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LF23

Vancouver with Sea to Sky pre/post cruise?

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We are considering spending a day driving the Sea to Sky highway, either pre- or post- cruise, with some short stops and hikes along the way. Question on the the best way to slot it in to our available time - or whether it’s not a good idea.  

 

Cruise is Saturday to Saturday in July. We arrive Thursday evening pre-cruise and depart Sunday morning post-cruise, so have full day Friday, good part of Saturday (all aboard is ~3pm), and then all day/night the following Saturday. Reservations at downtown hotel pre-, and airport hotel post-; rental cars reserved on both ends until we firm up plans. 

 

We’re leaning toward a rental from Canada Place when we disembark Saturday morning, driving S2S, and ending at the airport hotel Saturday night. But we’re worried about doing that on a summer weekend... are we better off swapping to the Friday pre-cruise and spending Saturday after we disembark at Stanley Park?  

 

Thank you!  

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Friday or Saturday won't make much difference in July.  Really doesn't make much difference which day you decide upon, just make sure you are back in Vancouver the night before your cruise and the night before your flight home.  Do not plan on driving down from Whistler to catch the cruise or your flight the same day.

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I completely agree that same day driving - whether to the cruise or your flight - would be an unnecessary and foolish risk, but I'll disagree somewhat about Friday vs Saturday. Friday will have notably fewer locals on trails than Saturday, as the vast majority of folks are still on a Monday to Friday work week, so even though kids are off school most working adults will be at their jobs Friday but not Saturday. Vancouver has a very high number of locals who take advantage of nearby skiing, hiking etc. and literally everyone I know who has control over their schedules will always choose to hit trails or slopes midweek rather than on a weekend as it's much quieter. Friday/Monday are busier than Tue-Thu, as of course folks do like to extend a weekend by one day more than taking a single day off midweek, but they're still both less busy than a Sat or Sun for local activities.

 

That said, West Van, Whistler and other communities on the S2S make up a surprisingly large number of folks who work in Vancouver - and since no schools have catchment areas on the other side of a bridge (different cities = different school boards) summer hols makes virtually no difference to commuter volumes. You would be going against commuter traffic - but that means just 1 lane for Lions Gate outbound in the morning, with 2 inbound for those commuters, so it can still be a bottleneck (and the same coming back to town in reverse if you return in evening rush hour).

 

So Friday would mean a slower bridge crossing - unless you go well before 7am or well after 9am - but fewer folks parked at sites up the highway, whereas Saturday would have fewer commuters but more folks using trails, parking on S2S. Which would definitely be better for you is hard to say... but overall I'd take the hit on busier trails by going the Saturday after the cruise just in case of any spills and sprains on unfamiliar trails where you may be distracted by looking at the scenery and miss some irregular footing. Having to fly home with a minor injury is much less disruptive than your entire vacation being compromised by it... and more folks on trails means more folks to help you limp back down if you do come a cropper!

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3 hours ago, martincath said:

and more folks on trails means more folks to help you limp back down if you do come a cropper!

 

Ha! So true. Actually we’re debating just spending all the before and after in Vancouver... 

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Posted (edited)

@LF23:  Is your cruise ending on July 27th?  If so, you need to plan ahead for Saturday road closures for the fireworks competition.  https://hondacelebrationoflight.com/

 

Also be aware downtown hotels will be premium priced on the 27th for the competition.

Edited by xlxo

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Thanks for the heads up @xlxo, we’re at the beginning of July after Canada Day and have hotel reservations for both pre- and post-cruise.  

 

We are really torn about taking advantage of all of our time at both ends in Vancouver vs. seeing some of the beautiful spots close by. We really aren’t “urban” types, work in a large city and can’t wait to get out of there at the end of the day.  But Vancouver just seems different, in a good way!  So as we continue to research options and seek advice, we’re evaluating and prioritizing all of the things we’d want to do in the city.  It looks like our timing is off on either end for venturing to S2S without wasting time and short-changing something.  

 

We’ll be back to CC for more expertise on how to best use our time for the things we’d most like to do if we stay put in Vancouver. 

 

 

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If you want to see some of the S2S highway but don't want to deal with the driving, there are also tours you can take so someone else does the driving.

 

I did LandSea Tours' Sea to Sky tour (7 hours) and enjoyed it, though I felt a little rushed at some stops (possibly because one couple was late returning to the bus at the first 2 stops).  The Brittania Mine Museum wasn't quite what I expected (though still interesting) but Shannon Falls and the S2S Gondola were fantastic.  The tour doesn't go all the way to Whistler.

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