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JC98 Mar 6th, 2006 11:11 PM

Off the beaten track around Vancouver?
We have about 2 days before our cruise from Vancouver, but we have been to Vancouver a few times including Victoria Island. Could you recommend some off the beaten track activities/sights in or around Vancouver to do during that time?

This is for the end of May (5/26 to 5/28). Can you still ski or snowshoe in Whistler at the end of May?

We're open to anything--nice drives to the mountains, countrysides, hiking, skiing, etc.


Carmanah Mar 7th, 2006 08:21 AM

I'm not familiar with Whistler's May conditions, so I'll let others respond to that.

However, if you've been to Vancouver many times and you've been to Victoria (which is the city on Vancouver Island)... and perhaps you've travelled around Vancouver Island too, here are a few ideas:

Visit the Gulf Islands (Saltspring, Galiano, N/S Pender, Mayne, Saturna) - these are the chain of islands between Vancouver Island and the mainland - each one offering something unique.

Visit the Sunshine Coast - this is accessible by taking the ferries out of Horseshoe Bay. The Sunshine Coast is a series of peninsulas broken by fjords just northwest of Vancouver. Lots of provincial parks to explore.

You could visit a bunch of communities like Fort Langley (to see Fort Langley Historical Site)... take in Langley's wineries (there are only a few). Perhaps visit the Greater Vancouver Zoo if that's your thing. Drive through the countryside (rolling farmland and country estates) through to White Rock - a beachside community. Travel to Steveston, the historic fishing village at the mouth of the Fraser River with a lot of heritage sites (the Gulf of Georgia Cannery), boardwalk riverfronts, Canada's largest fishing fleet, including fresh fish off the boats along the public wharf (quite a different experience from Vancouver). Visit the George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary in Ladner on Westham Island...

There are so many ideas... but I'd suggest taking a quick scan at this website:

It's British's "Regions & Towns". I've specified the Vancouver, Coast & Mountains region as this is the area I'd stay within if you had 2 days to explore beyond Vancouver. Click on each individual location to get more ideas of what's there.

JC98 Mar 7th, 2006 12:10 PM

Thanks, Carmanah, for the list of recommendations. Wow, never heard of some of those places. I have to look into that!

Sam_Salmon Mar 7th, 2006 02:29 PM

Since you're on a cruise headed to Alaska no need to duplicate any coastal experiences.

Head up to the Fraser Canyon a long but beautiful and out-of-the-way day trip.

A longer trip would be to drive North to Whistler and travel on over the Coast mountains to Lilooet and spend the night then travel back down to the coast via the Fraser Canyon.

JC98 Mar 7th, 2006 03:59 PM

SS, that's a great suggestion. Yes, I'd rather not duplicate the coastal stuff.

How long is the drive from Vancouver airport to Whistler? I have to look into Fraser too. Never heard of that one either.


tom22 Mar 8th, 2006 12:21 AM

Whistler Ski-repsorthas two mountains with slopes (Whistler mountain and blackcomb mountain).

The slopes on Blackcomb mountain will be closed April 23 2006.

The slopes on Whistler mountain remain open until June 4 2006 (last day of winter operation). Spring snow conditions apply.

weasel Mar 8th, 2006 10:28 AM

Hi JC98, In regards to Whistler So far we have tons of snow so things are looking good for spring skiing. If the weather is good the weekend you are in Vancouver then I would highly recommend going up to Whistler. If it is overcast and raining I would pass on Whistler because you won't see the mountains. At this time of year you should be safe to find accommadation at last minute.

JC98 Mar 8th, 2006 01:56 PM

Thanks, all, for the excellent recommendations and info.

Ahh, I'd forgotten about the rain. If it rains in Vancouver, what should my Plan B be?

Actually, I'd like to see some museums in Vancouver. The only one I've been to was the anthropology museum.

BTW, what is the biggest newspaper in Vancouver? Anything online that I can research on museum exhibits, performances, festivals, restaurants?


Carmanah Mar 8th, 2006 10:55 PM

Vancouver's not a big museum city. The Museum of Anthropology is the biggest and the best museum, in my opinion. You then have smaller museums like the Vancouver Museum, the Maritime Museum, the Geology Museum, etc. If you like modern art, then the Vancouver Art Gallery might be of interest to you.

Other museums in the area:

You could head up to Britannia Beach (between Vancouver and Whistler) to visit the Britannia Mining Museum. Steveston, as I previously mentioned, as a whole lot of museums and heritage sites all within short walking distance of eachother (Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site, Britannia Shipyards, London Farm House, the Steveston Museum, the Murakami Garden, etc), and I already mentioned Fort Langley.

Carmanah Mar 8th, 2006 10:56 PM

Oh, and my original purpose for responding again was to say that while the Vancouver Sun is the largest newspaper in Canada, you'd probably get more out of the free weekly Georgia Straight newspaper, as they focus on arts and entertainment. is their website, although there's more in their printed versions (available all over the city for free).

tom22 Mar 8th, 2006 11:34 PM

Take a look under

joyadvtr Mar 14th, 2006 04:49 PM

What are your hobbies quilting, cars, bikes, or do you like flea markets, festivals or things to do outdoors?
Serious hiking try the Grouse Grind, or for a fun easy trip visit Capilano Suspension bridge, Or grab a picnic lunch and visit Lynn Canyon suspension bridge (free) All of these are about 30 - 45 minutes max from depending on traffic.

