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Canada

Hi!

My husband and I have a business meeting in Vancouver from April 27-May 1. We are looking forward to enjoying and exploring Vancouver during that time.

Looking for suggestions for where to do from there for several days to five or so? Thinking of driving up to Whistler...staying a night and going to Lake Louise? Or going to Prince Rupert for a night? Or going to Alaska?

Any suggestions?

Thank you so much.
Diana

Posted by
6868 posts

I would explore Vancouver Island if you have extra time. It's a destination all in itself (check out: https://vancouverisland.travel). I could have spent 1-2 weeks there (it was gorgeous), and another week in Vancouver. Plus, Vancouver has plenty to do for an entire week.

Lake Louise is 10+ hours drive, nowhere near to make it worthwhile to drive back and forth. I would save it (and Alska) for another trip, using Calgary as your entrance point. Whistler is close enough for a side trip.

Posted by
3258 posts

None of your alternatives are practical if you have less than a week and/or are willing to fly rather than drive. Look at Google maps for distances and times estimates. Then add at least 25% to those times.

Vancouver Island is an excellent suggestion. It's truly gorgeous in spring.

Posted by
5561 posts

With the v-e-r-y limited time you have, stick to Vancouver (the city), and maybe do a quick side trip to Victoria (on Vancouver Island).

But that's as far as you can really get. Forget Lake Louise, Prince Rupert or Alaska -- they are all way, way, waaaay too far, and none of them are realistic with the time you have.

Posted by
323 posts

I'd also recommend Vancouver Island. I've always enjoyed Butchart Gardens and wandering around Victoria. Car might be helpful to get around the island, but not needed if just staying in Victoria The ferry ride over is enjoyable.

Also, I always enjoyed Stanley Park in Vancouver. Maybe you'll get lucky and see some migrating whales off the coast or the local Orca residents.

Posted by
6615 posts

There is only one highway route to Whistler, and it can get jammed during peak times. It can take a lot longer to get there than you might plan for. But it is nice up there.

Posted by
5241 posts

As others have said, places like Lake Louise, Prince Rupert, and Alaska are a long way from Vancouver. You could fly up to Alaska, but you could do that just as easily from US cities. If there isn't enough to see and do in Vancouver, then I suggest Vancouver Island and/or Whistler for some of your free time. BC Ferries serves many coastal and island communities. Besides the suggestions others have made, you could try putting together a trip along the Sunshine Coast north and west of Vancouver on the mainland, or a visit to one of the Gulf Islands between the mainland and Vancouver Island.

I haven't been to Whistler in early May, or at all in recent years, but I wonder how the mountains would be that early in the hiking season. Too late for skiing I assume. I suggest staying at or near sea level to enjoy BC's beauty. Victoria is a wonderful city with a very different feel from Vancouver, and the ferry ride over there is a great experience in itself.

Posted by
814 posts

Lake Louise is a looooong drive from Vancouver/Whistler. Long. Very long. Like around 9-10 hours long, not including stops and providing there's no construction, snow, etc.

My suggestions would be either Vancouver Island (as others have suggested) or the Okanagan Valley (especially if you are into wineries).

Posted by
5448 posts

We did a great 4 day bus tour of the Canadian Rockies (Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper) from Vancouver in 2018. It was called Key West Tours.

Posted by
1814 posts

As a person who lives in the Vancouver area, I agree that trying to see too much is a mistake.
There is a lot to do in Vancouver.
You cannot go to Prince Rupert for a night, or to Alaska for a night....they are very far away from Vancouver!
Check your distances on Google maps.

Will you have a car?
Are you from a place with no mountains?
If so, then Whistler is definitely worth a trip.
It takes about 2-3 hours to drive there, and there are things to stop and see on the way.
You could go for a day, but overnight would be better.

We would recommend going over to Vancouver Island.
The ferry ride across to Victoria is worth it alone for the scenery, and there is a lot to see in the Victoria area.
Here is the link to the ferries:
https://www.bcferries.com/

It's best to reserve your spot on board for a car, as it gets busy.
It's about CAN$18 to reserve, plus the cost of the ferry and passengers.

If you go to the Island, start in Victoria and work your way up Island; coming back to Vancouver via the other ferry route from Nanaimo.
https://vancouverisland.travel/

Bring raingear...it rains a lot here.
And good walking shoes.
We don't dress up much here, but we like to be warm and dry!

