Looking for some trip extension options surrounding a trip to Whistler, British Columbia, Canada in August. Looking for some advice on where to extend trip. I heard Vancouver is amazing. Same with San Juan Islands. Seattle? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Hi Rob- You heard correctly; Vancouver is amazing! I guess it depends on how much time you have to extend your trip. Vancouver is very close to Whistler, so an easy extension there. From Vancouver you could also easily add one of the Canadian Gulf Islands, like Saltspring or even Victoria and the surrounding area on Vancouver Island. You could easily spend a week or more discovering Vancouver Island. Just remember that the Gulf Islands and San Juans are slammed in the Summer, so book early! Jenny
Indeed, Vancouver is amazing and can fill up all your extra time. Victoria is a lovely island right off Vancouver so you don't even need to go as far south as Seattle or San Juan Isles.
Great suggestions. The easiest option is Vancouver with plenty to do for a couple of days. Victoria is also very nice. Great gardens and it feels like you are in Britain. From there you can easily to the Victoria Clipper to Seattle. It's a nice ride and then you could spend a few days in Seattle. Just depends on how much time you have. But Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle could easily be one week. Another option would be to still do Vancouver (Stanley Park, Granville Island) and then head into Washington visiting Bellingham/Fairhaven, Chuck a nut drive and then down to Seattle. Stop in Bow/Edison on the way. super cute towns and wonderful bakeries. If you have a car that would work or even add Whidbey Island or the San Juans. You can take a sea plane from the San Juans to Seattle. That's an amazing experience.
Yes, extend your trip. That area is far from Orlando, so why not leverage the trip and see some beauty.
Vancouver is wonderful. Victoria is also lovely and has Butchart Garden, if you enjoy gardens...it really is special.
The Campbell River area off Vancouver Island is a great place to fish, if you enjoy that. Painter's Lodge is where we enjoyed guided salmon fishing, but it's been well over a decade ago, so I can't give an up-to-date review, but it's likely still just as great.
But, if you have not been to Calgary, Banff and Lake Louise (a province over in Canada), and IF you have the time, that is one of the most beautiful areas in Canada, in my opinion. You could catch a flight over, and I understand there is also a train option. Then you'd want to rent a car to take the parkway into the lovely areas.
So very much to see in that section of the continent. Enjoy as much time as you can.
I remember decades ago taking a plane up to a glacier in Whistler. Pretty area.
.........and, of course, if you have gobs of time for an extension, you could always take a cruise up to Alaska, along the coast, (enjoying the scenery) and fly home from Anchorage. Small ships, Silversea and Seabourn are great, as is National Geographic's Explorer.
Gosh, you could spend a month or more enjoying it all.
Vancouver is the no brained. If you stay in downtown Vancouver a car is a handicap (avalability and parking cost) while the city is transit and walking friendly. Rent a bike downtown and ride to Stanley Park and Granville Island.
Vancouver Island/Victoria is also worth the visit.
San Juan are also worth the time but that's in the States and you may not want to refight the Friday Island Pig War. Note that the Americans will not let you bring meat products through customs.
In that area there is natural beauty everywhere. You cannot go wrong. Vancouver, Sunshine Coast or from Horseshoe Bay in Vancouver by ferry to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, you can drive to the west coast of the island to Tofino or go to Strathcona Provincial Park (everywhere else that would be a National Park). Then from Nanaimo you can drive south to Victoria, cross by Black Ball ferry to Port Angeles in the US, visit Olympic National Park - Hurricane Ridge then drive to Seattle across Tacoma Narrows Bridge. If you still have time, visit Mt. Rainier National Park. On the way back to Vancouver you drive by another National Park - North Cascades - IMHO the most beautiful out of three N.P. of Washington State. I know, it's not fair toward others that so much beauty is concentrated in this relatively small area.
Lots of great suggestions so far. I used to live in British Columbia and still visit family in Vancouver every year. I'd be happy to give you more specific suggestions if you tell us a little more about your interests, desired activities and intended mode of transportation. The area's crowning glory is definitely the natural scenery but Vancouver and Victoria are vibrant urban centres with lots of interesting museums and sites. Trip Advisor is a great resource but can be overwhelming as there is so much information.
Where to begin..... how much time and money have you got?
It would help to have some idea on the time frame of your visit, how you're planning to get around, what types of sights you most want to see, etc. I've lived in B.C. all my life and have lived or travelled in many parts of the province, so have a good idea on the most popular locations that tourists want to see.
A few thoughts.....
As the others have mentioned, Vancouver would be a great place to add to the Itinerary as there's so much to see in that area (and it's relatively close to Whistler). Some of the popular sights are Stanley Park, Gastown, Grouse Mountain Sky Ride, Capilano Suspension Bridge or just the city itself (shopping, cultural events or whatever). If you're energetic and in good shape, you can try the "Grouse Grind". Robson Street has somewhat of an international flavour and always interesting to stroll along there, and Granville Street is also popular. I'll be in that area in a week or so, and will be interested to see how it's changed since my last visit. The culinary scene in Vancouver is exceptional, and there are many gourmet restaurants to choose from. If you'd like to see a concert, some that are scheduled for August include Taylor Swift, Brit Floyd, Nicky Minaj and Slipknot.
Victoria is also popular and as mentioned in a previous post it has somewhat of a British atmosphere. You could try afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress with all the trimmings (not cheap, but a somewhat unique experience in this part of the world). There's also the world famous Butchart Gardens. You may also enjoy visiting the Royal BC Museum, taking a horse drawn carriage ride around the harbour or whatever. There are many other sights further up the island. If you have the time or interest, I can provide more details.
The Sunshine Coast and Gulf Islands are very scenic, but if you only have a limited time I'd suggest focusing on the larger centres. Aside from the scenery, there aren't as many sightseeing opportunities so may not be an efficient use of limited time. You'd definitely need a car for travel to those areas, and the Ferry bills would add to your costs.
I'd be remiss if I didn't add a plug for the beautiful Okanagan Valley in the south interior. It's a VERY popular area with tourists, who enjoy the many golf courses (including Predator Ridge), wineries (some of which also have gourmet restaurants), hiking, boating or perhaps a spa visit at the very European Sparkling Hills Resort. The Mission Hill Winery in West Kelowna also has a summer concert series, and I haven't yet seen which acts are booked for this year, but some of the past performers have been Tony Bennett, Gipsy Kings, Pink Martini, Chris Botti, Chris Isaak and Lyle Lovett.
You may have already seen the Super Natural British Columbia website, but if not there are lots of ideas there.
We flew into Seattle three years ago, rented a car and drove over to Port Angeles, WA where we caught a ferry over to Victoria. We simply adored the city.
Then we took a ferry over to Vancouver--staying downtown in a hotel with parking. For a very large North American city, we found Vancouver to be about the best. The island is very congested, like Manhattan, however we found it easy to get around by car.
I'm sure you will enjoy Whistler, as it's an incredible resort area. And it's the largest ski resort in North America--great skiing in season.
I was less interested in Seattle, as I worked there a couple of times over the years. I'll stop a that.
I'm sure you'll have a great time in the Pacific Northwest.