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Where to visit with young kids?

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NZ
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Where to visit with young kids?

Hi,

We are thinking to visit Canada for the first time later in July and stay for about 2 weeks and maybe 1 week Hawaii on the way home. We are travelling with 2 kids (2 and 5 yrs) and grandparents as well so 6 of us.

Will fly direct to Vancouver. Please help with suggestions of things to do, places to visit and places to stay. We would like to stay in Vancouver and possibly travel to the Rocky Mountains. Not sure how difficult that would be with 2 young kids in tow? What would be the best way to get there and how many days should we allow?

Have read about things we can do in Vancouver on TA website so should be able to happily spend 5 days there which leaves us a week to explore outside Vancouver. Please feel free to suggest any other areas worth going to. We like sightseeing, scenery, food, markets, beach.

Th travel agent suggested a cruise ship from Vancouver for a few days to see polar bears. Not sure if that is fun or something that would be good for kids so young?

Hoping someone who have been with young kids can give us some ideas of where they went in Canada. We are after a more relaxing holiday.

Should we hire a car? If not, where should we stay in Vancouver? We have a child with food allergies so will be looking to stay in an apartment with a kitchen rather than a hotel.

Thanks so much for any ideas and suggestions. We are just starting to plan this trip so any advice is appreciated.

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Where to visit with young kids?

Welcome to the forum ~

With a week to explore outside Vancouver, you could get to Whistler, Victoria and other destinations on Vancouver Island or perhaps the Sunshine Coast. Vancouver Island could take up to 10 nights.

With 2 full weeks you could do a return trip to the Rockies, it would involve a round trip of about 2000 km, take 2 days to get there and back and a generally accepted recommendation of 6-8 nights split between Banff and Jasper.

Any travel agent who says to take a cruise ship out of Vancouver for a few days to see polar bears has been smoking funny stuff. Have a look on a map for Churchill, Manitoba and notice where it is in relation to Vancouver. In fact, I question his qualifications to be a travel agent.

You do not need a car in Vancouver or Whistler. They both lend themselves quite nicely to walking and in Vancouver public transit. But you would need a car when you head out from Vancouver.

You will want to stay downtown. Have a look at Times Square Suites, Sunset Inn and Suites, Rosellen Suites would be in a quieter street. Otherwise, you could have a look at the following website for condos for rent:

www.vrbo.com

I could see 5 nights in Vancouver, 2 nights in Whistler, 3 nights at Tofino, 3 nights in Victoria and 1 final night in Vancouver before your flight out.

A good website for family friendly activities is

www.findfamilyfun.com

Edited: 22 January 2013, 11:12
Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Where to visit with young kids?

Hello,

Some good advice to get you started there. We have lots of mountains in BC, but most of them are not the Rockies. In order to see the Canadian Rocky Mountains, you are best off to explore from Calgary, rather than Vancouver. Calgary and Vancouver are 100 km further apart than Auckland and Wellington, so you are proposing to do a tour of the entire north island in a week, after 5 days in Auckland. I find putting things in local terms often helps to wrap your head around what you are proposing to do.

With young kids, Vancouver Island is a very popular destination, and quite doable in the time that you have. However, I'm not sure I'd focus on Tofino because of the ages of your kids. The inland, eastern shore of the island is beautiful and the water is calmer and safer for younger children. I'd look at places like Parksville, Campbell River and the Port McNeil/Telegraph Cove area, or even some time on one of the smaller Gulf Islands which lie between Vancouver Island and the mainland.

Perhaps your travel agent said "bears" and you assumed he meant polar bears? There are definitely trips to go view bears up the coast, but the bears are black bears and grizzly bears. Polar bears are in the Arctic and a long way from here.

Again, I'd be careful what to book with such young children. They love to explore and roam about, but activities that involve sitting or standing and looking at something off in the distance doesn't hold their attention for too long. A couple of hours would be fine, but I'd be reluctant to get into the expense and time for an all day trip with kids that age.

As a start to consider an itinerary, I'm going to recommend you look at the BC Ferries circuit that goes up the Sunshine Coast and back down the Island (or the other way around if you prefer). Lots of great places to stop and spend a night or two on that route.

http://goo.gl/maps/NnFVL

http://www.bcferries.com/schedules/mainland/

For a boat trip, I'd see about getting up Princess Louisa Inlet from Powell River, but you could also go up to Campbell River for a bear trip (although I'm pretty sure those are all day)

NZ
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3. Re: Where to visit with young kids?

Thank you muftimixandmatch and vancouverite67 for your suggestions. I have more info to plan our Canadian trip now.

Just wonder if it is advisable to fly from vancouver to Calgary and then rent a vehicle to drive around the mountain and lakes and then fly back to vancouver? Would it be very expensive? Not sure how much internal flights are in Canada?

Also I have checked the websites of downtown accommodations you have suggested muftimixandmatch and it is about CAD300 for 6 of us per night. Is that a good price for accommodation with kitchen in Vancouver?

We will definitely look at going to vancouver island on the ferries. Sounds like fun. Is it quite doable as a day trip though or better to go and drive around and stay a few days?

Thanks!

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Where to visit with young kids?

You can easily fly to Calgary, even fly home from Calgary. You could rent a car for time on the coast, end up at Comox for a flight then rent a car for touring the Rockies. Do some comparison shopping on skyscanner.ca or kayak.com as well as the proprietary websites for Air Canada and WestJet. There would be a one way drop fee for the rental car to Comox.

The hotel rate seems good for July, only $100 a couple. But you don't mention the hotel or what that rate gets you. 3 bdrms, 2 bdrms and a sofa bed, 1 bdrm and ??

Time to get familiar with Google Maps. Maps.google.ca . Getting from Vancouver to either of the entry ports on Vancouver Island takes 4 hours, including 1.5 hours on the ferry. Any further exploration takes more driving. It takes about 7 hours to drive the length and about 3 hours to drive the width. You would need to plan several days on the Island. Use the get directions feature on Google Maps to see the driving routes, times and distances.

5. Re: Where to visit with young kids?

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