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12 days around Vancouver, BC. End of June to early July

Two adults and a teen.

We have 12 days to spend around Vancouver and vicinity. We'll be renting a car.

Where would you recommend we stay while in Vancouver?

Trying to figure out how to split the time between Vancouver, Vancouver Island and maybe Whistler?
I've heard about the Sea to Sky Highway. How many days would we need in Whistler?
I'm hearing Vancouver is famous for its vegan eateries! Can't wait!
What's the latest on masking requirement in indoor spaces and public transportation?

Adding more info:
We’re flying into and out of Vancouver from the US. Thought we’d need a car. Might have to check for rentals from downtown if we don’t need it the entire time.
Budget? Mid-ish. It’s more about a safe area to stay. Are there any areas where we SHOULDN’T stay in Vancouver?
Do most places accept US dollars or will we need to exchange money?

Posted by
5494 posts

Driving in downtown Vancouver is not for the faint of heart. In fact, for the portion of the trip where you are focusing on the city experience, I would not have a car. Public transport is excellent and cheaper than parking.

I usually stay out of the downtown core to save money on lodging along the route of the sky train.

Posted by
1883 posts

What time of year will you be there?
What sort of budget?
Are you flying in?
Do not drive in the city centre, no need, and parking is insanely expensive.
You will need a car for the Island and Whistler.
Perhaps 4 nights in each location?

Posted by
13210 posts

I like to think in terms of nights when planning a trip and booking hotels. For your trip, I would suggest 3-4 nights in Vancouver, 2-3 in Whistler, and the rest for Vancouver Island.

Rent you car when you are ready to depart to Whistler. Drive up and enjoy the outdoor activities, shopping, and restaurants there. Ride a lift up one of the mountains (Whistler or Blackcomb) and take a hike. Then drive back to Horseshoe Bay and ride the ferry to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. Make reservations in advance for that ferry:

https://www.bcferries.com/routes-fares/schedules/daily/HSB-NAN

From Nanaimo, drive straight to Tofino on the coast and spend 2 nights. Go whale-watching, sea kayaking, or watch the surfers. Then drive down to Victoria and the southern coast.

If you have to return the car back in Vancouver, you can take the ferry from Schwartz Bay to Tsawwassen, on the mainland just south of Vancouver. Make reservations for that one too.

Posted by
953 posts

You haven't said anything about budget, but I'll offer up these 3 for hotels, remembering your travel dates are HIGH season:

Vancouver DT - Sutton Place Hotel

Victoria DT - Magnolia

Tofino - Wickaninnish Inn (bring money)

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks everyone.

We’re flying into and out of Vancouver from the US. Thought we’d need a car. Might have to check for rentals from downtown if we don’t need it the entire time.
Budget? Mid-ish. It’s more about a safe area to stay. Are there any areas where we SHOULDN’T stay in Vancouver?
Do most places accept US dollars or will we need to exchange money?

Posted by
953 posts

"Do most places accept US dollars or will we need to exchange money"

Presumably, you'll be using your CCs - and that won't be a problem. Using US $ cash - probably no problem but you're at the mercy of the merchant as to the exchange rate. Maybe best to withdraw CDN $ at an ATM and use the residual to clear your hotel bill - as to the amount of CDN cash you'll need ????
.

I'm not going to speak to what areas to stay or not other than you're not likely going to book your hotel in those areas, anyway.

Posted by
13210 posts

I just looked back at your dates. Depending on where your Vancouver Island visit falls, you may indeed have trouble finding accommodations in Tofino, or anywhere for that matter. July 1 is Canada Day, so the whole weekend July 1-3 is a holiday in Canada as well as in the US.

You’ll probably be OK in Vancouver, and even Whistler—-there are lots and lots of hotels and condos there because it is a ski resort. So if you can put Vancouver Island starting July 4 or later, it might be better.

Posted by
317 posts

For Vancouver, try to find a hotel close to Stanley Park. It is one of the highlights of Vancouver, most people walk or bike the sea wall. There are rough areas, but the only area I can think there might be a hotel that you should avoid is Chinatown. In Victoria, try to find a hotel in the inner harbour.
For Whistler I'm not sure you need 4 days, unless you have some outdoor plans ( ? mountain biking, hiking)
I know some places accept US cash, (the bus driver did in Victoria a week ago,) but I'm not sure that everyone would. However just about everywhere accepts credit and debit.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks everyone!
Might try to avoid the Canada Day crowds by getting there earlier.

Looking at 6/20-30.
Arrive late 20th
Drive to Victoria 21st
Depart Victoria on the 24th and go straight through to Whistler.
Depart Whistler on the 26th and stay somewhere in Vancouver for 4 nights.
Depart 6/30 AM

SV

Posted by
953 posts

Here are the ferry sailing times from Vancouver (Tsawwassen) to Victoria (Swartz Bay)

https://www.bcferries.com/routes-fares/schedules/seasonal/TSA-SWB

It'll be a 45 minute drive to the ferry terminal AFTER you claim your bags and car rental ... so judge yourself accordingly.
.
After you arrive in Swartz Bay it's just a straight shot into DT Victoria - Pat Bay Highway flows into Blanchard Street flows into DT.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks periscope. Planning on driving to Victoria the morning after we arrive in Vancouver. Don't want to miss any of the sights on our way.

We'll take the ferry through Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, then on to Victoria. On the way back, we'll drive up to Nanaimo, take the ferry from there and go on up to Whistler.
Just need to pin down the flights, accomodations etc. so I can book the ferries.
Thanks!

Posted by
1883 posts

OP:
Be sure to book a reservation now for each ferry trip to the Island and back.
In summer, you could have a 2 or 3 sailing wait otherwise.
With reservations, you need to be at the terminal going through the gate about 45 minutes before sail times to claim your reservation.
There is food and coffee etc at each terminal.
Your planned route sounds excellent for your journey.

Posted by
1883 posts

Where are you staying in Vancouver?
To get to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal, you have to drive through the Tunnel, a part of the highway, to get there, and that is often busy and backed up at morning rush hour going south, as they do 3 lanes North in it on weekday mornings, and only one South for a period of a couple of hours.
Leave a couple of hours to get there from downtown Vancouver, as you have to be in time (45 minutes before) for them to honour your reservation.

Posted by
7 posts

I can recommend the zip line at Whistler if you have any interest. It is a bit of a splurge but it is thrilling. A bus took us up to the 2010 Olympic luge/bobsled infrastructure. It was all downhill from there. One of the companies has the longest zipline in North America.

Posted by
6 posts

Whistler is fabulous for several days. If you like cycling there's lots of it and places that rent them in the village. Forget the rental car for this portion. Take the shuttle from Vancouver to Whistler and then just walk and ride everywhere. Zip Line is great and the Sea Plane tour of the Glaciated areas of Whistler/Blackcomb was worth every dollar.
. We made the mistake of renting a car and it sat unused in the parking garage.

Posted by
8832 posts

Looking at 6/20-30.

Presumably home now

What did you do; what worked; what would you change?