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Vancouver and possibly elsewhere for two weeks?

Vancouver and possibly elsewhere for two weeks?

Old Jan 21st, 2017, 01:30 AM
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Vancouver and possibly elsewhere for two weeks?

At the end of April we have leave booked for 30th Anniversary. We are thinking about Vancouver even though the weather may not be ideal at that time of year, but I'm from the UK, so a little rain may not seem unusual to us.

I'm still in the very early stages of planning, so not read up a lot yet - but a couple of questions:

Is two weeks too long to stay in the city, if so where else would you suggest?
I am not against the idea of splitting the trip over two bases.

I've visited Canada once before - doing 11 days in Banff and Jasper in late summer 2010. Although I loved visiting the mountains, I do not ski or snowboard, so "winter sports" is not really an option.

We are both in our early fifties, not total couch potatoes, but neither are we very fit - We can both comfortably walk 15 Kilometres in a day and enjoy hiking, and shortish cycle trips.

Sorry for the vagueness of the questions - any help is appreciated.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2017, 11:56 AM
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I was hoping one of our Canadian friends would see this, as I have not actually visited in April. A week in Vancouver would be a good length of time, I'd think; but for 2 weeks, I'd suggest exploring other options

You might check out the Okanagan wine region. It would be around 4 hours drive out of Vancouver, and you could spend a few days enjoying the more desert climate with its wineries, orchards, and lake(s).

http://www.okanaganvacationguide.com...a-weather.html

DH and I really enjoy the Sprit Ridge at Nk'Mip Resort at the southern end, Osoyoos. Watermark is another resort we have enjoyed there, although it is right in town as opposed to being in the middle of the winery. Farther north, though, I would avoid the busy traffic-y area of West Kelowna.

Some other wineries have added lodging and restaurants as well, so you might research that a bit.

Spirit Ridge: http://spiritridge.ca/

Watermark: https://www.watermarkbeachresort.com/
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Old Jan 22nd, 2017, 01:28 PM
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The Okanagan is a good suggestion, but I would also consider a week on Vancouver Island.

Spend a couple of days in Victoria and then visit the west coast of the island--Ucluelet and Tofino. You might also consider the northern tip of the island where Telegraph Cove is a popular site for whale and grizzly bear watching. Here are some suggestions:

http://www.hellobc.com/vancouver-island.aspx

The Hello BC website has plenty of useful information for the rest of the province as well.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2017, 03:14 PM
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Yes, I also think Vancouver Island would be good. Perhaps you could break your trip into those 3 areas.

Happy 30th anniversary!
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Old Jan 22nd, 2017, 05:44 PM
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Last year in late April, I was sunbathing on Third Beach in Stanley Park after riding my bike along the seawall to there. It was glorious and sunny... and hot! While April can certainly be rainy, it can also be quite gorgeous. Coming from the UK, the temperate climate of Vancouver won't be a shock at all. It'll be familiar. Here's a photo of a friend of mine visiting from Texas. I took her to Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver one evening: https://www.instagram.com/p/BEhdrq8q...ken-by=bcrobyn

As you can see, she's not even wearing a jacket. April can be lovely.

Two weeks *can* be done in the city - there's certainly enough to do in Metro Vancouver without running out of things to do, because you can include all the surrounding regions - Fort Langley, Harrison Hot Springs, Steveston, White Rock, the North Shore, Whistler, etc.

But if you have two weeks, splitting it up somewhere like the Okanagan or Vancouver Island, or the Sunshine Coast, or the Gulf Islands would be a lot of fun. Given your interests, any of these places will be perfect. April is a wonderful time to explore the coast.

My only concern about the Okanagan is that it may be a tad quiet and off-season in April. It's too early for the summer fruit, which appears everywhere in the summer. It's not exactly beach weather there yet, and the wineries may still be on their off-season hours.

