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What out of the way places do you recommend in western Canada?

(30 Posts)
Thethingswedoforlove Sat 04-Nov-17 12:22:56

We are visiting Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise, Victoria and Vancouver. What shd we definitely not miss? We have moraine lake on the list and johnston canyon and the Colombian ice fields. Any other tips/ hints? Any Sunshine Coast places? We haven’t time to go to the west side of Vancouver island unfortunately.

Thethingswedoforlove Sat 04-Nov-17 22:48:13

I know someone will have been this year with some recommendations!!

haba Sat 04-Nov-17 22:52:58

There's a place that has a polar bear sanctuary- I'd love to visit that. It's out on some road between two v distant towns (helpful, I know!!) Pretty sure someone on here had winnebagoed there a few years ago.

Tentomidnight Sat 04-Nov-17 23:01:15

Not out of the way, but try to drive the Icefields Parkway (between Banff and Jasper) and do the glacier tour and skywalk.
Emerald lake is lovely, too.
My top tip is to upgrade your hire car to something very capable and luxurious, and make sure it has satnav. Also, to read the rules regarding wildlife viewing in the national parks.

dnamummy Sat 04-Nov-17 23:09:10

Take a couple of days in Tofino - go out on whale watching trip - we saw wild bears inc mother with cubs, eagles, ospreys as well as the whales, or kayak for half a day with sea otters! Loved it there.

rookiemere Sun 05-Nov-17 09:02:56

I'd second the Tofino suggestion and stay at Crystal Cove - it's wonderful and right on the beach. Whistler is also great too - so scenic in summer and easily driveable if you get the ferry back over from Vancouver Island to Vancouver, the drive to Whistler is very scenic.

If you're driving between there and the Rockies, it is a slog. We ended up by accident rather than design in Revelstoke which is a cute little ski place -best bit was staying at the Sutton park hotel which had a den for DS and a gondola up to the breakfast buffet!

There's a huge amount to see and do. I'd almost recommend two trips. One for Vancouver, Van island and Whistler and a separate one for the Rockies.

Thethingswedoforlove Sun 05-Nov-17 09:29:45

Thanks. Unfortunately we have ruled out Tofino as there just isn’t enough time (I wanted to go but DH will be driving and has said is just too much given we are coming from Banff all the way over.) but i can sense another trip where we spend more time on the far west side coming on. I will look at emerald lake, thanks. The ice field parkway is already factored into the plan so good to get acknowledgement that it is worth it. Thanks! I am also sad not to be going to jasper. Lots of good bike rides there I think....

rookiemere Sun 05-Nov-17 11:46:44

Book your slot in advance for the ice fields parkway and bring a pack lunch as the food at the place there is disgusting and overpriced.

I’d recommend skipping the skywalk. It’s expensive and they bus you to it 6k out of your way each way which is a lot when you’re already doing a long drive. When we went it was so crazy busy that there was no sense of awe. Great views at a parking place just past it that are free wink

Thethingswedoforlove Sun 05-Nov-17 12:41:19

Ok rookie- thanks for the tips! The rough guide also mentions a place a bit past it with good viewing. Will be sure to look at that.....

rookiemere Sun 05-Nov-17 18:12:25

Actually just thinking about it the Icefields Parkway connects Banff to Jasper, so are you going out of your way to do it?

If so I'd ( rather heretically) suggest not doing a special trip just to see it. It's neat, and it breaks the journey marvellously ( if you avoid the horrible food) but for my money I enjoyed the drive to Whistler a lot more. Are you sure you can't squeeze Tofino in, it is awesome?

Thethingswedoforlove Sun 05-Nov-17 18:21:47

Yes we are planning to stay an additional day in Lake Louise to be able to go up to the ice fields. V interesting re Whistler. Mmmmm now you have me thinking ....

rookiemere Sun 05-Nov-17 18:23:01

Ah yes other thing I'd say is that LL is packed in the summer. Nice for one night, probably not worth staying more if you're doing Banff as well.

badbadhusky Sun 05-Nov-17 18:24:50

Have you booked your flights yet? We flew Air Canada & you can add on (or maybe book at same time) internal flights really cheaply if you’ve done the transatlantic leg with them. We flew LHR > Calgary> Edmonton > Vancouver > LHR. It was about £120 extra for 4 internal flights & cut out the 2 day drive from Jasper to Vancouver. Jasper to Edmonton was really dull mind, mostly prairie - probably could have driven back to Calgary in a similar time frame & it would have been prettier.

badbadhusky Sun 05-Nov-17 18:26:04

Moraine Lake & Johnstone Canyon both lovely. If you are up in Jasper, the Athabasca Falls & Maligne canyon/lake were good.

Thethingswedoforlove Sun 05-Nov-17 18:29:08

Oooh I am Loving all This advice. Thank you

rookiemere Sun 05-Nov-17 18:33:06

Yes that's good advice badbadhusky - first time we went to Canada we flew from Vancouver to Calgary and as a result managed to squeeze a lot into 2 weeks. This time we drove - and I know people say the drive is very scenic - but there is a lot of it which necessitates an overnight stay somewhere, and for my money I enjoyed it more when we flew the middle bit.

headintheproverbial Sun 05-Nov-17 18:33:13

Is there a reason you can't split the driving? Poor DH!

AnnaBegins Sun 05-Nov-17 18:41:50

Squamish! Also our friends have a cabin on the sunshine coast, it's all gorgeous.

mummymeister Sun 05-Nov-17 18:43:31

We stayed in Sechelt on the coast which was fantastic and some of the family took a float plane ride. we also stayed in a place called Golden in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. loads to do but nowhere near as touristy as Banff which I didn't much care for if I am honest as there were too many people there for me.

AnnaBegins Sun 05-Nov-17 19:09:52

Garden bay! Just remembered that's where the cabin is!

Thethingswedoforlove Sun 05-Nov-17 21:04:18

Oooh thanks. Headin- no we cd split it. He just tends to prefer to drive and I prefer to be driven but I will be insured and will off course share if he has any desire for me to do so. We shdnt be doing more than 5/6 hours in any one day which he is usually fine with/ but the sheer number of days might put him off, I know!

Thethingswedoforlove Sun 05-Nov-17 21:05:02

And flights aren’t booked so we cd look into internal flights instead. I did look at trains but they either ridiculously expensive or travel at night!!

sunnyday1976 Sun 05-Nov-17 21:18:17

We drove down the Sunshine Coast and the ferry crossings on the drive were spectacular. The Okanagan Valley area is lovely and feels so different from everywhere else we’ve been in western Canada. I know you said you haven’t time for the west of Vancouver Island but Tofino is amazing. Definitely do the Icefields Parkway - a real taste of the Rockies. So jealous!!

rookiemere Sun 05-Nov-17 21:18:26

The driving is easy in Canada- normally I’m not overly fond of driving abroad but the roads are wide and Canadian drivers are ridiculously polite!

That said I’d definitely try to plan your route to avoid long driving days, we discovered that DS gets car sick on long drives - cue loads of cars shrieking to a halt behind us expecting to see a bear and instead get the pleasure of viewing a vomiting child !

Whyiseveryonesoangry Sun 05-Nov-17 21:30:23

This is bringing back so many memories. Loved Jasper and Banff, Lake Louise etc. Saw Moose, black and brown bears and even a wolf.
Would love to go back one day.

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