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5 days in Vancouver area... where to go?

Travel Forums North America 5 days in Vancouver area... where to go?

1. Posted by PatandMark (Budding Member 5 posts) 10y

PatandMark has indicated that this thread is about Canada


At the end of September we (my husband and I) have 5 days to spend somewhere around the Vancouver area. These 5 days will be the last 5 days of our honeymoon after having spent 4 days in Toronto, 6 days crossing the rockies, 4 days in Vancouver (city), 4 days in Kenai and a 7 day Alaska cruise.

I would like to get out of Vanouver for these 5 days. Where would you go and what would you do? How would you finish off what promises to be an amazing holiday for us?

Thanks in advance for any help.

PS. We're open for any suggestions and may even hire a car if need be.

2. Posted by PatandMark (Budding Member 5 posts) 10y

PS2. Cause I forgot to mention it in my first post. I think something less touristy would suite us better. We do not really like crowds.

Thanks again :)

3. Posted by raincity (Budding Member 8 posts) 10y

Hey you two! First of all, congrats. If you have already seen Vancouver, and have nothing else on your "Vancouver To-Do list" and you want to leave the city, I would suggest two (maybe 3) things.

1) Rent a car and visit Okanagan's wine country. Late September is perfect for doing some amazing tours of wineries. Many of them are small and family run and help you stay away from the crowds. There are many planned tours you can go on, but a better plan is to simply drive the wine routes and stop at some interesting places. Plus, the Okanagan is simply beautiful that time of the year, the heat is somewhat dying down, and there is still a lot of produce.

2) Vancouver Island is also another great way to go. Places like Victoria, Nanaimo, Tofino, and Port Alberni are all within easy reach of car, and you can even go up to the North part of the island. If you don't want to go all the way to the big island, think instead of going to some smaller gulf islands like: Galiano, Salt Spring, Saturna, etc... They are all amazing and have great B&Bs and cycling, fishing, camping, etc...There's nothing more romantic than a small B&B on a small community-driven island in the gulf coast!

3) Lastly, and I don't know if you wanted to stay in Canada, but Seattle is a short drive away from Vancouver and you could experience another coastal city. Although it would be more crowds that you seem to want to avoid.

[ Edit: Edited at Jul 31, 2006 2:35 PM by raincity ]

4. Posted by rasberries (Inactive 154 posts) 10y

here are some ideas.

- vancouver island (like mentioned) for 2-3 days in Nanaimo and Tofino. think surfing lessons, whale watching, kayaking, etc

1) Rent a car and visit Okanagan's wine country. Late September is perfect for doing some amazing tours of wineries. Many of them are small and family run and help you stay away from the crowds. There are many planned tours you can go on, but a better plan is to simply drive the wine routes and stop at some interesting places.

- capilano expansion bridge
- horse drawn carriage in stanley parl, can visit aquarium

-just look up bc tourism websites..
my vote is vancouver island.. very beautiful towns all over.

5. Posted by Sara23 (Budding Member 5 posts) 10y

It sounds like you have an amazing itinerary planned! I would also recommend seeing Vancouver Island for the last five days of your trip. My husband and I took our honeymoon on an Alaska Cruise and finished up with a tour of Vancouver Island and it was wonderful. I would really recommend seeing the city of Victoria and visiting the Butchart Gardens. I would also recommend hiking through Cathedral Grove to see the giant Douglas-fir trees and then spend some time on the West coast of the island in Tofino and Ucluelet as the beaches and surf are amazing!

6. Posted by PatandMark (Budding Member 5 posts) 10y

Thanks loads for you replies :)

Raicity's option two seems to be the best for us, especialy the small gulf islands.

Will do some research!

7. Posted by rasberries (Inactive 154 posts) 10y

queen charlotte islands
saltspring islands

8. Posted by Cork (First Time Poster 1 posts) 10y

I am reposting this note without the web sites I provided the first time. My apologies for not reading the Forum Rules more carefully.

Greetings and congratulations. I was wondering how to assist considering the time you have and the areas you might consider. I then read the previous suggestions and agree that they all provide valuable alternatives. Having lived in the Okanagan, Vancouver, presently working on the Gulf Islands and living on Vancouver Island, I must caution myself when making recommendations to others. Sometimes things we take for granted are really special (and were for us when first we arrived).

While I agree with Raincity about the beauty of the Okanagan, I believe the one day to drive each way reduces the time available to see other sights. The Okanagan is at its best in the fall but there are other vineyards.

