Road tripping ideas please!
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Jul 21, 2012 4:46 PM Last Post By: cassidygreatrex
Jul 5, 2012 7:55 AM
Road tripping ideas please!Hi all,
I am driving from Toronto to Victoria in August with some friends and was looking for "must-see" spot ideas! Anyone have any suggestions of places not to be driven past??
We are all outdoorsy people and will be camping our way across. We'd definitely like to do a couple of day hikes if possible.
Also- thoughts on driving through Canada or going through the States?
We have about two weeks - plus or minus depending on how carried away we get :)
Jul 5, 2012 9:30 AM
1The drive through the US would probably be lower in travel costs and, until reaching the Rockies,a more interesting drive...Probably beas to cross at Windsor and take the I-94 into Chicago(area)...Your choice West, from there ... Happy trails, carracar
Jul 5, 2012 2:20 PM
2Awesome trip, did it several times. This exact trip has been asked hundreds of times, so do a quick search. I agree with carracar, drive the south portion...fuel will be waaaaay cheaper....swing up through North Dakota.
2 weeks will go fast...the drive alone is 3 long days+.
Jul 5, 2012 3:42 PM
3Going through Windsor/Detroit and then Chicago area gets you into lots of traffic and congestion. OK if you want to see big cities but a more rural route would be to go up to Sault Ste. Marie, west to Duluth and then on to Fargo. Don't miss Theodore Roosevelt Natl. Park in western North Dakota. I'd also suggest dropping south from Billings, MT into Cody, WY and then west into Yellowstone. From Yellowstone head back up to I-90 near Bozeman. You can also avoid the Seattle metro area by getting off I-90 at Spokane, WA and using a combination of U.S. 2 and state 20 to get to Anacortes (Washington State Ferries) or Vancouver (BC Ferries) to catch a ferry. Don't forget you may need a reservation on either ferry.
Jul 5, 2012 3:51 PM
4Id do the Canadian rockies myself...not Montana, just my opinion.
Jul 6, 2012 7:21 AM
5I just drove through Montana, Idaho, and Washington last weekend on Route 2. There are some nice spots, but the scenery via the TransCanada Highway from Calgary to Vancouver is easily superior. Highway 3 just north of the border is also more interesting.
East of the Rockies I'd probably stay south of the border.
Jul 6, 2012 8:59 AM
Jul 6, 2012 11:02 AM
Jul 7, 2012 12:59 PM
8If there is a place on earth where death by boredom is almost inevitable (and a welcome relief!), North Dakota in August (or on any day of the year ending in "y") would be it. That is not to underrate the mind-numbing horror of Eastern Montana and Eastern South Dakota. Any savings on gas wouldn't be earthshaking enough to justify that degree of masochism. Unfortunately, the Trans-Canada through the prairies is only about 10 times better, meaning it still sucks like a tornado. Things improve slightly if you angle northwest from Winnipeg, where the land has the decency to at least roll a little bit, and wheat isn't always the tallest living thing.
The only reason to swing down through the US at all (and that assumes that you'd stay in Canada until you're beyond Lake Superior) is to see Yellowstone, Grand Teton, the Black Hills, and Glacier, and neither the Black Hills nor Glacier is that great unless you're into Passion Plays, or Rockies that don't meet the Canadian standard. Yellowstone would be crowded, the Tetons slightly less so. Both are spectacular, but I wouldn't endure anything called "Dakota" to get there on this particular trip.
In your situation, I would personally skirt Georgian Bay, then round Lake Superior on 17, where you'll get some very scenic views of sculpted hard rock and big water. Pass through Winnipeg, and then angle NW on 16, keeping the accelerator pretty close to the floorboards until you reach Edmonton. Northern Saskatchewan and Alberta provide few thrills, but you do avoid areas so nondescript that they named the few and uninteresting towns after fragments of a moose's skull, or just called them "What's-Its-Name".
