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Circle the Salish Sea Self Drive

West Coast Highlights & Hidden Gems

14

days

starting fromUS $4,340per person

  • Get this trip plan customized to cover everything you want to see.
  • Learn which places to go and which areas are best during certain times of the year.

Canada West Coast Road Trip

Spend two weeks in awe of British Columbia’s stunning west coast and islands. Discover hidden gems such as Princess Louisa Inlet with its soaring cliffs and magnificent waterfalls. Travel to the windswept beaches of Pacific Rim National Park, before visiting charming Salt Spring Island with its flourishing arts community and local food producers.

Trip at a glance

14 Days / 13 Nights

2 nights Vancouver 2 nights Sunshine Coast 1 night Comox Valley 3 nights Ucluelet 2 nights Victoria 2 nights Salt Spring Island 1 night Vancouver

  • View Details Of Each Day

    Sample Itinerary

    Think of this itinerary as just a starting point. Our experienced Canadian Insiders will create a personalized experience for you that matches your schedule, travel style and budget.

    Day 1 – Arrive Vancouver
    One of the most beautiful cities in the world, Vancouver is surrounded by towering mountains and sparkling ocean. Walk out of the airport and right into your own personal private vehicle. Your driver will help orient you to our hometown, Vancouver! 

    Feature Dinner in Vancouver
    Did you know Vancouver is one of the top culinary destinations in the world? Enjoy a great meal in the best setting while making memories with your loved ones – in one of our favorite restaurants!

    Overnight in Vancouver.

    Day 2 – Explore Vancouver
    You have 3 options to choose from to enjoy Vancouver today:

    • Option 1: Local Bike Tour
    You’re not one to travel along with the tourist crowd and prefer to slip into life like a local. This tour delivers exactly that – the bike is a Vancouverite’s preferred mode of transport! With an extensive cycle lane network this tour travels along well maintained bike paths. The tour highlights the best of Vancouver food, history, ecology and culture. Visit the Seawall and Stanley Park, eat lunch at Granville Island Public Market and see historic Gastown and Chinatown.
    Activity rating: Easy–Moderate

    • Option 2: Stanley Park Walking Tour
    An enriching cultural option for those interested in First Nations history. Participate in this tour to experience a unique perspective on Trip Advisor’s No.1 rated park. Stroll amongst the trees and learn about how First Nations people utilized the flora and fauna as food, technology, and medicines. Hear myths passed down in oral history and understand just why this park is so unique and important to First Nations.
    Activity rating: Easy–Moderate

    • Option 3: Granville Island Food Tour
    Expertly weave through this busy public market. Skip the line at the best food shops, visit local artisans, and see local performers. Many a Fresh Tracker spend their weekend off enjoying this hidden gem. Savour a cornucopia of food – from local cheeses to sourdough breads, to melt-in-your-mouth doughnuts. (Trust us, you might want to buy some of these tasty morsels to take home with you!)
    Activity rating: Easy

    Overnight in Vancouver.

    Day 3 – Vancouver to the Sunshine Coast
    Accessible only by ferry or air, this strip of beaches, cedar forests, hiking trails, summer cottages, and artist colonies is just 2 hours away from Vancouver! The ferry ride takes 45 minutes and boasts stunning scenery. Fresh seafood is the order of the day, and time at leisure can be spent attending arts and crafts shows by local artisans, or beachcombing. We guarantee you will fall in love with this hidden piece of paradise!

    Overnight on the Sunshine Coast.

    Day 4 – Sunshine Coast Exploration
    You have 3 options to choose from today to enjoy the Sunshine Coast:

    • Option 1: First Nations Interpretive Kayak
    Paddle with a First Nations cultural ambassador through stunning inlet waters. Witness firsthand the diverse and abundant wildlife of this region with countless birds, including eagles, cormorants, osprey, scooter, and mallard ducks. Other highlights include First Nations storytelling and ecological, cultural, and historical interpretation of this rich and diverse area.
    Activity rating: Easy–Moderate

    • Option 2: Guided Interpretive Hike to Smuggler Cove
    Smuggler Cove is one of the most diverse and interesting ecosystems on the Sunshine Coast. View and explore the diverse beauty of this region. Your guide will elaborate on how certain plants are used for food, medicine, art, spirituality, and technology. Smuggler Cove, once an elaborate Shíshálh village, is rich with flora, aboriginal and local history, stories, and fascinating legends. Smuggler Cove is a sacred area to this First Nations band, and one of the most accessible and scenic leisure hikes on the Sunshine Coast.
    Activity rating: Moderate

    • Option 3: Princess Louisa Boat Tour (additional cost)
    Relish in the open water and relax as you wind your way through wilderness areas of Jervis Inlet, then pass through Malibu Rapids into stunning Princess Louisa Inlet – the inlet possesses a unique ecological system in the only true example of fjord land on the Pacific coast. The Princess’ mile high cliffs teem with stunning waterfalls that trickle down from craggy granite bluffs looming over you from both sides. Highly recommended!
    Activity rating: Easy

    Overnight on the Sunshine Coast.

