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seeking suggestions for anniversary trip next summer

Cape Girardeau...
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seeking suggestions for anniversary trip next summer

Hello. We are thinking about a trip for our 25th anniversary next summer and Vancouver is one of the places we are thinking about. We would probably be going in mid-August. There are just the 2 of us and we really haven't given much thought as to any particular part of the area to stay in. That said, we would be interested in see the metro area (i.e. Vancouver, islands, Victoria, surrounding area). In that regard, we have our first question: how easy is it to get around the area? We would be flying in and would prefer not to rent a car and we generally like public transportation.

Our interests include the following:

1. historical and cultural sites--We would include in this category any/all of the following: military sites, heritage sites, lumberjacks

2. First Nations history and culture

3. lighthouses

4. wineries in the area

5. any hot "foodie" spots that should be tasted

6. Shakespeare in particular and theater in general

We're not really hikers or anything like that. Our idea of parks are nice places to see some flowers or statues as opposed to taking a hike. Information along those lines would be appreciated.

Finally, we would be interested to know of any festivals/fairs that are generally held around the time of our planned visit.

Thank you all in advance!

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: seeking suggestions for anniversary trip next summer

Hi Douglas ~

That sounds like a nice trip for about two weeks and a car for 10 days of it. To orient you a bit, 4-5 nights in Vancouver would work pretty well. then a 4 hour journey approximately from Vancouver to either of the two entry towns on Vancouver Island: one that leads (in part by ferry) to Victoria and one that leads (in part by ferry) to Nanaimo, which is mid-Island.

Victoria is good for about 2-3 nights. Then different riches begin as you drive up Island. There is the Parksville area for 2 nights, Pacific Rim National Park with the book end towns of Tofino and Ucluelet for 3 nights, north Island in the area of Telegraph Creek and Port McNeill for 3 nights for grizzly tours and whale watching. Whale watching can be done mid Island, Tofino and Victoris as well.

Wineries are located in the Cowichan Valley around the Cobble Hill area. Comox between Nanaimo and north Island has an air base museum. Bard on the Beach will be running in August in Vancouver.

Here is map of the areas I have outlined and you can see the driving time and distances involved. As well you can see the two ferry routes that cross Georgia Strait:

http://goo.gl/maps/w9Xco

Getting to Victoria is very easy without a car, not so for the rest of the Island. At least not conveniently and not with any flexibility.

Another area that might interest you is the Gulf Islands. They are located in Georgia Strait generally between Vancouver and Victoria and can be reached by ferry. However, getting around would require a car. I believe there are scooters for rent on some of them. 3 pages of info here:

vancouverisland.travel/regions/gulf-islands/

Vancouver has great public transportation and is easy to walk around. The downtown regions takes 40 min or so to walk lengthwise and 20 min to walk widthwise. Transit is good for getting out about an hour from Vancouver for the outlying attractions and activities.

You may want to explore the Top Questions to the right of this page and the tabs up in the green menu bar for more information.

There is also a Vancouver island Forum where the green tabs up top would inform you of all the attractions and activities on the Island.

The BC Forum has a collection of Trip Reports in the Top Questions there, some of which are for the Vancouver, Victoria and Vancouver Island area.

Bellmore, New York
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2. Re: seeking suggestions for anniversary trip next summer

We just returned so I will answer some basic questions and let the experts go from there. We flew into Seattle and stayed 3 nights. From there we took the Victoria Clipper high speed ferry to Victoria for 2 nights. All of these cities are very walkable or easy to get around via public transit. Once in Victoria we literally walked across the street from the ferry terminal to our hotel. We did rent a car one day in Victoria to go to Butchart Gardens and Sidney. From our hotel in Victoria we walked to the bus terminal 10 minutes away and took the Pacific Coach Line (combo bus and ferry) to Vancouver. Again, we walked 15 minutes to our hotel in Vancouver. Stayed 4 nights and again rented a car one day to drive to Whistler. Lots of options depending on your interests and all three cities offered a great deal to see/do.

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: seeking suggestions for anniversary trip next summer

Kudos to martyap for demonstrating how convenient both cities are for people without cars.

Cape Girardeau...
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4. Re: seeking suggestions for anniversary trip next summer

Thanks for the information.

3 quick questions based on what's been said so far.

