Seattle to Canada Vacation Planning.

May 15th, 2003, 05:59 AM
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Seattle to Canada Vacation Planning.

We are flying into Seattle and driving up to Canada. Looking at driving up the "Scenic" drive to Whistler and thinking about driving on to the Banff area. We will have 10 days to travel. Is this too much? If Banff is too far, what do you suggest around/beyond Whistler? We choose Whistler because so many people said the drive up & area in Whistler is beautiful. Don't need big touristy area - Whistler will be enough of that. Just beautiful mountains and light hiking. Any suggestions?? Would you please include nice places to stay?
jamcat is offline  
May 15th, 2003, 07:16 AM
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We've been to Whistler twice and loved it! Don't know if you have kids, but there are lots of fun activities for them (modified bungee cord off a trampoline, summer toboggan ride down hill, mini golf, circus activity where you learn to do flips on a trapeze). Folks of all ages will love the tram ride to the top of the mountain, which should still have a bit of snow in summer. There are a number of great hikes/mountain bike rides down the mountain and a nice 2- or 3-mile hike to Lost Lake. The village provides daily entertainment (music, shows for kids, etc.) There's also good horseback riding, fly fishing, and white water rafting. The first time, we stayed at a B&B (don't remember name) and loved it. The second time we stayed at Holiday Inn Sunspree and were next door to wild, pot-smoking college students. Despite our complaints, the management did nothing. Would not recommend going there. Don't know how far Banff is from there. If you don't have time to drive, go to Victoria instead and soak up British influence. Visit the Empress hotel and see the renowned Butchart Gardens (prettier in my opinion than Kew Gardens in England and Versailles).
laurafromtexas is offline  
May 15th, 2003, 08:42 AM
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I agree. Whistler is much fun in the summer. We went last year and only decided virtually at the last moment to divert to Whistler for 2 nights. Am glad we did. Our Vancouver-Whistler-Victoria trip was only for 11 days, but we loved it all. Very good wAlking trails in/around Whistler. The tram/ski lifts up Blackcombe Mtn to the glacier is awsome! And what a view! You can get tickets in the village. We want to return, and when we do we'll spend at least a week there!
We stayed at the Delta Whistler in the Village. It has it's own bike rental shop - lots and lots of bike routes to enjoy. Anyway, we bought a Vancouver Entertainment Book ( for about $15.00, and used it extensively and saved big money. We used it to get a 2-bedroom suite at the Delta last July for about $175 Canadian per night, making it much more affordable.
The drive up from Seattle is a breeze. We rented a minivan about 3 months ahead of time and drove it from Seattle, and took it on the car ferry to Victoria. Anyway, the trip up to Whistler is very pretty -saw bald eagles flying right alongside the highway! I don't know the distance to Banff, so can't help there. But if you take Laura's idea and go to Victoria, be sure to make reservations for the autoferry as early as possible. You can do it directly on their website. Wherever you go, have a ball!
waltd is offline  
May 15th, 2003, 11:33 AM
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Whistler does sound great! I went to Seattle & took a quick trip to Victoria and saw the gardens a couple of years ago. Beautiful!!! My husband is not one for gardens...more the jeeping, hiking kind of guy. That's why I thought I'd skip Victoria. We don't have children...well we do but youngest in college. (That's a good thing!) Still looking for ideas around & beyond Whistler... Jamcat
jamcat is offline  
May 16th, 2003, 04:47 PM
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I would suggest the following.Go passenger from Seattle to Victoria and rent a car in Canadian $ in Victoria.Visit Victoria and travel to Nanaimo to catch the ferry to Vancouver(Horseshoe Bay.)From there you can visit Whistler and then go on to Banff/Jasper.Greater Victoria is very pretty and the scenic route from Victoria to Nanaimo is as spectacular as you will find anywhere.For a pleasant,well priced place to stay try fun
deegee is offline  
May 16th, 2003, 05:56 PM
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Hi jamcat. I like your name. You like jazz, or do you have a sweet tooth?

The drive time from Whistler out the back through Duffy Lake road on to Banff would be about 14 hours. This is not counting stops. It will take you though fabulous scenery of valley, mountain pass, valley, repeat.

You have to decide how much time you want to spend sitting enjoying the scenery vs. actually hiking. If you look for an illustrated book on hiking trails in B.C. (not just the rockies) you will find hours of dreaming.

