West Coast Island Discovery
- 14 Days
- Prices From:
- US$ 2,925
MODERATE | SELF-DRIVE: Vancouver and Whistler are on the menu, but the fascinating part of this trip is exploring the quiet bays, peaceful shorelines and ancient forests of the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island. Get a real taste of island life in small coastal communities, accessible only by ferries, hiking expansive trails and discovering uncrowded parklands. Perfect for serene reflection and exploration.
From one of the world’s most beautiful cities to a stunning mountain resort, and from remote islands to a gentle, relatively unexplored coastline, this 14-day trip combines some of the best things to see in British Columbia.
Vancouver is often voted the most beautiful city in the world. Admire the mountains and the sea on a bike ride around Stanley Park, or head out to the beach at English Bay for a dip in the ocean, or simply to admire the views. Sample the nightlife in Yaletown or Gastown.
The next day, head to Granville Market to sample some great food. Drive over the scenic Lion’s Gate Bridge to North Vancouver and brave the Capilano Suspension Bridge, where you can cross a 137 metre-long bridge over a spectacular canyon.
The Sea-to-Sky Highway, one of the great drives in Canada, takes you from the hustle and bustle of Vancouver to the pristine mountains of Whistler, a four-seasons resort. Stroll the pedestrian-only streets of the village and sample a local, craft beer on the patio. Try the impressive Peak 2 Peak gondola, which stretches over a deep canyon that separates Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.
The next day, try a walking or biking trail through the lush woodlands that surround Whistler Village, or sample the boutique shops. Whistler also is home to several first-rate golf courses.
Head south to Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver to catch your ferry to the Sunshine Coast, The town of Gibsons has a pretty marina and great, boutique shopping. You’re headed to Painted Boat Resort, Spa and Marina in Madeira Park, a lovely spot on the water.
Relax on your balcony, or enjoy a swim in the pool or a soak in the resort hot tubs. Try a “Slocat” boat tour of delightful Pender Harbour.
The next day brings tremendous ocean views and relaxing ferry rides. You’ll take a boat from Earl’s Cove to Saltery Bay and then, after a short drive, another one from Powell River to Courtenay, a small city on Vancouver Island. Head to next-door Comox and check out Balmoral Beach.
Departing Courtenay, you’ll head south and enjoy coastal towns such as Parksville and Nanaimo. If time allows, the murals at Chemainus depict Indigenous culture and the area’s history.
Victoria is your next stop. If they’re running, try the little ferry boats that buzz about the harbour. Wander around the James Bay neighbourhood and admire the tiny “fairy villages” that locals have built along the sidewalk. You don’t want to miss nearby Butchart Gardens, a remarkable collection of blooming flowers, shrubs and trees.
The next day features a short, scenic crossing to super-chill Salt Spring Island. Sample locally made cheese at the Salt Spring Island Cheese Company, or kick back and enjoy the water views at Ruckle Provincial Park.
From there it’s a short hop to Galiano Island, passing majestic inlets and quiet, photo-worthy bays lined with towering evergreens. Drive up Mount Galiano for mesmerizing views.
Your last ferry crossing takes you to Richmond. Try a visit to historic, waterfront Steveston Village for fun shopping. Richmond has tremendous Asian cuisine, and there’s even a dumpling trail you can try for hot, soup-filled dumplings, dim sum and other treats.
- 14 Days
- Prices From:
- US$ 2,925
Arrival in Vancouver
Following your arrival at Vancouver International Airport, transfer independently to your downtown hotel. The Roadbook you received has all the information needed for your holiday/trip/journey. Enjoy the rest of your day exploring the city’s vibrant nightlife in neighborhoods such as Yaletown or Gastown, venture along the meandering pathways along the ocean, visit a gallery, or indulge in some shopping on Robson Street.
Today take some time to independently explore this vibrant city, offering many attractions such as Canada Place, the dynamic Robson Street, Chinatown and historic Gastown. Perhaps visit Stanley Park en route to Cleveland Dam and the Capilano Suspension Bridge in the North Shore rainforest. Here you can cross the 137m-long bridge over a spectacular canyon to the Treetops Adventure observation structure for even more incredible views of this old growth forest.
Vancouver to Whistler (125 km / 78 miles)
Today you depart on your journey to the fabulous, world-famous, four-season resort of Whistler. Travelling along the scenic Sea-to-Sky Highway, you traverse five distinct climatic zones from rainforest to semi-arid alpine forest. The road also crosses the historic Pemberton Trail and Gold Rush Trail, used by prospectors in the 18th century. Travelling through small towns such as Squamish and skirting the shores of Daisy Lake, you arrive in picturesque Whistler Village set at the base of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. Whistler village is in many ways down-to-earth but offers everything from outstanding dining to a wide array of boutiques, shops, museums, galleries, and entertainment galore.
A day to discover the many charms of Whistler. The cafes, restaurants, and shops of the village, together with pedestrian walkways and town squares are perfect for leisurely walks of discovery. Woodland trails surround the village, as does a well-developed network of biking and hiking trails for outdoor enthusiasts of all abilities.
