First Trip to Canada


Feb 13th, 2018, 07:46 AM
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First Trip to Canada


I'm looking to travel to Canada for the first time this summer and looking for suggestions on areas to visit/routes which cover multiple locations. I like to immerse myself in culture and visit scenic spots like national parks.

Any suggestions are welcomed.

Thanks in advance!
theexplorer90 is offline  
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Feb 13th, 2018, 12:43 PM
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That's a very broad question and Canada is a huge country.

How long do you have for your trip?
When are you coming? Summer means different things to different people -- May is full on summer in some places, but in parts of Canada you can still be skiing...

What do you want to do? Hiking? Boating? Shopping?
What is your budget? Some places are quite expensive and you need to book soon for some popular locations to get more affordable accommodation?
Will you be driving? Most national parks are relatively difficult to visit unless your drive or take a tour. If you won't be driving, that will affect suggestions...
kgsneds is offline  
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Feb 13th, 2018, 02:22 PM
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Now that is a tough one. My perfect Canada trip would:

- Start in Newfoundland. Either the east coast (the ocean, music) or the west coast (scenery. music, drinking);
- Move to Quebec City – French culture, history, cobblestones;
- Shift to Calgary, Banff and Jasper – just as beautiful as Switzerland, cheaper with fewer rules;
- End in Vancouver (incredible city) and Vancouver Island – beautiful, with hippies and whales.

I’ve skipped our two largest cities, our capital and the Prairies. Oh well, come back. It’s about 4,500 miles between St John’s and Vancouver. You may have to pick and choose.
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Feb 15th, 2018, 05:17 AM
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I am planning around 16 nights for my trip in July (hopefully)

I love hiking, boating and shopping. Love to see the sights and be outdoors, as well as hitting the shops when there's a spare few hours.

I don't plan on driving, looking to use the transport available and would consider getting an internal flight if the destination was good enough.

A mix of accommodation would be good, happy to camp a few nights and stay in a few more luxurious hotels where possible. Pretty open to suggestions!
theexplorer90 is offline  
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Feb 15th, 2018, 05:42 AM
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The first, and fundamental, suggestion is to do some research on websites such as this one; look at the Destinations section. The menu is top centre on the opening page. Only with a little background can you pose questions that will prompt useful, pragmatic responses (and which you will have enough context to understand.) Canada touches three oceans, stretching across five and a half time zones. It deserves a little more effort to be understood.
Southam is online now  
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Feb 15th, 2018, 05:53 AM
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Even better, buy or borrow some guidebooks.

And take a look at the Via Rail website. The train can be a good option for getting from Vancouver to Jasper.
thursdaysd is online now  
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Feb 15th, 2018, 06:45 AM
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If you plan on camping and are not bringing your own stuff see this site and look under Parks Canada equipped sites. You may be running out of time:

It would be a pain to get to some of these places on public transportation. Personally I think your best options involve Calgary/Banff/Jasper and/or Vancouver/Vancouver Island. There is a bus service on Vancouver Island. And local buses can take you to some beautiful spots near Victoria.
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Feb 15th, 2018, 01:34 PM
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Camping reservations for the national parks opened over a month ago. I'd be surprised if the equipped campsites were still available, especially in July - they are quite popular. They're also not cheap, especially for one person -- work out best for a family or group. However, if you don't have a car, you'll struggle to even get to most campgrounds. I believe the equipped campsites are at Two Jack in Banff NP, and you need a car to get there.

With 16 days you have to make some serious choices, especially if you won't be renting a car. Two weeks is really time to see one part of the country - a loop that includes Vancouver and the Rockies, or a loop that includes Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Or a loop that includes Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City etc.

Unless you don't have a license or are young enough that rentals are really expensive, I would strongly consider renting a car. Canada is a large country, and outside the major cities and few metropolitan areas, public transport is very poor. In the Rockies, there are improved options for Banff & Lake Louise, but tours are the only real option for Jasper unless you have a car. Even then, you lose a lot of flexibility -- tours do the big, popular destinations, but you don't get to see the many smaller places that are just as beautiful. And you are on a fixed schedule.

Also, if the Rockies are of interest (or BC), you need to book your accommodation as soon as you can. July is very much peak time and some hotels are already booked out, particularly in Jasper. The more desirable/less expensive accommodations in the Rockies will be the first to go -- and average hotel rooms start at $250-350.
kgsneds is offline  
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Feb 15th, 2018, 05:13 PM
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Try guidebooks, those are usually resourceful.
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Feb 15th, 2018, 06:52 PM
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If you go with the ViaRail Canadian, there are HI hostels in Vancouver (2), Jasper outside town (taxi from town), Winnipeg (nice but far from train station) and in Toronto. I've stayed in all of them at various times.
There are car rentals available within walking distance of the Jasper train station if you don't want to use a Brewster bus tour. The ViaRail Canadian only runs 3 days a week each way so you will have 2 or 3 days in whichever stop you make.
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