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Help with itinerary for May 2013

kitchener,ontario
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Help with itinerary for May 2013

Hi

My husband and I are planning a trip to Vancouver for next May.

I know I need to get my butt in gear so I can book hotels. After doing some reading on the forum and in a book, I have come together with this. I just want to know , if I have too much time in one place or not enough.

We are in our mid 40's, we like to spend time outdoors not really in musuems or aquarium:) We have been to lots of aquariums but I know the one in Vancouver is good:)

Leave May 23rd from Kitchener-get into YYV late at night

Stay 4 nights?

-Stanley Park- bike

-Granville Island-Take Flase Creek Ferries

-Sun Yat-Sen Garden

-Gastown-Irish Heather pub

-Robson Square

-Commerical Drive

-Grouse Mtn- Do the Grouse Grind, have a beer and eat at top:)

We are not renting a car in Vancouver, as I have read it is quite expensive for parking and local transportation is great. Did I miss anything?

Leave Vancouver May 27th for Victoria

Take Ferry and stay for 2 nights?

-Old Town

-Trounce Alley and Bastion Square

-Market Square

-Butchart Gardens

-Craigdarroch Castle

Leave Victoria on May May 29th-

Do we rent a car now or wait til after we get the ferry?

Drive to Whistler

Sea to Sky highway

on way see- Shannon Falls, Brandywine Falls and Garibaldi Park

Stay in Whistler for 2 nights?

- Hiking, ATV tours, Horseback riding, ziptrek ecotours

May 31st

Drive back to Vancouver

stay over night

Flight out June 1st

How does this look and does it make sense?

Thanks for any help

Kim

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Help with itinerary for May 2013

A couple of quick comments:

The Grouse Grind is a SERIOUS climb...not for the faint of heart. It is not an afternoon walk in the woods.

There are a couple of ways to get from Victoria to Whistler. You can take the ferry from Swartz Bay back to Vancouver and pick up a rental car there for the drive to Whistler. Or you could pick up a rental car in Victoria, drive up island and take the Departure Bay Ferry across to the Mainland and up to Whistler. The drive up the Island is pretty, but you could get nailed with a one-way drop off fee for the rental car plus the cost of taking the car on the ferry.

David

Edited: 11 December 2012, 22:54
Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Help with itinerary for May 2013

To save yourself the need for renting a car I would keep Vancouver and Whistler together, then head over to Victoria. Back on the mainland the night before your flight as you have planned. No car at all needed now and will avoid a one way drop fee. Will be back with some other ideas as I have to run right now.

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Help with itinerary for May 2013

I'd say that looks pretty good over all. Your plan not to rent a car until later in the trip is a good one.

For your time in Vancouver, I have some thoughts:

-- you say you are not interested in museums, so I won't mention any of those, but I have to say that perhaps your focus on the Grouse Grind is a bit misplaced, unless you are real fans of spending an hour on the stairmaster. Yes, the view at the top is nice and the presence of beer is attractive, but I'd still recommend you look at some other locations for hiking and outdoors activities. Keep in mind that May can be wet and rainy, precluding any views from the top of Grouse anyway.

I'd suggest you look at any of the Regional Parks for some good long hikes in scenic settings and through our westcoast rain forests:

metrovancouver.org/services/…default.aspx

Personal favourites that are accessible by transit include Capilano River and Pacific Spirit.

Also, there are several really great parks in North and West Van. Lynn Canyon and Lighthouse park are both recommended.

http://lynncanyon.ca

http://westvancouver.ca/Level3.aspx?id=1190

Looking over your to do list, I only see about 2.5 days worth of activities. I'm going to suggest a couple of options to fill it out a bit.

1. Take a day trip to Bowen Island via Horseshoe Bay and BC Ferries

http://www.hellobc.com/bowen-island.aspx

2. Take an afternoon ride on the West Coast Express to Rocky Point Park in Port Moody. Wander the waterfront before returning to the city via bus and train.

www.yelp.ca/biz/rocky-point-park-port-moody

Eat dinner by the water at either Pajo's Fish and Chips or the Boathouse Restaurant.

