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Recomendations for a 10 days trip from Calgary to Vancouver

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Next July, My Family and I (Wife and 2 daughters 14 Yr. old) will make a trip from Calgary to Vancouver and Victoria for 9-10 days and then go back to Calgary for the 2012 Stampede.
We have booked a RV and want to hear about the most recommended towns and cities for this trip. We want to stay at RV Parks or campgrounds with good facilities and services. This is our first time in Canada and we have dreamed on this trip for a long time.
We’ll appreciate your recommendations and comments and good links. Thanks.

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    (ponders) Two daughters, each 14-ish, and you're going to Calgary and not to the West Edmonton Mall??? WWW.WEM.CA

    They'd be entertained by the magnificence (nearing the bounds of absurdity) of the various features in this one, huuuuuuuuge mall... and then they'd ponder life in the far north there during the dead of winter when it's -25 degrees outside.

    In fact, you can even make an excuse to go to Edmonton FIRST, so as to put yourself north of Jasper, from which you'd then drive south along the Icefields Parkway, and eventually west on Hwy #1 via Revelstoke, Kamloops, etc.

    MAYBE approach Vancouver via Lillooet and Whistler and see the Sea-to-Sky highway on approach. Vancouver itself merits 2 days (from somebody with 10 for this trip)

    Ferry to Victoria (although, IF you find you're truly pressed for time a bit, Victoria {er, the aggravation of getting to and fro} is the first place to cut back)...

    I dunno if you'll really be able to afford two nights in/near Victoria (time-wise), but if you bother to get there, you should probably have two nights.

    Lets see how this maps-out in real time:


    1. (I vote) Edmonton area after your flight to Calgary
    2. Jasper, AB area
    3. Salmon Arm/Kamloops,BC area
    4. Vancouver area
    5. Vancouver area
    6. Victoria area
    7. Victoria area
    8. Princeton/Penticton/Kelowna area (maybe drive back to Calgary along the U.S. border - then north at Cranbrook, BC)??
    9. Banff/Lake Louise area (which really deserves MORE time)

    IF I had 14yo daughters, I'm sure it would be great fun to look into their eyes as they themselves looked out at the West Edmonton Mall - particularly on a first-ever trip to Canada!

    PS - and if you let'em walk off alone in the mall, they'll get LOST from you (NOT dangerously so, but, well, you can't exactly afford ten days to find them!)

    At any rate, take them to just to see the MAP of the place, and determine their reactions and/or interest.

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    PS - There are few online representations of Canada better than the following:

    It's a video made by the Canadian Government itself, filled with adorable Canadian stereotypes.

    (not lost on any 14yo, is that the calendar in the video just happens to say "Avril")

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    WOW !! What a great options you are providing. I agree with you about the mall at Edmonton for our daughters. Should be a MUST ! Let me share with you my first aproach (previous to hear your options)

    Lake Louise 1 day
    Kelowna Area 1 day
    Victoria-Vancouver 4 days
    Osoyoos 1 day
    Banff Area 2 days

    And then staying in Calgary to enjoy the Stampede for the next 4 days, We can go to Edmonton for 1 day. What do you think?

    PS- We have 1 extra day for traveling through Calgary-Vancouver

    Thank you Northwestmale !

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    When I was putting my (vague guesswork) out there, I sensed that you'd travel through the Banff/Lake Louise area on the way BACK toward Calgary, so I definitely ("left it for later") rather than the opening bell. (indeed you can improvise mid-path to bring about more time for it on the rebound)

    The "Icefields Parkway" is basically a 'must'... and to cause yourself to have good reason to enter from the north, is to be sure you cover the whole length of it.

    That would also put you in the area of Lake Louise/Banff upon conclusion... for a reconnaissance mission so you can be thinking about how best to allocate your time upon return there a week later (best done while the daughters are busily trying to interpret the "100 KM/H" speed limit signs or the like).

