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Vancouver/Vancouver Island

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New Jersey
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Vancouver/Vancouver Island

I have been spending the last few days planning a summer trip. We enjoy tide pools, beautiful scenery, and wildlife. Right now it looks like:

Day 1 arrive in Vancouver and drive to Whistler

Day 2 visit Garibaldi Park drive to Nanaimo

Day 3 explore Qualicum Beach drive toTofino

Day 4 explore Long Beach (Pacific Rim Natl Park) drive to Courtenay

Day 5 Drive to Port McNeil

Day 6 Whale watching and drive back to Courtenay

Day 7 Drive back to Vancouver through Powell River

Any comments?

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Vancouver/Vancouver Island

My thoughts are that you're cramming way too much into your time frame. You won't see anything, or at least you won't be doing any place justice. Either take out something or add an extra week, or at least an extra 3-5 days.

Day 1 arrive in Vancouver. Period.

Day 2 Drive to Whistler. Spend all day at Garibaldi Park.

Day 3 Drive from Whistler to Horseshoe Bay (2 hours), ferry to Nanaimo (2 hours), drive from Nanaimo to Tofino (3+ hours).

Day 4 explore Long Beach (Pacific Rim Natl Park), Wickanninish Beach, etc.

Day 5 explore Pacific Rim National Park - whale watching, hot springs cove, kayaking to Meares Island (or split these activities with day 4)

Day 6 Tofino for most of the the day then drive back to Nanaimo (3 hours) or Victoria (5 hours)

Day 7 Ferry back to Vancouver (2 hours)

Edited: 04 February 2010, 02:11
Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Vancouver/Vancouver Island

I will assume that you have 6 nights for those 7 days.

Here's another idea for your consideration because you have a great deal of travel in your itinerary. For example, your plans for Day 7 involve 6 hours driving and 3 ferries, with their respective wait times.

Night 1 Whistler. You can certainly get a 6 hour non stop flight (from Newark) that would get you to YVR by 11 am or noon. Allow 45 min to do the Customs/carousel dance and an hour to get your car. You might be in pretty good travel shape and could consider driving to Whistler by dinner. It's a 90 min - 2 hour drive.

Night 2 Nanaimo. For Garibaldi Park, you could be selective about which access point you would choose to explore the park from, spend a half day and then get to Nanaimo for the night.

Night 3-5 Long Beach. Drive to and stay in the Tofino area.

Night 6 Vancouver. Drive from Tofino through Nanaimo to Vancouver

The Sunshine Coast is a major travel time decision. If you want to go to Port McNeill for whale watching, give up a night at Tofino. Definitely prioritize what you really want to see the most.

A possible itinerary to cover your plans might be:

1 night Van

1 night Whistler

3 nights Tofino

1 night Pt McNeill

1 night Comox area

1 night Sunshine Coast

1 night Van

Edited: 04 February 2010, 03:04
Owen Sound, Canada
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3. Re: Vancouver/Vancouver Island

What time of the summer do you plan on visiting?

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Vancouver/Vancouver Island

If what you want to do is drive around and look at things out of the car window, then it sounds like a nice trip. A few points:

-- Garabaldi Provincial Park doesn't have roads in it. You can drive in to a parking lot in the trees, and then you have to hike up to the meadows where you will have mountain top views. I'm embarrassed to admit publicly that I've only made one unsuccessful foray into Garabaldi, so I don't know it well, but if you are expecting to drive up for beautiful mountain vistas from a parking lot at the top, you will be sorely disappointed. Stop and see Shannon Falls on the road up (or back) from Whistler.

-agree that you should push through to Tofino and spend more time there.

-watch for whales and dolphins from the ferry crossing

-if the only reason to go all the way up to Port McNeil is to go whale watching and the jump back in the car, then go whale watching somewhere further south. There are whale watching trips out of Vancouver and Victoria, and they see whales on most outings, so you don't HAVE to go that far up island to see whales. as mentioned, you can go from Tofino, but it's grey whales you'll be watching.

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Vancouver/Vancouver Island

And the highway to and from Tofino (crossing from the east to the west coast of the Island) is very twisty. My kids got really car-sick on that route.

6. Re: Vancouver/Vancouver Island

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