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Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Whistler Itinerary Input Required

Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Whistler Itinerary Input Required

Mar 22nd, 2008, 11:58 AM
  #1  
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Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Whistler Itinerary Input Required

My family of four, which includes two girls age 10 and 15, are planning a summer vacation to Vancouver and the surrounding area this summer 2008.

Please take a look at our initial itinerary and tell me if you have any suggestions. What do you think of my choice of hotels? Is there any great location I have missed? Any activities you highly recommend we do in each area? If we extend the trip by a few more days what location would you add?

Arrive in Vancouver from Toronto and stay for 3 nights at the Times Square Suites near Stanley Park.

Take Ferry over to Vancouver Island and drive to Tofino. Stay for 3 nights at the Pacific Sands Beach Resort.

Then drive to the other side of the island and stay for 3 nights at Tigh-Na-Mara Resort near Parksville.

Then take ferry back to Vancouver and drive to Whistler and stay there for about 3 nights. Don't know where we will stay in Whistler as yet.

Any and all suggestions are greatly, greatly appreciated!
fun_to_travel is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2008, 04:19 PM
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We did a similar trip from the UK in June 2007 - found Vancouver (city) to be fairly over-rated - very "nice" place but 2 days would have been enough.

We then went on to Victoria for a week - had a great time around Sooke and did not make it up to Tofino which was a regret. The countryside/coast on the island is truely amazing - see beaches were anything washes up from Japan - huge tree logs thrown about like matchsticks, bears, seals whales etc.

Whistler was very pretty but without the snow a day was enough for us.

In summary, (and would welcome anyone to correct me) I would personally trim a day off Vancouver and Whistler, in favour of spending the time on Vancouver Island.

markrosy is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2008, 04:50 PM
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Curious about why you're interested in staying in Parksville for that long. I could see maybe a night or two but 3 seems excessive esp since you're not including Victoria at all. I would think your kids would enjoy Butchart Gardens and especially the Royal BC Museum there.

If you can add another night to Tofino I think that would be a good thing. And I think 2 nights in Whistler would be plenty--what are you interested in doing there that you want to stay for 3?
NWWanderer is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2008, 06:15 PM
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Thanks so much for your input so far. When I booked the hotel at Tofino they recommended the Parksville area. We don't want to be packing and unpacking all the time, so I thought 3 days would be a good amount of time, but perhaps there is not enough to see or do on the Parksville side. It sounds like we should spend some time in Victoria. At Whistler we were planning to do some biking and hiking. We like to be very active on our holidays. Again, I am very open to suggestions if you think there are other beautiful areas that are great for being active that we should consider. Perhaps we should consider other areas on Vancouver Island?
fun_to_travel is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2008, 11:20 PM
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I like your itinerary. I like the mix of city and sights. Also I like the mountain and water mix.

The Tigh-na-Mara resort has activities scheduled for people in different age groups, so your kids would meet friends there. There isn't a lot to do other than the beach, but the beach is really lovely. I think your kids would like it.

I do think you might want another night in Tofino. You and the kids will enjoy the botanical garden (full of funny artwork), kayaking, bear watching, hiking. Plus you'll all like the shops. I agree you may want to stay more time there than at Parksville.

We stayed at Whistler for a week one summer when our kids were little and had a great time. There are lots of places to bicycle and a pool. You can take a gondola ride to the top of the mountain. You can go hiking on trails. I don't think you'd get bored at Whistler.

Also, in Vancouver, you can rent bikes and go around Stanley Park. You can go swimming in the salt water beaches at the park (very cool. They go out into the water but are somewhat like a pool. You can take the kids to the science center, the market at Granville Island, the comedy club at night on Granville Island.

I think you'll find more than enough to do everywhere you go. Do go through Coombs on your way to Tofino to see the Goats on a Roof.
Orcas is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2008, 11:23 PM
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Oh, and there is the aquarium in Vancouver, too. Lots to do.