Tourism B.C. offers a (still free?) accomodations mag that is a must.

If you go the distance, you do not have to return the same route. You can drop South and return along highway 3, or you can drop further and return along one of the most scenic roads ever just south of the border.

Have fun.
icithecat is offline  
May 19th, 2003, 04:15 AM
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I love both! Love the New Orleans French Quarter Jazz Festival! I am so confused!! I just can't decide where to go! The trip up to Banff seems to take so long. The idea to take the car ferry from Nainamo to Vancouver. Only problem is I have already rented a car in Seattle. I am spending a couple of nights there visiting a relative. Can you take a car ferry to Victoria? How long does it take?? Sounds like I should scrub the idea of going on to the Banff area and focus on the area around Vancouver. Where are a couple of nice places to stay in the area...along the coast? GKB you mentioned a lodge overlooking the Pacific - got a name for me??? Thanks!
jamcat is offline  
May 20th, 2003, 10:04 AM
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ttt - really could use some help on this trip!! I was reading the posts for Beautiful Canada and it makes me want to drive over to the Rocky Mountains so badly!!! Please give me some more suggestions! Thanks!!
jamcat is offline  
May 20th, 2003, 03:38 PM
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Banff is located a 10 hour drive east of Vancouver on the border of the provinces of BC and Alberta. Some people don't realize how far it is until it gets mentioned that Banff is located in a completely different time zone - the Mountain time zone. An equivalent distance would be to drive from Seattle over to Montana. Either way, when you drive from west to east through BC, you would be passing over various mountain chains and valleys to get there (ie: the Cascades, the Okanagan Valley, the Thompson Valley, the Kootenays, etc). The drive can be slow because the roads are sometimes 2-lanes and mountainous... but it's definitely a trip of its own. If you plan to drive to Banff, spend an extra driving there, so you can appreciate the scenery.

The unique thing about the Rockies is that they're very, very jagged. The rocks are all sedimentary - used to be the old sea-bed floors from millions of year ago... so all the stratifications (lines) are visible. The Rockies are unique visually, also because the tree line is low... so you'll have forests that follow up the steep slopes for a short distance, and then you'll see these massive rocky peaks, like razors in the sky. The Rockies are magical, but it's worth several days - at least 4-5. Unfortuately, I find the townsite of Banff tacky touristy and not exactly your typical Canadian town... more like a conglomerate of hotels, souvenir shops and restaurants for international visitors... but the park is why you're there, not the town.

Closer back to Seattle, Vancouver just happens to be located directly south of the Coast mountains - the mountain chain that follows along the Pacific coast all the way up to Alaska - and these are dramatic, but in a different way, usually because they're covered in lush green rainforests, have the ocean to the west, and a semi-arid desert-like area to the east.

The Cascades, about a 2 hour drive east of Vancouver - the same mountain chain you see in the distance when you're in Seattle - is a volcanic mountain chain, and also have different properties, as they're dotted with dormant volcanos (Mount Baker, Mount Ranier, Mount St Helens, Mount Hood, etc).

You don't have to travel all the way to Banff to see beautiful, wild, mountain settings. You can drive the Duffy Lake Road, north of Whistler, which would make more sense given your time constraints.
Carmanah is offline  
May 20th, 2003, 03:47 PM
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And if you haven't already, give a quick look at - it should give you some more ideas.
Carmanah is offline  
May 20th, 2003, 06:10 PM
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The rockies are to die for. So is the west coast. You have a dilema. Going north of Vancouver to the 'sunshine coast' gives you more coastal scenery.

You can also drive up Vancouver Island most of the way then ferry over to the sunshine coast. From there you drive back down to Horseshoe bay, where you can turn left for Whistler. From there you can continue on the Duffy Lake road to the interior. From there you can drive south missing Vancouver or not and end up in a remote area of the US.

Just too damned many choices aren't there.
icithecat is offline  
May 21st, 2003, 10:22 AM
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Too, too many choices! Okay with your help I have decided to not go to Banff area. I will drive up the coast & ferry over to the Sunshine coast. Where should I stay on this leg of the journey? Then I will drive back down to Horseshoe Bay and on to spend a couple days in Whistler then a couple of days in Duffy Lake Area. Any suggestions on where to stay here??? This seems feasible Right?? Jamcat
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