Rocky Mountain & Coastal Family Adventure
For the ultimate Family Adventure, experience first the beauty of the Canadian Rockies, before venturing into British Columbia's High Country and Coastal regions on this exciting self drive tour of Western Canada. You will have the opportunity to enjoy an Ice Explorer Ride onto the Athabasca Glacier, Mountain biking and hiking in Sun Peaks, a thrilling whale watching tour on Vancouver Island, and a gondola ride up Sulphur Mountain. This region of Canada offers any family more to see and do than you will have time for in one visit, as well as some of the most spectacular scenery you could wish for!
- Wells Gray National Park
- Sun Peaks
Upon arrival in Calgary in the afternoon you will collect your rental car at the airport, and begin the leisurely drive to Banff. Enjoy the stunning scenery as you leave the rolling foothills of the Canadian Prairies and face the spectacular Canadian Rockies. It should take you under two hours to get to Banff where you will spend your first two nights.
After a leisurely breakfast, you have the whole of today explore Banff, a small town surrounded by one of the most beautiful parks in the world. One of its greatest assets is the accessibility of its natural wonders - most highlights are located close to the road system. There is an excellent system of hiking trails(many of which are short and suitable for families) that lead to alpine lakes, along glacial valleys and to spectacular viewpoints. Enjoy a picnic at Bow Falls located behind the Banff Springs Hotel, and connected to it by a very long stairway through the forest--great for tiring out over-energetic kids. Head to the mountain top by the Sulphur Mountain Gondola for some fantastic views of Banff, Bow Valley, and Cascade Mountain. Lastly take a leisurely drive on the Bow Valley Parkway at dusk to see the wildlife, but importantly be very careful to not approach the animals as they may be resting or feeding. After all this is their home and they are wild.
Today leaving Banff, you will slowly head towards Jasper on the Icefields Parkway which is 143 miles long. This road takes about 4-5 hours to travel but try not to rush as it is one of the most scenic and inspiring mountain roads ever built. There are 13 viewpoints along the way, most of which are worth a look at.. Bow Summit is the highest point along the parkway at 2088m and offers great views of Peyto Lake. However, the most popular attractions along the parkway are the glaciers that spill down from the Columbia Icefield. Also make a stop at the Icefields Centre to join an Ice Explorer ride onto the Athabasca Glacier. Don't forget to see who spots the resident Mountain Goats first on the road side, at the aptly named 'Mountain Goat Lookout'.
Stop en route at Lake Louise and visit the park information centre to collect a brochure detailing the places of interest along the way. The actual village is still quite small, with a shopping mall, a few hotels and the visitor centre. The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, situated on the lakes shore, is a tourist attraction in itself and is visited by the millions who come to photograph the lake with Mt Victoria in the background. Rent a canoe from the boathouse and glide through the lake - take care not too fall in as even in August the lake only reaches about 4C!
Nearby Moraine Lake, though half the size of Lake Louise is just as spectacular and provides a perfect place to have a picnic and take a canoe out on the lake. For another fantastic view, take the Lake Louise Gondola on the 20 minute journey up the face of Mt Whitehorn to Whitehorn Lodge where you can see Bow Valley, Lake Louise and the Continental Divide.
Jasper itself is located at the confluence of the Athabasca and Miette rivers and is surrounded by the peaks of Jasper National Park. Here you can take the Jasper Tramway up the Whistlers mountain for great views of the mountain and valley, visit Maligne Canyon and Lake, relax in Miette Hot Springs, or drive out to Mount Edith Cavell - one of the highest peaks in the area . Alternatively visit Patricia and Pyramid Lakes for a relaxing afternoon and a picnic.
Other stunning places to visit along the way include Bow Lake, Sunwapta Falls, Crowfoot Glacier and the Athabasca Falls. You also have time to take one of the many whitewater rafting excursions on offer in this area. Other stunning places to visit along the way include Bow Lake, Sunwapta Falls, Crowfoot Glacier and the Athabasca Falls.
Clearwater & Wells Grey
Leave Jasper early for your drive to Clearwater and Wells Gray Park. It is about 200 miles but there are some fantastic views along the way. As you leave the Jasper you will be heading through Mt Robson Park and will have some fantastic views of Mt Robson. Head south towards Valemount and onto Clearwater at the entrance to Wells Gray. Wells Gray Park is BC's third largest provincial park with an area of 520,000 hectares of wilderness with waterfalls, lakes and the mountain ranges of the Shushwap Highlands and the Cariboo Mountains.
Continuing your journey south west and towards the beautiful mountain resort of Sun Peaks, a charming village surrounded on all sides by British Columbia's second largest ski area. As well as a popular ski destination in the winter months, Sun Peaks is also a great place to visit in the Summer with miles of exciting hiking and mountain bike trails and opportunities for many other outdoor activities including canoeing and horseback riding. Sun Peaks also boasts the highest elevation 18 hole golf course in British Columbia. The pedestrianised village means Sun Peaks is a safe and easy place to get around and with a wide variety of accommodation options including hotels, apartments and rental homes, Sun Peaks has something for families of all sizes.
Leaving the mountains of Sun Peaks you will continue your journey south and on to the sunny shores of Lake Okanagan, Located on the sunny shores of Lake Okanagan has something for all the family - relax on the beach, play a little golf or spend time exploring nearby nature trails.