    Day 5 – Sunshine Coast to Vancouver Island
    Venture to the northern tip of the Sunshine Coast, take a short ferry ride to Saltery Bay and then enjoy another ferry journey across the Strait of Georgia, past Texada Island and finally, on to Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife along the way!

    Overnight in the Comox Valley.

    Day 6 – Comox Valley to Ucluelet
    Today you drive across Vancouver Island to Ucluelet, located on the western side of the island in Pacific Rim National Park. A small town tucked along the beaches of the wild and rugged Pacific, Ucluelet showcases all its “big sister” Tofino has to offer, but in a smaller, quieter, and less busy setting. Indulge in delicious local cuisine, savour the awesome power of nature that surrounds you, and get lost in endless ocean views.

    Overnight in Ucluelet.

    Day 7 – Ucluelet
    Old-growth rainforest and the Pacific Rim beckon to be explored today. You have 3 options to choose from today to enjoy the Tofino/Ucluelet region to its fullest.

    • Option 1: Hot Springs Tour
    Venture out on the water today on this 6-hour tour to Maquinna Provincial Park at the remote north end of Clayoquot Sound. Enjoy marine wildlife stops on this outstanding coastal exploration program – observe whales, and occasionally black bears foraging on the shore!
    Activity rating: Easy

    • Option 2: Whale Watching by Zodiac
    Enjoy this 3-hour boat ride out into Barkley Sound to view whales in their natural habitat. Humpback migrating from Hawaii up to Alaska are the predominant species here. You might even see a sea otter! Note: This tour is not suitable for persons with back or neck injuries or for pregnant women.
    Activity rating: Easy

    • Option 3: Kayak, Whale Watching and Wildlife Tour (additional cost)
    Watch for whales and marine life along Pacific Rim National Park. Kayak with your guide through quiet coves and discover the Broken Group Islands – a pristine and remote archipelago on the southwest end of Vancouver Island. Also included is lunch on a white sandy beach on the edge of the park.
    Activity rating: Moderate–Challenging

    Overnight in Ucluelet.

    Day 8 – Ucluelet at Leisure
    Long, uninterrupted stretches of sandy beaches are the main attraction, as is whale watching, natural hot springs, and year-round surfing. Ucluelet and Tofino, and the neighbouring communities to the north are part of the UNESCO designated Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve, a protected area providing habitats for a vast array of species, a significant number of which are endangered or rare. A long-time haven for artists and artisans, Tofino is having a renaissance of sorts, with newfound international praise for its craft breweries, farm-to-table restaurants and the sheer beauty of the natural world that surrounds it.

    Overnight in Ucluelet.

    Day 9 – Ucluelet to Victoria
    Today you drive across Vancouver Island to Victoria, located on the southeastern side of the island. A road trip is one of the best ways to explore Vancouver Island. First Highway 4, then Hwy 19A boasts miles of mossy rainforest, wildlife along the roadside, coastline, charming towns, and outdoor adventure along the way. Make time along your drive to visit some of the art galleries or studios on route.

    Overnight in Victoria.

    Day 10 – Victoria
    You have 3 options to choose from today to help you enjoy Victoria:

    • Option 1: Hike Gowlland Tod
    Explore this lesser known hiking trail with your guide – breathe in nature as you walk among grand fir and arbutus trees. Enjoy stunning views of Finlayson Arm, a beautiful fjord that cuts deep into Vancouver Island near Victoria. A snack, bottled water, and a photo of you in front of a spectacular backdrop are included in this experience.
    Activity rating: Moderate

    • Option 2: Victoria Harbour Urban Kayak Tour
    During this relaxing tour, you’ll get a chance to see the city up close – all from the comfort of a kayak. Follow your guide as they describe Victoria’s historic waterways that make up the downtown and working harbour. This is the only way to experience Victoria, a city built around the harbour front.
    Activity rating: Moderate

    • Option 3: Visit Butchart Gardens
    The gardens began in 1904 as an effort to restore a worked-out quarry site and has since been delighting visitors from all around the world. As you make your way around the gardens, you'll walk through intimate stone paths and streams lined with colourful arrays of flowers and trees. The gardens adjust their floral displays to suit the season so it is just as spectacular in spring and fall as it is in summer.
    Activity rating: Easy

    Overnight in Victoria.