A couple of suggestions I would strongly support in Vancouver include the Capilano Suspension Bridge or, if you would like something that provides a more intimate feel of the west coast flora and fauna, I would encourage visiting another location not far from the Suspension Bridge. It is North Vancouver’s Lynne Valley Canyon. It is free, provides a walk across a beautiful little valley and a short hike through “typical west coast forest”. Also, it is not busy during the week. Another site I would not want to miss is the Museum of Anthropology located at UBC. This location offers a real view of some massive First Nations’ carvings and is presented beautifully. This site is best viewed in the fog or rain as it really adds to the feeling and history. The university is located on the opposite side of Vancouver from the previous sites and would offer a pleasant drive through Vancouver if you planned it around the busy traffic times. You do not want to be crossing to/from the North Shore (West and North Van) during peak rush hours.

A drive from the Museum of Anthropology, through Kitsalano, over Burrard Street Bridge to and through Stanley Park (stopping for a visit) and then over Lion’s Gate Bridge to Lynne Valley, would take up a good part of the day. One site that is really “touristy” is to take the sky ride up to the top of Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver. However, if it is a clear evening, it is an absolutely gorgeous site with all the lights of greater Vancouver below. In fact, you can see the lights of Vancouver Island (from Victoria to Nanaimo, almost) and down into Washington state. There is a restaurant at the top of the ride and my suggestion is that you travel up, (only if a clear evening) and check out the sights and the menu. If you like what you see, remain for dinner. If not, come back down and visit any one of a thousand different and wonderful restaurants. (I have not yet tried them all but am working on it). Another consideration is Whistler. The trip up is spectacular but once there, unless you wish to canoe or bike the trails, which are fun, you really have little to do other than wander through a number of high end tourist traps. I would recommend Vancouver Island for the rest of your time. Whether you take your rental car over, or travel on the bus and pick up a new rental car on the other side, make sure you travel via BC Ferries. The trip from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay near Victoria is beautiful. You will travel through and past several of the southern Gulf Islands and as mentioned by another, they each offer a days worth of exploration. More of that later..

I would recommend Victoria for a day, or two and then to work your way up Island to take in a variety of sights. In Victoria, I believe the Royal British Columbia Museum is a must if you wish to avail yourselves to some local history, art and fun. I revisit every year and learn something new each time.

Butchart Gardens are a must! We visit these gardens each season and they are an adults Disneyland, even more fantastic! To visit at Christmas is spectacular as they create wonderful displays using the natural vegetation and tens of millions of lights. Whoops, I am sounding like a tour guide - sorry!

It is enjoyable to wander around in Victoria’s inner harbour and to take in the sights and sounds of summer. After that, I would head “up island”, as the locals say. If you wish, after finishing in Victoria, you could travel via Swartz Bay to Salt Spring Island for the day and then leave Salt Spring via Vesuvius to Crofton and continue with your travels up the Island. I would only do this if you could visit Salt Spring on a Saturday morning as that is when the Saturday Market occurs - great fun!

As this is beginning to become a ramble, I will quickly conclude by pointing out some other sights worth considering. The Cowichan Valley is now being referred to as Canada’s Tuscanny with its wineries, cidery, small cheese outlets, lavender farms, native crafts, wonderful B & B’s, dozens of artists’ studios, etc. Next along the route would be Chemainus with its murals depicting the local history of logging and fishing.

Moving up the coast is Nanaimo which I would quickly pass through and travel across island through Cathedral and on to Port Alberni and Tofino. The west coast offers great walks along the beaches and rocks and as others have suggested, great kayaking, fishing, whale watching, sightseeing from a small airplane, etc… We always stay at Middle Beach Lodge as it offers everything you need in a wonderful atmosphere without charging exorbitant prices found at some other places. They even offer rain slickers and boots for walking along the beaches and a huge common fireplace to return to afterwards. Awesome! There is a shop in Tofino (which has more of the look and feel of a museum than a commercial shop) which offers some of the best native art around. If you are looking for a souvenir of your trip, wait until you get here.

On your return, go back to Nanaimo and then you can travel via BC Ferries to Horseshoe Bay, which is in West Vancouver. This will complete the circle and eliminate the need to travel all the way back to Victoria. (unless you need to drop the car; perhaps a reason to keep the car from Vancouver.)

If you have further questions or wish to Skype about some of these locations, I would be pleased to assist. Like you, my favourite locations are Scotland and Tuscanny, but that is after the west coast of BC. Have fun.

9. Posted by PatandMark (Budding Member 5 posts) 10y


did not expect so much help!

Thanks to all once again. I will keep you posted on what we end up doing :)