The Okanagan Valley, stretching from Osoyoos at the American/Canadian border north to Vernon, British Columbia, is also filled with orchards and vineyards. For adults and older children,The B.C. Orchard Industry Museum is a great place to learn more about the history of farming in the region. As the area is well known for its vineyards, many offer wine tasting and tours. History buffs should make a stop at the Father Pandosy Mission, established in the mid-19th century. Also enjoy one of the many evening cruises on the lake.
After several days relaxing by the Lake, today it's time to head for the bright lights of Vancouver! Blessed with a spectacular location, set between the mountains and the Pacific Ocean,Vancouver is a modern, friendly and cosmospolitan city blending culture with a spectacular landscape and the great outdoors. Together with an enviable year round climate, the city offers families and singles an amazingy array of exciting experiences. Downtown Vancouver is an intriguing mixture of steel, concrete, mirrored glass buildings, modern sculptures and old-fashioned fountains. There is so much to see and do in the city. Spend an afternoon renting bikes and riding around the lovely Seawall in Stanley Park or try rollerblading if you are feeling a little more adventurous!
Don't miss the panoramic vistas from either the Capilano or Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridges, both in North Vancouver and an easy drive from the city. Children of all ages will love the thrill of walking across the bridge over one of the 2 Canyons. There is also great hiking path around the Capilano Suspension bridge that is both flat and suitable for all the family. Alternatively, Lynn Canyon also houses a great ecology centre with educational displays. Make sure you take along your bathing suit too and you can have a dip in Lynn Creek after a short walk in the forest. Close to Capilano and with a little more to do is also Grouse Mountain. Here you can take a short cable car ride to the top of the mountain and enjoy some spectacular views of Vancouver and the surrounding area. At the top you can also visit the the bear sanctuary, and enjoy a bird of prey and an amusing lumberjack show. Not for the faint hearted, Parascending is also available from here for an extra fee!
Also located to the north, ten minutes from Downtown Vancouver is Maplewood Farm, a firm favourite of families with young children who love animals. Once a thriving dairy farm this 5-acre site has since been taken over and opened to the public. Now housing over 200 domestic animals and birds it also hosts regular special events such as sheep shearing, pony rides and a Fall Fair. Other attractions not to be missed are Vancouver Aquarium, The Children's Farmyard, The Miniature Train, and Science World a wonderful museum with it's many hands on displays to keep the kids occupied!
For older children, a ferry ride across False Creek to Granville Island and a fun day out at the busy outdoor market area is always a treat. Originally just a sandbar that was filled in to create an industial centre in the heart of the city, it is now an immensely popular mixed use space with a popular public market, several theatres and artist studios.
There will also be plenty of time for shopping on Robson Street in its trendy shops and the Robson Public Market. Visit Chinatown - the second largest Chinese community in North America and home to the beautiful and peaceful Dr. Sun Yat-sen Classical Chinese Garden. No visit is complete without wandering through Gastown where Vancouver started. The brightly painted buildings date back to 1886 and old gas lamps and trees line the red cobblestone streets. There are many galleries, restaurants and gift shops here The Boathouse Restaurant is a great place for dinner, while watching the sunset over English Bay and people watching all the evening strollers.
Leaving Vancouver today, a short drive to nearby Tsawwassen and a scenic 95 minute ferry ride across to Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island will bring you to you final port of call, the picturesque city of Victoria. This provincial capital stands at the southern tip of Vancouver Island and offers many downtown attractions, all within a short walk of each other. The city has well preserved inner city streets lined with lovely old buildings, trendy shops in restored historic areas and horse drawn carriages to get you around. One of the main attractions is Butchart Gardens - a must see if you are at all interested in gardening.
Located just north of Victoria, Duncan is known as the city of totems as it display around sixty all over the town. It is also home to the Native Heritage Center and is a good place to buy Indian crafts.
There's no better way to end your Rocky Mountain Coastal Family Adventure than with an exhilarating Whalewatching Excursion. If you want to see some of the world's greatest mammals then Canada is the place to go. The fertile waters of Canada's coastlines attract many types of whales and as there are many Whale/Wildlife Watching companies operating out of the Greater Victoria Area , this is a perfect opportunity to experience some of them. Our immensely popular pre bookable coastal excursion is an exhilarating round trip of 50 to 80 kms in search or orcas, minke and grey whales, as well as porpoises, harbour seals and other marine wildlife. You will ride aboard custom built Zodiac boats that offer high speed with stability giving you a safe and intimate whalewatching experience. Expect the taste of ocean spray at some point along the route! This is one of your many Canadian experiences that the whole family will be talking about long after you get home!
After some last minute shopping in Victoria, you will depart by ferry from Schwartz Bay back to Tsawwassen and a fairly short drive back to Vancouver Airport where you will drop off your hire car before catching your flight home.
- Return Flights from London (please ask about other departure airports)
- 16 nights hotel accommodation and room tax
- Fully Insured Compact Car Hire
- A comprehensive and detailed travel pack with driving instructions and maps
Departures Year Round.
We can offer this itinerary in a wide range of accommodation types including Superior Hotels and Small Inns.