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Vancouver/Sunshine Coast/Van. Island Trip - Help Please

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Planning a trip from Philadelphia to Vancouver, BC area with hubby and still up in the air about a lot of things, But, I'm running out of time as we're leaving 8/20 and returning 8/30.

Itinerary looks like this so far:

8/20-8/24 - 4 nights in downtown Vancouver (possible day trip to Whistler)
8/24-8/26 - 2 nights on Sunshine Coast at Pointhouse B&B in Sargeant Bay (obsessed with a boat cruise to Princess Louisa Inlet, but wondering if we should spend 3 nights here since that trip takes a whole day?)
8/26-8/29 - 3 nights in either Ucluelet or Tofino (Blackrock Resort or Wick Inn ? - suggestions welcome)
8/29-8/30 - travel back to Vancouver and stay 1 night near airport for 6 am flight home

My dilemma lies in my uncertainty about traveling on car ferries and the time it takes to drive/ferry from place to place. We don't like to spend more than 4-5 hrs. traveling from place to place. More than that gets exhausting for us and ends up being tedious. We like to cover a lot of ground and see as much as possible, but rest and relaxation are also very important to us, so I try not to schedule too much into each trip.

My particular concern is with the travel day on 8/26 from Sargeant Bay on the Sunshine Coast to the Ucluelet/Tofino area on Vancouver Island. In researching this, it looks like this leg of the trip requires:

- 45 min drive from Sargeant Bay to Langdale Ferry
- 40 min ferry ride from Langdale to Horseshoe Bay
- lay over between ferries of about 1.5 hrs.
- 1.5 hr ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo, and then
- 3.5 hr drive to Ucluelet/Tofino.

That seems like a VERY long travel day that starts at about 9:00 am and gets us to our destination by 5:00-6:00 pm. It also requires a lot of planning and precision as we need to make advance reservations for the car ferries for certain times and be there 30 mins before the ferry leaves.

I'm wondering if we should overnight near Nanaimo and drive to the west coast the next morning leaving us 2 nights in Ucluelet/Tofino. Or, just skip Vancouver Island altogether and stay an extra night at Sargeant Bay, do the Princess Louisa Inlet boat tour and then 2 more nights somewhere else on the Sunshine Coast and then back to Vancouver for 1 night? I think my trepidation about the car ferries and not knowing what to expect with that is causing me to flounder here.

Also, any opinions on a day trip from Vancouver to Whistler? Is it worth the drive/train ride to go for the day or does this really require an overnight stay?

Any help/suggestions appreciated. Thanks!

cat


My uncertainty lies in

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