Rent a bike and tour Stanley Park

I think the drive up the Fraser Canyon is breath taking. It winds along the Fraser River this was the route to the northern Gold Rush, small towns dot the highway, not overly commercialized. Up the canyon at Hell's Gate you can take the air tram across the river - about 2 1/2 hours from Vancouver. Take in the Fraser River Rafting for an adventure trou

Check out the city of Vancouver's web site for tourism

Take the city bus from downtown Vancovuer across the Lions Gate bridge over to Ambelside Park in West Vancouver, sit on the beach and watch yachts and ships go under the bridge, windsurfers, sailboats, big ocean going freight liners etc. About 30 min max by bus. Your cruise ship will travel under this bridge when it departs Vancouver.

OK so what if it rains?
A must see is this is an underground tour of Vancovuer's "Gastown", plan to have a fun dinner at the Spaghetti Factory in Gastown or more upscale try Robson Street, Or hop on the city's skytrain you can't get lost, about 30 - 45 minutes to the end of the terminal - it is above ground so you really get to see Vancouver's surrounding communities.

Take in a play try Tony & Tina's wedding

or try a comedy club Giggle Dam or Yuk Yuks'or Lafflines

This is a site I use to find out what's happening around town

JC98 Mar 15th, 2006 05:37 PM

Wow, you guys should really write your own off-the-beaten-track guide to Vancouver! Those are great suggestions. I have to look into them, and save this thread for future travels to the area!

BTW, how is the acquarium in Vancouver? Is it as big as the one in Boston, for example? Worth spending time there on a rainy day?

I'd like to try some good/interesting restaurants in Vancouver too. Pacific northwest cuisine, authentic/contemporary Asian food, etc. Any recommendations there?

Thanks again for all the wonderful suggestions!

tuckerdc Mar 16th, 2006 04:24 PM

Any suggestions for nice accommodations (particularly nice lodge, B&B or motel) if a person made that Fraser Canyon drive. I've already come across Little Beaver Creek....which is just a little to$$ nice!

joyadvtr Mar 16th, 2006 07:57 PM

Fraser Canyon and Hell’s Gate more information. . . .

great pictures of the area

tram site

Stay overnight………………in Fort Langley or Harrison Hot Springs
sorry I can’t recommend them except
I have stayed at the Harrison Hot Springs resort and hotel reserve early
And I can highly recommend it.
Visit the town of Fort Langley and the National Historic site
And go on a wine tour -yum!
The gold rush and the declaration of 49th parallel as the United States border resulted in the creation of the Crown Colony of British Columbia. On November 19, 1858, the actual proclamation of Crown Colony status took place in the Big House at Fort Langley. Thus Fort Langley was proclaimed the birthplace of B.C.

Or here

or choose something along the way – perhaps in

Harrison Hot Springs

tuckerdc Mar 17th, 2006 07:45 AM

Not to highjack jc98's OP, but I'd just like to be sure:

We arrive in V'couver (train) around 8 a.m. Would it be feasible to get a car, make the Loop to Fraser Canyon and get back as far as Langley or Harrison Hotsprings area to spend that nite?

Two places that look very interesting to me are:

Wonder if anyone knows anything about either one? Couldn't find anything that fit the bill for a splurge-y (but not over $200) country lodge anyplace north of Hope.

Anyway, would like to know about the one-day FC drive and about how long we should plan on. Thanks!

Carmanah Mar 17th, 2006 06:37 PM

"BTW, how is the acquarium in Vancouver? Is it as big as the one in Boston, for example?"

It's an excellent aquarium... more of a marine science center than a theme park. It's a popular attraction, for good reason. I don't know how it would compare to Boston's, but I would definitely recommend it for anyone that's interested. would have more information and you might get a better idea of what it's like.

weasel Mar 25th, 2006 11:39 AM

Hi tuckerdc, I wouldn't recommend driving the fraser canyon and back in one day, Although it is possible. You would be in the car all day without any time to see anything. I've had lunch at the Tuscan Garden and it is very nice. The rooms have private entrances,although it's in the middle of nowhere but thats part of it's charm. When are you going to be in Vancouver? for how long?

tuckerdc Mar 26th, 2006 08:34 PM

Thanks Weasel, for the info!

We'll be in Vancouver mid-July. This thread prompted us to start looking at the Fraser Canyon drive, which looked/sounded so scenic and appealing.

The plan we eventually hit on - with tons of internet searching - has us heading out of Vancover to Manning Park PP, staying at the Lodge there.

Next mornning, Saturday, we'll back track and drive up Fraser River to ..?? Boston Bar??? and then back down to a B&B in the Harrison Mills area. Will we get enough of the 'feel' for the Canyon area by going only as far as Boston Bar?

Does this all sound reasonable/doable? Thanks!!

weasel Mar 27th, 2006 10:49 AM

I think this is a better idea. When your in Manning Park make sure to drive up to the alpine meadows. The road is directly across the highway from the lodge. There are a number of switchbacks and then you come to a lookout.Stop and look but then continue up the road until the end. at this time of year the meadows should be in bloom. Listen for the whistle of the Hoary marmmots that live in the rock piles. You can hike along the ridge for a short way and get spectacular views of the 3 brothers peaks. Don't go if the weather is bad this area gets lots of lightning. There is also a hike through strawberry flats to a waterfall but if you only have part of a day I'd go to the meadows. Stop at hells gate when in the canyon and take the tram down to the gorge, It's worth the stop.

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