By: Nancy Grimes
Considered one of the most beautiful cities in North America, Vancouver sits between mountains and water and is as culturally diverse as any place in the world. Art galleries, museums, parks, markets, water activities and great ethnic restaurants make Vancouver a great tourist destination. The Museum of Anthropology tells the history of the Northwest people and is highlighted by colorful totems, silver and gold objects, and textiles. The University area has street after street of ethnic restaurants. The markets are filled with exotic foods and Stanley Park offers great walking through a beautiful area right in the city.
A short distance up the road is Whistler, one of North America’s premier ski areas and also a popular summer resort. Whistler lends itself to families with all levels of skiing, casual and gourmet restaurants, as well as excellent ski-in/ski-out houses, condos and nice hotels. There are very few places in the world where you can see the sea from the top of snow covered mountains, but Whistler is one of those places.
A ferry ride from Vancouver will take you to Vancouver Island. The very British city of Victoria, capital of British Columbia , sits on the harbor. World famous Butchart Gardens offer visitors an amalgam of themed gardens with a spectacular display of flowers. Something is always blooming no matter what time of year.
White sand beaches, huge waves during the winter coastal storms, and great hikes in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve draw visitors year round. Located in the far west of Vancouver Island, this area appeals to anyone interested in eco-tourism. A short boat trip or floatplane ride away is a fabulous wilderness lodge, the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, offering accommodations in luxurious tents with every creature comfort imaginable. Sea life, wildlife, water activities, and sport fishing are highlights of Clayoquot.
The Sonora Resort, another wilderness retreat (requiring a fly-in or boat trip off the east coast of Vancouver Island) is excellent for bear watching, orca and seal sightings, birdlife and fishing. There are lots of options for land and sea-based activities. As a Relais & Chateaux property, a highlight of Sonora is the dining … the restaurant there is one of the best in British Columbia.
Whether you might be disembarking from VANCOUVER on an Alaskan cruise, taking a deluxe Rocky Mountaineer train through the spectacular Rocky Mountains, or visiting the Okanagan Wine valley, Vancouver and its surrounding areas have it all. But most importantly if you go there, be sure to enjoy all the sights and restaurants Vancouver has to offer. It is a perfect place for families and couples to feel they have seen the world without leaving North America!