Vancouver/Vancouver Island Trip

May 25th, 2004, 10:23 AM
  #1  
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Vancouver/Vancouver Island Trip

My husband and I (no kids) are planning a 12-day trip in early September. We are thinking about four or five nights in Vancouver, possibly two nights in Victoria, and the rest in Tofino.

I'm wondering whether we should skip Victoria or perhaps include it as a day trip from Vancouver. I'm also debating between Pacific Sands and Long Beach Lodge in Tofino. I was leaning toward the latter, as Pacific Sands sounded more family-oriented, until I read an old post in which someone said the beach is much prettier at Pacific Sands. Finally, should we try to include any other places on the island, or would we be overextending ourselves?

Any itinerary help would be much appreciated.
ms_sue is offline  
May 25th, 2004, 04:04 PM
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Victoria is possible to visit on a day trip from Vancouver but it really is worth a couple of days' stay. It has a totally different feel to it than Vancouver. I'd recommend going for a couple of nights.
taggie is offline  
May 26th, 2004, 08:59 AM
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Pacific Sands and Long Beach Lodge are on the same beach. If I were to pick I'd choose Long Beach Lodge. You should definitely see Tofino but you must stay 2 nights to really appreciate it.
ginocat is offline  
May 26th, 2004, 12:55 PM
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If you're on the island anyway (Tofino) I would add Victoria in on the same trip. To do it as a day trip from Vancouver would just mean more ferry trips (line-ups and expense), assuming you weren't going to fly over.

After spending 5 or so nights in Vancouver you could take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo and drive to Tofino. It would take a good chunk of a day to drive to Victoria especially at a leisurely pace, so I would spend two nights in Victoria anyway before taking the ferry back to the mainland from Swartz Bay (about a 40 minute drive from Victoria).
April is offline  
May 26th, 2004, 01:30 PM
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Thanks, all.

April, the day trip I had been considering from Vancouver to Victoria would have been with one of those bus tour companies, but my husband had doubts about that anyway.

So then four or five nights in Vancouver, three or four in Tofino, and maybe three in Victoria. I guess shortening any of those to include other spots might be overextending ourselves? Also, is it feasible to schedule a flight out of Vancouver on the same day that we leave Victoria, or should we plan to return to Vancouver and fly out the next day?
ms_sue is offline  
May 26th, 2004, 03:14 PM
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To be safe, I would get back to Vancouver the night before. You could always take a later ferry out of Victoria (Swartz Bay) and cut the nights in Victoria down to one or two. There's no telling if a person is going to like Victoria or find it boring.

With just one night you could, after driving down from Tofino, visit the provincial museum, wander through the Empress Hotel and around town; then, on the second day, visit Butchart Gardens before going to the ferry terminal.

Or, you could do the trip in reverse. That way, you could spend more or less time in Victoria depending on whether or not you like it. On the way to or from Tofino, you could always overnight at one of the beachside resorts in Parksville.
April is offline  
May 27th, 2004, 05:54 AM
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Thanks again, April. I had forgotten to mention my concern about rainfall in Tofino (and Vancouver as well) during the second week of September. I know that forecasts and averages are not written in stone, but from my limited research, I note that the area gets a tremendous amount of precipitation per year. Would you advise waiting and scheduling a visit in summer?
ms_sue is offline  
May 27th, 2004, 09:26 AM
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ms sue, Tofino is not the place to visit if you want to avoid rain, no matter what the time of year. We've had rain in the summer months (maybe we're unlucky weather-wise) whenever we've visited but still had wonderful holidays. We still went beach walking, swimming in shortie wet suits (the kids!), renting skim boards (ooh, my back), visiting the hot springs, kayaking, etc.

Don't let the possibility of rain turn you away from the Pacific Rim area - it is breathtaking, gorgeous, one-of-a-kind, soulful and lucky you if you're there during a storm, for the storm-watching is fabulous.

I live in the Vancouver area and will probably be praying for rain in September (this year is setting up to be a dry one) but generally speaking, September is a dry, warm month for Vancouver, and one of my favourites. Fewer fellow tourists, kids back at school - wonderful!

