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Vancouver Island - then on to Calgary

Ontario
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Vancouver Island - then on to Calgary

We are four adults planning a vacation flying into Victoria B.C.in early October 2009 and staying for about 4 days on the island and using a rental car to get around. I would appreciate any advice on places to stay (affordable-not looking for fancy - b&b's preferred) and the best things to see. We all tend to like outdoor stuff i.e. whale watching, hiking etc as opposed to museums.

What kind of weather can we hope for in early October?

Also any advice on what to stop and see and where to stay between Vancouver and Calgary (second leg of trip) would be appreciated as well as.

Thanks!

Vancouver BC
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for Vancouver
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1. Re: Vancouver Island - then on to Calgary

Summer changes to winter around Oct 15 on the coast and the Island. Often Cdn Thanksgiving is still warm and halloween is generally wet and cold. Once away from the coast you have colder weather and likely snow in some areas. Stays on the Island: I like Middle Beach Lodge in Tofino but it ain't cheap. See Castle Cove Inn in Chemainus for an Island B&B and see Lakeside Inn in Savona for a small inn on the way to Calgary. Consider the big buck and look at Chateau Lake Louise. If you adjust your time by only half a day or so you can head to Calgary through the Okanagan wine country and stay at http://www.godsmountain.com/

Victoria, BC Canada
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2. Re: Vancouver Island - then on to Calgary

October tends to be the start of the rainy season, although if you don't like the weather just wait five minutes and it'll change.

In four days, I would start in Victoria and work your way up the island. As outdoor enthusiasts, here are some must see's:

- Ziplining and bungee jumping outside of Nanaimo - thrilling!

- Englishman River Falls

- Parksville when the tide is out; you can walk forever. Rathtrevor Beach Park is gorgeous. Beach Acres Resort is a nice, affordable option for accommodation. I've stayed there, Tigh Na Mara Resort ($$) and in a private cottage (VRBO.com). Tigh Na Mara is really nice but a little pricey.

- Coombes Market (check out the goats on the roof). They have the best stocking stuffers, unique food items and eclectic collection of goods you will come across on the island. Great food too.

- the old growth trees in Cathedral Grove - bring a camera, you will not believe these trees.

- Tofino / Long Beach / Chesterman Beach etc. We stayed at a "reasonable" motel called the Dolphin Inn, right across from Chesterman Beach. They were more like individual cottages. Our unit had two queen beds and a double futon with full kitchen for under $100. It's not the Ritz, but it's clean, roomy and centrally located. You can walk from one end of the beach to the other all day and not run out of room. The roar of the waves is so powerful and amazing, you'll hear it for days. Storm season is the best time to go. If it's raining and windy, the experience is even better. But bring your slickers.

- Hot Springs Cove - you'll have to take a water taxi from Tofino, then walk along a boardwalk a bit - but you'll come to some natural hot springs right on the ocean. You will remember this experience for a long time.

You might want to take one of the BC Ferries over to the Gulf Islands and stay at one of the B&Bs over there. There are numerous islands up & down the coast, so take your pick. Do your research first, as some are more populated than others.

Enjoy your trip to our island!

Victoria, BC Canada
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3. Re: Vancouver Island - then on to Calgary

PS: As for your second leg, you can either go from Vancouver northeast via the Coquihalla to Kelowna onward, or southeast via Hwy 3B through the Okanagan and Kootenays. The Coquihalla is faster but not as scenic.

It will take a full day without stopping if you want to get from Vancouver to Calgary. If you take your time, I'd personally take the southern route and stop at the following points of interest:

- Hope Slide

- Manning Park

- Osoyoos

- Christina Lake

- Nelson

(NOTE: Ainsworth Hot Springs is close by and has a horseshoe shaped cave you can soak in - quite extraordinary)

Out of the way but a great place to see are the Halcyon Hot Springs in Nakusp. We went there three summers ago. They have a variety of accommodations (cabins, hotel, camping) and three kinds of pools. One pool has a natural current. You are given a pool noodle because the minerals cause you to sink! You just sit on the noodle, soak in the hot water and float around in the current. Loads of fun, and right on the Arrow Lakes. Gorgeous green water.

Ontario
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4. Re: Vancouver Island - then on to Calgary

Thank you! Great information to have!

5. Re: Vancouver Island - then on to Calgary

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