1. We're thinking of the 5-6 night range for the trip. Would Vancouver and Victoria both be doable in that time frame? From what's you've said, it seems like a yes but wanted to make sure.

2. regarding the flight into Seattle: (a) is this cheaper? (b) what are the drawbacks? and (c) how does customs work?

3. what area of vancouver would be best to stay in?

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: seeking suggestions for anniversary trip next summer

1. Yes. Very easy. Based on flying in and out of Vancouver: 3 nights Vancouver, 2 nights Victoria, 1 final night in Vancouver before your flight out. Based on flying in and out of Seattle: 3 nights Vancouver, 2 nights Victoria, Victoria Clipper to Seattle (3 hours) for 1 night before your flight out.

2. a) Yes, but it will take 4 hours of your holiday each way to travel to and from Vancouver. Use www.kayak.com or www.skyscanner.net to suss out flights. Don't book there, just research, then book directly with the airline. b) Drawbacks are that you are then 4 hours south of Vancouver. Benefits are that you can visit Seattle (extra 3 days) and take Amtrak Cascades up to Vancouver - a comfortable, scenic ride along the water of Puget Sound. Inland, on the I-5, you could take Amtrak coaches or the Bolt Bus, without the views. c) On the train, you arrive in Vancouver and go through Canadian Customs there. On the bus, you take all your gear into the Customs house for security and processing, get back on the bus to continue to Vancouver.

3. Stay downtown: Downtown, West End or Coal Harbour. Have a look at the Blue Horizon (3-4*), central, on a vibrant street, reasonable cost. If you wanted something a bit more upscale, you could look through the hotels and the reviews for the hotels, by going up to the top green menu bar and opening the hotels tab. Choose your filters for 3 and 4* hotels and the Neighbourhoods, any other filters you might want and then look through the results. Again, don't book through that page. Book directly with the hotel. Other options: Times Square Suites, or the St Regis, The Metropolitan, Sutton Place. The Westin Bayshore is a nice hotel with Stanley Park out the back door. It's removed from the busy-ness of the city by a couple of blocks and is right on Coal Harbour as well. Snoop around in the hotels though to see what matches your budget range and the amenities you would like for your special occasion.

When you get a short list and can let us know what accommodation style, ambiance, features, amenities you are looking for, post that list for feedback.

SE Ontario
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6. Re: seeking suggestions for anniversary trip next summer

I see you've also posted in the Sonoma forum about this trip ... if that or Napa is still in the mix, then don't bother with the wineries in and around Vancouver and the Island. The best BC wines are from the Okanagan - a long way from the coast.

Good theatre is not a Vancouver strength, but there's a very pleasant summer Shakespeare festival ... Bard on the Beach ... which is worth checking out.

For First Nations - Museum of Anthropology is a must ... it is by far the best museum in Vancouver. The BC Museum in Victoria would likely be of interest also.

The entire city of Vancouver is a foodie's dream...

lumberjacks ... well that's a new one.

Edited: 19 August 2014, 23:17
7. Re: seeking suggestions for anniversary trip next summer

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Bellmore, New York
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8. Re: seeking suggestions for anniversary trip next summer

For 5-6 days Victoria & Vancouver would be enough w/o Seattle. In Vancouver we stayed at the "lower" end of Hornby Street (Residence Inn)......we liked it because it was a 5 minute walk to the Granville Island ferries. We spent time at the Improv and saw a great show at the Theater Arts both on GI. We did not get to the Shakespeare festival but that would have been easy to get to as well via the False Creek ferries. The other end of Hornby Street by Canada Place would have a more metro feel rather than the West End neighborhood feel where we stayed......less $$$ AND more convenient for what we wanted (but still only a 20-30 minute walk to Canada Place.) We were also only a 5 minute walk top the seawall......GREAT walking after dinner!

You will get lots of A1 advice from the helpful TA members on this board.....ENJOY!!!

Edited: 19 August 2014, 23:31
Iowa City, Iowa
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9. Re: seeking suggestions for anniversary trip next summer

<<6. Shakespeare in particular and theater in general>>

The others have advised you on hotels and other things, let me just say the Bard on The Beach is just amazing -the productions are excellent-we just saw Midsummer Night's Dream-we saw hamlet there a few years ago, they really have a great tradition of Shakespeare productions! I strongly recommend it-I wrote a review on Trip Advisor.

10. Re: seeking suggestions for anniversary trip next summer

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