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Help! Have only four or five nights and need advice.

New York
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Help! Have only four or five nights and need advice.

Not sure yet where we fly into but we have four or five nights tops in mid june to go to Vancouver Island before driving down to Portland to visit relatives. I know for sure I want to spend at least one night in Victoria and certainly want to do high tea (if I can convince my husband). We want to do a driving tour, see as much wildlife and scenery as possible, meander about the little towns and generally get a good flavor of the island. Any advice? Whale watching, bear watching, eagles, gardens, water - it's all good but we are not big adventurers- we want to do this trip in a nice leisurely style, stay at fairly nice places and soak in the Islands. Not sure if we will fly into or stop in Vancouver as we live near a big city (NY) and that is not overly appealing to us. Might fly into Victoria or come up through Seattle. Could use suggestions about that too. Would greatly appreciate itinerary advice.

Edited: 29 March 2012, 13:56
Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Help! Have only four or five nights and need advice.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g154943-i81-k52809…

I'll just reference the replies you have already received on your other thread, so as not to reinvent the wheel. Have you had a chance to do any research given the plentiful advice there.

In 4 or 5 nights tops, you will have some choice. Victoria, the Pacific Marine Circle Route, driving 5 hours to Tofino where most would recommend staying 3 nights, the Parksville/Qualicum Beach area.

If you decided you wanted to "soak in the Islands," again you need to say which Islands: BC's Gulf Islands, or WA's San Juan Islands. This idea will depend entirely on the ferry schedules and the routes. Saltspring is the biggest and would be the most convenient to get to from the Victoria side.

Whale watching: Victoria, Campbell River or Tofino

Bear watching: Campbell River or Telegraph Cove

eagles: look up at any time

gardens: Victoria and Butchart Gardens

water: everywhere

You need to decide where you're going to fly into. You are aware that getting from Vancouver to Victoria will take about 4 hours one way. Flying into Victoria would put you right on the Island. The ferries from Seattle offer water views but, like the ferry from Vancouver, take longer.

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/

http://cohoferry.com/main/

If you wanted to leave the car and rent one when you get to Victoria, you could take the pax only catamaran from downtown Seattle to downtown Victoria in 3 hours:

http://www.clippervacations.com/

For afternoon tea, check out the White Heather and the Empress Hotel.

New York
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2. Re: Help! Have only four or five nights and need advice.

Thank you. I have done some research and that's why I decided to give up on Banff/Jaspar and just do Vancouver Island. I think we will probably stay on the main island and drive in a circle back down. I was also thinking whether it made sense to fly into Victoria or come in through WA but I am a chicken about small planes and was thinking smaller planes go into Victoria rather than Seattle or Vancouver. I do want to see the bears. Beaches are not a thrill because we live on an island (ok, not the greatest island). Tea in Victoria sounds wonderful. I did read about Clipper but when I called they weren't all that helpful. Was thinking Campbell River or Telegraph Cove might be too far a drive? So here's my bottom line: Where to fly in so as where to start the trip and with Victoria as a definite, where to drive from there. Thanks for your help. The more research I do the more confused I get.

calgary
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3. Re: Help! Have only four or five nights and need advice.

Try flying WestJet - they have flights out of JFK or Newark; change planes in either Toronto or Calgary and then direct on a 737 to Victoria. No small plane required.

www.westjet.com

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Help! Have only four or five nights and need advice.

The flight sounds like it's done and dusted quite nicely.

On the following webpage you can see the driving route and look to the left side to read up on all the things to see and do along the Pacific Marine Circle Route:

http://www.pacificmarinecircleroute.com/

In June, you will need to go to the North Island to see bears. It's about a 7 hour drive from Victoria, stops extra. The bear tours out of Campbell River only go in Sept and Oct. as far as I know. Tide Rip does full day bear tours from mid May from Telegraph Cove at the north Island by boat over to Knight Inlet on mainland BC:

http://tiderip.com/

So where to drive from Victoria besides the PMCR? Have a look at the following different maps to see the driving routes, distances and times. Google Maps is a valuable resource for playing around with destinations.

http://g.co/maps/zasrb

Click on the above link which shows you the route up to Telegraph Cove. Every location "ballooned" on the map (and more) is worth researching in terms of "Things to Do." In the left sidebar, you can see the driving times and driving distances, all stops extra. If you wanted to go up Island to see bears, you could consider driving casually up to the Parksville/Qualicum Beach area to stay one night before continuing on to Telegraph Cove. Remember to plan your time for coming back down the Island as well.

http://g.co/maps/4mncq

Click on the above link to see the route you would need to take to get to Tofino. It would not be very rewarding to go to Tofino for less than 3 nights.

tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g154944-Activiti…

Click on the above link to study up on the Things to Do on Vancouver Island. Note the separate tabs for Attractions, Tours, Shopping and Nightlife. There are many, so you will need to prioritize what you would like to see in order to use your time well.

You might also benefit from our online tourism website:

www.hellobc.com

Edited: 29 March 2012, 19:14
5. Re: Help! Have only four or five nights and need advice.

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