Linda
BowenLinda is offline  
May 27th, 2004, 10:14 AM
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September is my favourite month for travel, so I wouldn't switch it. I was in Tofino in August once when it was socked in with fog.
April is offline  
May 28th, 2004, 09:05 AM
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I would rather skip Vancouver than ever skip Victoria.
I was born and raised in Vancouver and it used to be wonderful...now I find it dirty, industrial, over-run, full of homeless people, and lack-luster. While there are some nice area's, I just find it becoming an urban wasteland.
We moved to Victoria a few years ago to escape. Probably the best thing we ever did in our lives.
I adore Victoria...so much to see and do here and tons of cultural activity. It just "feels" completely different...a world away.
Very British Victorian atmoshpere and chock full of gardens and flowers. Gets way better weather than Vancouver as well.
Sip coffee at Murchies or tea at the Blethering Place (and don't forget to feed the wild seals at the Oak Bay Marina).
Shopping on Government is also a must do as well as a trip to the original Roger's chocolates.
And don't miss a walk on the Dallas road promenade overlooking the ocean across to Port Angeles Washington.
I could go on and on.

Tofino is lovely. Has a real "California" surfer style, laid back atmosphere. Not a lot to do there...but who cares, the scenery makes up for it!
Shaenee is offline  
May 30th, 2004, 06:28 AM
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Tofino is absolutely lovely in September. One of the best months. You won't melt in the rain even if it does rain. Tofino is in one of the last remaining temperate old growth rainforests and is spectacular.
ginocat is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 03:24 PM
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Victoria is really nice, and small. Agree it has completely different feel to it from Vancouver. Plus you can do Butchart gardens, etc. I love those little mini boat tours in the harbour, thought they were well worth it, I love boat rides... There is some good shopping, too, there is an AMAZING decor store whose name I've forgotten. Plus the museum in Victoria is very good, esp for west coast history. And one of my fave restaurants is there, Rebar. It's veggie and I'm not, so you know it's fabulous!! Brunch, lunch or dinner, all are good. See another thread on tea rooms...

RE flying home same day -- I've done it several times, but you probably mean driving to Van. Just time everything by the ferry and make sure you book/get there early so you make it. Alternatively if you end your trip in Victoria you could fly one way to Van. or take one of the seaplanes, it might easier to time your flight home.

FYI, I don't remember the drive from Nanaimo to Tofino being very short, I seem to remember it was at least 4h?? Long Beach is great, went camping on the beach (not Long beach, don't remember which), however it got very crowded, so was worth walking far from the entrance. Except one night we got there as the tide was coming in and some people were rather peeved we had to walk through their campsite (they camped right on the trail, not bright), because we couldn't walk on the beach. Note, any of the walks that go amongst the trees... wow!! That was my fave. Or the whale watching.. or the mist on ocean... what a great trip, have fun!
Junetravelfall is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 05:04 PM
  #13  
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Junetravelfall, thanks so much for your input -- and restaurant recommendation. One of the hardest aspects of trip planning, as I'm sure everyone knows, is deciding how to allocate the days, especially in an unfamiliar area.

As it stands now, we well be flying into Vancouver on September 2 and staying for four nights, giving us three full days. Then we will be ferrying to Nanaimo and driving to the Long Beach Lodge Resort for a three-night stay. From there we will drive down to Victoria, again for a three-night visit. The day we leave Victoria, we have a 4:20 flight out of Vancouver airport, so I think we shouldn't have a problem as long as we book a morning ferry.

I may be sorry that I allotted one more night in Vancouver than Victoria, but it just worked out best that way because of the long holiday weekend. If we run out of things to do in Vancouver, I suppose we could do a day trip, since we will have a rental car. Maybe you or somebody might have a sugestion, keeping in mind that our last day in the city is Monday, Labour Day.
ms_sue is offline  
Jun 1st, 2004, 01:45 PM
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Yes...one of the best museums in the world is in Victoria. It's called the "Royal British Columbia" museum and it is just wonderful! Lots for people of every age group, and not boring like many other museums.
It is right in the inner-harbour and also has the IMAX attached to it which has some wonderful films
Shaenee is offline  
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