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Suggestions for Driving holiday in West Canada

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Maitland, Australia
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Suggestions for Driving holiday in West Canada

We are at the very beginning stages of planning a month long trip to Canada (flying into either Vancouver or Cagary). We will be travelling in August/September 2013 (2 adults and our 10 year old daughter). We know that we want to visit the Canadian Rockies and specifically spend about 3 or 4 days in Whistler as my husband is an extreme mountain bike rider. Can anyone recommend some not to missed places to visit. At this stage we are considering British Columbia and Alberta, but would be interested is it is worth going futher east. Any information and advice would be greatly appreciated.

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Suggestions for Driving holiday in West Canada

I think sticking to BC and Alberta will be plenty.

I would look at spending a week to 10 days on Vancouver Island, with destinations like the Tofino/Pacific Rim area and also the north island with places like Campbell River and Port McNeil as possible destinations there. You could also look at some of the smaller Gulf Islands - Quadra, Hornby or Gabriola for example.

With mountain biking as a stated interest, then you should look at the Revelstoke area and the Kootenays - places like Nelson, Kaslo, New Denver.

Your daughter will love the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller, AB, and Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump in Fort McLeod, AB. You might also want to check out Barkerville Provincial Historic site in BC. People's routes don't often take them that far north, but its worth seeing if you do go that way.

Check out these places on the provincial tourism site (hellobc.com) but also do a search for the local tourism sites which can provide more detailed info on a particular area (eg, look up <Revelstoke tourism> to get the local tourism association website. Most of these will have a Things to Do list and you can check out the mountain biking options as well as other things that interest you.

You should also post in the Alberta forum (if you haven't done that already)

Happy planning. Should be a great trip.

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Suggestions for Driving holiday in West Canada

Depending on what you're looking for, I don't know that you'd want to head much further east than Alberta. It's not that there aren't interesting things to see there, but that you have to go a long way. Once you go east of Calgary it's prairie for days. This has it's own sort of novelty undoubtedly, but if you want to see a variety of things in your trip, I'd fly in to Calgary and head west.

Drumheller is always popular and, with a child on the trip, is probably worth a stop. Barkerville is petty neat and, again probably a great stop with the young one. Also, if you fly in to Calgary, go to Drumheller area and then to Barkerville (in BC), you can travel through Banff National Park to Jasper, Beautiful! From Barkerville, you could head further north if you've got lots of time, but I'd reccomend heading south through Kamloops to Kelowna and Penticton. Spend some time here - it's gorgeous. You might even want to think about renting a houseboat for a few nights on Okanagan Lake or in the Shuswap area. From there, you could head across to Whistler, via Lilloet or go through Vancouver up to Whistler. To avoid doubling back, I'd do the first.

From Whistler you could head south and, depending on time, visit the Sunshine coast before heading to Vancouver. Plan for a few days in Vancouver, then off to the Island. Apologies to the poster above, but if I was travelling as far as you for a month holiday in western Canada, I wouldn't devote a third of it to Vancouver island. Maybe a few days, but that'd be about it. Don't overestimate Vancouver. It's a beautiful city, but there's so much more to see in BC and so many of the smaller places are very interesting.

Long winded, but I hope that's some help.

Campbell River...
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3. Re: Suggestions for Driving holiday in West Canada

Vancouver Island is a great place to spend some time if you are coming to BC. There is plenty of opportunities for walking and hiking, whale watching, outdoor adventures, and mountain biking.

Coming late August/ early September is a great time to come to the North Island as the Salmon Run is going through. In Campbell River, this means you can go on a Snorkelling With the Salmon adventure with Destiny River Adventures, or you can even go on a Grizzly Bear tour which is great for all ages. For mountain biking, Mt. Washington and Snowden Demonstration Forest are great places to check out, and have actually become very popular places for the BC Bike Race!

