Road trip Vancouver to Calgary

Old Oct 11th, 2022, 10:40 PM
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Road trip Vancouver to Calgary

My husband and I are going to Canada from Australia in July 2023 (yes, I know it's summer holidays and peak season, but this is when we have to travel). We will be flying into Vancouver and driving to Calgary (to visit our son). We visited in 2016 and saw some of the East coast, but this time we are staying in BC and Alberta.
I would like some opinions on the places we have chosen to stay and the number of nights we have allotted to each. We are willing to reduce the duration of our trip if we are wasting days in places, and can extend slightly if we've not given some places enough time. The itinerary as it stands is:
  • Vancouver - 2 nights (we've visited before and just need a bit of a stop over to get over the 14 hour flight)
  • Whistler - 3 nights
  • Kamloops - 1 night (really just a stop over - saw a bit of it in 2016)
  • Vernon - 1 night
  • Kelowna - 3 nights
  • Penticton - 3 nights
  • Osoyoos - 1 night
  • Nelson - 3 nights
  • Fernie - 2 nights
  • Waterton - 1 night - this will then take us to Calgary where we'll be with our son.
We are fit, healthy and active and will enjoy hiking, maybe cycling, lazing by lakes, stand up paddle boarding on lakes, winery tours, cidery tours, relaxing at cafes, pubs etc., I'm sure you get the idea. We don't just want a 'road trip' of driving and whizzing by beautiful scenery, we want to have some downtime too so it can be a holiday, not just a trip.
I look forward to your helpful comments.
Pidge51 is offline  
Old Oct 16th, 2022, 02:05 PM
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As an Aussie who has done several road trips in Canada, I'm just totally envious. We've visited all of those places and loved them. Hope you have a wonderful holiday.
marg is offline  
Old Oct 18th, 2022, 09:02 PM
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I honestly think you nailed it! You travel just like I do and enjoy the same things I do and I would be very very happy on this itinerary. I wouldn't overthink July either. That's exactly when you want to be there. Cherries being sold from the roadside fruit stands, pleasantly warm weather for being outside, alpine hikes finally losing the last of the snow, although you might still see some patches depending on the snow and the how the climate plays out this winter and spring (we still don't have any snow on the mountains - it's been Aussie-like drought here for months). Lots of daylight so you can extend those evenings and enjoy the outdoors all the much longer.

Now, I just got back from a few days in Osoyoos and couldn't get enough of the wineries in the South Okanagan (Stoneboat, Nk'Mip, Burrowing Owl, Tinhorn Creek, Moon Cursor were just blissful). Have dinner at 15 Park Bistro at the Watermark Resort. There are surprisingly not a lot of dining options in Osoyoos unless pizza and fast food is your thing, but 15 Park was a lovely treat. I was also in Fernie earlier this August and it is such a great little town full of good energy, great restaurants and shops. I only had one night but you've got two - lucky! And Nelson is worth the three days, certainly. What a lovely place. Excellent craft breweries too if you're into that. In fact, most of the places you're visiting have excellent craft brewery scenes.

One thought: the wineries all seemed to close at 5pm and some required reservations to do tastings. I didn't have a problem booking them last minute in October (the off season) but might I would want to have them booked in advance in July. You'll likely want to book your dinners in Whistler. From what I've been hearing, Whistler is crazy busy, especially on weekends. Book ahead to avoid disappointment.

Anyway, it's a very thoughtful, well paced itinerary. Well done and have fun!

Last edited by BC_Robyn; Oct 18th, 2022 at 09:08 PM.
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Old Feb 1st, 2023, 08:03 AM
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If I may, if you want a little "off the beaten path" drive, go North from Whistler & turn right before Pemberton onto the the Duffy Lake Road. It's basically a short cut to Kamloops. No need to drive back to Vancouver & connect to Hwy #1. It's narrower & somewhat twisty but no worse than some (all?) highways in New Zealand!
Plus, you'll save at least 3 hours.
Vernon? I'd stay at the Vernon Lodge. Indoor pool, reasonable food, reasonable rooms. But it doesn't get much better elsewhere in town. Personally, I'd forget Vernon & either add a night to Kamloops or Kelowna. Kamloops to Vernon is only 1 1/2 hr drive, Vernon to Kelowna is 1 hr. Vernon doesn't really have any waterfront hotels while Kelowna has lots to choose from
I can recommend the Naramata Heritage Inn when you're in Penticton. It's out of town at the end of the Naramata Bench wine area but the drive is lovely. It's old, the roome are small but it's one of a kind. The restaurant is really good also
Then in Osoyoos, I'd definitely recommend staying at Spirit Ridge. Indigenous owned, terrific Indigenous desert interpretation centre on site as well as an excellent restaurant
Take sunscreen! Don't worry about mosquitos - they've been banned in the Okanagan ;>}
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