Best nature options near Vancouver

Reply

Jun 13th, 2013, 06:44 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 85
Best nature options near Vancouver

My wife and I will be driving from Vancouver to Calgary in August this year and have 12 nights to spread around. We are more interested in natural than urban settings but want to see the highlights of Vancouver as well. I think we can allocate 4 nights in the Vancouver area but would like to spend two of them nearby in a more natural setting on the water before heading to Kelowna and then on to the mountains.

Ideally we would spend the 1st 2 nights in Vancouver and then 2 nights within about a 2 - 3 hour drive of the city. We'd want to be on or very near the water, hopefully with options for water related activities (boat trips, kayaking, etc). I guess we could take the ferry over to Vancouver Island and stay somewhere fairly near to the ferry terminal or maybe somewhere on the Sunshine Coast instead. I'm having trouble figuring out which area would make more sense. Would love to make it up to Port McNeil or over to Tofino but both seem too far from Vancouver to fit the timeline well.

Thanks in advance for the advice,
John
John_R is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 13th, 2013, 12:30 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 75
While you are nearer to Vancouver Island when you arrive I would go to VI and definitely go to Tofino. One of our favorite places. My husband and I are doing a similar trip in late Sept. We are flying directly to Calgary and then driving from there to Kewlona, stay 2-3 nights and then flying from there to Victoria and then renting another car to drive around to Parksville and up to Tofino. We will end up in Vancouver for a few nights before flying home.

I hear the Gulf Islands are nice but you are sort of restricted to one island, maybe two if you don't have a lot of time. We are going to give those a miss this time even though I really enjoyed Salt Spring.
charli47 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 13th, 2013, 05:02 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,505
John_R, you are planning one of our favorite drives. Let me ask you - is this a one-way trip for the 12 days? Depending on that, I have different recommendations.

I am hearing that you would like to be near Vancouver but not IN Vancouver, want to find someplace for water activities before heading inland. Do you intend to spend time visiting wineries in the Okanagan (Kelowna)?

If you can fill in those blanks, I'll come back with some suggestions.
sludick is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jun 14th, 2013, 02:06 PM
  #4
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 85
Yes, one way for 12 days. We will be in the city for two nights and then want two more somewhere nearby on the water. Wineries are definitely on the schedule for the Okanagan... we'll probably be there for two nights as well.

Tofino sounds great but at 5 hours from Vancouver it seems out of reach,
with ony two days and the next stop being Kelowna.

Thanks, John
John_R is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 14th, 2013, 04:24 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,505
Yes, I agree that Vancouver Island might be too rushed. Personally, I'd favor going up the Sunshine Coast for a couple of days after a couple of days in Vancouver. We went all the way up to Lund (end of Highway 101) and stayed at the Lund Hotel; we love ferries and that gave us a few rides. There was one spot I looked at but did not book (rather rustic); we stopped on the way and took pictures, it was that pretty - Ruby Lake, here is the link: http://www.rubylakeresort.com/

Now, you have a few choices on getting to the Okanagan and then to the Canadian Rockies. Calgary is only about an hour further. So let me stop and ask you about what you have planned for Calgary/Rockies area?

Then, do you have any specific ideas about the Okanagan? Travellere69 is sure to weigh in here on some wineries there, and we have a few must-do's as well.

Finally, you might want to take a route through Nelson. It's on a lake, is historic, and a bit off the beaten path. Since the movie "Roxanne" is a favorite (Steve Martin) and this is where it was filmed, it has a special affection for me. But it also gives you a couple of scenic routes (of course, both include a free inland ferry) on your way to Banff area.

Overall, you could spend 2-3 nights in Vancouver, 2 nights along the Sunshine Coast, 1-2 nights in the Okanagan -- then either long drive to Lake Louise/Banff via Revelstoke -- or 1 night Nelson, 1 night Kimberley (interesting lake drive and activities this way) -- then 2-4 nights in Banff. Adjust as needed for time in Calgary.

If you are interested in any of the routing or areas, let me know. You do have enough time for a really enjoyable trip.
sludick is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jun 16th, 2013, 11:49 AM
  #6
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 85
Thanks sludick. I'm thinking the Sunshine Coast is probably the best bet too but it is funny that I don't see a lot of info about wildlife cruises and water activities when I go to websites of places to stay. Is that area not very convenient to the water?

