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10 Day Family Vacation in Vancouver... help!!!

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Houston
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62 posts
9 reviews
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10 Day Family Vacation in Vancouver... help!!!

First of all, thank you so much to the locals who offer such great advice to us tourists.

I'm sure you've answered this many times over, but I am overwhelmed! Forgive me, but...

July 20-29; 2 sons (12, 14); love the outdoors, but have no outdoor skills! Any itinerary recommendations would be welcome. We will rent a car and are open to spending the night in different locations if necessary.

Hotel recommendations are also welcome. My guys like fancy hotels, I like rustic.

Thanks,

Mom

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
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56,319 posts
64 reviews
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1. Re: 10 Day Family Vacation in Vancouver... help!!!

Hi there,

You have posted on the Tofino forum with a question about Vancouver. Now Tofino is on the west coast of Vancouver Island, about a 6 hour drive and ferry ride from Vancouver. So it would really help if you could give us a rough idea of what places that you might like to go to..

It looks like you have 9 nights. Will you be arriving in Vancouver? Some arrive in Seattle. Advice will be different.

Do you want half city fun and half in the woods and natural surroundings? What do you mean when you say outdoor skills? Are you looking for camping experiences? What are your interests and your priorities?

With teens some adrenaline rushes will probably be in order?

I would like to suggest that you browse this website:

hellobc.ca.

You can choose a) Vancouver b) Vancouver Island and c) Victoria to have a look at "things to do" and "attractions."

You can also go to

maps.google.ca

and enter Vancouver, BC or Vancouver Island, BC. This is your best friend for finding the lay of the land, directions and driving distances. It also shows you the orientation to Seattle. There are 2 ferry choices (for cars) from WA state to Vancouver Island, and 1 passenger only ferry from Seattle to Victoria.

I can tell you that in Vancouver at the end of July, we will have the Celebration of Light again this year. This is 3 separate nights of fireworks in English Bay and a 4th finale night. 300,000 people or so show up at the beach. http://celebration-of-light.com/.

Think about how you would like to spend your 9 nights and post back with a rough outline for us to help you with.

Houston
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62 posts
9 reviews
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2. Re: 10 Day Family Vacation in Vancouver... help!!!

oops, you're right. I was in the Tofino forums when I became overwhelmed and posted.

Thanks for the suggestions.

I will repost in the Vancouver Island forum.

However, if you were taking your family to Vancouver and had 7-8 days, how would you divide them? It all looks so incredible! I'm having problems deciding on where we should lodge! Is it realistic to visit Vancouver, Whistler & Tofino in a week's time? We have been to Vail many times and whistler reminds me a little of Vail. Would you forgo Whistler and concentrate on the Tofino area? Perhaps we might forgo Tofino and try a destination a little closer to Victoria? I'll keep plugging away on the wites and my Fodors book!

I am shocked at how expensive lodging is in Tofino! The more economical options seem very rustic and I'm not sure my husband is up for that kind of lodging! Unfortunately, I'm the only one interested in camping. I think we would like to try some good hikes, kayaking, deep-sea fishing, etc. even though we are all newbies to these activities. I like cycling, but not sure the rest of them do. I grew up in Denver, they grew up in Houston. big difference! :)

Thanks,

Mom

Vancouver, Canada
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131 posts
44 reviews
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3. Re: 10 Day Family Vacation in Vancouver... help!!!

Tofino is a lovely place for beach combing, walking, It has a couple of easy hikes but all coastal rainforest - no climbing. It has become very popular in summer thus the high rates. The cabins on the beach are definitely the way to go in my opinion. There are whale watching trips(greys) and I'm sure you could go fishing. Tofino is quite a trek from Vancouver. 45 minute drive to the ferry, 2 hour ferry (which you need to arrive at least 30 minutes before) and then another good 3 hours to drive to the coast.

I have not been to Vail. Whistler is a 2 hour drive(max) from Vancouver. There you can go up the mountain and hike in the alpine if you like. There are very good trail maps available and if you were still uneasy I'm sure you could get a guide. You can also take a bike up the lift and cycle down(very hard on the arms!) which the boys might like. I think they also do trail based mountain bike tours. Otherwise it is a resort town with lots of restaurants and souvenir shops. There are a few nice parks with waterfalls on the drive that are worth a quick stop to make the trip interesting. I believe they also have zipline canopy tours now near Whistler. Check out ziptrek.

