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Bannf - Jasper - Vancouver

Swansea, United...
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67 posts
5 reviews
6 helpful votes
Bannf - Jasper - Vancouver

Good afternoon,

Apologise for the long post just hope I'm getting all my information in for you guys!

I am starting to plan a trip for July 2022 with myself, husband (both 30's) our will be 1 year old, my mum and my husbands parents (60's but extremely fit and active)

My husband and I went to the Rockies on our honeymoon in 2018 and are really excited to be able to take our parents and show them around. Last time we stayed in Banff and Jasper and came from a week in Toronto. This trip we would like to do Bannf, Jasper and Vancouver.

We all love hiking, photography, food, activities, scenery, cycling etc.. Not really into museums or galleries prefer to be outdoors.

We will be flying in from the UK and plan to spend 19 nights this is roughly my thought process....

9th July - Fly UK-Calgary pick up rental car, drive to Banff, stay in Banff for 6 nights

15th July - Take the day to drive ice fields parkway to Jasper stay 6 nights

21st July - Start the drive to Vancouver (Best route suggestion?)

21st July Stay somewhere in between Jasper and Vancouver (any suggestions?)

22nd July - Arrive in Vancouver in the afternoon. We have 6 nights to stay before flying out of Vancouver back to the UK.

28th July - Drop off rental car and fly Vancouver to UK.

I have a few questions which I'm hoping for some direction and advice....

1. Which is the best way round to visit these places should we fly into Calgary then drive on to Banff- Jasper and then drive to Vancouver with a nights stop in between and if so where is suggested to stay overnight? Or should we go backwards and fly to Vancouver first? Or is there any other suggestions?

2. I've never been to Vancouver before and tried to look at best places to go but can't quite figure out a plan. What would be the best way to split our time here?

3. I've seen a lot of talk of going to Vancouver island, Victoria and Whistler but when looking I couldn't really see the main draw of going to Victoria or Vancouver Island am I missing something here? Whistler seems more appealing. Is my time better spent doing maybe 3 days Vancouver 3 days Whistler? or is there an itinerary that could be suggested I can look into?

4. We would like to fit in whale watching, where is this best done from?

5. Is there any suggestions of best areas or places to stay whilst in Vancouver?

6. Is there any best places to stay whilst in Whistler?

I think that's all I can think of for now. Any kind of help would be really appreciated as I know things book up super quick so want to get booking as soon as dates become available.

Thanks in advance :)

8 replies to this topic
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
39,677 posts
60 reviews
46 helpful votes
1. Re: Bannf - Jasper - Vancouver

Hmmm....well you have lots of time to sort this out and do your research, so that's good.

With the size of your group and a baby, I dont think Vancouver Island is going to fit. You really need 2-3 weeks to see Vancouver Island and given you really also would benefit from 4-5 days to drive across BC, that will fill your time nicely.

You might want to get on to You Tube and searxh up some tourism videos and travel vlogs about the places you havent heard of to give you some idea of the possibilities.

Start with:


Nelson and the West Kootenays (New Denver, Nakusp)

Penticton and the Okanagan Valley

Sicamous, Salmon Arm and the Shuswap lakes

Ashcroft and the Fraser Canyon

If you shorten your stay in Vancouver and do that part without a car, and maybe take a night from your Banff Jasper stays, then you ahould be able to squeeze out another 5 nights to enjoy the trip a bit more.

I think it can be helpful to put things into familiar terms. The Rockies = Scottish Highlands, Vancouver = Cornish Coast. The distances are almost identical. Maybe dont rush that drive?

2. Re: Bannf - Jasper - Vancouver

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Kootenay Rockies...
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1,568 posts
21 reviews
12 helpful votes
3. Re: Bannf - Jasper - Vancouver

I don’t think I would spend 6 nights in Banff, I would cut that by 2 nights and spend it someplace else.

If a log cabin with a fire place in the Rocky Mountains is something that interests you then look up “ Storm Mountain Lodge” located 1/2 way between Banff and Lake Louise and about 4 miles up Hwy 93 towards Radium Hot Springs. If you reserve this place ask for an original cabin. https://stormmountainlodge.com/


From Jasper you should double back down to Lake Louise and then head west on Hwy 1. The view on the return trip ( doubling back) is totally different than heading up to Jasper.

Revelstoke, Hwy 23 down to Shelter Bay / Galena Bay ferry ( all inland ferries in BC are free) across the Upper Arrow Lake (Columbia River) then follow the Upper Arrow Lakes down to Nakusp.

From Nakusp take Hwy 6 south east to New Denver on Slocan Lake.

