Panic vacation!

Jun 19th, 2003, 09:55 PM
  #1  
floridagirl
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Panic vacation!

My husband and I decided this week to go on a last minute vacation to
Seattle/Vancouver, leaving next Friday (6.27.03, no pressure!). I became overwhelmed with the amount of information out there in what to do/see. We plan to spend 4 days in BC, then Seattle for 4 days. We're both very active, and like to make the best use of our time while on vacation. Our flights are booked, we will be renting a car, but nothing else is confirmed. This is a plan of what we have so far, and would appreciate any pointers!

Day 1-Fly into Seattle @ 11:15am, drive to Vancouver, see any attractions we could by that time, (aquarium?).
Day 2: 1 Day Victoria. Take BUS TOUR from Vancouver to Victoria, spend the day in Victoria, return to Vancouver that eve.
Day 3: 1 day Whistler. Drive from Vancouver to Whistler, via Horseshoe Bay, Shannon Falls, then Whistler (spend day), return to Vancouver that eve.
Day 4: Vancouver sightseeing. Stanley Park, Capilano Susp. Br.,Granville Isl., Gastown
Grouse Mountain. Then head to Seattle that eve.
Should I add/delete any activity to any day?
Thanks for any assistance!
 
Jun 20th, 2003, 07:55 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 55
Welcome to the Pacific Northwest!

Your itinerary sounds like you've picked up the important things to see/do, although I'm worried that you might be a little ambitious on Day 4.

First, on day 1, the drive from Seattle to Vancouver can take up to 3.5 hours depending on traffic, border wait, etc. So once you arrive in Vancouver and make it to your hotel, it might be best to just stroll around and take in the atmosphere and then have a nice dinner somewhere. Actually, I just checked the Aquarium's website and they're open until 7 that night (summer hours starting June 27), so you may be able to make it.

Day 2. Start early! The trip from Vancouver to Victoria, door to door, will likely take about 3 hours if I remember correctly. The last ferry run back to Vancouver is 9:00 p.m. I think, so you could have a good long day in Victoria.

Day 3. You'll love Whistler in the summertime. Gorgeous! And if you're active, there are lots of things for you to do. Again, the drive takes a few hours so be prepared for that, although a day trip is definitely doable.

Day 4. You said you have a car, but this day looks quite busy and I'm not sure you'll have time for all of it. I would definitely keep Stanley Park and Granville Island (my favourite places in Vancouver). Grouse Mountain has a great view and is worthwhile as well. However, if you find yourself short on time, I would skip Capilano Suspension Bridge and Gastown, although I would pick Gastown over Capilano if you have to make a choice.

Don't forget to stop, relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery!

Have a great trip. Hopefully the weather will co-operate!
Heyblondie is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 08:15 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 615
I strongly suggest that you take one day off Seattle and add it to Vancouver. Seattle is a lovely city but in virtually any comparison - specially for an American - Vancouver has so much more to offer. The fantastic scenery combined with the cosmopolitan ethnic mix is enough to upset the balance. Seattle is a great city and I mean no disrespect when I say that it is basically just a cleaner and prettier version of any big city in the US. Vancouver is unique and deserves a few more days than you're giving it.
GaryA is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 08:21 AM
  #4  
dar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 144
I would skip Gastown also, Day 4 is too busy. Also, if you are active, Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge is less touristy, free, and has some nice trails. It is located in North Vancouver. Also, since you are active, you'd enjoy renting a bike (or rollerblades) in Stanley Park area, or Yaletown, and cycling around the seawall. Great way to see the entire park view, and you can also cycle past Yaletown, around Science world, towards Granville Island. If you have a lock, you could stop and spend time at the Island shops. But make sure the lock is a good one..lots of bike theft in this city.
dar is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 05:39 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 223
Dear floridagirl: I'm an ex-floridaguy and love the pacific northwest. I took my family to all your planned destinations last summer and had a wonderful time. Be sure to bring some light/moderate warm clothing (sweaters, pants, windbreakers) because the temp can be on chilly side compared with fla.

I agree with others that your 4-day schedule in BC is a bit ambitious. Seattle is a very pretty city, but I'd sacrifice one of your four days and tac it on to Vancouver, as others have suggested. 3 days there will be plenty to get a good flavor. From the time you land at SEATAC, get your luggage, get your rental car, clear customs at the border, and drive the distance to your Vancouver hotel, you'll be closing in on 5 hours, esp. if there's some backup at the border. On you return trip plan on sitting in line awaiting to reenter the US. It's been my repeated experience that US Immigration in the post-Sept11 era is much more methodical. Last summer we only waited about 45 minutes in line til we got back across, but that could vary. So, allow ample time on return.

The ferry crossing to Victoria is about 3 hours if I recall. Fortunately, the bus will bring you down to the waterfront, which is fairly compact. Great strolling around the beautiful harbor and the shopping area is right there also. If you take a few minutes and stroll inland about 2 blocks you'll find Thunderbird Park, which is a small park full of very old and enormous totems! No entry fee - not enclosed at all. Just ask anyone if you don't have a tourist map. Great place to have your pic taken and you'll probably have the place to yourselves! Forget Chinatown in Victoria - nothing really there.

As for Vancouver, driving north (you'll go past Stanley park) about 30-40 minutes takes you to the base of Grouse Mtn. If you have the time, take the cable car to the top - great views of greater Vacnouver.

As for Whistler, again, you're looking at some driving. The only road is 2-lane and in summer you may find yourself slowed up a bit. Very scenic drive all the way, though. I think it took a couple of hours at least. Since you'll be there only that day I'd concentrate on strolling around Whistler Village, which is essentially at the base of the ski lifts. If I was to do only one thing in Whistler, my easy vote would be to take the 4 ski lifts up Blackcombe Mountain to the glacier. The ski lifts are great (you even have to take a bus after the first one to ferry you to the next one). The views from atop the mountain is something you'll not forget. BUT, the weather is always iffy and can change quickly at the upper elevations. No matter the time of day bring/wear warm clothing. The morning in late July we went up to the glacier the day was clear and beautiful. The lifts take almost 45 minutes. Once there hot coffee/chocolate was definitely in order. By the time we went back down about 2 hours later the clouds and fog rolled in fast cutting the view to almost nothing. You can buy your ticket at the large ticket booth near the lifts.

I hope these observations are helpful. You will positively love your trip and will regret your short time. Have a wonderful trip!
waltd is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 05:55 PM
  #6  
floridagirl
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This is terrific, thanks to you all. Heyblondie, thank you for the warm welcome! You're right, we were a bit ambitious on Day #4, but glad to know we're covering the "must-sees". GaryA, you should be the ambassador to Vancouver. We are taking your suggestion and adding 1 more day in Vancouver to really enjoy the city. Thanks dar for the Lynn Vally susp. bridge idea. I did look at that but didn't know where to fit it in. Yaletown was also a consideration, now we've added it to the list. We have an extra day!
Knowing our itinerary, any ideas on the best area to stay- waterfront, downtown, etc? Checking on hotels as we speak!
 
Jun 20th, 2003, 06:18 PM
  #7  
floridagirl
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waltd, hello fellow Floridian, very valuable information regarding the border & weather, thank you! (Fla. lately is in the mid-90's and muggy).
Grouse Mtn. looks wonderful, we'll have to make time for that. We're really looking foward to the scenic drives, wherever they may lead!
 
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