Trip idea /

Canada

Rainforest to the Rockies A Family Adventure

Take your family on a three-week adventure of west Canada, road tripping through Vancouver Island, Whistler, Jasper and Banff as you delve deeper into its islands, rivers and mountains.

Rainforest to the Rockies

The lowdown

  • What

    A three-week road trip which starts in Vancouver, exploring Vancouver Island before heading to Whistler, Jasper and Banff, flying out from Calgary.

  • Best For

    Outdoorsy families with nature and activity-loving kids; teens ready for an adventure in Canada

  • When To Go

    We’d recommend that you take this trip from June to September for sunshine and the best opportunity to see Canada’s wildlife.

This could be the trip you and your family have been waiting for. Full of the thrills of Canada’s great outdoors, this activity-led trip will see you exploring Vancouver Island and its inhabitants: whales, dolphins and bears; before heading into the wilderness of altitudinous British Columbia for hiking and biking then on to the infamous Rockies and its national parks.

    Highlights:

    • Have an incredible adventure with your family in Canada, creating shared memories that will stay with you forever
    • Enjoy the independence of a self-drive holiday stopping wherever you wish to get that family photo or soak up awesome panoramas.
    • Explore some of Canada’s most famous national parks where fascinating wildlife resides, and nature flourishes unchecked.
    • Discover Canada’s diverse wildlife from otters, humpback whales, grizzly bears, dolphins to orcas
    • Traverse the Canadian Rockies discovering mirror-like lakes, dramatic peaks, glacier walks and biking through forest trails

    Vancouver

    Flying into Vancouver, you’ll have a chance to enjoy this cosmopolitan city with its multicultural delights spanning theatre, shopping, restaurants and entertainment. Although Vancouver seems bustling, it is in fact a laid-back city where green spaces break up the cityscape and distant mountains hint at the landscape of Canada to come.

    Thrill-seekers may like to cross the dizzying 140-metre long Capilano Suspension Bridge and the suspended walkway that snakes around the cliffs. The surrounding Strait of Georgia offers water sports to those ready to jump straight in. As this is the start of the trip you might like to drop into the Museum of Anthropology, where you can look at First Nation cultural artefacts such as totem poles, sculptures and gold jewellery.

     Vancouver Island

    Take the ferry across to Vancouver Island to begin your exploration of this large isle, surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. You will take your time here, staying in three different areas, each distinct in its own way. Begin in Parksville, a thriving town known for its sandy beaches and river estuary tours. Visit the Coombs country market for a taste of things local or try caving in the underground network of streams, waterfalls and caverns at the Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park.

    On the eastern side of Vancouver Island, Campbell River is the place to come for salmon fishing – home to all five types of Pacific salmon. You also may be lucky enough to see dolphins or orcas on a boat trip and bears are drawn to the area for its tasty salmon. The tiny town of Tofino will be next on your itinerary, a mecca for surfers in the right conditions, although the waterside town is also great for getting out onto the water kayaking. Tofino is known for its whale watching especially during the grey whale migration season.

    Whistler

    For a total change in your scenery, head to Whistler, in British Columbia, located on Canada’s mainland. Although known as a ski and snowboarders paradise, in summer it really comes into its own. Meadows undulate with wildflowers, crystal clear lakes offer cooling dips and fresh mountain air circles the jagged peaks.

    Mountain bikers will be in heaven, not only from the multitude of trails, but also Whistler has one of the world’s best bike parks to practise your tricks in. Hiking is also popular including the easily accessible Brandywine Falls where you can swim. Lost Lake is perfect if you feel like a day’s sunbathing by its shore, cooling off in its warm waters. Green Lake is picture-perfect but beware its icy water – the lake is fed from a glacier.

    Jasper and Banff

    Onward to the province of Alberta where you’ll spend time in its stunning national parks. To reach this area you will have a stop overnight in a traditional motel, before reaching the land of the Canadian Rockies.

    Surrounded by the snow-swirled Rockies, Jasper National Park’s beauty is astonishing. Shimmering glacier-fed lakes, dense forests and meandering rivers, it’s a place of incredible serenity. Plenty of hiking trials may give you the opportunity to spot grizzly bears, moose and elk. Take the Jaspar Sky Tram to the summit of Whistlers Mountain or luxuriate in Miette Hot Spring.

    Winding your way further into the Rockies, you’ll stay at Banff, a surprisingly cosmopolitan town that combines culture with its breathtaking natural beauty. The Banff National Park is crisscrossed with biking and hiking trails and Lake Louise is a must for its aquamarine water – ideal for kayaking. The region’s unique cultural heritage can be explored at the Whyte Museum dedicated to the history and culture of the Rocky Mountains. Soon it will be time to make your way to Calgary where your epic road trip of Canada will sadly come to an end.

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