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Anyone been to Vancouver on holiday?(12 Posts)
I’m keen to take my son to Canada next summer, when he’ll be 11. Can anyone advise on good places to visit? We’re both fairly outdoorsy and I’d love to see Vancouver and the Rockies but not sure on a route or what to include. Thinking 2 weeks. Am a single parent so will also be looking to keep costs down where I can.
Any advice or tips, and likely flight costs in July l? Thanks v much 🙏
I lived there for the summer a couple of years back. A good day trip from Vancouver is the grouse grind in north van. It’s a big walk up a mountain and then there’s loads of stuff at the top, cable cars/ falcon show/ bears etc. Then you get taken back down the mountain in a big cable car. It’s pretty cheap if you do the walk as you only have to pay one way down and most of the stuff at the top is free. There were loads of kids doing it the day I was there. There’s a great aquarium and the science museum too! If you’re looking to get out of the city Whistler is fantastic in the summer but can get pretty expensive. People I know did it on the cheap a bit and only did the cable cars and then went swimming in the lakes. My partner and I spent a bit more money on some of the activities. There’s one of the longest zip lines in North America there and we also went quad biking and axe throwing (he might be a bit young for these). If you can hire a car there’s heaps of pretty easy hikes in the general area of Vancouver that have the most amazing views!
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Vancouver is about 500 miles from the Rockies, so you'd have to either do a road trip, which will eat quite a few days of a 2 week trip, or fly to Calgary and hire a car to drive over to the mountains (it's about 1h20 to Banff). I live in Calgary and it's not a 'pretty' city but it's right on the doorstep of the Rockies.
There are lots of mountains around Vancouver which are beautiful though, if not quite as grandiose as the Rockies. The Grouse Grind mentioned above is really fun, and the Sea to Sky highway towards Whistler has spectacular scenery and you can do the Capilano Suspension Bridge, the Sea to Sky gondola, stop in Squamish which has absolutely tons to do etc.
I'd just caution that if you're going to cover a lot of ground with car hire/internal flights, stay in various places, and do a lot of the 'big' activities, the costs will add up. It's an expensive place to visit if you want to see and do a lot, but it is unbelievably beautiful with unforgettable scenery and experiences.
Look at flights with WestJet or Transat - the latter is very no frills but will come in much cheaper than Air Canada etc.
Along with the above flight recommendations, look at flights that route through Ireland - they were much cheaper a couple of years back.
I would plan walking tours around the City - there are some fabulous sites to see - Stanley Park (free, apart from the Aquarium), Granville, and around the Pacific Spirit Regional Park area. There's a lot of free museums, things like the salmon hatchery which you can visit, localish walks you can reach by bus.
The floating plane rides are amazing - but may be quite expensive during the Summer (we were there in the winter).
Can't help with the rockies as I've only visited them in the US.
As per all of the above comments, but I would also add that whilst spending time in Vancouver a bike ride through Stanley Park is a must. I am no cyclist, but I have been to Vancouver twice now, and both times we have rented cycles and traveled through the park. You get parkland, trees, and the Pacific shoreline. Last time we were there (July 2019) we saw eagles, 2 river otters, and a raccoon.
Cruise ships come in to Vancouver regularly - and you can find schedules online - so walking to the harbour to view them is interesting. We have done a couple of road trips, so plenty of driving, but you can base a holiday around Vancouver no problem.
You can also get a train from Vancouver to Seattle. Take a look at the Amtrak Cascades website for details www.amtrak.com/cascades-train. It is cheap (compared to UK prices) and a gorgeous journey along the Puget Sound, and takes around 4 hours. We saw bald eagles flying, and porpoises swimming in the Sound - the from the train! Seattle and Vancouver hotels are not cheap, but I would recommend seeing both cities if you are planning to stay city-bound, rather than taking a road trip. Last time we went, our children were 10 and 12. They still rave about the holiday now (granted, it was the last one we had before coronavirus!).
Flights are expensive in the summer - it's a long way - but we managed to book ours in the Christmas sales and got flights for 4 of us for £2500 to Seattle. After a couple of nights there we took the train to Vancouver, and stayed for a couple of nights, and from there traveled by car to Banff with a few overnight stops on the way.We flew back from Calgary. (Our route: Seattle - Vancouver - Whistler - a ranch near to Clearwater - Jasper - Lake Louise - Banff - Calgary)
We saw plenty of bears and other wildlife whilst on the road. There is plenty to do throughout the Rockies: walking, rafting, zip wires, driving out early morning to spot wildlife, visiting waterfalls, Columbia Icefield (glacier)..... There is so much to see and do, but it isn't cheap, so you'd probably want to research what there is and limit yourself to one or two key activities if you can. The family rafting at Jasper was lovely, and suitable for all ages - not white water, just steady going. If I had to pick just one, that would probably be it for me
We did the same trip as Always only the other way round. She’s said it all, fabulous. We also took in the Okanagan valley, with hot geysers and Vancouver Island. It was my favourite holiday and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
How I would love to be back there!
Yes, have been but over 10 years ago. It was incredible and I would love to return. Remember so much of it.
Someone who lived there for work strongly recommended going to Tofino and Vancouver Island. I didn't but they were not one to wax lyrical, and Tofino had really pushed their buttons.
Flights for us were with Air New Zealand and a good deal at the time - break for a few hours in LA.
I lived in a town called Maple ridge, just outside of Vancouver, for 1 year! Spent quite a bit of time inside Vancouver, it's a beautiful city!
Vancouver island is a must!
There is a beautiful lake, surrounded by mountains just outside of maple ridge called the alouette!
Car hire is a must!
Oh if you stay in Vancouver, avoid Hastings street! During the summer it is like a scene from the walking dead, full of drug users, you will see people injecting heroin, people selling and buying drugs and full of prostitutes
It rains most days, slight exaggeration.