For the Rockies we are thinking about Revelstoke, Glacier, Yoho, Banff, Jasper.

Haven't gotten to thinking about specific wineries in the Okanagan yet.
John_R is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 16th, 2013, 04:21 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,505
One of the routes we have taken is Vancouver to Okanagan, then Okanagan (Osoyoos) to Nelson, then a scenic route including an inland ferry to Revelstoke. From there you will go through Glacier (Canadian) into Lake Louise/Banff. As you probably know, there is a cluster of your park destinations right there.

Let me gather some of my trip info for you and post info tomorrow. But, kayaking is a popular activity up the coast. Are you looking for ocean kayaking, or something with less currents?

For the Okanagan - do you prefer whites or reds? The southern region is more arid and desert-like, with some volcanic soils. It's a great area for reds. The farther north, the cooler and lusher, and you will find more whites. Kelowna is the big central city, but I find it really too busy. Since we prefer reds, we will stay in Osoyoos (Spirit Ridge, at Nk'Mip winery, is awesome, or Watermark Beach Resort). Penticton or Oliver would also be good - there is a Best Western that we have almost stayed at, but haven't quite made it yet.

Now, you can make a leisurely drive through the Okanagan north into Sicamous/Salmon Arm (and stay on a lake), or take the southern route over to Nelson and then up to Revelstoke. Both great routes with lots of things to do. Basically, they both connect to Highway 1, which will go through Revelstoke/Glacier on into Banff.

Another possibility out of Nelson will take you on another inland ferry, down a lake, and over to Kimberley (a Bavarian styled town), and from there up to Banff/Lake Louise. But it doesn't go through Revelstoke or Glacier, and I can't speak to it. It was on a vacation routing that I had to change recently.
sludick is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jun 16th, 2013, 04:28 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,505
Hey, John - check out this link for kayaking on the Sunshine Coast:

http://www.hellobc.com/british-colum...FXQV7Aod8joANg

HelloBC is an excellent source and can also send you free guides & maps.
sludick is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jun 16th, 2013, 04:29 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,505
Sorry, try this link first:

http://www.hellobc.com/british-colum...FeNj7Aod8RoA0w
sludick is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jun 16th, 2013, 07:22 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 982
Nature viewing is much better out of the Upper Sunshine Coast-Powell River, Lund & environs.
Sam_Salmon is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 17th, 2013, 01:19 PM
  #11
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 85
Yes Sam that's kind of how it seems but given the topography I think that turns our next day drive to Kelowna a pretty much all day affair.

We could have used another day here I guess...
John_R is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 17th, 2013, 04:50 PM
  #12
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,505
When we did the Sunshine Coast deal, it was in late May/early June. After leaving Lund, we went over to Vancouver Island and from there to Quadra Island, meaning to spend 2 nights. We had a couple of good hours, then a real storm set in, that would continue for days.

Woke up in the morning and decided to just get out of Dodge. We packed up, caught the ferry to Van Island, then down to Nanaimo, ferry to Horseshoe Bay, drove to the Okanagan (via Coquihalla) and all the way down to Osoyoos. It was a long day. But the scenery is spendiferous, and we didn't regret it.

The big delay you would face is the ferry rides. From Lund (we stayed at the Lund Hotel), it's 2 ferries and very pleasant routes, too. Once back at Horseshoe Bay, you could probably make Kelowna in 4-1/2 hours (plus stops). The drive through Hope is beautiful and always seems spooky to me. A full day's drive, but scenic and mostly not open freeway style (exception for the part where you are getting out of Vancouver metro area).

If that is too daunting, you could spend 1st night in Vancouver, 2 on Sunshine Coast, then 4th somewhere on the north shore Vancouver. That would chop up your downtown time, but maybe not a problem for you. For the record, we would do either option (and have).
sludick is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jun 17th, 2013, 04:58 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,505
BTW - it would be more accurate to replace "open freeway style" with "ugly urban sprawl"... once outside Vancouver, some beautiful farmland, berry farms, and then the mountains are in your windshield.
sludick is online now  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:46 AM.