Whereas Vancouver Island could keep you occupied for weeks. I'd prioritize the Gulf Islands (Galiano Island, Salt Spring Island, etc.), the Sunshine Coast (Gibsons, Roberts Creek, Madeira Park, Powell River), or Vancouver Island (Tofino, Ucluelet, Victoria, Parksville) this time around and explore the Okanagan Valley on a return visit in the summer months, as the summer is when that region truly shines.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2017, 05:45 PM
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Oops - forgot to clarify, that photo of my Texan friend was taken in late April. So that's how I remind myself of the weather/temperatures - I look back at my Instagram photos and see what we were wearing.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2017, 05:56 PM
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Another thought: you could easily combine a few of those destinations I recommended together.

For example, you could spend your first 3 nights in Vancouver. Then, take a ferry to Galiano Island and spend 2 nights there. Take another ferry from Galiano to Salt Spring Island, and spend 2 nights there. There's one week already done.

Then, take a ferry from Salt Spring to Vancouver Island and spend a night or two in Victoria. Then drive to the west coast of Vancouver Island Tofino or Ucluelet and spend 3 nights there. Drive back to the east side of the island and ferry back to Vancouver for your final nights before flying home.

This would give you a good sampler of what there is to see and do in the region, and you'll still wish you had more time.

Another itinerary could be spending your first 3 nights in Vancouver, then take the ferry to Langdale on the Sunshine Coast for a few nights stay in a cabin or a B&B somewhere like Gibsons, Roberts Creek or Pender Harbour. The Sunshine Coast is a local secret, kinda off the beaten path, and quiet in a way that makes you feel rejuvenated. It's not so much a beach destination but a series of seaside villages hidden in the rainforest, with a huge artist and hippy community. The allure of the region is not immediately obvious as you drive through, but if you have the time to stop and explore, and get off the main highway into the little rainforest parks or art gallery cafes, it can really be quite a lovely experience.

Then, continue north along the Sunshine Coast and take the ferry from Egmont to Saltery Bay to the Upper Sunshine Coast to Powell River (large seaside town) or Lund (seaside village). Spend a few nights there. Then, take a ferry from Powell River across to Comox on Vancouver Island, and drive down the east coast of Vancouver Island back towards Parksville, Nanaimo, and Victoria. Ferry back from Victoria back to Vancouver.

I can go on and on.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 07:31 AM
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BC_Robyn - thanks for all your suggestions, I'm going to need to sit with my guidebooks and maps and look over them all.

I hadn't intended to hire a car on the trip, and generally am not too keen on moving bases too often - I'd thought about a week in Vancouver and a week in Victoria but will read some more and might reconsider.

I would guess that purely because of the distances involved, and its geographical position, that Victoria wouldn't be a too good a base even with a car.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 07:34 AM
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Whoops - also meant to thank sludick and laverendrye.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 08:42 AM
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Given that you're not keen on moving bases, then definitely scrap my suggestions above. Those are certainly more of a road trip type itinerary.

After your research, if you decide you want to explore the Gulf Islands, the Sunshine Coast, or Vancouver Island, a car will be necessary. The only place where you do not need a car on Vancouver Island would be Victoria, as it is a small walkable city. A big allure to visiting Victoria (for many North American tourists) is its British colonial history and slight British ambiance. Coming from the UK, I am not entirely sure that would be where I would prioritize my time on Vancouver Island, but it completely depends on what you were hoping to do, and your interests.

For example, Pacific Rim National Park - the 30 miles of old growth temperate rainforest on the open Pacific Ocean between Tofino and Ucluelet - cannot be missed, especially if you're coming from the UK, as nothing like that exists there or elsewhere in Europe. If you love nature, staying put, and relaxing, and enjoying quality time without rushing around, that would be my recommendation for somewhere else. 5 days there is not too many. However, staying there without access to some sort of transportation would get old fairly quickly as public transit is infrequent at best and not an efficient way to explore. Having a car for at least part of your trip, given the length of how long you will be here, will allow you to explore beyond the city limits of Vancouver and Victoria.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 09:24 AM
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Of course, if you are intending to use public transit and like to take things slow, two weeks will easily be filled just by staying put in Vancouver, even though you could easily include other destinations.

