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When is the best time to come to British Columbia/Alberta?

Suwanee, Georgia
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When is the best time to come to British Columbia/Alberta?

I am planning a 6-wk. driving trip across the northern U.S., B.C., and Alberta. I have a choice of the last 2 wks. of May and all of June or the last 2 wks. of July and all of August. I plan to go to Vancouver Island for a week and Banff for a week. I'm torn between May, when the gardens may be at their peak, or July, when the weather will be warmer and road conditions better. I welcome input on time, as well as "must-see" places.

The Butchart Gardens
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Vancouver
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1. Re: When is the best time to come to British Columbia/Alberta?

The closer you get to the west coast (vancouver) the weather will be a crap shoot. If it were me....I'd say mid to late july.

seattle
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2. Re: When is the best time to come to British Columbia/Alberta?

late may can be good for the West but too early in the rockies. I'm going to Banff 5-20 but would still expect, Moraine, Peyto and other lakes to still be frozen. By early june that would be ok depending on when you go to BC vs Banff. If not I'd pick the later dates as well.

Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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3. Re: When is the best time to come to British Columbia/Alberta?

May/June is a cheaper time of year to come to the Rockies (and most places in BC and Alberta), because it is the shoulder season. July/August is peak season for tourism, therefore busier and more expensive.

I presume the gardens you want to see are on Vancouver Island - here in Jasper, our gardening season's reliable frost-free date is sometime the first week of June, so the gardening season is just beginning!

If you are planning on hiking at all in the Rockies, July & August is better than May and June.

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: When is the best time to come to British Columbia/Alberta?

Weatherwise, I vote for late July and into early August. Crowdswise, September.

Port Moody, Canada
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for Vancouver, British Columbia
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5. Re: When is the best time to come to British Columbia/Alberta?

ditto Vancouverite..Late August early September would be my absolute first pick..other wise late July and into August.. just be sure to prebook accommodation in places like Banff and Jasper.

Re: gardens.. July and August will still be wonderful and the fruit will be ripe ..... cherries in Creston in late July are an absolute Must

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: When is the best time to come to British Columbia/Alberta?

If weather is the defining factor and heat is not a bother, another vote for late July/early August. (For many years, I worked with someone who every year took his holidays during the first three weeks in August because he was convinced that it had always been, historically, the best three weeks over the summer.)

For some of us, however, the heat of those months is a bit of a deterrent. (All right, we know it's all relative and that, while some of us wiimps on the west coast are feeling uncomfortable with a string of days over 30 degrees celsius, eastern Canada is coping with days nearing 40+ degrees celsius after the humidex is considered). However, the "stinging" heat tends to dissipate after about mid-August and the light becomes less harsh and more golden as August continues and September begins. For that reason, late August/early September can be a wonderful time for travelling.

As to crowds, however, while the families with school kids are no longer a factor after Labour Day, a different demographic starts its travels at that point. We often travel during September and have been surprised at the number of people "on the road".

Note that, after about mid-September, the weather can become increasingly unreliable.

Sechelt, BC
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7. Re: When is the best time to come to British Columbia/Alberta?

Another July and August vote here. Summer in BC always makes me want to go on road trips. Best time for us to be tourists in our home province.

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: When is the best time to come to British Columbia/Alberta?

School's out here between July 1st (Canada Day) and first Tues in September (Labour Day) and this will be our busy time with families on their summer vacation. But we will likely get good weather, in fairly stable doses, in August and September.

Look into booking accommodation in advance rather than expecting to show up and get something.

Your question about "must sees" is getting lost in all the weather talk. Have a look at:

www.hellobc.com

and read up on a few things for the BC part of your stay. Then give us a new question to help you with all that.

Suwanee, Georgia
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9. Re: When is the best time to come to British Columbia/Alberta?

@Itchyfeet9090--I had to smile when you wrote about the heat. I live in Atlanta, and we just had weather this past weekend in the 80s F. Summer begins here mid-late May. I learned from last summer's trip to the US Rockies that weather is important in regards to how much time can be spent outdoors and what to pack. As much as I like the frozen stuff, we had plenty of it down here this past winter, so I'm ready for some nice mid 70sF weather for strolling along lakes.

To make it easier to comment on "must sees," let me say that I am a 63 yr. old female traveling solo via car. I will enter Canada via ferry to Victoria, where I plan to spend 4 nights, doing day trips. Then I plan to move to (oh shoot, I can't remember its name) where I can take ferries to some of the smaller islands and then over to Vancouver. I plan to spend a few nights at that stop and again do day trips northward. My interests are farmers' markets, antiques, artisan cheeses, scenery, photography, culture, and the arts. I'm not a hiker and the smallest boat I want to be on is a ferry or tour boat! LOL! I loved the wildlife of the US Rockies and hope to see examples of Canadian wildlife as well. I hope that clarifies a bit what I mean by "must sees."

Thanks to all for your generous input.

Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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10. Re: When is the best time to come to British Columbia/Alberta?

Twigged by your mention of "artisan cheeses" - be sure to stop off at the Village Cheese Co. in Armstrong, BC - http://www.villagecheese.com/ . We stopped there on a road trip through BC and enjoyed watching the cheese being made. They have lots of samples out to try, and we had a really hard time limiting how much we bought because it was all so good!