Ok, wow, got lost there. So, renting the car. Which ferry are you planning to take? If you are going to Whistler, you might want to rent your car in Victoria and then drive up the island to Nanaimo and then ferry across to Horseshoe Bay from there. You'll incure a one-way drop fee to return the car to Vancouver, but I would look into that option.

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4. Re: Help with itinerary for May 2013

Hi Kimmer:

You've really done your homework. Your itinerary is quite doable. As the others have suggested, plan for a whole day for the Grouse Grind. I am assuming this is something you want to "tick off" your bucket list. Doing the Grouse Grind has become quite the "iconic" experience for visitors - a badge of honor if you will. Last year I had a visitor from Toronto in November who had "doing the grouse grind" as the #1 thing to do on his list. Obviously, that didn't happen! :-)

It's done more for "the experience" than the exercise or even the enjoyment of nature. It's basically you and 1,000 of your closest friends (ranging from kids, to dad's with babies in packs on their backs, to seniors - I don't know how they do it - to young guys vomiting from the exhaustion (saw that last time!) to athletes that buy a swipe pass and time their assent on a weekly basis - they are the ones running past you. You are approximately 2 feet behind and 2 feet ahead of the person next in line, hiking strait up for approximately 1 to 2 hours depending on your fitness level.

As for Whistler, if you want to stop at the Mine Museum, Shannon Falls, and hey....you can also hike the Stawamus Chief (basically a repeat of the Grouse Grind), then you will need a car.

As the other's suggest, it might be cheaper to do Vancouver, then rent the car and drive to Whistler. Then drive back. Then do Victoria by bus.

You're going to have a great trip!

Edited: 12 December 2012, 00:58
kitchener,ontario
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5. Re: Help with itinerary for May 2013

Hi everyone

Thanks so much for all the feedback, much appreciated.

We are really looking forward to our brief trip to BC. It is the only province we haven't been to other than NFLD.

I guess we won't do the grouse grind , but how about going up on the cable car? Is there anything else to do there other than the ride to the top?

I have no idea about car rental yet, just knew we needed one for drive to Whistler. We love to drive and take time to stop when we want,

How are the days we have allocated for each place?

I have read that Tofino was great but didn't think we could fit it in.

Any extra help is appreciated.

Thanks Kim

kitchener,ontario
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6. Re: Help with itinerary for May 2013

Hi again

I thought I read somewhere you can see Redwood trees?

Kim

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7. Re: Help with itinerary for May 2013

Didn't mean to put you off the Grind. I actually find it to be quite the experience. I get to enjoy the people watching much more than the average person since I sit for 5 minutes watching everyone go by me every 20 minutes or so. :-) But it is better to be prepared than to find yourself half way up realizing that it wasn't for you.

You can go Ziplining on Grouse, and there is a bear habitat that you can visit.

http://www.grousemountain.com/zipline

Tofino is fabulous and would be a great place to go. But it is quite a way to drive so I don't think it will fit into your itinerary. If you did Tofino, I think you would need to forego Whistler.

I don't think we have so much in the way of redwoods (although we might). They are more common in California. However, Cathedral Grove has ancient Douglas Firs. It is located in the MacMillan Park on Vancouver Island. If you decided instead to go to Tofino, this could be a stop over.

cathedralgrove.eu/text/01-Cathedral-Grove-1.…

…gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/macmillan/

But honestly, just hiking through the interior of Stanley Park, you will find trees many many times larger than you will ever see in Ontario.

So I guess it comes down to whether you would like to experience the ocean and the tidal pools with star fish, etc. or see the mountains of Whistler.

Edited: 12 December 2012, 01:44
Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: Help with itinerary for May 2013

Douglas Firs and Western Red Cedars are the big trees here! Cathedral

Grove is a good spot.