Posted by
1777 posts

hey hey drdiana
there is so much to see and do in vancouver.
tripsavvy.com/ top 10 neighborhoods in vancouver
went to chinatown, took a small boat ride around false creek, loved granville island with all the shops, artisans, restaurants, downtown vancouver, stanley park, cherry blossoms at chinese garden, capilano suspension bridge (capbridge.com), ferry to victoria island, so pretty there, butchardt gardens day trip, did a seaplane tour from harbour, afternoon tea (patisseriefurelise.com) (neverlandtea.com)
take the railtrain to hard rock casino, flyovercanada.com at canada place on the waterfront, hop on hop off bus/trolley
lots to do, such little time. just some things to check out if you are interested. enjoy and have fun
aloha

Posted by
5561 posts

OK, a review of some geography basics for the confused who may have slept through class that day...

There is no "Victoria Island" (at least not around here, unless they've discovered a new one recently -- Victoria Island is in the remote Canadian Arctic, I bet none of us are going there unless we are research scientists or hunting polar bears).

Vancouver is the name of the largest city in the Canadian province of British Columbia (it's not in either Britain nor Colombia). "BC" is the common abbreviation for British Columbia.

(Vancouver is also the name of a small city in Washington state, just across the Columbia River from the city of Portland, Oregon, but it's not a major tourist attraction and probably not in consideration here).

The city of Vancouver, BC, is on the mainland of Canada.

Vancouver is also the name of a large island off the coast of BC. Much of Vancouver Island is wild, remote, and beautiful.

Victoria is a medium-sized city at the southern end of Vancouver island. Victoria is the capital city of BC (though the city of Vancouver is far larger). The two cities are not far apart -- on a clear night, one can easily see the lights of one from the other.

To get between Vancouver BC (the bigger city, on the mainland) and Victoria BC (a smaller city, on the big island), most people take a ferry (you could fly if you're in a big hurry or have money to burn). There is an extensive ferry system (BC Ferries) that serves Vancouver, Victoria, and many communities up and down the coasts of mainland BC and Vancouver Island.

Sorry all the names have been used for so many different things. I know it causes a lot of confusion for visitors. Back in the day, the European settlers seemed mad about picking new names for lots of places, naming too many of them for just a handful of individuals, and those names have mostly stuck. We all have to deal with it.

Don't get me started on all the different names we have for salmon. Or rain.

🎵 So Roll On, Columbia, Roll On! 🎵

Posted by
794 posts

Realistically, if you don't want to just stay in Vancouver, you have three choices.

  1. You can take the ferry over to Vancouver Island and spend 2-3 days exploring Victoria and the island.
  2. You can take the ferry (or fly) up to Ketchikan and enjoy the scenery of the inland passage and the Alaskan city. The ferry ride is about a day and a half each way, and you'd have to embark in Bellingham, WA. The flight is 7+ hours.
  3. You can go south into WA and visit Seattle, etc.

All of these are viable. If you've never been out in the PNW I'd highly recommend a close look at taking the ferry to Ketchikan and flying back. The ferry is the most expensive part of that, but you'd see a huge portion of what 2,000,000 tourists a year take a cruise for without the crowds and a lot closer up.

As a previous poster mentioned, April-May is wet. Plan accordingly.

Posted by
1814 posts

Thank you David, for all the spelling and name corrections.
I have now made you an Honorary Canadian.

;))

Posted by
26 posts

Thank you everyone for your advise and suggestions. Very helpful.

We will stay in Vancouver for 4-5 days.

Then we will go to Vancouver Island for 3-4 days.

We will probably take a seaplane at least one way to Vancouver Island.

Would love recommendations for a beautiful place by the ocean or bay to stay that ideally has kayaking, hiking, some interesting town or towns near by. Thank you again for all the input. Much appreciated.
Diana

Posted by
1814 posts

The seaplane trip will be great, as you'll have wonderful views of all the islands en route.
Just hope it's a day with no clouds!

I'm sure you are probably staying right downtown if you are here for a Business meeting/conference; so you can just walk along the seawall to the dock where the seaplanes leave from.

Posted by
6868 posts

Would love recommendations for a beautiful place by the ocean or bay
to stay that ideally has kayaking, hiking, some interesting town or
towns near by.

Bowen Island is lovely and is a nice place to hike or sea kayak (more info here: https://www.tourismbowenisland.com). You can get to it by ferry via Horseshoe Bay.

Posted by
3335 posts

Another idea: Tofino, off the west coast. Ideal area for kayaking & hiking through Old-Growth Forest to beaches & Coves. Also enjoy the best dining in Tofino. The waterfront looks over stunning Clayoquot Sound and across to Meares Island. Sea kayaking is a beautiful way to explore Clayoquot Sound. Tofino also has a beautiful Botanical Garden. Sightseeing tours via float planes would be wonderful on a
clear day. It’s been 4 years since we visited friends on Vancouver Is. I think it’s time for a return in 2022 & explore Tofino. https://tofinoseakayaking.com/
Edited to add: A couple of places we are considering: Long Beach Lodge Resort and Wickinnish Inn. I also noted that there is a great Gelato place before entering the downtown area!