Victoria, Canada
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4. Re: Suggestions for Driving holiday in West Canada

I like Callicles advice for a trip in Western Canada. I think Drumheller would be great for your daughter and the Calgary Zoo is wonderful! Probably spend the first 2 nights in Calgary, see the Zoo and the Calgary Tower, then head to Drumheller for the museum and 1 night. Then I would head to Jasper for 2 nights and spend at least 2 more somewhere in the parks. The Rockies are amazing, stop at Lake Louise or Lake Moraine or both! The scenery is breathtaking, waterfalls, wildlife, the Columbia Ice Field, my husband and I did it several years ago and look forward to going again with our son!

The Okanagan, is beautiful especialy in mid to late August if you like it hot, my choice would be Kelowna, its pretty central and you could do day trips to Vernon, and Penticton! I would spend 4 nights here to relax and soak up some sun,and touring around.

Then off to Whistler for another chunk of 4 days, again lots to do around here, hiking, beautiful scenery, etc.

I get why people would say come to Vancouver Island and certainly if you really want to, come, it is beautiful as well however, you have to add in the cost of a ferry both ways and if you chose to go on to any of the smaller islands that costs as well. Also to take the ferry is time consuming, you are looking at at least 2.5-3 hours with waiting for the ferry, loading, traveling and unloading. And if you are planning to go to the West Coast ie Tofino or Uclulet you are looking at about 2.5 hours from Nanaimo so remember when planning there is a lot of drive and ferry time when visiting the Island. If you choose to visit the island there are many beautiful, family friendly places and activities to do, it just depends on what you are interested in. CRivergirl made a lot of great suggestions. I would probably stick with a trip to Tofino for 2 nights, check out Cathedral Grove, and come to Victoria for 2 or 3 nights then back to Vancouver for a few days before heading home.

Looking at this, it's a lot of packing, driving, unpacking. Those are definately the highlights but you might want to just pick 3 or 4 places to stop and be your home base, doing only the things that really appeal to you and your family. I imagine it might be unsettling for your daughter all the moving place to place. Good luck.

Maitland, Australia
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5. Re: Suggestions for Driving holiday in West Canada

Thank you all for your imput. This gives me a great place to start. All much appreciated. We were a little unsure about Vancouver Island. Is it really worth the effort with all of the ferry times/waiting times etc. We were thinking of only doing a very short visit there - possibly a couple of nights in Victoria - would this be worth it, or are we wasting our time just doing that? I'm trying to knock the trip down to about 3 weeks now, to enable us to fly to LA and take my daughter to disneyland.

Victoria, Canada
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6. Re: Suggestions for Driving holiday in West Canada

With all the extra time, and expense, I would probably skip it. However if you've always wanted to come to Vancouver Island, come to Victoria for a night or 2. There is plenty to do and it is beautiful here. If you decide to come to the Island take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Duke Point as you return from Whistler, it will bring you just south of Nanaimo then you can drive to Victoria in just over an hour. You will drive through some very beautiful scenery including goldstream park. Also remember to make sure that you are not travelling the ferry on the first or last day of a long weekend. Try for a mid week day as there tends to be less chance of having a wait. You can always check the BC ferries website for times and busiest day to travel info. Victoria is small and fairly easy to navigate. To return to Vancouver you would take the Scwartz Bay Ferry which goes to Tswassen, an easy drive to the Airport or downtown Vancouver.

Victoria, Canada
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7. Re: Suggestions for Driving holiday in West Canada

With all the extra time, and expense, I would probably skip it. However if you've always wanted to come to Vancouver Island, come to Victoria for a night or 2. There is plenty to do and it is beautiful here. If you decide to come to the Island take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Duke Point as you return from Whistler, it will bring you just south of Nanaimo then you can drive to Victoria in just over an hour. You will drive through some very beautiful scenery including goldstream park. Also remember to make sure that you are not travelling the ferry on the first or last day of a long weekend. Try for a mid week day as there tends to be less chance of having a wait. You can always check the BC ferries website for times and busiest day to travel info. Victoria is small and fairly easy to navigate. To return to Vancouver you would take the Scwartz Bay Ferry which goes to Tswassen, an easy drive to the Airport or downtown Vancouver.

8. Re: Suggestions for Driving holiday in West Canada

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