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Advice needed re: family vacation to Vancouver

Advice needed re: family vacation to Vancouver

Jan 27th, 2009, 12:33 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 41
Advice needed re: family vacation to Vancouver

We're looking at Vancouver for our family vacation this summer.

Our family vacations (2 parents in 40s, 2 teens, 2 active grandparents) are usually a mix of outdoor activities (ex. hiking), exploring a region by car to see all the must-sees and more, museums/culture, and of course food.

We have 10 days for this trip, and I guess my question is: is there enough to do in this city and nearby region to warrant the long flight from Pennsylvania?

We've been to other, closer Canadian cities like Quebec City (our fav!), Montreal (some nice hiking), and Toronto (aka American City). Is Vancouver that much different or a better experience than the above?

Thanks for any insight you might have!
maxpaste is offline  
Jan 27th, 2009, 04:01 PM
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Vancouver may as well be a different country from the east (Toronto, Quebec, Montreal).

Vancouver has more in common with Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles and is absolutely nothing at all like Quebec City, Montreal, or Toronto.

First, Vancouver was only founded in 1886, so it's completely modern. The oldest buildings are from the Victorian era and most of downtown is as dense as Manhattan - think tall, thin, glass skyrises overlooking sandy beaches along the ocean and snow-capped mountains in the immediate distance.

I'd say Vancouver's exactly what you're looking for - you can eat to your heart's content downtown and visit the local museums/galleries and then drive 20-30 minutes and go walking through the temperate rainforest in the mountains.

Carmanah is offline  
Jan 27th, 2009, 04:07 PM
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Also, there is plenty to do for a 10 day trip:

A day trip/overnight to Whistler - 2 hours north.

A few days in the Okanagan Valley - 5 hours east which is a semi-arid belt along some beautiful lakes, home to dozens of wineries.

Spend 3-5 days on Vancouver Island visiting Tofino and/or Victoria (ideally both).

Spend an overnight or two on one of the many Gulf Islands (small chain of islands between the mainland and Vancouver Island).

10 days will only be scratching the surface.
Carmanah is offline  
Jan 27th, 2009, 04:10 PM
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Vancouver is a world class port city with incredible walkways along the ocean, spectacular scenery and lots of museums and an aqaurium.

If you really want to get the most of your trip, consider flying into Calgary in early July for a day or two of the Annual Stampede, then driving thru the Banff National Park/rockies with a day or two in the Okanagan Valley (wine country), visit Whistler, home of the 2010 Winter Olympic Ski events, spend a day or two in Vancouver..and then take the ferry across to Victoria and do a whalewatching tour in the Pacific.

Come back into VAN (as the locals call it)and fly home from there if you can swing it.

2 weeks might work better.

The real scenery surrounds the city, so you'll be doing a lot of day-trips otherwise.

rehcat is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 10:50 AM
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I wouldn't recommend flying into Calgary with the idea of flying out of Vancouver. The rental car fees to drop off at a different location are huge.

The OP stated they only have 10 days. There's plenty in and around Vancouver to keep you busy for that time period. You'll be able to do much more than scratch the surface of Vancouver without running out of things to do.
ShelliDawn is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 11:27 AM
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We are looking at flying into Seattle and driving to VC - it seems to be cheaper. Should we include some time in Seattle as part of this, or would be be wiser to focus on VC?

Is San Juan island worth a side trip?

My teen daughter will demand a balance of nature with "big city action" - sounds like maybe VC meets that requirement?

Thanks for all your insights.
maxpaste is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 01:31 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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It's San Juan Islands, maxpaste, although one of them is SJI. In your situation, however, I would choose Salt Spring Island over the San Juans. It is accessible from either Victoria (actually Sidney) or Vancouver.
Bobmrg is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 02:23 PM
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Minor ooops...ferry from "Victoria" for Salt Spring Island actually leaves from Swartz Bay. Sorry about that. You still have to drive/bus from Victoria (a place that you should definitely visit) to Swartz Bay. If time is short, forget about SSI but don't miss Victoria and the Butchart Gardens.
Bobmrg is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2009, 05:39 PM
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Hi there,

I've been to all of the Canadian cities you mention, and were it not for the "foreign" flavo(u)r of the two Quebec locations you list, Vancouver would be tops hands down.

At any rate, Vancouver via Seattle would make for a grand 10-day vacation for you all and the trip would run the gamut of activities and sights for everybody.

I sense as you do that flying into and out of Seattle seems most time and cost effective.

The driving between here (Seattle) and Vancouver and beyond will be for the most part quite enjoyable.

You'll be sure to want to take a day trip up to Whistler, BC where the Winter Olympics outdoor events will take place in one year.

Vancouver itself has soooooooooooo much diversity and "big city action" for the teens that you'll be a big hit with them.

"Normal" people are out walking downtown Vancouver streets all night quite unlike just about any other North American city I've ever been to.

If I were in your shoes, I'd pick perhaps 2 or maybe 3 destinations for trips away from Vancouver and then stick to the city for the rest of your time.

Considering the full representation of generations in your group, you miiiiiiiiiight want to consider that trip to the Cdn Rockies, since the scenery (and you) will be so far 'out here'.

It is 522 miles from Vancouver to Banff, Alberta, and in general terms you might opt for a path around the triangle on the map which includes

Banff, AB
Jasper, AB
Kamloops, BC

Indeed that could take a chunk of time away from your Vancouver experience but that seems the most sensible side-trip of serious length.

We'll be awaiting your added queries and thoughts.

Hope this helps to begin with.

NorthwestMale is offline  
Feb 20th, 2009, 11:27 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 41
Thanks, everyone! Very helpful!
maxpaste is offline  

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