10 days around Vancouver in winter - suggestions?
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Nov 22, 2012 12:36 PM Last Post By: BCBounder
Nov 16, 2012 3:57 AM
10 days around Vancouver in winter - suggestions?I will have 10 days in Canada in early December, flying out of Vancouver on the 14th. I’m coming up from Seattle, and wondering if anyone can give me some advice/opinions?
I like the sound of getting the train from Seattle to Vancouver, but I’ve heard Vancouver Island is nice, so I could get the ferry to Victoria instead, staying for a night or two there first – is it worth it? I’ve heard places like Tofino are lovely, but to be honest, it’s a bit far and I don’t want to spend half of my 10 days on various forms of transport. I won’t have a car, so will be relying on public transport only.
If Victoria is worth the detour, what would you suggest doing? Places to stay? Any suggested day trips?
I guess similar questions for Vancouver? Most of the advice I’ve been given is either don’t go in winter, or just go skiing...surely that’s not my only option!
Any recommended accom/areas to stay in. Day, or short trips? Aside from Whistler.
Does anyone know places to do guided hikes/snowshoeing? I don’t really mind if they’re kinda easy and not particularly remote. I just like getting outside, but am quite good at getting lost on my own.
I realise these questions are very much “how long is a piece of string” types, so to give you some idea of what I might be looking for - I’m travelling on my own, early 30s, not really looking for a party. Quite happy to wander some cities (I love people watching), take in the odd museum. Wouldn’t mind some (guided) hiking/snowshoeing. On a ‘medium’ budget.
Nov 16, 2012 7:34 AM
1Some things to do around Vancouver are going to the Meager creek hot springs, the Vancouver aquarium, China town, hikes/ kayaking to do as well- though it will be a bit brisk! The Vancouver Aquarium is also located in Stanley park, which has a huge seawall and also happens to be a rainforest within minutes of downtown. If you're going to head to the island Cathedral Grove is pretty impressive as well, unfortunately I usually camp so no suggestions for hotels for you.
Nov 16, 2012 6:14 PM
2"I won’t have a car, so will be relying on public transport only"
Bad News-that seriously limits your options as public transportation outside the city is very limited especially in winter-remember you'll have roughly 8 hours of daylight at best.
"Some things to do around Vancouver are going to the Meager creek hot springs"
This is so sad it's almost funny-not only is Meager Creek hours outside the city by car it's been closed for at least 3 years now and the possibility of it re-opening in the lifetime of anyone reading this is remote.
I suggest you go to Tripadvisor.com and look @ the Things to Do bar on the left hand side of your screen.
There is snowshoeing available on local mountains but guided tours?Not likely. http://cypressmountain.com/
It's easy enough to take a bus to Victoria-it drives right onto the Ferry and takes you right downtown Victoria is a lovely place for walking around in. http://www.pacificcoach.com/
Nov 16, 2012 11:40 PM
3I love Vancouver - so much that I've decided to stay for a few months. It is a great city to wander around and discover all kinds of neat little places. I find transit pretty good for such a small new city and there is some interesting art around.
I know they have some walking tours, but really, it is an easy city and quite small in the downtown area so you could just get around on your own. I did a tour of Chinatown called Wok around Chinatown and it was very entertaining. Last week I saw a good play called Far Side of the Moon by Robert LePage. Very good! But I think its finished. It seems there is lots on from what I read in the local free paper.
There is an interesting exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery and at least one of the three local mountains - Mount Seymour offers guided snowshoe tours for $35. You can get there in combination with public transport and their shuttle bus. It can get cold up on the mountain and I think that you should have a fleece, a good hat and a rain jacket at least.
Nov 17, 2012 5:35 AM
4The mentality of Vancouver really does emphasize skiing in winter. However, snowshoeing is increasing in popularity. I'm sure if you google around, you might be able to find groups to join. As well, if you visit the Mountain Equipment Co-op store, they sometimes have postings about various trips. You can also rent gear there. Check out the Sierra Club; they also run trips. There are some ski stores that run ski trips; they probably do snowshoe trips as well.
With 10 days, I think it's worth it to spend a full day and night in Victoria. It's a pretty city with a good museum. At the very least, the ferry ride between Victoria and Vancouver is very pretty. As suggested there is the Pacific Coach but if trying to save money, going from Victoria to Vancouver is possible by public transportation. It takes longer but is relatively painless.
If you stay at hostels in both Victoria and Vancouver, they will also have excursions you can join and you will probably meet people with a car or that can drive. The HI downtown hostel is significantly quieter and less party oriented than others in Vancouver. Even if you don't stay in a hostel, you could probably sign up for their events. If it might be your only time in the Pacific Northwest, then I'd reconsider Tofino. It's only half a day to get there via public transportation...could do one day Victoria, three days Tofino, six days Vancouver.
Even with six days, you'd get to know Vancouver pretty well. Stay downtown and visit Stanley Park, Robson St, Davie+Denman, Yaletown, False Creek, Art Gallery, Gastown, Chinatown...then go farther afield to Lonsdale Quay via the seabus, Granville Island, Kitsilano (W 4th Ave), the University and its amazing Anthropology museum, Commercial Drive, Main+King Edward, Steveston. The Georgia Straight is the best resource to find out about art, music, and nightlife events. Look to Chowhound to find the best restaurants or ask food related questions.
Be prepared for non-stop rain. Have fun!
Nov 17, 2012 5:49 PM
Nov 19, 2012 8:10 AM
Nov 22, 2012 12:36 PM
7Meager Creek was closed due to a massive landslide. It has remained closed because the road is now out, and the area is still extremely unstable. Regardless it's WAY too far for anyone to venture with short time, and not possible to get there without a vehicle.
Cypress is the place to go for snowshoeing. They have rentals on site, good trails, and an evening fondu tour that would be attractive to some. If you just want to get out on your own, simply rent the snowshoes, grab a free trail map, and go. They also have XC and Downhill skiing/snowboarding. The DH can't compare to Whistler, but the XC trails are excellent.
Grouse Mountain also has snowshoeing and DH skiing. Great view of the city from the restaurant as well. I prefer Cypress.
Seymour is mostly for DH skiing. They do have snowshoeing trails & tours, but IMO they aren't as good as Cypress. Though the "backcountry" of Seymour is pretty fun. If you can find people to go with, it's a great place to spend a day snowshoeing in the Mt. Seymour park (outside the ski resort property = free).
Other things to check out in Vancouver: Science World, Granville Island (check out a show at Vancouver Theatre Sports), take the Seabus over to Lonsdale Quay for lunch.
Enjoy your visit.
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