- Explore impressively stunning Banff, Canada's first national park
- Take a relaxing dip in Jasper's natural hot springs, post visiting the Columbia Icefield
- Tour British-colonial Victoria, the capital of British Columbia
- Go surfing and whale watching off the coast of wild Tofino
|Arrive in Calgary (Alberta), Drive to Banff (British Columbia)
|Free Day in Banff, Sulphur Mountain Boardwalk Trail
|Banff National Park Excursion
|Drive to Jasper, Relax in Natural Hot Springs
|Discover Jasper National Park
|Drive to Kamloops, Hike the Hoodoos Trails
|Transfer to Vancouver, Visit Grouse Mountain
|Tour Vancouver & Granville Island
|Ferry to Victoria, Self-Guided City Tour
|Drive to Tofino, Hike the Rain Forest Trail
|Explore Tofino Beaches
|Surfing in Tofino, Whale Watching Tour
|Drive to Vancouver, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
Day 1: Arrive in Calgary (Alberta), Drive to Banff (British Columbia)
Start your Canadian adventure by getting your rental car in Calgary (Alberta) and heading west toward Banff, a small mountain town located within its eponymous national park. Stroll the shop-lined Banff Avenue, go to Banff Park Museum, or walk near the Bow River and find the majestic Cascade Mountain shadowing the town's cabin-filled streets.
Once the sun sets, gear up for a nighttime wildlife safari: an expert guide will take you through Banff's woods and help you spot animals like see elk, moose, and bears. Get excited for the opportunity to also encounter nocturnal wildlife, such as snakes, spiders, and certain species of birds.
Day 2: Free Day in Banff, Sulphur Mountain Boardwalk Trail
Take advantage of a free day to explore Banff at your own pace. For views over the town, ride the iconic gondola up Sulphur Mountain. One of the most popular activities is the 6-mile (10-km) Boardwalk Trail. Suitable for beginners and people of all ages, you can enjoy mountain vistas relatively easily.
Day 3: Banff National Park Excursion
Rise early for a date spent in Banff National Park, Canada's first protected area of its kind. Start in the pristine Moraine Lake, whose glacier-fed waters perfectly reflect the surrounding mountains. In the summer, you can rent a canoe and paddle out to the middle of the lake.
Then head on to Lake Louise, considered the most beautiful spot in the entire park. Take your time to explore the area on foot. Numerous trails take you through evergreen forests, providing different perspectives of the famed body of water. Have dinner at the iconic Fairmont Château Lake Louise before returning to Banff.
Day 4: Drive to Jasper, Relax in Natural Hot Springs
Continue exploring the Canadian Rockies with a drive along the Icefields Parkway, a famous 144-mile (232 km) stretch of highway that winds through natural scenery. On the way, stop to embark on a glacier adventure on a giant, specially-built Ice Explorer vehicle to cross the Columbia Icefield toward Athabasca Glacier.
Take a break at Miette Hot Springs, which boasts the hottest mineral water in the region. Or, if you want to stay active, trek the Sulfur Skyline Trail. As you continue your journey, surrounded by soaring mountains and glaciers, pass the reflective waters of Bow and Peyto Lakes. Keep an eye out for bighorn sheep, moose, and black bears as you enter the charming town of Jasper for the night.
Day 5: Discover Jasper National Park
Explore the largest protected land in the Rocky Mountains, Jasper National Park. The UNESCO World Heritage Site covers over 4,200 square miles (10,878 sq km) and shelters the great glaciers of the Columbia Icefield. Start in Maligne Lake, where you can hop on a boat to the famous Spirit Island. The impossibly clear blue water of the lake is sure to leave you without words.
Other park highlights include Maligne Canyon, as well as Athabasca and Sunwapta Falls. Alternatively, ride on the Jasper SkyTram to the summit of Whistler Mountain, which owes its name to its whistling resident marmots. And if you're in the mood for a vertigo-inducing experience, do the cliff-edge Glacier Skywalk, where a glass floor displays a dizzying 918-foot (280 m) drop.
Day 6: Drive to Kamloops, Hike Hoodoos Trails
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Make your way to Kamloops through two of British Columbia's best provincial parks: Mount Robson and Wells Gray. In the first, walk part of the Berg Lake Trail along the Robson River. Then, drive south to Clearwater, the gateway town to Wells Gray Provincial Park. Here, spend hours chasing waterfalls as you keep an eye out for wildlife.
Continue driving south to Kamloops, home to unique geographical landscapes, including sagebrush, grasslands, and hoodoos. Hike to see hoodoos formed by a volcanic rock at Cinnamon Ridge, formed 50 million years ago. Once you've reached the town, stretch your legs with a walk along its riverfront. Then, sample locally-grown food in one of the many downtown restaurants.
