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Planning August trip - where to start??

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Austin, Texas
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Planning August trip - where to start??

I am planing an August trip with my moyther (mid-60s) and niece and nephew who are teenagers. There have been some great deals on airfare to Seattle. What I have been thinking about is flying into Seattle, then driving to Vancouver and spending about 6 days in the area.

I would appreciate it if anyone could provide suggestions on an itinerary and some sights to see.

Is Banff out of questions due to time? Is it worth staying in Whistler or Victoria fotr a few days?

I am at a loss as to how to start planing this itinerary......

London, Canada
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1. Re: Planning August trip - where to start??

I think you would have to pick either Victoria/Vancouver area or Vancouver/Kelowna/Banff due to time.

There is a ferry that can take you from Seattle to Victoria.

You can see my go list on Victoria for a list of sight seeing.

tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i11843-Victoria…

6 days to spend in Victoria, maybe go to Tofino and Vancouver would be feasible. You could do Whistler as a day trip from Vancouver.

Please keep in mind that driving time from Vancouver to Banff is about 7-8 hours. Not impossible but lots of driving. Question would be then do you want to spend 2 days driving and only 4 days vacationing or rather do less driving and do more sightseeing ?

Depends how much driving you want and enjoy doing.

Normally you need a little more time for that type of trip or get a flight to Calgary to minimize the driving times. (Calgary-Banff 1.5 drive)

Decide which pace you want for your party then choose your destination and research the attractions you want to see.

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Planning August trip - where to start??

Hi,

I agree with Canuckgirl about the choose either Victoria/Van or Van/Kelowna/Banff.

While there are probably some nice guided bus tours to Banff from Vancouver, and the drive is really spectacular, I think you would probably get tired trying to do it all.

Whistler is so beautiful in the summer, I don't think you would feel you missed out on going to Banff if you spend some time in Whistler. You can do Whistler in a day, but I think staying over night, even two nights, is really nice. You can relax, not worry about getting up there and down in a day, plus evenings are great, sit out on a patio and lounge in the fresh mountain air. You'll want to have time to take a gondola up to the peak and have lunch and walk around. Plus, if you golf or like any sort of outdoors sports, you'll find something to keep you busy for a while. The kids might like to go white water rafting or, if they're brave, rent bikes and ride down the mountain. Some experience would be a good idea. There may still be skiing on the glacier as well.

Your mother will like Victoria, the Butchart gardens (though I've never been myself, everyone says they are great) and the ferry ride across. Or, you can take the ferry direct from Seattle like Canuckgirl said. Or, a sea plane from downtown Vancouver will have you in downtown Victoria in 20 minutes. Great views.

In Vancouver: most visitors go to Granville Island, which is just a market and shops and art and restaurants, a cool place to be for a couple of hours. You can go up Grouse mountain on the gondola and walk around up there...last time i was there they had a few grizzly bear orphans in captivity, not sure if they are still there. Gastown is the historic part of Vancouver, worth a walk through. So is Stanley Park if they have cleaned up all the fallen trees after the huge storms this winter. For me, Vancouver in August is about water sports and the beach, so I don't spend a lot of time indoors, plus it's hard for locals to know what exactly tourists want to see, but any tourist information desk should hook you up. Or a more savvy tripadvisor member.

Have fun here, it's a good place to relax.

Austin, Texas
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3. Re: Planning August trip - where to start??

Wow! what wonderful responses. I think we will be much happier intaking a slow pce and not going to Banff.

From you both say, it sounds like our best bet would be to stay in Vancouver or Victoria for afew days then stay in Whistler for a few days.

Now, I have a second question.... Would it be more cost effective to take the ferry and rent a car in Canada or rent in Seattle and drive?

I am really starting to get excited about this trip.I live in Texas so it will be scorching hot and I am really looking forward to some cool aie. Any idea what the temperature will be like?

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Planning August trip - where to start??

Hmm, temperature in August. It's hard to really nail down, but you can bet it will be cooler than Texas. August is our nicest month, less likely to rain than other months. Usually, which is hard to say with global warming messing up the weather, usually, August is between 25 and 30 degrees celcius, sunny, and if you're near the water, a nice breeze. So, nice and warm, but not really hot. Evenings will cool down and be comfortable. Whistler has a different climate and it will still be warm in the day, probably not as warm as Vancouver, and cooler at night. Victoria is usually the same as Vancouver.

I'm not sure about the renting a car thing. It would be worth checking with a rental car company to see how they are with you taking an American rental car over the border. They may charge you more, or have some restrictions. Some companies don't allow it.

If you're definitely going to Victoria anyway, I would look into going on the ferry as walk on passengers, which is way cheaper than taking a vehicle, and then, as long as everyone is able and mobile, just walk everywhere in Victoria. The downtown and waterfront area is small, very walkable, and you don't really need a car there. To get out to the gardens or something, you could take a cab or there are probably shuttle buses from the larger hotels. You'd have to look into that of course, or maybe someone else on this site knows.