    As it will be LIGHT quite LATE in the far north near to July 1, you may work it so as to schedule dinner at/near Banff, before driving to the west on that 3rd day. (note: you wouldn't neeeeeeeeeeeed to go to Banff for that dinner, Lake Louise might be fine, but a chance to see "what's there" may prove very useful later)

    Pondered your list there... and I don't sense anything 'structurally wrong' with it, and I must remind myself that pure randomness is a perfectly understandable reason for difference. (while I also endorse quite typically somebody sticking with their own plan/idea... because there is something rewarding about merely matching your ancitipated journey with things you actually did)

    I... sensed myself to be somewhat distance effective when suggesting the Edmonton leg first. I perceive that the alternative is a round-trip to Edmonton (later) AND perhaps a round-trip from Lake Louise to Jasper at some point... because the Icefields Parkway is something you should see.

    IF I did my math right, the equation is: (Calgary to Edmonton round trip = 360 miles) (Lake Louise - Jasper round trip = 295 miles)

    Edmonton to Jasper (would-be one-way path = 226 miles)

    So it's either one path of each up there, adding the 226, for 553 miles... OR two round-trips for a total of 655 miles. (and maybe I get to include not needing to go 115 miles from Calgary to Lake Louise in that math too, since you would have already gone west, across the 226 miles, from Edmonton to Jasper. please have the 14yo's do the math for us all

    Saves 215(??) miles AND you don't retrace your steps, when you could be seeing new-to-you scenery.

    An alternate to the Lake Louise-Jasper round trip is to venture west FROM Jasper, and I think the options and scenery are better when going west from Lake Louise on Hwy #1.

    With Calgary and Banff about 80 miles apart, it would be more handy to spend an extra day in the Banff area near/during the Calgary Stampede, than it would to go to Edmonton for a day there (@ 180 miles away).

    Some of my instinct, also, is the impulse to cover the significant "OPTIONS" early... so as not to chance cutting them out later, for time constraints.

    I just feel the Edmonton Mall is significant, and I can't even match the seemingly priceless feel of sharing it with 14yo daughters.

    Also, I admit that the "Icefields Parkway" is geographically awkward in not exactly getting you anywhere... but keep in mind that I suggest enduring that because, at some point, I think y'gotta see it.

    Stops to remind us both that there is nothing wrong with your listed itinerary... and it is all gonna be jam-packed (with mostly "fun")(with some long drives) no matter your ultimate choices.

    I admit to geographic bias when I ask just how important the Victoria leg of your journey is. It takes 3 hours to get there from Vancouver, and another 3 hours back, with the hassle of the ferry included.

    personal note: I've lived roughly 80 miles from Victoria for decades, and haven't been there in 25 years, even though I've loved it once I arrived. (would still opt for Vancouver every time, though)

    You doooooooooo have enough time to fit it all in, it's just that, you could do so well with a 3rd day in Vancouver, and even one more day to offer to the rest of your trip in some other spot.

    Oh, speaking of Vancouver again... map this place out: (and have a sheet of paper handy while on the trip, showing the path there, in relation to downtown Vancouver) It's an ice cream place a couple of miles east of mid-town Vancouver, and another spot worth 14 years of allowances, diapers, and bickering, just for the chance to look in their eyes and see its reflection IN those eyes.

    I guess I don't *know* how truly convenient in your mind/plans the possible one-day detour to Edmonton is, during the time at the Stampede, but I'd be disappointed to know that 14yo girls were so near, and they didn't get to go to THE Mall on their first trip to Canada.

    Much of my consideration is the spirit of teen girls getting their first in-person impression of Canada. Near Vancouver, I'd want them to have time to take a gondola car up the side of a mountain for hiking, eateries, and great views from the top. (per person tickets are EXPENSIVE... roughly $40 each). IF by chance you could afford to eat at the high falutin restaurant up there, make reservations prior and then you get to ride up for (what we'll call 'free'). At any rate, find the time for "sunset" on the day you're in the area, and have your trek up there straddle sunset for day and night views/pictures. (have the girls' photo taken by the giant wooden Hockey Player up there too - it IS "Canada" of course)

    Vancouver itself just has so much, so IF you could be inspired to opt away from Victoria, there would be plenty enough to do and enjoy in Vancouver.

