A British family enjoys experiencing Whistler and Vancouver Island in a CanaDream RV.
Being a family who tent camp a lot in the summer and who love Canada, combining the two with an RV and a trip to Vancouver Island was a very exciting prospect.
We hired the biggest RV we could, a Maxi Motorhome ensuring plenty of space for 2 adults and 3 children.
Having planned in our heads a rough route we started looking at campsites in January. First piece of advice - book your campsites early! We found nearly all the campsites in the Pacific Rim National Park were full when we contacted them, so we had to rethink our route and quickly get everything booked.
Canadream booked us a pick up from our hotel in Vancouver and we had paid for an Early Pick Up from 10am. Having a run through of the van and completing the paperwork, we were set to go.
We left the depot and went via a supermarket where we stocked up on basics, then headed to the Tsawwassen ferry to board for the sailing to Nanaimo. Arriving in Nanaimo we had a 4-hour drive across Vancouver Island down to Ucluelet. Canadian roads outside the towns are spacious and traffic is minimal.
We arrived at a gorgeous campsite Mussel Beach Wilderness Campground just as it was getting dark. Waking up in the morning, parked next to beach and looking over Barclay Sound was stunning.
This campsite had no city power or water, so we relied on the campsite facilities whilst here. However, watching the bears play on the beach whilst we had breakfast, and seeing eagles soar overhead and nest in the tree above us was worth using campsite showers for.
The RV was brilliant in that we had gas to cook, lighting was powered by the RV battery and the water holding on board was plenty to wash up with.
Spending 3 days over in the Pacific Rim National Park was filled with visiting fishing/surfing towns of Tofino; where you can take whale watching trips, wildlife viewing trips, rent surfboards, paddle board, kayak and visit Meares Island.
Beaches in the park are a mixture of beautiful vast, golden sand, windswept, wild beaches great for surfing or small coves great for paddling. Several of the car parks had big lots for RV parking.
Ucluelet a quaint fishing town offers the same whale and wildlife trips as Tofino but is a smaller quieter village. Whilst having a drink late afternoon looking over the harbour and the stunning landscapes, we were delighted to watch the seals and sea lions splashing around the inner harbour waters.
Our next stop was the other side of the island in Nanaimo. Driving across Highway 4 to Nanaimo, we detoured off the highway to Stamp Park Provincial Falls. Parking up the RV we went to explore the river and watch the abundance of Salmon in the river and fish ladders. Bursting with salmon this park was a magnet for bears. Having a swim upstream we noticed a black bear appear on the other side of the river looking for salmon. We watched carefully from afar then retreated and cooked up a nice lunch - benefits of travelling with your kitchen!
Living Forest Oceanside resort was our next stop for 2 nights. This campsite is lovely and overlooks Nanaimo Harbour. Finally hooked up to full service pitch, it was also great to have the slide out of the van which gave us great extra space.
We spent a relaxing couple of days here, we hired kayaks from the campsite office and spent a few hours on the river. A morning wandering around Nanaimo, obviously including a coffee stop to taste the Nanaimo Bar.
Next stop back across to the mainland and on to Whistler. After the glorious drive from the ferry up to Whistler, along the Sea to Sky highway, we finally arrived at Riverside RV Resort.
This is a full-service site about 30min walk north of Whistler Village along the valley trails.
We had an active few days in Whistler. Having been to Whistler several times before we focused on doing things we hadn’t done before. One day was spent hiring bikes, exploring the valley trails and finding lakes and parks. Swimming and picnicking at Rainbow Lake was lovely.
The next day we split up for different activities. My son and I went off up Cougar Mountain to do ziplining. Superfly Ziplines were brilliant and there are 4 ziplines on this course, one 600ft high, one very long, one very steep and the last one you can hold hands on and it takes you back to base. It was great fun, with stunning views and I would totally recommend this activity.
The others went off to do white water rafting with The Adventure Group. They met a guide and started their trip on the Green River. They had exhilarating fun and were exhausted that evening.
That evening we walked just 10 mins north of the campsite along the valley trail to Green Lake. Green Lake is beautiful and home to Whistler Air seaplanes. On the shores of the lake sits the Nicklaus North Golf Course where we sat and had late afternoon drinks and snacks on the patio overlooking the lake. The children wanted an early evening swim so after drinks we wandered round to the beach part of the lake. Lots of excited faces and children running to the water, to discover it feeds from a river fed with very cold glacial water! We sat and enjoyed the sunset and wandered back to the campsite.
Checking out we had just one night left in Canada and we travelled back down the Sea to Sky Highway to Squamish. We chose Squamish as it was closer to Vancouver and nearer for the last morning, when we had to drop the van back before 10am. The plan was to visit the Sea to Sky Gondola and have supper at the top in the patio restaurant. Sadly two weeks before we went the attraction’s cables had been cut and the gondola was closed for the foreseeable future.
We spent most of the evening that last night packing up our suitcases and cleaning the van. We had an early start with a two hour drive to the Canadream Vancouver depot, but even in rush hour the drive was clear.
Arriving back at the depot, we were greeted promptly and the van was checked over. We then waited in reception for the shuttle back to Vancouver Airport.
We had a brilliant time using the RV and for five of us it was very spacious.