    Day 11 – Victoria to Salt Spring Island
    Today, you venture to Victoria’s ferry terminal and enjoy a short but scenic ferry ride to the largest of the southern Gulf Islands – Salt Spring Island. Explore at your leisure this afternoon.

    Insider tip:
    Ask your Vacation Advisor about arranging a gourmet dinner featuring local Salt Spring Island ingredients.

    Overnight on Salt Spring Island.

    Day 12 – Salt Spring Island
    You have 2 options to choose from today to enjoy Salt Spring Island to its fullest:

    • Option 1: Best of Salt Spring Tour
    A great way to see all the highlights, on and off the beaten track, at a relaxed and enjoyable pace. Start the day on a walking tour of Salt Spring’s town center, Ganges, and acquaint yourself with all the best galleries, shops, and restaurants. Meet local artisans at their studios who work in a variety of different mediums - from sculpture, to pottery, wood, and watercolour. This is followed by a stroll through the Pacific rainforest, surrounded by towering cedar trees and lush fern forest. You will then head to the south end of the island and stop off at a vineyard for some wine tasting and visit a local cheesemaker. Truly, the best of Salt Spring Island!
    Activity rating: Easy

    • Option 2: Wine Tour
    A tour for the gourmand in you, this tour shows the full spectrum of Salt Spring’s unique culinary community and its offerings. Try local beer, cheese, bread and wine - as well as touring the town of Ganges and the north and south of Salt Spring. Guides will also share local stories and historical facts along the way.
    Activity rating: Easy

    Overnight on Salt Spring Island.

    Day 13 – Salt Spring Island to Vancouver
    Enjoy a leisurely drive and scenic ferry ride through the gulf islands, as you head back to Vancouver and overnight at the airport for your departure tomorrow. Enjoy Vancouver at your leisure – the downtown core is well connected to the airport by SkyTrain.

    Day 14 – Depart Vancouver
    With fond memories made, your vacation comes to an end.
West Coast Highlights & Hidden Gems – Map

Availability

AprMayJunJulAugSepOct

Places Visited

VancouverSunshine CoastVictoriaComox ValleyUclueletVictoriaSalt Spring IslandVancouver

Accommodation Style

HotelBed and Breakfast

Activity Level

Easy

What you'll love about this trip

  • British Columbia’s stunning west coast

  • Your choice of activities, catered to your interests

  • Princess Louisa Inlet cruise on the Sunshine Coast

  • First Nations aboriginal experiences

  • Spotting bears and whales

  • Charming towns and beautiful wilderness

Common Questions

  • Where am I staying on this trip?

    You'll be staying at various local three to five star hotels or lodges along your route, some of which are very iconic properties with great locations, views and history. All our accommodations are carefully selected by our Canadian Insiders. We'll make sure that wherever you stay, you get the best value and comfort based on the seasonal availability.

  • What is included in the price?

    Typically we include and pre-book all your main trip components so you don't have to worry about your connections, places to stay, or activities on your trip. You'll receive a complete travel package with detailed documentation and our Canadian Insiders remain at your disposal before and during your trip to answer your questions.

  • Can I customize this trip?

    Your trip can be as rich as you'd like, and completely arranged around your interests and needs. The greatest benefit of working with us is our local knowledge. You can request your personalized trip plan to decide what you'd like to see and do.

    If your trip is a special occasion, we'll make sure it is unforgettable. Or if you're traveling with a group, we'll take care of the logistics so you can share time together stress-free.

  • What are the best ways to travel around Canada?

    Canada has a network of spectacular roadways, train routes, ferry crossings, and float planes. We can arrange for you to travel by car or to sit back and relax.

  • Is it safe to drive in Canada?

    New visitors will drive with ease because of the wide and well maintained roadways. We'll ensure your trip includes the most spectacular and safest routes throughout your trip.

  • When is the best time to see wildlife?

    That depends on the destination and type. As a rule, the main feeding and migration seasons are best for wildlife experiences. Tell us which animals interest you and we'll make your trip coincide with the best viewing season.

  • Is this an escorted tour?

    With the exception of our guided wildlife trips, our vacations are not typically 'escorted.' We combine the best of both worlds – the reassurance of seamless connections, customer service support, and scheduled activities, plus the freedom of 'independent' travel. You are not tied into a specific group, or a rigid daily itinerary. This allows us to personalize your trip to suit your occasion, interests, and timeframe.