From New Denver take Hwy 31-A over the hump ( past the Ghost Town of Sandon ) to Kaslo on the shores of Kootenay lake.

From Kaslo follow the shore line of Kootenay lake down to Nelson.

- Kaslo has a Dry Docked Paddle Wheeler ship SS Moyie, built in 1898

- Between getting off the ferry and just south of Kaslo you will drive past 3 Hot Springs ( Halyson Hot Springs , Nakusp Hot Springs & Ainsworth Hot Springs)

From Nelson Follow Hwy 3-A south down the 25 miles along the Kootenay River past 8 Hydro Electric Dams & Canals to Castlegar.

- Nelson has the second most Historical building in BC, coming behind our provincial capital of Victoria.

- at Castlegar the Columbia River and Kootenay River join up where the Columbia River heads south to the Pacific Ocean.

At Castlegar cross the Columbia River and head west Hwy 3 towards Christina Lake, Grandforks, Greenwood to Rock Creek to Osoyoos.

This route will wiggle you around south eastern BC seeing lake, rivers mountains and gets to to the Okanagan Valley at Osoyoos which is a straight 5 hr ish drive, or spend some time in the Okanagan wine country ‘ Kettle Valley Railway.

So much to see do!


Edited: 07 April 2021, 23:33
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
9,847 posts
24 reviews
8 helpful votes
4. Re: Bannf - Jasper - Vancouver

You have already been given some great ideas from previous replies so I'll only add a couple of things.

You are going to need a fairly large vehicle for six adults and one child car seat, not to mention luggage that goes along with all those folks. Before pandemic we would always suggest folks from the UK go through Canadian Affair to rent vehicles as their prices included all required insurance and no one way drop off fee. Hoping that they are still the "go to" company for this after the pandemic! Here is the link to their website: https://www.canadianaffair.com/holidays/canada/car-hire-holidays

Agree with Soup, do drive the Icefields Parkway between Jasper and Lake Louise in both directions. Also six nights in both Jasper and Banff is a lot, I would cut down to four nights in each place and then look at spending time in the interior of BC as suggested above.

Six nights in Vancouver seems a lot too, you could do Whistler in a day trip or an overnight. I would leave Vancouver Island for another time.

All in all you have a great trip planned!

Nanaimo, Canada
Level Contributor
3,255 posts
7 reviews
1 helpful vote
5. Re: Bannf - Jasper - Vancouver

You are getting great advice. Good thing you have lots of time to plan as you can see the options are plentiful.

The Pacific Rim (Tofino & Ucluelet) is one of the biggest draws on Vancouver Island, but it would be easy to spend several weeks here exploring with or without visiting the west coast. Lots to do/see including whale watching, kayaking, biking, hiking & marvelling at massive trees of a temperate rainforest.

Personally, I think a coastal location would round out your itinerary quite well & provide you with different scenery and activities. It really depends how much time you want to spend getting from Jasper to the coast & how many nights you want to spend in Vancouver. Suggest a minimum of 4 nts on the Island to make the ferry cost & drive time worthwhile, but naturally more would be better!

Agree with others that 12 nts between Banff/Jasper may be a few nts too many.

Personally I would skip Whistler, not because it isn't a beautiful area, but with your time in the Rockies, you may find it rather similar.

This website may inspire you to incorporate some Indigenous culture into your plans:


Whatever you decide, it's highly recommended to be in Vancouver the nt before your flight home.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
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78,436 posts
58 reviews
99 helpful votes
6. Re: Bannf - Jasper - Vancouver

You have still to meet your baby in 3 months or so. Lots of time to find out what kind of person and traveller s/he is before next summer.

1. Canadian Affair have not offered one way rental cars in the Calgary to Vancouver direction for several years. Vancouver to Calgary is offered. Here is a direct link to the rental car booking page. The minivan takes 7 people and 5 large cases:


5N Vancouver, 5N Banff and 5N Jasper (4 full days each) will give you the 3N you will need to make your way across the province. Take one of those 4 nights from one of those locations (your choice) to spend at the south end of the Icefields Parkway before heading up to Jasper and back to the south end again before driving to Calgary airport to fly home. e.g. 1N Lake Louise, Banff or Canmore, then 4N Jasper, 4N Banff, to the airport. The Okanagan Valley and Revelstoke are worth a look for those 3N in the middle.

Okanagan Valley info: https://www.okanaganvacationguide.com/

3. Whistler is possible. 2N Whistler will give you one full day to visit and the other 2 days to explore the attractions on the Sea to Sky Highway to and from Vancouver. 2 hours drive + any stops. You could also go to Whistler as a day trip, but with baby and your interests in the outdoors, you may prefer to split up the visit with an overnight.

