vehicle is fun for everyone in your family. This has been captured in a newly released colouring book – Sunny and Zip’s BC Adventure.

Before you travel to B.C. you can also apply for a free decal which allows electric vehicles to access the high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes in B.C. regardless of the number of people in the car. When applying for the decal, please allow up to four weeks for processing.

For current road conditions, visit Drive BC. For information about rules and regulations, see our Need to Know page.

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