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©Susan Milne, 1999-2015
Coastal Mountains at Whistler
Coastal Mountain view from Blackcomb Mountain.

Extend your stay in beautiful, natural British Columbia before or after your cruise for an unforgettable vacation experience.

This is Canada's most spectacular province with a variety of towns and regions not to be missed!

These are places close to Vancouver that are easy to add to your cruise vacation.


OKANAGAN VALLEY

Summerhill Pyramid Winery View
View to Lake Okanagan from the terrace of Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Kelowna

Often overlooked as a pre/post cruise add on, the Okanagan Valley is one of Canada's most scenic destinations. Situated in the Southern Interior just a 50-minute flight or four hour mountain drive from Vancouver, the Okanagan is surrounded by three mountain ranges with 135 km long Lake Okanagan at the centre. The valley is a renowned fruit growing and winery region. Wineries feature spectacular scenic views with vineyards running down sloping hills towards the lake. Sample the many vintages at wine tasting bars and enjoy a delicious meal at the inviting winery restaurants. Some wineries have accommodation on-site for a peaceful and comfortable getaway.

From horseback riding to birding; spa retreats to outdoor concerts there is plenty going on in the Okanagan that will enhance your vacation experience!

Kelowna is the capital of the Okanagan with Vernon at the north end of Lake Okanagan and Penticton at the south. You'll find spectacular scenery which changes dramatically as you drive north or south from Kelowna making this an excellent location for a driving vacation. There's plenty to see and do in all three cities including beaches to visit and casinos to try your luck.

Driving from Kelowna to Penticton, you will come across points of interest at Summerland and Peachland. Try ziplining or take a steam train along part of the old Kettle Valley Railway and of course, stop at a fruit stall for some delicious local fare.

Further south in Osoyoos and Oliver you are in Canada's pocket desert where you can learn about this extraordinary habitat at the Osoyoos Desert Centre. Most of the Okanagan wineries are found in this unique area. Mountain biking, wildlife viewing, golf, fishing and water activities are just some of the other things to do here.

There are numerous hiking and cycling trails with the most famous being the rail trails of the historic Kettle Valley Railway. From mile 0 at Midway in the semi-arid valley to the highlands and amazing trestles at Myra Canyon, there is much of interest along the way as well as more spectacular scenery. Truly one of Canada's most fascinating areas.

Online Travel Guide for the Okanagan Valley
Visitor magazines for the Okanagan region.
Official Kelowna Tourism website.
Official Vernon Tourism website.
Official Penticton Tourism website.
Official Osoyoos Tourism website.
Official Oliver Tourism website.
Desert Society and Centre Website.


VICTORIA

Empress Hotel & Harbour
The iconic Empress Hotel & Harbour, Victoria

Picturesque Victoria is loved by visitors for her charming style and relaxed ambience.

Attractions include:
The British Columbia Parliament Buildings
Royal British Columbia Museum
Craigdarroch Castle
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
Government House
Maritime Museum of British Columbia
World famous Butchart Gardens.

The capital city of British Columbia, Victoria is situated on Vancouver Island, a half hour float plane fllght away from Vancouver harbour, the fastest and easiest way to get there. See Harbour Air for schedules and fares.

Pacific Coach Lines provides drop-offs and pick-ups at Canada Place, to and from Victoria during the cruise ship season from May to September. Visit their web site at www.pacificcoach.com.

If you are driving onto the ferry in the summer be sure to book ahead. Line-ups can be long and people frequently wait for more than one sailing. For schedules and fare see the BC Ferries web site at www.bcferries.bc.ca.

This hotel is close to the ferry terminal: Best Western Plus Emerald Isle Hotel. www.bwemeraldisle.com or call Toll Free:1-800-315-3377.

For more, see the Tourism Victoria Official Website



WHISTLER

Whistler Mountain
At the summit of Whistler Mountain

The skiing village of Whistler is also a year-round adventure and spa resort with golf, mountain biking, hiking and ziplining just some of the activities visitors enjoy.

About a two and a half hour drive from Vancouver on the very scenic Sea to Sky Highway, along the edge of Howe Sound Fjord, Whistler is easy to drive to. Stop along the way at panoramic lookouts, Shannon Falls or in Squamish at The Chief where a gondola takes you to the top of this amazing site and popular rock face for climbers.

Express coach service from Vancouver is offered by Perimeter Transportation.
The "Sea to Sky Climb" scenic train service between Vancouver and Whistler is offered by Rocky Mountaineer.

Cable cars and chair lifts take you up Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains in the summer for superb views, dining and great hiking.

North America's only peak-to-peak gondola runs 4.4 kilometres between Whistler's Roundhouse Lodge and Blackcomb mountain's Rendezvous Restaurant for a truly breathtaking experience.

Many of the venues for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games were situated here and today there are elite athlete training facilities in Whistler. The Sliding Centre on the side of Blackcomb Mountain is also open for visitors. Home to bobsleigh, luge and skeleton events, you can tour the facility or take a bobsleigh or skeleton ride down part of the 1,450 meter-long ice track.

There is plenty to see and do and you will be surrounded by spectacular scenery every step of the way!

whistler.com is the official destination website.
whistlerblackcomb.com focuses on the mountain activities.
Learn about the Sea to Sky Gondola at Squamish




Photos Susan Milne.

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