Mom + Two Teenage Girls in Vancouver

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Feb 28th, 2018, 05:41 AM
  #1
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Mom + Two Teenage Girls in Vancouver

Hello Fodorites!
Taking my girls (12 and 15) out West this summer for a few days in Seattle (getting help from a different thread for this part) then taking the train to Vancouver for 3-4 days. We have never been to either place. Excited to see a part of the world that is so new to us but TBH, am a little nervous because I'm not sure how to structure our days. Would love advice on things to do. We are not super "outdoorsy" but are hoping to become more so on this trip, so any first-timer adventure day trips that are good for beginners would be ideal.
My go to is always to stay in town, explore restaurants, markets, etc...We won't have a car so we'll be relying on public transportation for all.
Thanks in advance for any advice!
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Feb 28th, 2018, 07:15 AM
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The morning train leaves Seattle King St. station at 7:45AM and takes 4 hours to Vancouver. Are you sure you can get them all up and to the station by 7:15? Amtrak collects all of your passport numbers when you buy the tickets. Sometimes there is a problem that causes a delay when Canada Customs and Border Patrol decides someone is not eligible to enter Canada.
There is a morning bus also operated by Amtrak that leaves from outside King St. station at 10:45AM. The late train leaves at 7PM and gets to Vancouver about 11PM which I would think is too late to be arriving at a Vancouver hotel.
My favorites in Vancouver are Gastown, Canada Place and Stanley Park. See the totem poles in Stanley Park.
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Feb 28th, 2018, 08:12 AM
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We'd be at the 5 am train if there was one We'll be there. Already have the tickets.
Any day trips from Vancouver that aren't crazy far to some of the lakes? I was looking into Jasper and Banff but didn't realize how far they were. We've got 4 days in Vancouver and thinking after 2 a day trip would be nice. But Tom, will check out your suggestions for sure! Thank you!
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Feb 28th, 2018, 09:38 AM
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You can do something “outdoorsy” in minutes from downtown.The public transportation is excellent, and includes water transit. https://www.tourismvancouver.com/plan-your-trip/getting-around/transit-system/Definitely check out hellobc.com for ideas. Of course, you have Grouse Mountain and Capilano Suspension bridge (both charge admission), Lynn Canyon Park (free, suspension bridge). https://lynncanyon.ca/

https://www.capbridge.com/

https://www.grousemountain.com/You could also take a day trip (or overnight) up the Sunshine Coast, which will give you the opportunity to be out on the water on several short ferry trips via BC Ferries:https://sunshinecoastcanada.com/plan-your-trip/

https://www.bcferries.com/



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Feb 28th, 2018, 05:46 PM
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In Seattle, take the "duck boat tour" for a fun runaround with some history, great overview of the city... the Seattle CityPass is a great assortment of the top attractions at a discount price, and it's a must to wander the Pikes place Market. ..

In Vancouver, consider the vancouvertrolleytours.com for a hop on/hop off stop at over 20 different attractions... without a car, it beats regular public transportation by following two loops around the city... two day passes are available. Have fun
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Mar 1st, 2018, 01:50 PM
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Super helpful so far, thank you.
Next question: what's the closest glacier-fed lake to Vancouver? Is there public transportation? Thinking we'll do 2 days in Vancouver (city) and then go to the lake. I'm doing a lot of legwork but figured I'd ask if anyone knows of a great place for a first timer to experience the gorgeous lakes. Any hotels/resorts you can recommend would be great, too! Thanks again!!
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Mar 2nd, 2018, 05:34 AM
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Do your teenagers have, or need, passports? For convenience, if not necessity, they can get them well in advance. Of course, it will cost. To be clear, your major concern is dealing with the US border authorities coming back, but Canada can be sticky, or at least slow, as well.
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Mar 2nd, 2018, 05:48 AM
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We all have passports!
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Mar 2nd, 2018, 02:07 PM
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For Glacier fed lake, check out Garibaldi Lake on the way to Whistler. Viator offers a tour from Vancouver, but it is all day. 1.5 hour drive, then 3 hour hike and back again. It is quite remote Awfully long way to go when you are there for only 4 days.

If you spend an overnight at Whistler and ride the gondola up you will see some small beautiful turquoise lakes, but they are very small. I do recommend going to Whistler if you can; it's beautiful and there is plenty to see and do. There is also Green Lake right near Whistler - you can rent a bike and get there quite easily.

Also Harrison Lake, but it doesn't have that beautiful turquoise colour. There is a hot spring and beach there; very pretty. But for my money I would spend a day at Whistler over Harrison.
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Mar 2nd, 2018, 03:31 PM
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Ok you need to forget about Rockies.. you are a full days drive away at the best..

Whistler will give you a taste of mountains... lakes etc.. and is a reasonable overnight trip ( you can do it as a daytrip but its about 3 hours each way so I wouldnt).

Most teens love shopping up and down Robson street.. we always stay there because my FIL lives near there. Its a busy fun shopping street with tons of places to eat all around. We usually stay at the Blue Horizon .. the rooms are bigger than many in that price range. You can walk down to English Bay etc.
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Mar 4th, 2018, 08:50 AM
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Does anyone know about Joffre Lake and if it's a good hike for newbies?
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Mar 4th, 2018, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by syd1 View Post
Does anyone know about Joffre Lake and if it's a good hike for newbies?
Well it is about a 4-5 hour hike .. and its listed as "intermediate"... or moderate.( so be sure to pack water, food and emergency stuff) . its also not really a day trip from vancouver.. you should stay in Whistler overnight.. as the drive there is more than three hours.. so who would do a six hour drive and a 4-5 hour hike in one day!! ( well some might.. but it would be a long tiring day, dont think thats what you are after) .

Why not google for good hikes around Whistler for beginners. Book a night in Whistler and do one of them .. its worth a day out of Vancouver..

I havent done Joffre lakes yet.. but I am looking forward to it one day..

If you arent really into a ton of hiking but want spectacular views then why not just go up Whistler gondola and hike around up top the views are stunning..
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Mar 4th, 2018, 03:00 PM
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For heaven's sake, Vancouver proper is so great, with so much to see, that somebody with "3 or 4 days" should have no need to leave the city proper.

(though a regular city bus trip to the foot of Grouse Mountain for the pricey gondola ride up to the top IS a good idea)

Beyond that, though, the middle of Vancouver should be able to entertain anyone for "3 or 4" days, particularly as it is the rare large city where normal people are walking around on central streets all night long. The people-watching is fabulous, and the array of food options is exceptional.

If you go at the right time of year, it stays light out until about 10:00pm, so that only adds to your options.

If this were me, with two daughters aged 12 and 15, I would enlist their detailed help in planning the entire Vancouver portion of the trip to remain IN the city, with the exception of Grouse Mountain for a day trip.

You will never run out of things to explore or 'foreign-seeming' culture to observe.

Vancouver's compact nature and flat-ish terrain make for a terrific place to spend 3 or 4 days without a vehicle.

Everything you need will be not far from your central hotel. (and maybe use Priceline to get a central hotel at an affordable price)
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