Best United States-Canada Border Route

You may choose different ways to cross the United States-Canada border. However, the best United States-Canada border route is not by land. It is by sea. So, take the Washington State ferry. Take it between Sydney, BC and Anacortes, Washington. You may need more time. But, relax. Put your smart phone down. Enjoy the scenery. And, enrich your soul.

Best United States-Canada Border Route is by Sea

First, plan ahead. The route is summer-only. Consequently, check the ferry schedule.

Best United States-Canada Border Route Ferries
Popular ferry route

Route Tips

Here are basic tips to ensure a great experience.

  • If you are driving, make a ferry reservation. This is a popular route. So, don’t take chances with standby.
  • Bring food or stalk the chowder line. Hungry ferry passengers snap up galley food! Because hunger pangs struck us, I had to stalk the chowder line until they served a new batch.
  • Bring your camera. You pass gorgeous scenery. You may even see a whale. Furthermore, if you have a DSLR, bring your zoom lens.
  • Be on deck for the Friday Harbor passenger drop. Because, you get great photo opportunities.
  • Enjoy the fresh air. Sea air is the best. However, it can be brisk. Perhaps bracing. Bring a jacket.
Best United States-Canada Border Route Friday Harbor Drop-ooff
Friday Harbor passenger drop-off
Best United States-Canada Border Route Friday Harbor
Sailboat at Friday Harbor

Alternative Trips

Sailing from Anacortes to Friday Harbor, and back, has advantages. Park your car at Anacortes. Then, walk on the ferry. Additionally, you do not need reservations. Numerous restaurants are walkable from the Friday Harbor dock. And, you avoid the car lines loading and unloading the ferry. Probably, three hours is sufficient to get a flavor for the town.

Prepared for Beauty Addiction

This trip can cause a happy problem. Because, you will see amazing beauty. Consequently, you may struggle to return home. Or, return to your daily grind.

Related Trips

Finally, if you are still hungry for this type of experience see Nanaimo Natural Gateway.

About Me

Falling Toward Port Hardy

After spending the night in Nanaimo, we continued our Vancouver Island journey. We love visiting waterfalls. Consequently, falling toward Port Hardy seemed like a great idea. As a result, I targeted Englishman River Falls and Elk Falls. Both are BC provincial parks.

Road Trip – Falling Toward Port Hardy

Friday morning, I drank my espresso (a must!) in downtown Nanaimo. I like trying local coffee shops. So, this time, I chose Perkins Coffe Company. We then began our road trip toward the north end of Vancouver Island. I was not sure what to expect. However,we liked driving the divided, easy southern portion of highway. Drives like a freeway.

Englishman River Falls

We took our first detour off BC-19Englishman River Falls is a peaceful, wooded park with easy hiking. So, Dinah and I hiked several of the short trails.

Falling Toward Port Hardy - Englishman River Falls
Englishman River Falls

I love old growth trees. However, much of Vancouver Island is logged. This park has numerous old growth trees. I am amazed at their size.

Falling Toward Port Hardy - Old Growth Trees
Old Growth Trees

Waterfalls mean mountain streams.  Englishman River Falls is no different. I found one spot with numerous cairns.

Falling Toward Port Hardy - Cairns at Englishmen River Falls
Cairns at Englishmen River Falls

Elk Falls

Because of hiking, our breakfast quickly disappeared. We were ready for lunch. Dinah and I stopped for lunch at the Spice Hut in Campbell River. We can’t turn down Indian food. After calorie intake, we were ready for another hike.

Elk Falls is unique because of a relatively new suspension bridge. The Campbell River Rotary Club sponsored the bridge. The bridge is stable. But, if you fear heights, you may not want to cross it.

Falling Toward Port Hardy - Elk Falls Suspension Bridge
Elk Falls Suspension Bridge

Elk River produces hydroelectric power. As such, the water flumes made for an interesting shot.

Falling Toward Port Hardy - Elk River Water Flumes
Elk River Water Flumes

Falling Toward Port Hardy – Two Lanes and No Cell Coverage

Leaving Campbell River meant a two-lane road and no cell coverage. So, I resorted to old school navigation.

Arriving at Port Hardy

Port Hardy is a small town. We stayed at a First Nations hotel, Kwa’lilas.  We like to vacation until we drop. In contrast to our sentiment, tiredness took over. So, we ate dinner at the hotel and got some sleep!

Falling Toward Port Hardy - Totem Pole
Port Hardy Totem Pole

Remoteness Defined – Port Alice

Port Alice intrigued me. It is 52 km from Port Hardy. The main highway turn-off sign promised a lot of activities. So, we decided to try it. Asphalt pavement, instead of gravel, tilted the decision to a go. However, it is a very quiet town with little to do. I took some nice photos. And then, we headed back to the main road.

Falling Toward Port Hardy - Port Alice
Port Alice

I did manage to find an old boat to contrast with the inlet.

Falling Toward Port Hardy - Port Alice

I snapped this photo on the road back from Port Alice.

Falling Toward Port Hardy

Heading South Toward Civilization

We made our way south. Falling Toward Port Hardy become falling south. Again, breakfast seem to disappear quickly. Consequently, I could not wait to get into cell coverage and begin the restaurant search. We settled on the Ideal Cafe in Campbell River. Nothing exotic for me, this time. I had scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, and toast.

We ended our day in Courtenay, staying at the Old House Hotel and Spa. We walked about 10 blocks on an 80 degree afternoon to downtown Courtenay. As a result, I treated myself to an Hoyne ESB beer. Dinner followed at Billy D’s Pub.

Tomorrow, we need to be at the Sydney ferry dock to catch the 5:55 pm ferry back to Anacortes, Washington.