The Coast-Vancouver Island Circle Tour is a popular way to see visit some areas of southwestern British Columbia that you might otherwise not visit. It takes you to towns and villages in BC's Sunshine Coast and along the eastern side of Vancouver Island.
This Circle Tour was created by BC Ferries to increase ridership on the Powell River–Comox ferry route. BC Ferries offers self-drive packages to Bella Coola which include hotel, return ferry, and an eco-rafting trip or grizzly bear tour. Tours include a ferry trip through glacial fjords between Port Hardy and Bella Coola into the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest. In Bella Coola, you can observe grizzly bears in their natural habitat, take an eco-rafting tour, or hike to one of the many alpine lakes to discover spectacular lookouts.
Other activities you can enjoy include salmon and trout fishing, a river tour of Atnarko and Bella Coola rivers, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, and discovering First Nations culture, heritage and artifacts.
Six-night packages include hotels and ferry tickets, and start at $1155 per person (tax included, based on double occupancy) as of 2020.
Eco-rafting tour is included for travel from mid-June 10 to mid-August, and the grizzly bear tour is included for travel from mid-August 15 to late October.
The most common location to start this trip is in Vancouver. However, it is possible to start at any point along the trip.
From 1 Vancouver you travel across the scenic Lions' Gate Bridge to 2 West Vancouver on the North Shore and continue along the highway to 1 Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal where you will catch the 40-minute ferry to 2 Langdale on the Sunshine Coast. It is about a 90-minute drive to the Earls Cove ferry terminal, but it is worth visiting 3 Gibsons and 4 Sechelt as well as some of the many parks in the area. From 3 Earls Cove you will take a 50-minute ferry across the Jervis Inlet to 4 Saltery Bay and continue north to 5 Powell River.
From Powell River the ferry leaves at the Westview dock and goes to 6 Comox and 7 Courtenay where you can take either the more scenic Old Island Highway or the faster Inland Island Highway south towards 8 Qualicum Beach and 9 Parksville.
The next major town you will come to is 10 Nanaimo you can return to the Lower Mainland at either 5 Departure Bay (to Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver) or 6 Duke Point (to Tsawwassen in Delta). However, most travellers will be interested in continuing on to 11 Victoria. From Victoria, travel north to 12 Sidney and then take the ferry from 7 Swartz Bay to 8 Tsawwassen.