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Holidays

Canada - Calgary to Vancouver

21 replies

mrshadders · 10/10/2019 16:27

Hi all

My husband, daughter and I are travelling to Canada in June 2020. We are flying into Calgary and out of Vancouver. We plan on travelling Calgary to Vancouver by camper van! Our daughter will be 1 ay this time.
Has anyone done this/got tips? I don't really know where to start our planning!

Thanks in advance!

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OhBumpers · 10/10/2019 16:41

@mrshadders How long rare you planning on being here? It's about a 1200km drive straight through.

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Teddybear45 · 10/10/2019 16:44

One of the world’s most dangerous roads is on that route. While it should be okay in June surprise bad weather does happen so keep an eye on the weather and if needed have a back up travel plan. I wouldn’t do it if it’s raining or snowing or foggy.

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mrshadders · 10/10/2019 16:54

Thanks both.

We have 3 weeks in total. Does it sound doable?

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BubblesBuddy · 10/10/2019 17:49

Yes. June will be fine! It’s summer.

In order to plan, Lonely Planet Canada is a good place to start. That book has itineraries and look at their Jasper/Banff book as well as the one on the Pacific Northwest. Decide how long you wish to stay in each place and don’t rush it! There is a lot to see and options for national parks with less people. Also

look at your operators suggested trips such as Audley where you get a day to day breakdown of a suitable itinerary. Add in a few detours for your time available. I would book well ahead and spend a couple of days in Vancouver at the end!

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OhBumpers · 10/10/2019 23:37

Totally doable. My husband and I used to drive out in a day (pre kids 😂). The southern route is more scenic than Highway 1 but they both have a lot to offer.

Stop in Banff & Lake Louise on the Alberta side. You can easily spend a few days each there. There are hot springs, hiking, a wolf rescue, gondolas. Just give yourself time to make a lot of stops. There's a lot to see in and around Vancouver as well. I would plan on at least a week there alone.

And don't worry about snow (🙄) or dangerous driving conditions. June in Canada is beautiful and we're all polite drivers here 😉

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Superlooper · 10/10/2019 23:43

Yes, it was great. We did it with a tent, camped a couple of nights enroute. Highly recommend. Lake Louise, Banff are stunning and the Ice Fields. Lovely way to see the Rockies

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HappySpade · 11/10/2019 03:34

Make sure to stop in Revelstoke at the Enchanted Forest. It's very quaint and has lovely fairy tale scenes you DD will love.

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FloraFox · 11/10/2019 03:48

Definitely doable. Make sure you book your BC campsites well in advance. It’s a lot harder to just show up than it used to be.

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FixItUpChappie · 11/10/2019 05:05

Well I Drive Edmonton to Penticton all the time for family vacation so can give a few recommendations of nice stops and things to do.

-Calgary - Heritage Park (open air museum), Calgary Zoo

-Drumheller - Tyrell museum, Badlands, Hoodoos, Atlas Coal Mine

-Banff - gondola, Johnson Canyon (if your little one is in a sling or backpack), Cave and Basin, Banff Falls and historic Fairmont Hotel - hiking galore of course as it suits your fancy.

-do check out the excellent Takakkaw waterfall by little Fields on the BC side - there's a cute cafe in Fields too

-Revelstoke - your little one might be too young to enjoy, but the Enchanted Forest is fun stop for kids and it's big forest cool and relaxing for adults.

-Vernon - Davidson Orchard is nice, there is a historical site called the O'keefe Ranch too which has an old house/mansion you can tour

-There is a kangaroo farm in Lakeland county which is fun

-Kelowna has a nice downtown for lunch/shopping

-Okanagan - Summerland/Peachland/Naramata wine route/Penticton waterfront - lovely area. Kettle Valley Steam Train, Ornamental Gardens...pretty. The lakes will still be bit cold for swimming

-Vancouver there's of course lots to do and it's a beautiful city. Don't miss the Aquarium, Granville Island, Capilano Suspension Bridge, Grouse Mountain - maybe little trip to Whistler.

Have fun!

