We are still trying to define our trip to BC in mid-August. We are two 50-ish couples, with interests more in day hikes and scenery than shopping, wineries, etc. We are flying into Seattle late evening, staying there overnight, then have 7.5 days to get to and see/experience what we can in western BC/Vancouver Island. Our thoughts were initially to include Whistler, a mid/east coast part of Vancouver Island and someplace on the west coast (Tofino, Ucluelet ?) as 3 bases but unsure of the logistics to do so. We have been to Victoria before, and though a very neat place, wish to devote our attention to other areas on this trip. Though the sunshine coast sounds great and we would love some great weather, it has been suggested that with limited time, we'd be better off to concentrate on Vancouver Is. itself. With 2 ferry crossings up the coast, it might take a lot of travel time.
One scenario suggested was Seattle to Whistler via Vancouver the 1st day, with a hike on the way up. After 1 day, 2 nights in Whistler, off to Vancouver Is. via ferry at Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo visiting somewhere on the east coast for 2 nights. Then after a stop at Cathedral Grove enroute, two/three nights in Tofino/Uclulet. We would return via the ferry to Tsawwassen and back to Seattle. Our question with this was whether it might be touristy/crowded.
An alternate itinerary would be to eliminate Whistler (would miss the views) and go from Seattle to Vancouver Island via ferry then head to northern part of the island with several nights there, then Tofino/Ucluelet and back to Seattle. Strathcona Park sounds like a great place for some day hikes and views. Perhaps this would be slightly more off-the beaten path?
Alternatives would be Port Renfrew instead of Tofino on the west and doing the drive from there to Cowichan(Sp?) Valley, or Port Alberni and a day trip on the boat to the coast and back for one day.
There are so many things to do and places to see, it's very hard making any decisions. If anyone has done a 7-8 day trip and can recommend anything, that would be great. We know we face some driving (and ferry time, though we enjoy the views from the ferries), we don't want to spend all the time in cars. We figure 3 places to base ourselves would probably max out our packing and unpacking tolerance.
One issue is that we will be in a car and have to look at ferry crossings and expenses. We thought of taking the train from Seattle to Vancouver and renting a car there, or the Clipper from Seattle to Vancouver Island and renting there, but after pricing for 4 of us, the car from day one in Seattle seems the least expensive option.
Also, Does anyone know if the preparations in Whistler for the upcoming Olympics are making it a little "busy" to visit this summer?
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!