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Circle the Salish Sea Self Drive

West Coast Highlights & Hidden Gems

14

days

starting fromUS $4,280per person

  • Choose your own activities and experiences to enjoy between scenic train tours
  • Tailor your stay to perfectly suit your timeline and budget
West Coast Highlights & Hidden Gems – Map
Sample trip map & photos – personalize your trip by adding extra nights and activities in each location
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.
  • Quick Overview

    What we 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

    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 it’s flourishing arts community and local food producers.

    Trip Outline

    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

  • 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? We want to make sure you don’t eat at the tourist trap restaurant across the street from your hotel, rather have the best dining experience in a beautiful setting. Included is a meal at one of our favourite local spots.

    Day 2 – Explore Vancouver
    Vancouver, the home of Fresh Tracks Canada! You have 3 options to choose from to ensure you enjoy Vancouver to its fullest.

    • 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

    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!

    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 Inlet Boat Tour
    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

    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 Pacifc 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
    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

    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.

    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 to its fullest:

    • 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

    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. Overnight in a charming inn.

    Insider tip:
    Ask your vacation advisor about arranging a gourmet dinner featuring local Salt Spring Island ingredients at a beautiful Country Inn.

    Day 12 – Salt Spring Island
    You have 3 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

    • Option 3:
    Dinner Cruise (Fridays and Saturdays only and subject to availability)
    Relax, kick back, and enjoy the beautiful coastline at sunset, paired with fine wine and Salt Spring culinary fare. We cannot think of a more ‘BC’ way to draw your vacation to a close.
    Activity rating: Easy

    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.
  • What's Included
    Accommodations:
    • 13 nights in a range of superior, boutique, and B&B accommodations

    Choice of one of the following Vancouver experiences
    1. Local Bike Tour
    2. Walking Tour through Stanley Park
    3. Granville Island Food Tour

    Choice of one of the following Sunshine Coast experiences:
    1. First Nations Interpretive Kayak
    2. Guided Interpretive Hike to Smuggler Cove
    3. Princess Louisa Boat Tour (additional cost)

    Choice of one of the following Ucluelet experiences:
    1. Hot Springs Tour
    2. Whale Watching by Zodiac
    3. Kayak, Whale Watching & Wildlife Tour (additional cost)

    Choice of one of the following Victoria experiences:
    1. Gowlland Tod Hike
    2. Victoria Harbour Kayak
    3. Butchart Gardens Admission

    Choice of one of the following Salt Spring Island experiences:
    1. Best of Salt Spring Tour
    2. Wine Tour
    3. Dinner Cruise (Fridays & Saturdays and subject to availability only)

    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)
    • Documentation package, including details and driving directions
    • Friendly and dedicated Fresh Tracks Canada service

    Seasonal Restrictions:
    • 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

    Get your personalized itinerary before availability is gone. Because we're now booking into 2019

    • Choose your activities and experiences to enjoy between scenic train tours.
    • Tailor your stay to perfectly suit your timeline and budget.
  • Accommodations

    Below you'll find 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

    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

    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

    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.

     

  • Prices & Dates
    2018 - Vancouver Start Dates
    Daily Departures from April 1 to October 15, 2018

     

    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.

    Premium West Coast Lodges, Inns, and Hotels
    from US $4,280to US $5,389per person

    From wilderness lodges perched on the edge of crashing surf, to British inspired manors on pastoral island-estates, we’ll ensure you have the very best hand-picked accommodations on your west coast adventure. We’ve paired these with our premium selection of local experiences, so that you’re guaranteed to have a truly special Canadian vacation.

  • Common Questions

    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).

    What are the best ways to travel around Canada on my vacation

    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 the mountains?

    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.

    Are your tours escorted?

    No, but you'll feel like it is with all your connections and experiences prearranged. Our clients love the freedom and flexibility it gives them. Some of our wildlife experiences are small group tours led by specialist guides.

  • Special Offers

Get your personalized itinerary before availability is gone. Because we're now booking into 2019

  • Choose your activities and experiences to enjoy between scenic train tours.
  • Tailor your stay to perfectly suit your timeline and budget.