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mrshadders · 12/10/2019 08:17

Wow this is amazing! Thank you all so much for the tips!
We collect Lonely Planet books from our trips so that is now on order. Thanks everyone!! Grin

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mummymeister · 14/10/2019 11:51

Its very doable but you need to book your stops along the way very, very far in advance. we did this trip a couple of years ago with our 3 and initially thought about a van. but trying to get booked for a few nights in at the good places to stop was really difficult. when we were there, we drove past site after site after site with full signs on. stopping by the side of the road isnt really a great option. also be aware that some of the tourist attractions are difficult to get into and park at with a big campervan. The tough bit is what you leave out, because honestly there is so much to see and do in this area. it is fantastic - trip of a lifetime.

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ItsJustTheOneSwanActually · 17/10/2019 18:28

yes book campgrounds well ahead - you can book the national parks sites for summer 2020 in Jan. Provincial sites are 90 days ahead of your date you want to camp. They can book up v fast, esp weekends.

There are private campgrounds too - but the Parks usually offer much nicer sites for less money.

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mrshadders · 17/10/2019 19:13

Thanks. Don't even know where to start with the campgrounds. Had a google and found a few pages but I couldn't work out the facilities we would need? 50amp?

Think we are going to use Canadream for the camper if anyone has any experience with them...

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Crikeyblimey · 17/10/2019 19:19

We did just that trip but by car / hotel / camping. Went in August (5 years ago).

Travelled straight to Banff from Calgary
Stayed in Banff - amazing place
Travelled to Jasper along the Icefields Parkway - amazing
Stayed in Jasper
Jasper to Clearwater for a night-stop.
Clearwater to a white water rafting / camping place on the Thomson River
From there to Vancouver - fabulous city, loads to do.
Home
3 weeks
Plenty of time to do loads but easily could have stayed longer.
Enjoy.

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Crikeyblimey · 17/10/2019 19:21

Oh yes - I missed out our time in Okanagan. Absolutely beautiful and plenty of vineyards to visit.

Nipped over the border into the USA just cos we could!!

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Hermione101 · 17/10/2019 19:33

Definitely book your campsites well in advance. Spend a week in the Okanagan, well worth it. You could spend a couple of days on Vancouver Island at the end of your trip, it’s well worth it. Book the ferry in advance though!

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ItsJustTheOneSwanActually · 17/10/2019 19:37

you might find the ferry with a camper really expensive.

Canadream are super popular so they must be ok - might want to ask them re the 50/30 amp thing as we have a trailer (caravan)

You don't 'need' any services as you'll have propane and battery. Most things will work on those, but not air con or sockets for hairdryers etc. You'd need power hookup for those.

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ItsJustTheOneSwanActually · 17/10/2019 19:40

National parks (Banff, lake Louise, Jasper) book here

reservation.pc.gc.ca/ParksCanada%2FWestern%3FMap

BC parks here (you want front country camping)

www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/reserve/

AB parks here

albertaparks.ca/raphelp/

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lovelyupnorth · 20/10/2019 14:05

We did a similar trip this summer hotels and S/C

Flew to Calgary drove to Banff

Get everywhere early if going in summer as by 10 lots of places where packed.

Also recommend doing the gondola first thing they do an excellent deal including breakfast. We did the one near lake Louise. Saw a few bears.

Lake Louise - again get there early the park and ride is a shambles if you’re later.

We than drove to Grande Cache north of Jasper as struggled to find Accomodation in or near Jasper for a reasonable price.

But by doing that we rafted down the sulphur river and was only a small group far less Commerical than Jasper.

We stayed over night in Kamloops then had a few days in whistler. Lots of walking, canoeing and did the Olympic bob sleigh run.

And finished off in Vancouver. Did whale watching and shopping mainly.

Drove about 1600km over the 16 days.

Take plenty of money as well you’ll spend it.

Cost us about £6k for four including flights, accommodation, food, car hire and spends.

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Beebumble2 · 23/10/2019 22:48

Can’t add much to what others have said, except the same trip was my most memorable holiday. We were able to include Whistler, Vancouver Island and Seattle.
I hope you have a fantastic time, I’m sure you will.

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CanYouHearThePeopleSing · 27/10/2019 20:53

We stayed in Canmore rather than Banff. Much less touristy, and a lovely little town. Lake Louise and Moraine Lake are must-see lakes, as is Emerald Lake (which is a bit further west). Takakkow Falls worth seeing, and the Iceline trail for walking. Such a beautiful part of the world.

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