Whistler to Sunshine Coast / Painted Boat Resort Spa & Marina, Madeira Park (188 km / 117 miles – Land Only)
Driving back on the Sea-to-Sky Highway, once more enjoying the scenery, it’s time to head up the stunning coastline en route to your first overnight resort. Crossing the pleasant waters of Horseshoe Bay on a BC Ferries vessel, disembark in Langdale and travel northward through such small, seaside communities as Davis Bay, and past the headwaters of the stunning Sechelt Inlet. Arriving at Painted Boat Resort, check in to this idyllic retreat for your 2-night stay.
Overnight Sunshine Coast
Painted Boat Resort Spa & Marina, Madeira Park
Enjoy a full day at leisure, especially as the amenities of the resort will enhance your stay in this outdoor paradise. Relax on your private balcony or walk the docks along the waterfront. The infinity pool and hot tubs entice guests to relax, and canoe and kayak rentals (at additional cost, onsite) allow you to explore the local waterways.
Overnight Sunshine Coast
Painted Boat Resort Spa & Marina, Madeira Park to Courtenay (113 km / 70 miles – Land Only)
Today you enjoy the view as much from the water as you would from the road. Not long after departing the resort, you board a BC Ferries vessel crossing from Earls Cove to Saltery Bay. A short drive along the coast, and soon you are boarding your second ferry, crossing the deep blue waters of the Strait of Georgia. Arriving in the small town of Comox, it is a quick drive to Courtney leaving plenty of time to check in, relax and explore the local area and beachfront.
Courtenay to Victoria (220 km / 137 miles)
Departing Courtenay, today’s journey takes you southward along the east coast of Victoria. Beautiful towns that celebrate their island lifestyles such as Parksville and Nanaimo offer the perfect place to stop for lunch and indulge in some local delicacies. If time permits, the murals at Chemainus are a draw for artists and visitors alike, depicting First Nations culture and the history of the area. Your final destination of the day is Victoria, a splendid city that celebrates its British heritage with marvelous public and private gardens.
Enjoy a full day to explore this elegant capital city. We suggest a visit to Beacon Hill Park and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. You may decide to drop in for afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel and experience a taste of British charm. No stay in the city is complete without a tour of the world-famous Butchart Gardens, a brilliant collection of thousands of plants, exploding in lush colors and textures.
Victoria to Salt Spring Island (52 km / 32 miles – Land Only)
Today’s short travel time is highlighted by a scenic crossing to Salt Spring Island, a small community that lives life at a more relaxed pace. After checking into your hotel, take some time to independently explore the surrounding area and its magnificent views of water.
Overnight Salt Spring Island
Salt Spring Island
We suggest checking with the front desk of your hotel about any available activities such as cycling or canoeing, or any local markets or festivals. The locals often celebrate the long days of summer with gatherings and local events that welcome all guests to their small communities.
Overnight Salt Spring Island
Salt Spring Island to Galiano Island (38 km / 24 miles – Land Only)
Today is a day of true island hopping enroute to Galiano Island! Two ferries that navigate the local islands reveal the stunning majesty of the inlets, sounds and bays of these quiet waters. Arriving on Galiano Island, check into your hotel, then drive up Mount Galiano for mesmerizing views, or hike uncrowded trails in blissful solitude.
Overnight Galiano Island
Galiano Island to Richmond / Vancouver Airport (50 km / 31 miles – Land Only)
One last ferry crossing of your vacation takes you to Richmond. Once known as only a stopover for the airport, Richmond has developed over the last several years into a vibrant tourist center, offering a wide variety of Asian inspired authentic restaurants, attractions, and venues.
Today is the end of your program. Make your way to check in at Vancouver International Airport for your departure flight or continue your trip if you have other plans.
Daily departures: May 1 – June 18 & September 18 - October 28, 2024
Scheduled departures: June 17 – September 17, 2024 (Wed-Sun)
- 14 days Intermediate Car Rental with unlimited mileage (Toyota Corolla or similar)
- Customized Self-Drive Roadbook (Digital version)
- 2 nights accommodations in Vancouver
- 2 nights accommodations in Whistler
- 2 nights accommodations in Painted Boat Resort Spa & Marina
- 1 night accommodations in Courtenay
- 2 nights accommodations in Victoria
- 2 nights accommodations in Salt Spring Island
- 1 night accommodations in Galiano Island
- 1 night accommodations in Richmond / Vancouver International Airport area
- Ferry crossing: Horseshoe Bay to Langdale (40 minutes)
- Ferry crossing: Earls Cove to Saltery Bay (50 minutes) & Powell River to Comox (1 hour and 30minutes)
- Ferry crossing: Swartz Bay to Salt Spring Island (35 minutes)
- Ferry crossing: Salt Spring Island to Galiano Island (1 hour and 50 minutes)
- Ferry crossing: Galiano Island to Tsawwassen (30 minutes)
- Car rental insurance
- Travel insurance
- International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
- Entrances fees to sites not explicitly listed as included
- Meals and beverages not mentioned
- Road tolls
- Items of a personal nature
- Visa fees if applicable
TERMS AND CONDITIONS:
Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request. Additional terms and conditions apply for car rental - please inquire.
12 Oct 2024