You could easily spend a week in the Vancouver area if you are interested in the outdoors as well as the city. There are many hiking opportunities in the local mountains and nearby parks, plenty of places to rent kayaks and fishing charters are available. There is also a "playland" amusement park with lots of rides, a suspension bridge and canopy walk, bike and rollerblade rentals, a Gondola up the local mountain, the aquarium and lots of beaches.

I personally think that to try for Whistler, TOfino and Vancouver would be a mistake unless you really like the travelling part. Hope this helps.

Gibsons, Canada
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77 posts
2 reviews
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4. Re: 10 Day Family Vacation in Vancouver... help!!!

First, as a former Houston resident myself, you are going to LOVE BC in July. 75F...maybe 80F on a hot day...with normal humidity. You'll never want to go inside. Such a fantastic change from what you're experiencing now.

It sounds like a family cottage rental would be perfect for you. All the convenience of a hotel, but independence and a place for the boys to play outside. They are very common on Vancouver Island. Tofino is great, but Ucluelet is only a few minutes away and you'll find a little less expensive accommodations. The drive across the island to Ucluelet/Tofino is amazing and Cathedral Grove is a must.

Take a day or two in Parksville or Qualicum Beach (on the east side of Vancouver Island 3 hours from Ucluelet/Tofino) and just enjoy the beach, trails, & great outdoors. This also helps break up the trip with the ferry. Ferries are busiest on Friday & Sunday and reservations recommended.

This still leaves time to see and experience the great city opportunities in Vancouver, but gives you something very different from Houston. Driving to Whistler for the day is similar to driving from Denver to Vail...but 1/2 the trip is scenic ocean view.

Houston
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62 posts
9 reviews
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5. Re: 10 Day Family Vacation in Vancouver... help!!!

Thank you for your help! This will be our 2nd summer vacation to Canada in a row! We love escaping this heat!

How would you schedule your 9 days if you wanted to see Whistler, Vancouver, Victoria and Ucluelet? We arrive noon on Day 1 and leave at noon on Day 9?

Thanks,

Mom

Annapolis, Maryland
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8 posts
12 reviews
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6. Re: 10 Day Family Vacation in Vancouver... help!!!

We just returned from Vancouver Island - 2nd time there.....This is how we did the island, since we love nature. Day 1 ferry over from Seattle through the San Juans (funky ferry but beautiful views) and drive to hotel. Day 2 drive to Port Hardy - see bears by side of road - stay at Telegraph Cove in B and B where cruise ships go right by and bears and eagles are in garden. Day 3 Go whale watching on a real boat, not a zodiac. Stay at Campbell River - Painter's Lodge - take a boat trip to April Pt free of charge. Day 4 enjoy beach at Rebecca Spit and eat at Heriot Bay resort Day 5 Drive to Tofino, eat at Sobo, stay in Tofino Day 6 enjoy Ucluelet - hike. Stay in Nanaimo. Day 7 go to Salt Spring for artisan tour and wine tasting - back to Nanaimo. Day 8 ferry from Duke Point to Tsawessen - and drive back to U.S. A fantastic trip. In Tofino, just email the visitor's bureau and they will send out an email with your request. We lucked out in getting a b and b with breakfast, on the water for 150......good luck!

England, United...
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4,756 posts
37 reviews
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7. Re: 10 Day Family Vacation in Vancouver... help!!!

We have just returned from Canada and part of our trip was spent in Vancouver. With boys of that age, you really should go to Grouse Mountain. If you purchase tickets from the tourist office opposite Canada Place, you can save a few dollars. The entrance ticket includes all transport costs. Take the Sea Bus from Waterfront Station for a short journey across the harbour (note the engineering features of the docking technique). You will see a number of buses waiting. The bus journey takes about 15 mins and drops you right at the foot of the mountain where you then take a gondola (cable car) to the top. Watch out for bears/wolves on the slopes. You really must see the lumberjack show - it lasts for about 45 mins. and is highly entertaining for people of all ages, with audience participation. There is an opportunity to see grizzly bear orphans and also a birds of prey demonstration. If your sons are adventurous enough, they might like to try their hand at zip lining. The film show is well worth watching too...it is literally a bird's eye view of Canada. All around the mountain there are beautiful tree sculptures. This is just one of the many things to do in Vancouver. Stanley Park and the Sea Wall is an absolute must and you can hire bikes not far from the start of the walk near Canada Place. We went to Stanley Park on a Sunday and my husband watched a cricket match while I watched a game of baseball in the field behind. We toured around several places (including Tofino on Vancouver Island) and so get back to me if I can be of any further help.

8. Re: 10 Day Family Vacation in Vancouver... help!!!

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