Three days is the bare minimum for getting a taste of Vancouver. With two weeks, here's just an idea of how you can spend your time. This isn't in any particular order, but merely a sample of how you could spend your days.

I also haven't really emphasized cultural events or festivals, which are always taking place. The Georgia Straight newspaper is the weekly arts and entertainment newspaper, so I would certainly look into that closer to when you get here, as you can easily supplement your trip with local theatre, symphony orchestra performances, dance, live music, or festivals.

Day 1: Morning at Granville Island and afternoon at Stanley Park.

Day 2: Explore the downtown Vancouver neighbourhoods in depth: Gastown, Chinatown, Yaletown, Robson Street, Denman Street, Davie Street, Coal Harbour, with a post-dinner sunset stroll at English Bay Beach.

Day 3: An outing to UBC campus exploring the Museum of Anthropology, UBC Botanical Garden, Nitobe Japanese Garden, Beaty Biodiversity Museum, UBC Rose Garden.

Day 4: Relaxing day in the city exploring great eating/shopping neighbourhoods immediately outside of downtown: Main Street/Mount Pleasant, Commercial Drive, Kitsilano/W 4th, South Granville, etc.

Day 5: Afternoon on the North Shore visiting one or two nature parks like Lynn Canyon Park, Capilano Suspension Bridge, Grouse Mountain, Deep Cove, Lighthouse Park.

Day 6: Cultural day at a local attraction: Vancouver Art Gallery, Museum of Vancouver, Vancouver Maritime Museum, Vancouver Aquarium, Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, Vancouver Public Library, Burnaby Heritage Museum, etc.

Day 7: Return to Stanley Park: bike ride around the seawall, picnic at Third Beach, walk the trails to Beaver Lake, Pitch & Putt near the rhododendron garden, etc. Return visit to a downtown neighbourhood for a stroll or meal.

Day 8: Relaxing day at VanDusen Botanical Garden and Queen Elizabeth Park.

Day 9: Day trip to Bowen Island - Bus ride to Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal, 20 minute ferry ride to Snug Cove on Bowen, walk around Snug Cove, walk to Crippen Park, return back to Snug Cove for ferry back.

Day 10: Relaxing day staying put in a neighbourhood you haven't explored yet (ie: Kitsilano, Commercial Drive, Main Street, etc.) or exploring an attraction or park you haven't visited yet. For example, if you like craft beer, you could spend an afternoon exploring the craft breweries around Main Street.

Day 11: Day trip to Whistler with local tour group.

Day 12: Day trip to Steveston - a historic fishing village in Richmond, home to Canada's largest fishing fleet, visiting the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site, Britannia Shipyards, fishermen selling fresh fish off of Fisherman's Wharf, etc. Or day trip to Richmond's numerous Asian shopping malls for some of the best authentic Chinese food outside of China.

Day 13: Short nature walks through the forest at Pacific Spirit Park and a picnic at nearby Jericho Beach.

Day 14: Relaxing day exploring your favourites: Stanley Park, Granville Island, etc. or just take it easy before your flight back home.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 11:30 AM
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Well, I really like BCRobyn's list above. Although I have to say, I think the small town on Bowen Island is a little underwhelming.

While the weather can be sunny and nice, you just never know here in Vancouver, so be sure you bring some warm layers, because walking around in damp weather can be really bone chilling.

Trees and flowers will be putting on a good spring show by then.

I don't see the Capilano Suspension Bridge in the list above. It's a good destination if you don't have a car, since there are buses going there from downtown Vancouver.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 11:48 AM
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Again, my thanks for the suggestions. I'm not completely against having a car , I just thought it might be a hindrance in the city.

The Pacific Rim National Park looks stunning - I'm definitely going to have to put it on my list.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 01:10 PM
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Willit, even when the weather is not great, people go to the West Coast of Vancouver Island for storm watching.

I would not suggest the Okanagan at that time, since there is still a very real possibility of snow on the highways going up there, both routes take you through high mountain passes.

You could stay in Van for a week, then rent a car and go to the Island, if you wanted to try that. Parking in downtown Vancouver is expensive, unless you rent a place that is not in the downtown core. It's fun to be downtown though.
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Old Jan 24th, 2017, 04:10 AM
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My continuing thanks to all.