  • Will it be cold when I visit Canada in summer?

    The temperature varies from mild to hot, depending on location. Northern Canada will range between 50°F to 64°F (10°C – 18°C) in summer. The interior of BC, prairies, Ontario and Quebec can reach temperatures around 95°F (35°C). Canada's west coast, mountain regions, and Maritimes enjoy milder summer temperatures. They range on average from 59°F to 77°F (15°C – 25°C).

  • How much does my trip cost?

    All our trips can be customized to fit your schedule and budget. The price depends on travel season, train service, hotel level, and the sightseeing tours you choose. Request your personalized trip plan and quote which will provide you with a detailed cost estimate.

  • What's Included

    What's Included in the Price

    These are the places and experiences to look forward to on this trip.

    Accommodations:
    • 13 nights in a range of superior, boutique, and B&B accommodations

    Vancouver Experiences:
    Choose 1 of 3:
    1. Local Bike Tour
    2. Stanley Park Walking Tour
    3. Granville Island Food Tour

    Sunshine Coast Experiences:
    Choose 1 of 3:
    1. First Nations Interpretive Kayak
    2. Guided Interpretive Hike to Smuggler Cove
    3. Princess Louisa Boat Tour (additional cost)

    Ucluelet Experiences:
    Choose 1 of 3:
    1. Hot Springs Tour
    2. Whale Watching by Zodiac
    3. Kayak, Whale Watching and Wildlife Tour (additional cost)

    Victoria Experiences:
    Choose 1 of 3:
    1. Hike Gowlland Tod
    2. Victoria Harbour Urban Kayak Tour
    3. Visit Butchart Gardens

    Salt Spring Island Experiences:
    Choose 1 of 2:
    1. Best of Salt Spring Tour
    2. Wine Tour

    Dining Experiences:
    • Feature Dinner in Vancouver

    Transportation:
    • 12-day intermediate sized car rental including: Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) on car rental, airport surcharges, unlimited Kilometers, GPS, Third Party Liability Insurance Coverage (up to $1 million), fee for 1 additional driver, and vehicle licensing fee
    • Car, passenger, and reservation fees (where available) for all ferries between Vancouver / Sunshine Coast / Vancouver Island / Salt Spring Island


    Additional Inclusions:
    • National Parks Pass (complimentary for Canada’s 150th anniversary)
    • Digital Travel Documents
    • Friendly and dedicated Fresh Tracks Canada service

    Important Schedule and Trip Notes:
    • First Nations Interpretive Kayak available between April 28 and September 27 departure dates.
    • Guided Interpretive Hike to Smuggler Cove available until the September 28 departure date.
    • Princess Louisa Boat tour available between April 28 and October 3 departure dates.
    • Victoria Harbour Kayak available between May 23 and September 6 departure dates.
    • Salt Spring wine tour available between May 21 and September 19 departure dates.
    • Ucluelet Kayak, Whale Watching & Wildlife Tour is available until the September 24th departure date.

    Not Included
    • Fuel and refueling fees
    • Personal Accident Insurance (PAI)
    • Personal Effects Coverage (PEC)
    • LDW deductible of up to $500 depending on car type
    • Fee for drivers under the age of 25
    • Airfare to and from Canada
    • Meals and attractions unless otherwise specified
    • Trip Cancellation Insurance (highly recommended)
    • Canadian sales taxes

    Ideas to customize this trip

    Think of this trip as just a starting point. These are some of the experiences you can add-on to personalize your trip.

    • Include a stay at a fly-in floating lodge near Campbell River, to fully immerse yourself in a bear watching experience
    • Head out with a guide for a half day fishing adventure
    • Add on a few days in the Olympic mountain town of Whistler
    • Add on a luxurious stay at Sonora Resort in the Discovery Islands – relax in a pristine wilderness environment
  • Prices & Dates

    Trip Start Dates

    2019 Vancouver Start Dates
    Daily Departures
    May 1 to October 15

    Pricing For This Trip

    Prices listed may vary by departure date, hotel class and degree of personalization. Please speak with one of our travel advisors to get a personalized quote.

    Comfort Level Hotels
    from US $4,340 to US $5,152 per person

    Our Comfort Level vacations include our favorite 3 star hotels, in great locations. Combined with our unique sightseeing tours and personalized service, you’ll receive exceptional value, a step above what you might expect anywhere else.

