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Holidays

Vancouver to Banff

42 replies

NineteenSeventy2 · 21/01/2022 09:42

Hi,
I’m off to Canada (hopefully) in July and flying into Vancouver. I have hired a car and my two teens (18 and 14) will be coming with me. I’ve been before but many years ago.
Anyway, I want to spend some time in Vancouver but probably at the end of the holiday (2 weeks long) but was thinking of a road trip to Banff the up to Jasper and back down to Vancouver. I know it’s a long drive to Banff so was thinking about staying over somewhere 1 or 2 nights on the way there and on the way back from Jasper. Any recommendations for nice places to visit/stay en route?
Will a two night stay in Banff be enough?

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loopylindi · 21/01/2022 10:00

I am so jealous....although driving on the Icefield Parkway will be so ......difficult because you will want to keep stopping for the spectacular views. In Banff there's the gondola trip up Sulphur Mountain. We also went on a helicopter trip from Canmore which was absolutely fantastic (expensive but an unforgetable experience)
When in Vancouver don't miss out on the Capilano bridge, Stanley Park and if you're interested a ferry to Victoria Island and the Buchart Gardens. There is an animal Park in Stanley park but when we went there were too many Beluga whales in a tiny pond which I didn't like. There is also a Totem Pool display. If you're into Christmas Vancouver has not one, but two Christmas shops. For food you must visit GasTown at night- fabulous.
Hope that helps! Have a fab time. My heart goes with you

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NeedAHoliday2021 · 21/01/2022 12:36

We did Vancouver to Calgary in 2019. Absolutely amazing. We stayed at ski lodges and on an airbnb farm. Canoeing on emerald lake was my highlight.

Just to mention, my brother lives in Calgary and mentioned the road through the Rockies at the town of “Hope” collapsed in the winter so not sure when that’ll open again. Swimming at marble lake was gorgeous too. So many memories.

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Oakdog · 21/01/2022 12:42

Depends which way you want to go to Banff but we went via the Okanagan Valley area and stayed in Penticton. It was so different to anywhere else we went in BC, and made a good alternative to so many mountains! It's a wine growing region, and very warm.

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Mrstwiddle · 21/01/2022 12:50

Agree with the above, Kelowna is a large city in the Okanagan which might be better for teens, if you’re looking to stay somewhere quieter, Osoyoos is lovely. If you are into wineries, go to the Silver Sage winery, it’s the best one I’ve been to in Canada.

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rookiemere · 21/01/2022 12:57

Another option is internal flight from Vancouver to Calgary. We've done that once and then drove the next time. I preferred the flight option as the scenery at each end is so stunning, it's a shame to have a stupidly long drive there and back.

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rookiemere · 21/01/2022 13:00

Or an alternative is that Vancouver Island is stunning, you could get the ferry over and stay at Tofino (Crystal cove resort is the best place ever) and/or go up to Whistler - drive from the ferry to Whistler is stunning.
The Rockies are incredibly busy in the summer and loads of tour buses everywhere.

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MiddleAgedLurker · 21/01/2022 13:10

Ooh lovely memories of a wonderful holiday 8 years ago or so. We went to Vancouver via Iceland (stopped over for 3 days) with Iceland Air. Then a few days in Vancouver. Canadian railways train to Jasper - there is a tourist train too, but it's expensive so we took a standard one overnight (seats rather than cabin to keep costs down, but the seats do recline a bit). Wonderful to greet the dawn from the viewing car, which has v big windows. We stayed in Jasper where we hired a car, then drove down the Icefields Parkway stopping near Lake Louise on the way for a few nights (self catering log cabin). Then finished up in Banff before going home via Calgary. Don't do what I did and overlook the fact that the return flight was via Seattle, and you need a special visa thingy even for a change of planes in USA. So we missed our flight ... But it was a brilliant holiday that none of us will ever forget.

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rookiemere · 21/01/2022 13:14

Actually just spotted you might not have bought the flights yet. If you're determined to do the Rockies as well, then try to get flights back to the UK from Calgary.

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NineteenSeventy2 · 21/01/2022 19:07

Thanks all!
Yes, my flights are already booked to Vancouver and back from Vancouver. I flew into Calgary last time I was in Canada and did the Rockies and Vancouver then got the train across the border into the USA to Seattle. Did another road trip down the coast to San Francisco and flew back from there. Many great memories!
It’ll be the first time to Canada for the kids but they’re old enough now to appreciate it.
Can’t wait!

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KatherineofGaunt · 21/01/2022 19:10

I did the train for 3 days from Toronto to Vancouver, through Banff and Jasper. Amazing scenery! No advice for where to stay but enjoy, I'm so jealous!

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Notimetolive · 21/01/2022 19:14

I. AM. SO. JEALOUS!!!

Did this trip many years ago.
Stopped in Jasper, Lake Louise, Canmore, Banff and Vancouver.

The bestest holiday ever😃

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Frankin · 21/01/2022 19:16

We went from Vancouver to jasper and spent a couple of nights at the Alpine Meadow resort at Clearwater. They have a private beautiful lake with lots of kayaks, rowing boats etc to use and lovely comfortable log cabins. It was a really nice relaxed mini break between Vancouver and jasper/Banff which was very full on sight seeing. I highly recommend

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LoveFall · 21/01/2022 19:23

I live in Vancouver. Happy to answer questions.

As far as a stop enroute to to the Rockies etc. i think somewhere in the Okanagan would be great. Osoyoos is on a lovely lake and you might enjoy a couple of nights there. There are a couple of nice resorts, one right in the downtown area. It is a small town.

Penticton is also on a lovely lake. Kelowna is the largest city in the Okanagan, also on a lake. There are some nice resorts there.