Edmonton has the famed West Edmonton Mall, and it's quick to get from there to Jasper. Now, things get more interesting. Spend 2-3 days meandering down to Banff, hiking to an alpine lake or three. If you're really big lizard fans, you could detour east to check out dinosaurs (the fossilized ones in Dinosaur Provincial Park, not the population of Calgary). Then enter BC, looking into the smaller mountain national parks with their great views, hikes, hot springs, etc. You could go south from what's left of Sicamous to the Okanagan and sip some wine, or there are alternatives like Nelson, Chase, and other small towns on the lakes and river valleys of southern BC where you could rent a cabin or a houseboat for a couple of days. Then make your way to Vancouver, and on to Victoria.
I know there are those who love featureless landscapes dotted with prairie dog holes and covered with the raw material for Wheaties at best and sparse sagebrush at worst, but I believe the more time you spend in or west of the Rockies in August, where altitude, trees, flowing water and eventually an ocean provide coolness, shade and something sparkling to swim in, the more likely you are to cherish the Western Canadian Experience.
Jul 8, 2012 10:45 AM
9Once you hit the coast and you are in Tsawwassen, you have to do two things for sure: get out on the water plus do some hiking. You are almost at the "end destination" of your trip, so it is a great place to take a side trip that still gets you where you are going to, while still keeping an eye on your time. Galiano Island is a great option.
ON THE WATER: I recommend that instead of going from Tsawwassen (Vancouver's ferry terminal) directly to Victoria/Vancouver Island, that you take the Gulf Islands ferry instead and spend at least one night (you'll want to do way more), on Galiano Island. It is less than an hour from the mainland, a direct ferry. You can book a stay at anything in your budget, from a boutique spa resort on the water, to a forested bed-and-breakfast, to a great rustic lodge on the ridge, to camping in a beautiful marine park. Summer means you should book ahead for accommodation and ferries: www.galianoisland.com www.bcferries.com Once there, you can choose to hit the water with
a) a kayak rental or tour www.seakayak.ca
b) a boat rental www.galianoadventures.com
c) a whale-watching eco tour with Outdoor Visions
HIKING: There are many beautiful hikes and beaches on Galiano Island: it has the most beaches of any of the southern gulf islands, plus so many trails that you will likely find yourself alone on a trail, even in the busy August summer. Food options for every budget, from wood-fired pizzeria, to a casual bakery eat-in/take-out to the deck at the marina to the golf course cafe to fine evening dining. For hikes: Mount Galiano is a must, Bodega Ridge, too; watch whales from the shore at Bellhouse Park, explore the beaches at Pebble Beach and the Japanese charcoal kiln in Bluffs Park.
WANT MORE? Then take another interisland ferry (or ask if the whale-watching boat could drop you off at the end of your tour) and take in Pender Island, on your way to Victoria. Again, the range of accommodation is from an expensive larger hotel to bed and breakfast houses (no cottage rentals allowed on this island) to camping. It is slightly longer and complicated (by island standards) to find your way around as there are two islands joined by a bridge, but getting from/to the ferry terminal to your accommodation may take awhile so keep an eye on ferry schedules. Again, the local chamber has a great website: Pender Island Tourism penderislandchamber.com
Edited by: GulfIslandsExpert
Jul 8, 2012 9:12 PM
10#8 nails it for your trip across. I could quibble about details (angle north to Edmonton, or blast across directly through Calgary?), but after 20 or so trips across, I'd say the route described is pretty much the best available.
Do your own calculations of savings using cheaper American gasoline--you'll find that the savings is minimal in the context of a long trip, and the savings split among a group is negligible. Driving through Chicago (and the rest) during mid-summer just to save on petrol costs is something I'd do only at gunpoint.
#9 really, REALLY wants you to spend time visiting the Gulf Islands, but unless you're a very rare group you'll find better islands farther north and better seascapes along the west coast. IMHO, of course.
Hope that's helpful.
Jul 13, 2012 3:11 PM
Jul 21, 2012 4:46 PM
12If you're outdoorsy people id head up to whistler and hike black tusk then down to Vancouver.
(3 star Hotel)
From US$207.34 per night
(5 star Hotel)
From US$391.87 per night
(5 star Hotel)
From US$366.08 per night