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Vancouver island, Washington & Oregon with teens - 2020(17 Posts)
We are considering the following next summer:
Fly to Vancouver
Vancouver island - prob Tofino? Maybe Orca Island? Want to see as much wildlife as possible
Not sure if it's doable in just over two weeks and what order is best? Happy to get ferries, trains, hire car, even do seaplane if price not £££
What we like to do and what teens like to do is different.
We will definitely need to find teen friendly activities in each place. Have a DS that likes organised activities eg kayak tours, river tubing, wildlife spotting, watching live sports and a DD that likes shopping and wildlife.
Hoping to hire bikes where we can (Vancouver, Cannon Beach).
Recommendations welcome especially teen friendly activities, places to stay, order to do it in and recommended transport between!!!
Tofino is AMAZING. I got told off for recommending this place to stay before https://www.crystalcove.ca/ but it's a magical place.
I haven't been to Portland or Washington but it seems like a lot to squeeze into 2 weeks, particularly as you'd want at least one night at Vancouver at the start and the ferry and drive to Tofino are a lot of fun. I'd take at least one of the centres out, or instead stick to Canada and do Vancouver Island and then up to Whistler for a few nights before flying back out from Vancouver.
Oh and loads of organised activities in Tofino - we did sea kayaking to an island and there is a sea plane trip to do, in Whistler DH and DS did zip wiring, mountain biking and I think we all did white water rafting. One day we hired bikes and did a more gentle tour.
I think if you fly in and out from different locations it can become very pricey, certainly thats what I found when looking at in to Vancouver and out from Portland Oregan.
It's a wonderful trip and there is plenty to do on the Canadian side of the border if you don't have any particular yearning to do that part of the US.
Spend some time in Vancouver when you arrive as it's a lovely city. Cycling round Stanley Park on your first morning is a great jet lag buster and gives you a good feel for the layout of the city.
Whistler is 45 mins from Vancouver and has a ton of great stuff for teens including mountain biking, lake swimming and you can do a rafting trip from there. Our kids are younger so we went canoeing along the River of Golden Dreams.
Tofino on Vancouver Island is an amazing spot. Bear in mind it will take you the best part of a day to get there once you have queued for the ferry, the ferry itself takes about 3 hours and the drive to Tofino is another 3 hours. It is a beautiful drive and be sure to stop at Cathedral Grove to see the amazing trees.
You can whale and bear watch from Tolfino or Naiamo where the ferry docks. Tofino has great beaches and is a surfers paradise. It also has many great restaurants to suit all budgets but by far our family's favourite was the Tacofino taco truck on the side of the highway (expect a 45 minute wait at peak times).
We stayed at very high end hotels and lodges all of which were wonderful: Fairmont Pacific Rim in Vancouver, Alta Lake Lodge in Whistler, Wicanninish Inn in Tolfino and Sonora Resort which is an incredible, all inclusive eco lodge.
That's so helpful thank you both!
Not sure we can stretch to £500 a night accommodation - prob looking at more mid range although perhaps would stretch to a blowout one for a couple of nights if it was standout.
I think on reflection probably need to do Washington and Oregon on a separate trip - I'm thinking probably just DH and I once teens are off our hands.
So if we had 15 or 16 nights, what might be a good split?
3 nights Vancouver
2 nights Whistler
4 nights Tofino
3 nights near Campbell River?
2 nights somewhere else?
Which leaves a few nights? Not sure where to add. Maybe another night in Vancouver on the return?
No advice but just wanted to say - this would be my dream trip. Need to talk dh and the kids into it.
I'd probably do 4 nights in Whistler.
Originally we were only going to do 2 but then I looked at it and realised how much there was to do we tweaked our itinerary. We stayed at Glaciers reach by All seasons vacations rentals from booking.com and whilst it wasn't 5 star we had separate bedrooms a hit tub and great wifi and pretty reasonable.
DS still talks about Canada. It was his favourite holiday ever which is a good sign.
