1. Welcome to VegasMessageBoard
    It appears you are visiting our community as a guest.
    In order to view full-size images, participate in discussions, vote in polls, etc, you will need to Log in or Register.

advice needed for trip to Banff, Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Chat' started by hammie, Sep 16, 2016.

  1. hammie

    hammie VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    Messages:
    2,371
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    5
    There are a lot of folks here on the board from Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest, so I am asking members for suggestions as to what to see and do on our 8 days out West. My last trip to Seattle was around 30 years ago, two days for business with a day at Mt. Baker and spring skiing.

    We are flying into Calgary about a week from now and renting a car, flying back home from Seattle 8 days later. We are spending the first night in Calgary and meeting a colleague for dinner. After that, we have plans to spend a couple days in Banff and Lake Louise, drive west through Kelowna and maybe spend a night there. Drive to Vancouver and spend a couple nights and maybe take the Tsawwassen Ferry to Swartz Bay, check out Victoria and spend a day or so there.

    Was thinking about leaving the rental car in Victoria and taking the Ferry to Port Angeles, then make our way to Seattle. Or, just leave the car in Vancouver and take the train (6:30 am) to Seattle. I read that its a 4.5 hour trip and scenic. I looked at a one way car rental from Calgary to Seattle and it was very expensive due to the drop off fee.

    We enjoy the outdoors, but are not really hikers, but want to see the natural beauty of the West and get it off the bucket list. I might persuade my bride to visit a casino, but our main goal is some we time together. Plus, my wife absolutely loves the show Heartland which is filmed in Alberta. Thanks!
     
  2. richardinbc

    richardinbc Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2002
    Messages:
    245
    Location:
    Mission B.C.
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    10
    Hammie there is a passenger ferry from downtown Victoria to downtown Seattle. Its high speed so only a couple of hrs and you will be there.

    River Rock in Richmond or Hard Rock in Coquitlam are your best bets. There are casinos in Alberta and a lot of places have video games of some sort.
     
  3. vegasbound

    vegasbound Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2002
    Messages:
    5,483
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    I've done the train ride from Seattle to Vancouver. It worked out great for us, border crossing was a breeze. The ride was less scenic than I hoped because it was so overcast/foggy you could barely see three feet out the window - made me thankful, I wasn't driving. Banff is high on my list to visit - enjoy.
     
  4. flyguyfl

    flyguyfl Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2014
    Messages:
    482
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    47
    Have done the ferry to/from Victoria and Seattle and that makes things easy. However, you don't get the scenery you would have driving from southern Canada
     
  5. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 1999
    Messages:
    21,813
    Location:
    Western Washington
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    18
    The Victoria Clipper is the fast ferry to Seattle from Victoria - http://www.clippervacations.com/clipper-ferry/

    If you take the Coho from Victoria to Port Angeles, you probably will need to bring the car. There aren't too many options I'm aware of to get you from Port Angles to Seattle. We often park in Port Angeles and just walk on the Coho for a weekend in Victoria, but I wouldn't do it the other way around. The advantage of going through Port Angeles is that Olympic National Park and especially the road up to Hurricane Ridge are right there, but it's a 90 minute drive to the Bainbridge Island Ferry and then a 35 minute ferry ride to downtown Seattle. I'd take the Clipper straight into Seattle and see the sights there.

    The train ride from Vancouver to Seattle has some scenic sections, but they are weather dependent. What time of year are you thinking of for this trip? Some of the locations you listed may have road closures from Nov - June.

    River Rock Casino in Richmond is on my short list for a getaway.

    The Kelowna area, and the whole Okanogan Valley, is one of our favorites. We spent part of our honeymoon out there and tasted SO MUCH WINE!! :) I lost my mind a little bit and tried to bring back way too much ice wine. Who knew that customs would have a limit to the number of bottles I could bring home? They made us go back to Richmond and UPS most of them home.
     
  6. GamblingGolfer

    GamblingGolfer Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2011
    Messages:
    153
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    40
    Vancouver vet here. Email me at bcguy100 at g mail if you want ideas.
     
    Visiting en route to Palm Springs
  7. hammie

    hammie VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    Messages:
    2,371
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    5
    We are leaving the end of next week :p

    Amtrak has limited train service, but apparently they also offer bus service between Vancouver and Seattle when the trains aren't scheduled.

    As for Port Angeles, it looks like there are a couple car rental places near the ferry terminal, so I could probably pick up a one way rental there. Then make the trip through Olympic National Park; thanks for the tip Sonya! But the High Speed Ferry between Victoria and Seattle also sounds like a great option.

    I'm going to check car rental rates, it appears that one way rentals from Canada with a drop off in Seattle incur a big penalty.

    Thanks one and all for the suggestions.
     
  8. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 1999
    Messages:
    21,813
    Location:
    Western Washington
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    18
    Olympic NP is huge. No way to do it all in a day. But Cascade Lake is close enough and Hurricane Ridge is a sight to behold if the weather cooperates.
     
  9. Julie888

    Julie888 High-Roller

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    Messages:
    986
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    50
    Banff, if you haven't made reservations check and see what the availability is. It's become immensely popular.

    Okanagan Valley should be ok as long as it's not Fri/Sat. Wine tours have started so B&Bs get booked up. Lots of choices.

    We spent a couple of days this summer in Olympic NP so paid for the pass. The info host told us that the clouds were settling in that day but we went up anyway. He was right. The views would have been spectacular. Since we had the pass and were using it the next two days, it wasn't a waste of $25.