Then, to get from Victoria to Vancouver, the PCL (Pacific Coach Lines) bus takes you from downtown Victoria to the ferry, on the ferry, and then to various locations in Vancouver, ending up downtown. The fare includes the bus and the ferry. It's an easy way to do it. Or, like I said, there's the float plane.

Once you're in Vancouver, you can get a car for the trip to Whistler and anywhere else you want to go.

Of course, I'm speaking as a single person, you may find it is more ecnomical to rent the car in Seattle, even if there is a higher fee, especially if you have to get back to Seattle. You don't say if you're flying back out of Seattle, but if you are, I'm not sure how you were planning to get back if you don't have a car. There are buses (Quick Coach) that go from downtown Vancouver to the Seattle airport, but it's not cheap.

Hope that helps. :-)

Vancouver
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5. Re: Planning August trip - where to start??

I agree with previous comments - I think you might be trying to 'bite off more than you can chew' attempting Banff. Stick with Victoria/Vcr/Whistler area - so much to see and do. You should be able to rent a car at Seattle airport for trip north to Vcr. Yes, you can take ferries/bus, etc., if you don't want to be driving, but keep in mind you'll have to allow a bit extra time, and possibly lugging around luggage, so a car will likely give you more flexibility and time options.

Austin, Texas
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6. Re: Planning August trip - where to start??

Thanks everyone for your replies.......

It sounds like, for the sake of convienance I might rent the car in Seattle (yes, we will bre flying out of Seattle back home) and drive up and around and back.

Last year we went to Europe and I found out what it is like to lug luggage around and it was not fun. And knowing my niece, she will get tired and refulse to go a step further. HA!

25 to 30c translates into about 77 - 86......OMG! that is going to be like be at home in the A/C. WOW!!!!!! I am really excited now. Its going to be terrible coming home to the heat.

Where would you sugest staying? Vancouver and take a day trip to Victoria or vice versa?

Tucson, AZ
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7. Re: Planning August trip - where to start??

Stay in Vancouver. Your niece and nephew will find it much livelier, especially at night. But you might want to consider doing one night in Victoria, either right after arriving in Seattle or just before your return. If you look at a map, you will see that, as the crow flies, Victoria is a bit closer to Seattle than Vancouver. One reason you might want to spend a little more time in Victoria is that the Royal BC Museum is hosting the traveling exhibit of Titanic artifacts. It's a ticketed exhibition, so if that interests you, you might want to book in advance at www.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/titanic/default.aspx.

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: Planning August trip - where to start??

Just one more thing about the ferry to Victoria, at least from Vancouver. They recently started offering people the opportunity to make a reservation on the ferry, for a fee. (http://bcferries.ca/) In the summer, traffic is high and it is sometimes hard to get on a ferry during peak times. You don't want to be stuck waiting for a ferry, it will be at least an hour's wait. I would strongly suggest that you look into making a reservation. Your route is from the mainland to Vancouver Island. You will be going from Tsawassen to Swartz Bay. The trip is an hour and a half on the ferry and about a 30 minute drive from Swartz Bay to Victoria itself. Going to Victoria for the day is a long day, but doable. You'll just be really tired when you get back to Vancouver.

As for where to stay in Vancouver, downtown will be the most interesting and central. The West End is quieter and near the beach and one of the entrances to Stanley Park. Check out the Empire Landmark hotel on Robson St. It's not a bad hotel, rates are reasonable, and it's in a good location...near downtown, but not right in the middle, a nice walk either into the park or to the beach, and close to loads of restaurants and cafes, and a public market. You can even walk to the beach and catch the aquaferry over to Granville Island (a little ten person ferry). Have breakfast at DeDutch Pannekoek restaurant across from the hotel, or go to Denman St. and walk north (towards mountains) for Musashi sushi for dinner, or south about 5 blocks for gelato at Marios (I think that is what it is called).

I think you've probably got more than enough info now :-) By the way, sorry for the longish posts, I'm in the arctic right now, and I'm a little bored.

Los Angeles...
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9. Re: Planning August trip - where to start??

We've never had a problem renting a car in Seattle to use while we are in Seattle. Just be aware that the border wait to get back inot Seattle can be a nightmare on Sundays.

You can find some great deals for whistler in the summer time (we will be up this August as well). Personally, I always find Whistler to be a little warmer than Vancouver in the summer.

Austin, Texas
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10. Re: Planning August trip - where to start??

Thank all of you for your resonses. Now another question (yes I am full of them).

How does an itinerary of the following sound:

Arrive Seattle Aug 8. ferry to Victoria

Aug 9 - Victoria - Titanic visit am; possible whale trip

Aug 10 - Vanouver - do something to be determined later

Aug 11 - Vancouver - do something to be determined later

Aug 12Whislter - do something to be determined later

Aug 13 Whislter - do something to be determined later

Aug 14 - get back to Seattle

Aug 15 come home

I know there are ferries and buses and coaches and alot of other means of transportation. BUt what would work the best with the itinerary above........ HELP! I think I make this more difficult than it really is. I am also trying to be as cost effect as I can.

Oh! one more thing.....I live in a big city so I am not sure I want to stay in Vancouver is there anywhere near that might be worth stayting in? I am really wanting some relaxation and to get out of the city as much as I can.