It's likely you will fly to Vancouver first. A stay at Whistler after Vancouver can get you to Kelowna in the OK Valley quite easily, but only one way on the Sea to Sky Highway.

Whistler Village is where the restos and pubs get out late at night. Village North is a short walk from the Village where life is calmer and the decibel level is lower.

Map of the Village in red and Village North in blue:


4. Very early days for a whale watching decision, but research is always good. Seabreeze Adventures is a well known company here, and is a 35-45 min drive to the community of Steveston in the city of Richmond, next door to Vancouver. You could drive and take in the tiny, cute, historical village of Steveston on the Fraser River as well, significant wrt our salmon industry history. Two National Historic Sites in the vicinity: Britannia Shipyards and Gulf of Georgia Cannery. Or, Seabreeze have historically run a pay shuttle, picking their guests up at their accommodation in Van and returning them later.

Reviews: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g181716-d2025708-Reviews-Steveston_Seabreeze_Adventures_Whale_Watching-Richmond_British_Columbia.html

Website is here: https://www.seabreezeadventures.ca/

5. Popular neighbourhoods in Vancouver are the West End (shoulder to shoulder with Downtown Vancouver) and Downtown Vancouver. Your budget range will play a role in choosing a hotel.

Check out Sunset Inn and Suites, on a tree lined street in a residential area of the West End.

Reviews: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g154943-d182543-Reviews-Sunset_Inn_and_Suites-Vancouver_British_Columbia.html

Website: https://www.sunsetinn.com/

Also check out Coast Coal Harbour Hotel, steps from the Coal Harbour section of our Seawall with some views of the harbour and north shore.

Reviews: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g154943-d1469321-Reviews-Coast_Coal_Harbour_Vancouver_Hotel_by_APA-Vancouver_British_Columbia.html

Website: https://www.coasthotels.com/coast-coal-harbour-vancouver-hotel-by-apa

These areas of Vancouver will allow you to visit attractions by walking but with your mob, you might prefer to keep the car. It makes a good storage place for baby gear.

Using Trivago.com for Vancouver would allow you to explore hotels. Their filters work well. They show photos and reviews as well. Book directly with the hotel.

Website: https://www.trivago.ca/vancouver-53875/hotel

As well, Trip Reports can be found in the Top Questions of the BC Forum, visible using the full version, not the App of the mobile version. Many of them will give you ideas for your planning. Sorry, there is not-a-one for 2020.


Finally a webpage showing which child car seats are required here in BC.


Vancouver Island...
Level Contributor
5,268 posts
2 reviews
1 helpful vote
7. Re: Bannf - Jasper - Vancouver

TinyBean, please be careful where your whale watching advice comes from; seek out people with firsthand experience and local knowledge. If and when you are ready, I can help you make the right choice of location, operator and boat for your family.

Steveston Sea Breeze Adventures has 4 boats; a modern purpose built (whale watching) boat and three, 30 year old aluminum boats.

The Polaris (zodiac style) has a minimum age of ten years.

I would not board any of the three aluminum boats with a one year old. Nor would I put any of my family on them. Not because of any safety issues, but because there are many, many better choices of vessels.

Here, see for yourself:


Kelowna, Canada
Level Contributor
298 posts
8. Re: Bannf - Jasper - Vancouver

Hello TinyBean16! Alex from Tourism Kelowna here. We would love to welcome you to Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley during your trip next year. The Okanagan is in southern interior British Columbia, south of Revelstoke and east of Vancouver!

The Okanagan is home to numerous lakes, vineyards, and mountains. There is also ample opportunity for outdoor recreation; cycling the Kettle Valley Railway and the trestles in Myra Canyon Park is one of our favorite activities. There are many beautiful hiking trails in the area with beautiful views of the lake and valley.

On your way from Banff or Jasper to Vancouver, you could stop in Kelowna for a few days. The climate in the summer is beautiful and allows for swimming in our beautiful lakes. If you stay in downtown Kelowna, you could start your morning with a hike in Knox Mountain Park, where you can climb to the top of a dormant volcano (which last erupted 40 million years ago!), then visit a café or restaurant for a coffee and some breakfast on a patio!

The valley is home to many vineyards which will satisfy your love for food and scenery. You could rent bicycles and create your own cycling wine tour! I would suggest the Westside Wine Trail, as the wineries have beautiful views of Lake Okanagan and are very close to one another.

Please let me know if there are any specific activities you enjoy and I can provide more recommendations for your time between the Rockies and Vancouver!

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