    You're covering a lot of territory. Seven days will go quickly. I'd tend to leave out Victoria and save it for another trip, The ferry can be expensive.

    Have a great trip.
     
  10. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Messages:
    15,189
    Location:
    Central California Coast
    I love these types of road trips!!

    Too too much out there to potentially see, so let me stick to something finite ... food in Seattle!! Seattle has become such a great food town. Here are but three: Serious Pie, Tavolata, Le Pichet. Oh, and get charcuterie from Salumi.
     
  11. Peachiekeehn

    Peachiekeehn High-Roller

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Messages:
    760
    Location:
    BC, Canada
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    23
    I would highly recommend a visit to Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park in BC. Probably the prettiest lake I've seen!
     
  12. Peachiekeehn

    Peachiekeehn High-Roller

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Messages:
    760
    Location:
    BC, Canada
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    23
  13. hammie

    hammie VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    Messages:
    2,371
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    5
    Julie, thanks for the suggestion, occupancy sure is high, many places sold out, but we squeezed in.

    Peachiekeehn, thanks for the Emerald Lake tip.

    Sonya, thank you for the Hurricane Ridge suggestion.

    Ken, any thanks for the Tips, Salumi looks like a must.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Messages:
    15,189
    Location:
    Central California Coast
  15. LucyR.

    LucyR. VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    1,866
    Location:
    Los Angeles,CA.
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    20
    I don't think it is a good idea to drive a car from Canada to USA because there could be a traffic jam because all the cars are stopped for security reasons. They may choose to search your car.

    Border crossing can be tough at times. Sometimes it is easy. I have done the train ride and it was nice and the sky was clear. Have lots of fun for me. Pack some warm jackets in case it gets cold at times. Umbrella too. lol.
     
  16. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Messages:
    15,189
    Location:
    Central California Coast
    Time, dollars, results. Flying is quick. Trains can be scenic but slow. Driving gives ultimate flexibility but has its problems. I've driven over the border quite a few times in recent years. Like everything else, it mostly depends on when. My big complaint is what a-holes the U.S. agents can be compared to the Canadians.
     
  17. LucyR.

    LucyR. VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    1,866
    Location:
    Los Angeles,CA.
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    20
    The Canadian agents don't care because we Americans are going home. The U.S. Agents have to stop some terrorists that like to use Canada and Mexico to cross the border. If there is danger of terrorists or drugs crossing our borders then America has to be careful.

    The Canadian agents some times give me trouble when I am visiting Canada or leaving Canada. They like to harass me for their pleasure because I am a single lady traveling and I never have a man with me to defend me. That has been my personal experience. For example; One time I was in a wheel chair being pushed by a DELTA AIRLINE AGENT and the Canadian Agent harassed me. I finally said to him "Would you like to see my airline ticket that is taking me home to America? Then he said, "you can go". Another time I was asked why I was entering Canada and they were harassing me. I finally said would you like to see my hotel res. and airline ticket when I go Home?

    Presently, I am prepared for the Canadian Agents and tell them I am going on a cruise departing from Vancouver and I am going straight to the ship. I start talking first so they understand that I am going to defend myself.

    I love the beauty of their land. I also like the Canadians a lot too. I would move to Victoria BC if it wasn't so cold for me.
    I have learned how to deal with the Canadian agents. lol. My advise is that just be ready to be questioned by both the Canadian and American border agents. Show them your travel papers if necessary.
     
  18. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Messages:
    15,189
    Location:
    Central California Coast
    Yes, as an American citizen I'm going to drive to Canada to buy guns, drugs, biological agents and nuclear weapons, then bring them back to the states. lol

    Anyway, it is an easy crossing. Make travel plans based on cost, time and HOW you want to travel, and go from there.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  19. snowball

    snowball Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2011
    Messages:
    120
    Location:
    Canada
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    16
    Where are you planning to stay in Banff? Personally we like to do the cabins on Tunnel mountain. There are no casinos in the national park, but there is one on the drive from Calgary to Banff.
    I suggest the gondola ride I. Banff. I'm not much of a hiker either but the mountain trail on top is amazing.
    There is so much to do in Banff, what sorts of things are you interested in? The Sulpher caves are quite intersting as well. The hot springs are just "meh" for me but it depends on while you like.
     
  20. hammie

    hammie VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    Messages:
    2,371
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    5
    Thanks for all of the suggestions, but my wife had a medical emergency on Thursday night in Calgary. Thankfully, she was immediately admitted to a hospital and was discharged yesterday. We are heading home tomorrow.

    Our stay was brief, but we were really impressed with the friendly demeanor of Calgarians (is that a word??). We were shown such kindness by the staff at Foothills Hospital, the Sheraton hotel, and just about everyone we met. Totally blew me away. We hope to make a return visit. Had to cancel and rebook flights, hotel rooms, our one night in Calgary turned into 4. The Moose Inn and Suites in Banff cancelled our reservation without penalty. American Airlines waived cancellation fees and returned the award miles to my account. The Sheraton Hotel in Calgary sent flowers to the room with a fruit plate and extended our stay at a deeply discounted rate. Booked return flights through WestJet which is a code share, Delta will operate the flight. Delta waived seat fees and we have great seats for the ride home. The weather was fantastic.

    And to top it all off, I made it over to Casino Calgary and got a 4OAK and two other hands were "almost" royals, walked away up $75.