If I were to spend the first week or so in Vancouver, then cross to Vancouver Island and hire a car (maybe even take a bus to Ucluelet and hire a car for a three or fourdays). Is that feasible?

The more I look at the Pacific Rim Park the more I feel I wish to hike around the area. I could then go back to Vancouver for the remainder of the trip.
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Old Jan 24th, 2017, 08:08 AM
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Absolutely feasible, although you'll have to coordinate getting a car rental agency to pick you up at the ferry terminal when you arrive on Vancouver Island. I believe there are car rental agencies in Nanaimo and Sidney (near Victoria) who do this. If you're going straight to Ucluelet, you'll want to take the ferry to Nanaimo. But there are no car rental agencies at the ferry terminals themselves.

Another thing to factor into this is the logistics of getting to the ferry terminals via public transit from Vancouver. The Tsawwassen ferry terminal (ferries to Victoria, Nanaimo, Gulf Islands) is a 45 minute drive south of Vancouver, or a 70-minute bus Canada Line/bus ride. The Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal (ferries to Nanaimo, Bowen Island, Sunshine Coast) is a 30-minute drive, or often a 45-60 minute bus ride north from downtown Vancouver. This is relatively easy to do and people do it all the time. But depending on how much luggage you're bringing, you may find it less of a hassle to simply rent the car in Vancouver and take it on the ferry with you. It'll cost you more money, of course, to bring a car on the ferry - about $60 more each way - but only you can decide if the hassle factor is worth that price.

Another thing to factor with the car is that you will be waiting in a first-come first-serve line-up at the ferry terminal, and how early you arrive, and how busy it is determines whether you can get on the next ferry or not... or have to wait for the ferry after that. You can pay $15 extra to make a reservation for your car which guarantees that you will get on the exact ferry you wish to geton, but then you have to arrive there exactly between 30-60 minutes before departure to claim the reservation. Arriving too late or too early for your reservation means you get put in the first-come, first-serve lineup. Although if you're in no rush, it's not a terrible place to be. The Tsawwassen ferry terminals has a market with cafes, a food court, and shops, and the Horseshoe Bay terminal is adjacent to a quaint seaside village with cafes and waterfront restaurants.

If you are merely a walk-on passenger, as long as you arrive no later than 15 minutes before the ferry departs, you can effectively just walk on the next ferry without worrying about being held back because you didn't arrive early enough, or make a reservation.

One final note: Having a car from the drive between Nanaimo and Ucluelet will allow you to stop in places on the drive between Nanaimo and Ucluelet, like Little Qualicum Falls, Coombs Market, and Cathedral Grove - places the bus would just drive by. However, there's plenty in Pacific Rim National Park to keep you busy.

Here are my photos from a visit I took in late February. There is no bad time to visit. It is really one of the most special places you can visit in this part of the world: https://www.flickr.com/photos/robyno...57603998575188
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Old Jan 24th, 2017, 08:33 AM
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Also: Tofino Bus is the company that connects Vancouver with Tofino, if you do want to take the bus directly there. From Tofino, you can rent a car and drive the 40km to Ucluelet:

http://www.tofinobus.com/
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Old Jan 25th, 2017, 12:30 PM
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BC_Robyn: Great information and gorgeous photos! That forest, those sunsets, wow!
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Old Mar 17th, 2017, 10:51 AM
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Vancouver Island! It's not much of a trek from Vancouver and is well worth the trip (I live here, I'm biased...). BC_Robyn is totally on the right track.
Tofino/Ucluelet are my favourite but there is so much to do... This website is really good to get a complete overview of literally EVERYTHING:

www.discovervancouverisland.com
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Old Mar 18th, 2017, 12:03 PM
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Congrats on 30 years together. If you have your passports, take the Amtrak train or bus to Seattle (about 4 hours).
There are a few things to see in the area.
If you can find your way to Port Angeles without a rental car, you could take the ferry over to Victoria.
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