Back to Parksville, thinking on this, we only stayed at Tigh-na-mara one night without our kids, but I remember thinking how much our kids would have liked staying much longer. I did a yoga class overlooking the water in the morning, which was lovely. It's a destination resort, so while there is little to do in Parksville, it is still a fun, laid back place. It's a bit like camping, but with better accomodations. I do think your kids would meet friends and enjoy it, as I said.
Orcas is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2008, 05:26 AM
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Thanks so much!
fun_to_travel is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2008, 08:45 AM
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In that case, I think a full day in Parksville (so 2 nights) would be plenty. Then you need to decide if you want to include Victoria or not. An overnight there would give you time to do the gardens and the museum, but probably not enough time to do, say, a whale watch trip for orcas (so different from the whale watching in Tofino).

There's no doubt that you *could* fill your time in Whistler, it's more a matter of what *else* you want to see and do while you're in BC--that's what I was trying to get at. A full day there would give you a chance to try 1-2 activities and at least get a sense of the place.
NWWanderer is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2008, 09:50 AM
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Any suggestions where to stay in Victoria? Is it better to stay in Sooke? And one more question are Tofino and Ucluelet very similar?
fun_to_travel is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2008, 01:09 PM
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If you're just in Victoria for a night to see the highlights then you should stay downtown in the inner harbor area. Since you're going to Tofino anyway (so you'll have a west coast experience, staying in Sooke will just add driving time.

The Harbour Tower Suites in Victoria (or something like that--can't remember exact name) has 1 and 2 BR apts that are good for families.

No, I wouldn't say Tofino and Ucluelet are similar--they're close to each other but I'd definitely stay in Tofino. The Pacific Sands is a good choice--I also really like the cabins at Middle Beach but I don't know if they'd be in your budget.
NWWanderer is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2008, 02:02 PM
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Another good family place in Victoria is the Royal Scot Suite Hotel.
Victoria is definitely fun and the kids would also enjoy it. It is another place you can rent bikes and ride along the seawall. Not sure if you will have time for that, though, as there is much else to see and do. The Museum of BC there has great exhibits which the kids should see. It's a good intro to the First Nation cultures of the area.
Orcas is offline  
Mar 24th, 2008, 04:57 AM
  #12  
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Thanks again so much for all the input. Based on your suggestions, I added 2 nights in Victoria and was able to get accommodations at the Royal Scot Suite Hotel.
fun_to_travel is offline  
Mar 25th, 2008, 01:15 AM
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fun to travel

if you are staying in Victoria for two extra nights try to get down to Sooke at low water.

There is a beach below Sooke Harbour House that throws up absolutely anything at tow tide.

We found huge purple starfish, allsorts of crabs (big), sea otters and seals are everywhere and mammals wander down for a snack. It really is worth the trip and I would rate it as one of the small wonders of the world. OK its not the The Pyramids of Giza but it is a great experience.

I would also suggest lunch at the Smokin Tuna in East Sooke. Its in a trailer park (strange setting) but the food is very good, the view better and they have their own resident seal in the marina that begs for food.

If you wnat to see bears in the wild - we did twice on the road North of French Beach - there is also a very good bar/pub in Port Renfrew that serves great burgers.

Point No Point restaurant is a bit more upmarket its worth the extra cost and you can see seal literally surfing from the restaurant window.
markrosy is offline  
Mar 25th, 2008, 04:35 AM
  #14  
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Great!!! Thanks!
fun_to_travel is offline  
Mar 26th, 2008, 12:00 PM
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Have you found your Whistler accomodations yet? We like to rent condos directly from the owners, using this website:

http://www.alluradirect.com/whistler/

There are lots of choices, both in Whistler village and at Blackcomb.
enzian is offline  
Mar 26th, 2008, 12:57 PM
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I would also recommend booking a condo thru alluradirect.com for Whistler. We just returned and had a ncie stay at Stoney Creek at North Star. It seems there's lots to do in Whistler in the summer - from pics I've seen the lakes look beautiful & I think it would be great to see some bears too - but from a distance! Have fun!
AngelaS is offline  
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