Alternatively you could drive via hwy 5, the Coquihalla, which is scenic. Very mountainous.

Salmon Arm is a small town on Shuswap Lake which would be a nice stop.i spent most of my summers on Shuswap as a young person. It is clear, clean, and lovely.

I would avoid stopping in Kamloops. A busy city in a very arid environment. Desert like.

Don't hesitate to ask questions. Happy to help.

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NineteenSeventy2 · 22/01/2022 06:48

@LoveFall
You’re so lucky to live in Vancouver!

I’m just wondering what sort of timescale I should allow for a road trip to Banff/Jasper and then back to Vancouver as I’d like to use some of the time for Vancouver itself and, hopefully, a trip to Vancouver Island. My flight doesn’t get into Vancouver until about 19:00 so I don’t fancy driving far after a long flight (my body clock will be in the middle of the night due the time difference) so I was planning staying close to the airport the first night. Obviously, this takes one day off of my time availability. I was then thinking of driving towards Banff but don’t want to drive more than 3 hours a day.
My second choice trip is to go to Whistler and spend more time in the Vancouver area but not sure if there will be enough to do. The kids would like to cross the border and go into the USA (Seattle), which would be an experience for them, but I’m not sure about what documents I’d need and if the car hire company would allow that.

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NineteenSeventy2 · 22/01/2022 06:48

@Frankin
That sounds lovely!

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NineteenSeventy2 · 22/01/2022 06:49

@Notimetolive

I. AM. SO. JEALOUS!!!

Did this trip many years ago.
Stopped in Jasper, Lake Louise, Canmore, Banff and Vancouver.

The bestest holiday ever😃

I’ve done this trip before but years ago before I had kids. It was amazing!!
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NineteenSeventy2 · 22/01/2022 06:52

@KatherineofGaunt

I did the train for 3 days from Toronto to Vancouver, through Banff and Jasper. Amazing scenery! No advice for where to stay but enjoy, I'm so jealous!

Sounds lovely! I’ve thought about the train but I love photography so stop a lot to get snapping Smile
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Wombat98 · 22/01/2022 06:55

You need to map distance as otherwise you'll end up driving all the time. I've done several trips here & I'd concentrate on one or two areas, see things properly.

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rookiemere · 22/01/2022 07:50

I've just checked the distances. Vancouver to Banff is about a 9 hr drive. Banff to Jasper is another 3 hrs. Jasper to Vancouver is about 8 hrs. So if you're not wanting to drive more than 3 hrs a day, then you'd end up spending a lot of time in the - pleasant but not as dramatic- middle bit on the drive there and back.

There's loads to do in Whistler and Vancouver island for teens depending what they're into. In Whistler there's the worlds longest zip ride ( or it might not be the longest any more) mountain biking, or we also did a normal day long bike ride and lots of outdoor activities. From Tofino in Vancouver Island we did a day's kayaking to Meares Island, a sea plane and hike to some natural hot springs and there's more to see on the rest of the island that we've not been to.

We stayed the first night in Vancouver- the airport hotel is a good idea - and then as we woke up at the crack of dawn we got the first ferry across to Vancouver Island and were at Tofino by mid afternoon.

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rookiemere · 22/01/2022 07:57

Sorry I may be over-invested in this, it just sounds so exciting. But another thing I'd say is you'll need to get your accommodation booked sharpish particularly if you are planning on going to the Rockies as its very popular in the Summer.

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LoveFall · 22/01/2022 07:57

@NineteenSeventy2

I will be happy to talk about driving times. The estimates I see here are probably correct in ideal conditions and non stop driving. But honestly I would not want to make the entire drive in one day. Our roads go through mountain passes and frankly 8 hours of driving in BC is no holiday.

It is almost midnight here and I am sleepy so I will respond more tomorrow.

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EdnaMole · 22/01/2022 07:59

We did this in the summer of 2019. Only had two weeks, so spent first week in Vancouver, had rental car so travelled around a lot, had friends there to catch up with too. Did a two night trip over to Vancouver Island and drove over to Ucluelet on West Coast & did Pacific Rim National Park. Drove/ferry back to Vancouver, dropped off rental car, stayed a night in airport hotel then got early flight to Calgary. Picked up motor home and then drove to Banff and Jasper up Icefields Parkway and back. Enjoyed this much more than when I did road trip from Vancouver twenty years ago as it was tiring driving such long distances and chasing deadlines but everyone is different and you may prefer that. Booked Air B&B in Vancouver, campsites in the Rockies. We booked everything in April/May for an August trip and a lot of things were fully booked..camp sites especially tricky (might be different now obviously) so my advice would be to book early once you’ve decided on your itinerary. Hope that helps. (Oh, and you will spend a LOT more than you think you will!!) 🤣

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LoveFall · 22/01/2022 08:02

So sweet the lucky to live in Vancouver comments. Yes, I love my city very much but believe me it is not perfect. Lots and lots of change.

Oh, and the rainy winter!

But it is my home. Both my parents were born here, in the 1920s. That is a bit unusual as we are very much a city of immigrants.

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Smorgasborb · 22/01/2022 08:06

We did this and stopped off on the Okanagan valley. Gorgeous! That's one night at least. Another day in the car to Banff. One night. Up the Icefield parkway and stay near Jasper then back to Okanagen. 3 night trip at least.

We just found basic cabins in Banff and jasper and Airbnb in Okanagan

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rookiemere · 22/01/2022 08:22

Or another thought is, get an internal flight to Calgary first morning you're there. You'll be at the airport already and you'll be awake so can get the super early one. That way it doesn't eat into your trip, but you can still do both regions.

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