Depending on where you end your trip you may need an extra night in Vancouver on the way home because if you are coming from Vancouver Island you need to build some leeway with the ferry to make sure you are on time fir your flight.
Looks like you have now ruled out Washington. Such a shame. I live on the Washington coast and I absolutely love it.
You mentioned Orcas Island. The San Juan islands are beautiful and great for wildlife. You might want to go to a smaller one than Orcas, however. It’s crazy busy in the summer. Lopez Island might be a better choice. We stayed a few nights on Orcas Island 2 years ago for our wedding anniversary and thoroughly enjoyed it. That was September so it was quieter.
Washington is a wonderful choice for wildlife. Where we live we currently have sea lions on the beach, we have bears roaming around town, deer also roam the streets, raccoons in every garden, we are visited by Orcas every year as they migrate (Seattle has resident Orcas) and all sorts of birds, butterflies, etc. My husband is a keen birdwatcher and he is in his element here. We had some eagles on the top of one of the spruce trees in the garden a few days ago. Some osprey have built a nest on the school grounds here, much to DH’s delight.
We had an amazing 2.5 weeks on VI with teens this summer. Bear watching from Tofino, Whale Watching from Victoria, and plenty of wild life spotted including bear cubs beside the road. Kids enjoyed Wild Play (bungee swing and zip wires). Lots of amazing natural parks with amazing hikes and swimming spots - southern bit of the island was a complete highlight and would love to go back and spend longer. Best holiday ever!
I can recommend Telegraph cove in the north of the island for orca watching whilst kayaking. It's a couple of hours from Campbell river , you'll need to book accommodation months in advance as there isn't a lot to choose from but well worth it. Have a look at bc kayaking on tripadvisor.
We’re also going next summer with our three daughters. There’s so much to do out there, I’d recommend trying not to do it all as you’ll spend so much time travelling.
We’re going Vancouver for 8 days as we lived there for a while and there is so much to do. We’re then going to Van Island, heading up to Telegraph Cove, as in our experience that is the best and nicest way to see orcas. It is full of wildlife up there. Then we’re heading across to the Sunshine Coast for a few days of kayaking, biking and hiking and visiting all the little harbour towns, before a couple of days back in Vancouver.
You will have a fab time!
Xiddling- so jealous of your trip to TC next year, on a clear day with blue sky and that water with the sound of an orca going past and you can hear that blowing sound they make ... goosebumps!!
Yes, Ooogetyooo, I’m so excited already! Years ago we camped out on the rubbing beaches in the Johnstone Strait for 4 nights and every day we kayaked with killer whales. One day we were lucky enough to witness a super pod of hundreds, and they headed straight for us and surrounded our kayaks. So amazing and an experience I will never forget. And you are so right about that sound giving goosebumps.
We have just got back from Canada and met people from VI. Remember it’s 400 miles long. There is plenty to do there. Kayaking, bear watching, whale and orca spotting. I would do at least 1 week and possibly longer. You can fly over if you wish.
Vancouver is great for a few days and Whistler is up and running with all sorts of activities. We actually went up to The Great Bear Rainforest and stayed in Tweedsmuir Park. Before that we went on a small boat trip for 7 days out of Kittimat. Wildlife galore!
I'd do fewer places for more nights, otherwise you'll spend a lot of time in the car, plus packing up and moving on every couple of days gets old very quickly. So do your research carefully and I'd aim to spend 3 or 4 nights in about 4 places. In depth is better than a whistle-stop tour IME and if you want to do lots of outdoorsy stuff then Vancouver Island seems like a great place to base yourselves.
As for the US part - I love Seattle and Portland and all the stuff around there. Olympic NP is supposed to be amazing (I've yet to go there), Mt Rainier NP is great, Mt Hood and the Columbia river valley is great, Mt St Helens makes a great day out and there are good museums and shopping in both cities. They're both a bit alternative and have some fun, off-beat neighbourhoods, plus they're quieter and less touristy than a lot of the bigger US cities. You could do trips tbh, one in and around Vancouver, Whistler and Vancouver Island, another visiting Washington and Oregon states.
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