    Maybe I'll take a deep breath and see how this new info settles with you.

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    WEM is a huge mall, but the selection of stores is similar to any other mall in Canada (there's just more of them). What makes WEM unique from most other malls is the added attractions - the waterpark, the roller coaster and midway rides, mini-golf etc. Living in Jasper and having been to WEM countless times, I realize I do perhaps take it for granted (I don't even bother going there now when I go shopping in Edmonton - other malls have better prices), but I'm not sure I would recommend adding another destination to a already-tight 10-day holiday just to visit it. There are large malls in Vancouver and Calgary (if anyone in your group wants to do a lot of shopping, I would suggest doing so in Alberta, as there are fewer sales taxes).

    I usually recommend a minimum of 5 to 7 days for the Rockies (Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper); that would give you enough time to see the main tourist sights in Banff, Yoho and Jasper National Parks (a UNESCO World Heritage site). Vancouver is one very long day of driving from the Rockies, better done as two days, especially if you want to make any stops along the way (and there is a lot you could see).

    I would suggest driving the Icefields Parkway twice, northbound and southbound - it is THAT spectacular. The views are different in each direction, and doing it twice gives you better odds of having good weather on at least one of the days.

    Sounds like the Stampede is a major focus of your vacation. I would suggest staying in Alberta for all of it and cutting Vancouver and Victoria. Do a loop Calgary - Banff - Jasper - Edmonton - Calgary. You will easily fill your ten days, and there is already plenty of driving in this itinerary without adding a 1600+ km round trip to Vancouver and Victoria. Save them for another vacation - you can easily spend AT LEAST a couple of weeks between Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Whistler and the Sunshine Coast.

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    LOL @ krp:

    Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy would anyone recommend a first-ever visit to Canada, in the west, and NOT include Vancouver???

    That only makes sense for 19yo college students from Montana.

    When talk turns to the world's most livable cities, Vancouver repeatedly leads the pack in North America.

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    Yes, and you could also say "Whyyyyyyyyyyy would anyone recommend a first-ever visit to Canada, in the west, and not include Tofino" (or the Sunshine Coast, or Vancouver Island, or.... ) I am not dissing Vancouver nor suggesting it is not worth visiting, but the OP has limited time and seems to already have other priorities. A round trip to Vancouver adds 1600+ km of driving to their trip - realistically, unless they are into marathon driving sessions, that is four days of ten, just for the driving. (I remember how much I enjoyed days and days of driving when I was 14... NOT!) It would make it much more do-able if they were flying from Calgary to Vancouver, or doing a one-way trip with the RV.

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    Dear NorthwestMale:
    I really appreciatte all your comments, you guys are great.

    The idea of krp329 is not bad, (Thank you), but I want to drive to Vancouver because I have heard a lot of that city. I know it seems to be a crazy idea with just 10 days, but I think the trip itself with my family on a Motor Home will be a great experience. We enjoy to drive by the lovely places with beautiful landscaping that you have up there which are very different of the places that we have here. I can stop wherever and I don't care if I can't cover all the best places in West Canada, not even in Vancouver. I travel a lot, but this is a very special trip. I am not American, We are a Mexican Family and we live very close to the Mexican Desert. Our son (16 Yo) is Studying High School for 1 year close to Calgary and he will end his studies next June. We want to spend 10 days driving around West Canada and then go back to Calgary Area to enjoy 4 or 5 days with my son's Host Family. I just wanted to know about the most recommended towns and cities (no matter the size) for this trip and you have said a lot of good ideas for me. I can't believe how much time you spend in helping travelers like me. You are great ! Thank you very much !

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