Day 7: Drive to Vancouver, Visit Grouse Mountain
Take the Trans-Canada highway to Vancouver, western Canada's coastal metropolis, where the sea and mountains meet. The city's compact center is easy to explore on foot, with highlights like Stanley Park, Chinatown, and historic Gastown within easy reach.
Just 15 minutes from downtown, you'll find Grouse Mountain. Ride the Skyride gondola to the Peak of Vancouver for 360-degree views of the city, some 3,700 feet (1,127 m) below. Depending on the season, you can partake in hiking, ziplining, skiing, snowboarding, and other outdoor activities.
Day 8: Tour Vancouver & Granville Island
Take the day to discover Vancouver, visiting must-see highlights like Canada Palace, Coal Harbour, and the Entertainment District. Or spend time in the world-renowned Vancouver Aquarium, which houses over 60,000 underwater creatures and has 30 interactive and educational exhibits.Make your way to Granville Island. Once an industrial wasteland, it is now one of Vancouver's most beloved public spaces. The famous Public Market is home to over 50 independent food purveyors and contributes to the island's appeal as a renowned culinary destination. Find many of Canada's best artists and designers in the Net Loft Shops and Railspur District.
Day 9: Ferry to Victoria, Self-Guided City Tour
Bring your car aboard a ferry to Swartz Bay. Upon disembarking, begin a tour with the First Nations people of the Cowichan tribe, who will share their traditions and history. Then, visit the Butchard Gardens, considered among the most beautiful in the country. Botanical highlights include the Rose Garden, the Japanese Garden, and the world-famous Sunken Garden.
Drive to Victoria, the provincial capital of British Columbia. Explore the coastal city at your own pace, visiting the picturesque marina, the Victoria Public Market, and the Parliament Buildings. Head to the Royal Museum for a deep dive into the region's history. And don't miss a stroll down Canada's narrowest street: Fan Tan Alley in Chinatown. Alternatively, you can join a whale watching tour seeking cetaceans as a naturalist shares pertinent information.
Day 10: Drive to Tofino, Hike the Rain Forest Trail
Set off toward the Pacific Rim and drive along the Strait of Georgia, which separates the mainland from Vancouver Island. Stop to visit the town of Duncan, known as the "City of Totems." Take the time to admire these wood carvings and learn about their significance to the First Nations people in this region.
Make a second stop in Port Alberni, a fishing and logging town full of charm, on the way to Tofino. Head straight to the otherworldly old-growth Rainforest Trail. Step onto the boardwalk to be surrounded by birdsong and greenery. This scenic trail winds through lush forests of towering cedar and fir trees, providing views of the ocean and mountains.
Day 11: Explore Tofino Beaches
Rise early to take advantage of everything Tofino has to offer. An excellent destination for outdoor adventurers, the town offers various activities like surfing, whale watching, fishing, hiking, and kayaking. Beaches like Cox Bay and Chesterman Beach draw in visitors looking to partake in water activities or relax on the sand. On dry land, you can explore the town's art galleries and restaurants.Active travelers will want to visit the Pacific Rim National Park. This enticing protected area boasts beaches, lagoons, rainforests, and more. Another interesting spot is Hot Springs Cove, where visitors can relax as they enjoy a dip in natural pools whose water carries purported health benefits.
Day 12: Surfing in Tofino, Whale Watching Tour
With sandy beaches, waves, and palm trees, Tofino is often called Canada's surf capital. With 22 miles (35 km) of beaches and an exposed coast, surfers of all skill levels have access to year-round surf. You'll be able to participate in the town's strong surf culture at any of them.If you want to enjoy the water without suffering the cold, opt for a whale watching tour instead. Rejoice in the chance to spot gray and humpback whales, as well as orcas, which frequent these waters year-round. Tours are done in a small, 12-seater zodiac boat, giving you an intimate, up-close look at these magnificent creatures.
Day 13: Drive to Vancouver, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
Leave Tofino behind and take a ferry back to the mainland. On the way to Horseshoe Bay, stop at Neck Point Park, known for its pebble beach. Or hike the Cable Bay Trail along the water of Hemer Provincial Park. You can also make a food-centric stop at Nanaimo to try its famed cake, made with chocolate, nuts, and vanilla.
Once back in Vancouver, go on an adventurous excursion to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. Cross the iconic (and wobbly) suspension bridge across the raging Capilano River. Then, climb to the Treetop Adventure platform, and walk through the forest canopy on a series of suspended footbridges set 110 feet (30 m) up from the ground.