    Boutique Level Hotels and Inns
    from US $4,790 to US $5,822 per person

    Our Boutique Level provides amazing value for clients wanting something more upscale but not at the price of a top-end 5 star resort. Boutique Level hotels are some of our favorites because of the character and unique charm that you won't find at the average chain hotel. Private drivers and unique tours complete your itinerary.

  • Accommodations

    Accommodation Options

    These are examples of this trip's accommodation choices. Please call us for the full list or advice on how to customize your experience.

    The Black Rock Oceanfront Resort - Dramatic oceanfront views

    The Black Rock Oceanfront Resort

    An example of our Superior accommodations

    Escape to the natural tranquility, beauty, and comfort of Black Rock Oceanfront Resort – an extraordinary retreat on Vancouver Island's rugged west coast. Designed with a deep respect for the land and sea, Black Rock's innovative architecture – of rock, water, glass, steel, and wood – enhances and contrasts the Wild Pacific landscape. Enjoy dining on fresh West Coast cuisine, or indulging in a spa treatment whilst overlooking the crashing surf. Choose from a range of forest or ocean facing suites.

    Wedgewood Hotel & Spa - Hotel Exterior

    Wedgewood Hotel & Spa

    An example of our Boutique accommodations

    The Wedgewood Hotel & Spa is a luxury boutique accommodation located on Robson Square in the heart of downtown Vancouver. As a member of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux, the Wedgewood Hotel & Spa is one of Canada's leading luxury hotels. Private balconies with stunning city views, a tranquil day spa, and the award winning Bacchus Restaurant & Lounge all add to the luxury experience.

    Painted Boat Resort Spa & Marina - Resort Exterior

    Painted Boat Resort Spa & Marina

    An example of our Superior accommodations

    Located in Madeira Park on the Sunshine Coat, the Painted Boat Resort Spa & Marina is just 2 hours northwest of Vancouver. This well-appointed five acre resort features spacious, contemporary villas with harbour views - all designed to take advantage of the beautiful Sunshine Coast geography.

This Trip in Pictures

Salt Spring Island
Salt Spring Island
Discover the best of the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island on this scenic self-drive.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver, British Columbia
Your trip begins in the vibrant city of Vancouver, surrounded by ocean and mountains.
Feature dinner in Vancouver
Feature dinner in Vancouver
Enjoy your first night with a feature dinner selected by Fresh Tracks Canada.
Totem poles in Stanley Park, Vancouver
Totem poles in Stanley Park, Vancouver
Stroll amongst the trees and learn about the First Nations history of Stanley Park.
Ferry ride to the Sunshine Coast
Ferry ride to the Sunshine Coast
Enjoy a relaxing ferry crossing between Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast.
Zodiac tour to Chatterbox Falls on the Sunshine Coast
Zodiac tour to Chatterbox Falls on the Sunshine Coast
Venture up Princess Louisa Inlet on a scenic zodiac tour on the Sunshine Coast.
Cathedral Grove, Sunshine Coast
Cathedral Grove, Sunshine Coast
On the way to Tofino, stretch your legs at Cathedral Grove - discover trees over 800 years old.
Tofino hotsprings
Tofino hotsprings
Spend the day exploring Tofino and the surrounding area – you can even visit a natural hot spring!
Whale watching in Tofino, Vancouver Island
Whale watching in Tofino, Vancouver Island
Or, spend the day whale watching by kayak or zodiac.
Pacific Rim National Park
Pacific Rim National Park
Enjoy a full day on your own to explore Pacific Rim National Park.
Victoria, Vancouver Island
Victoria, Vancouver Island
Make your way to the charming capital city of Victoria.
Hiking Growlland Todd, Victoria
Hiking Growlland Todd, Victoria
Choose to stretch your legs on a guided hike near beautiful Victoria.
Ferry enroute to Salt Spring Island
Ferry enroute to Salt Spring Island
A scenic ferry ride takes you to the charming Gulf Island of Salt Spring.
A guided tour of Salt Spring Island
A guided tour of Salt Spring Island
Discover the best of Salt Spring on a guided tour – test all the delicious local food and wine.

Get your personalized trip plan organized and arranged for you

Get your personalized itinerary
  • Get a trip that covers everything you want to see.
  • Know which places to go and which areas are best during certain times of the year.
  • Have someone local who knows the area to suggest trains, hotels, dining, sightseeing, etc.
or call us directly toll-free
call1 877 395 5771
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Customized Trips

All our trips can be personalized to match your dates, travel style, and budget.

Canadian Insiders

Advice From Canadians

Make the most of your time in Canada with advice from our local Insiders.

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Everything Arranged

Feel in control with all the details of your trip organized and booked for you.