Best of the West Coast Self-Guided Canada
Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, & Whistler are for everyone!
14 Days West Coast Canada Self-Drive Tour
West Coast Spectacular: Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Whistler
Day 1 Your west coast adventure will begin when you arrive at the Vancouver International Airport, and pick up your pre-arranged rental car (GPS included). A straight drive down Hwy 99 will take you to the heart of downtown and your hotel. Of course, your GPS is available if you want to explore a little. Once settled at your downtown hotel, you can relax on site, or easily tour some of the downtown core. Dinner is on your own at your hotel, or at a local restaurant.
Day 2 will start with breakfast at the hotel, followed by a fully accessible day trip. Set your GPS for fun and explore this vibrant port city. You can use your Attraction Passport™ (available for $25 at the currency exchange counter at the airport)when you stop at the Lookout, Art Gallery, Vancouver Aquarium, Museum of Vancouver, H.R.Macmillan Space Centre, Vancouver Maritime Museum, Granville Island, and Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Gardens.
Day 3 is off to Victoria. It's another simple drive from your hotel to the Tsawwassen Bay ferry terminal, and a leisurely 90 minute ferry ride to the Capital City. The ferry starts running at 7am and runs every hour until 10pm so it's entirely up to you what time you get started. Once settled at your downtown hotel, you can relax on site, or easily tour some of the downtown core. Dinner is on your own at your hotel, or at a local restaurant.
Day 4 would be an excellent time to go and visit the Butchart Gardens. The Butchart Gardens is a group of floral display gardens in Brentwood Bay, British Columbia, Canada, located near Victoria on Vancouver Island. The gardens receive close to a million visitors each year.
On Day 5, you can enjoy a six-hour tour with three tastings and break for a restaurant lunch, or four tastings with a picnic lunch. This six-hour tour begins with pick-up from your Victoria location (home, office, hotel), where you’re greeted by your friendly chauffeur, who will whisk you safely from Greater Victoria, up the scenic Malahat Drive. If you’re visiting from out of town, be sure to stop at one of the view points for a photo of Mount Baker and the Gulf Islands. Other wine tours are available and can be customized to your liking.
Day 6, your final day in Victoria, will be well spent touring through the core of the city. An easy walk from your downtown hotel, downtown is a vibrant urban neighbourhood, a walkable shopping area, and a thriving entertainment district. Downtown Victoria hosts not only the world-renowned Inner Harbour, The Fairmont Empress hotel and Legislature Buildings, but also Canada's oldest Chinatown, and a wonderfully charming Old Town district. Whether it's high tea at the Empress or a carriage ride through town, Victoria BC is sure to delight your senses.
On Day 7, you're off to Nanaimo. A straight shot up the Trans Canada Hwy, the drive takes around 2 hours, but if you want to do more, there's a lot to do in between! About 1/2 way to Nanaimo, a slight detour will take you to The Raptors. The Raptors is dedicated to promoting conservation and raising awareness for birds of prey. Located in the heart of the Cowichan Valley, British Columbia. The Raptors offers a wide variety of opportunities for you to get up close and personal with some of these amazing predators. Take a walk through the woods with a hawk, look into the eyes of an owl, or even spend the whole day immersing yourself in the world of raptors.
Day 8 will be spent in Nanaimo, a city and ferry port on the east coast of Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, Canada. At its heart, the Nanaimo Museum displays exhibits on the city’s industries and indigenous peoples. Near the Harbourfront Walkway, the Bastion is an 1853 wooden tower with cannon firings in summer. Shops and cafes fill the Old City Quarter. Offshore, on Newcastle Island, trails lead to beaches and First Nations sites. With your hotel conveniently located right downtown, you're easily able to experience all the sites and sounds of this delightful harbour city.
For Day 9 you can Embark on a 3-4 hour whale watching cruise that will focus on the Southern Resident Orca Whales, Transient Orca Whales, Humpback Whales, Grey Whales and Minke Whales. You will also encounter Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Harbor Seals, and Harbor Porpoise as well as a myriad of marine birds on your whale watching eco-tour. Or, you could experience the majesty of Canada’s Sunshine Coast from the air with a 40-minute round-trip seaplane flight from Nanaimo. Take to the skies with a pilot and fly high over the Strait of Georgia. Enjoy panoramic views over the tiny islands dotting the waterway, and stop for up to four hours’ free time in the British Columbia town of Sechelt. Enjoy two take-offs and landings during your tour, and see the Sunshine Coast in a way many visitors miss.
Day 10 of your west coast adventure starts of with another beautiful ride on the BC Ferry system., this time, from Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay, and then the very scenic drive to Whistler, BC. Take your time on this spectacular mountain drive, and be prepared for construction as crews work diligently to maintain this stretch of road.
Day 11 will be spent in Whistler; a town north of Vancouver, British Columbia, that's home to Whistler Blackcomb, one of the largest ski resorts in North America. Besides skiing and snowboarding, the area offers snowshoeing, tobogganing and ski jumping at the Olympic Park, a venue for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. The hub of Whistler is a compact, chalet-style pedestrian village at the base of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.
Day 12 In the winter of course, one visits Whistler for the snow sports, but there's plenty to do if you visit in the summer too! The Peak 2 Peak Gondola is a tricable gondola lift located in Whistler, British Columbia that links Whistler Mountain's Roundhouse Lodge with Blackcomb Mountain's Rendezvous Lodge. You may choose to visit The Squamish and Lil’wat Nations Cultural Centre built to house and showcase their art, history and culture. Their vision is to share our cultural knowledge to inspire understanding and respect amongst all people.
On Day 13, The drive back to Vancouver takes a little over 2 hours. Of course, you can make it last as long as you'd like. The amazing scenery is something to behold, and you'll want to make the most of it. Your hotel back in Vancouver boasts all the amenities you'll need and is conveniently located close to the airport for a convenient final departure.
Day 14 brings your journey to an end. Traveling is wonderful but it's always nice to head back to home-sweet-home, or onto your next destination as the case may be! We'll help you make the arrangements either way.
We hope you've enjoyed your journey through the west coast of Canada and wish you safe travels into the future. You'll drop your car off at the airport.
You'll be here!
Like all of our trips, this one can be especially customized to suit your unique situation.
Want to spend more time in a particular location? No problem! We can make it happen! Want to add more destinations? Let us know where you want to go, and we'll take care of all the rest!
Because we specialize in accessible travel, we are accustomed to taking care of the fine details. Let us take care of your travel details, so you can enjoy a seamless vacation!
Highlights of West Coast Canada
- Vancouver City Highlights
- Stanley Park
- Granville Island
- Spectacular Butchart Gardens
- High tea at The Fairmont Empress
- Whale watching and wine tours
- Towering mountains
- Heritage sights and local crafts