Get your open-water fix, fast and cheap, from an all-day ferry trip amid breaching orcas to a 10-minute ride on California's last family-owned operation
Onboard: The 315-mile route from Port Hardy, on the northern tip of Vancouver Island, to Prince Rupert, in northern B.C., is the same one that Alaskan cruise liners follow. And B.C. Ferries’ newest vessel, the Northern Expedition, offers a decidedly cruise-ship-like experience: 55 staterooms, buffet with linen napkins, and a lounge with plush recliners stationed by picture windows. Skip the ship’s movie theater and watch the nature show outside: rain-forest islands, white-sand beaches, snow-clad peaks, orcas, porpoises, and bald eagles.
On land: Spend a few days poking around Rupert, with its small inns and cafes. From $187 U.S./person plus $425 U.S./vehicle; bcferries.com