You can certainly go up Grouse Mountain on the gondola, but it is not cheap. If you want a good view of the city without taking the gondola, you can drive up to Cypress.

Tofino is terrific, but it is a long drive. You would have to give something else up.

kitchener,ontario
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9. Re: Help with itinerary for May 2013

Hi

I think it was Sequoia's on Vancouver island?

So now I need to decide Tofino or Whistler:(

Thanks Kim

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10. Re: Help with itinerary for May 2013

VANCOUVER: I don't think you have enough to do for your time in Vancouver for 4 nights. You could do Stanley Park in a half day, move along to Granville Island for 2 hours or so. All on the bikes along English Bay to Sunset Beach, then take the Cyquabus over to Granville Island, then back to Spokes. Combine the Chinese gardens, then Gastown for dinner. One day done. A good half day to explore Commercial Drive between Venables and about Broadway or so (1+ km to walk), and finally Robson Square could be snuggled into some spare time as there's not much there aside from concrete. I would much prefer seeing you walk the Coal Harbour Seawalk from Stanley Park to Canada Place for 30-40 minutes, perhaps on your way to Stanley Park. Here's a map of that walking route to balloon D which is Spokes Bike Rentals, right alongside the harbour and the accompanying views.

http://goo.gl/maps/HsHV0

Commercial Drive: http://www.thedrive.ca/

MORE VANCOUVER: Something you might like to consider is visiting Lynn Canyon Park, easy by bus, to hike in the park here and cross the suspension bridge. From there you might head out to Deep Cove to do a couple of hours kayaking on Indian Arm, a fjord. That would likely take a good part of a day. You would be in nature and active.

http://www.dnv.org/ecology/park_trails.html

http://www.deepcovekayak.com/

Grouse Mountain's gondola is on the expensive side. The tourist season opens up there on Victoria Day long weekend. There are scheduled lumberjack shows and raptor shows. The Eye of the Wind tours, zip lining and the Grizzlies and wolves. There is the Theatre in the Sky as well.

WHISTLER: Having a car for Whistler would provide you with some flexibiity for stopping at several attractions on the way, but you could also travel by Pacific Coach.

Britannia Mining Museum: http://britanniaminemuseum.ca/

Shannon Falls: …gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/shannon/

Alice Lake

Brandywine Falls: …gov.bc.ca/bcparks/…

**

VICTORIA: You can find some sequoias in Beacon Hill Park in Victoria but the giant redwoods (sequoias) are in California. Yosemite to name one place. If you are going to drive to Tofino, it is a 7 hour drive from Vancouver including the 1.5 hour ferry ride and the 1 hour wait for the ferry. You really want to spend some time there if you go and that would be 3 nights, meaning 2 full days.

A trade off for Tofino, given your time frame, might be to take a day to drive the Pacific Marine Circle Route west of Victoria to Port Renfrew and 1) back again or 2) cross Island to Duncan and return south to Victoria. It is a 2.5 hour drive, stops extra, one way, or a 5 hour drive, stops extra as a circle route. In this case I would reduce Whistler to a day trip, or drop it and extend Victoria to 4 nights: 2 full days for Victoria and environs, and 1 full day for the PMCR. For 4 nights in Victoria, I would now rent a car for this segment of your trip from Vancouver - Victoria - Vancouver. Here's some info about that opportunity:

http://www.sooke-portrenfrew.com/

Botanical Beach - calm: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xX8DCqBxpo

Botanical Beach - wild: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLECADWisQQ

Sooke Potholes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQB9Um2KEfc

I would put Beacon Hill Park on your agenda. I would suggest walking Dallas Road and then taking the Dallas Road scenic marine drive in the car. IMO, important to mark the route on a paper map as it is an "interesting" route and you need to be prepared in order to enjoy it fully. Victoria was laid out by an 'abstract random' I think, roads all twists and turns and merging and separating. Must have had lots of carts and carts tracks back in the day.

Dallas Road scenic marine drive: accommodationsbc.com/victoria/marinedrive.ht…