Vancouver to Calgary Road Trip: Our Epic 13-Day RV Itinerary

Two women at Two Jack Lake in Banff National Park, Canada on a Vancouver to Calgary Road Trip

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Let’s begin this Vancouver to Calgary road trip guide in an unexpected place; a personal confession. It took me five times to pass my driving test. I’ve also not gotten behind the wheel since 2017 so I’m not really a “natural” or “confident” driver. But I love road trips. I consider myself whatever you’d call the non-annoying version of a backseat driver.

So how did I end up driving from Vancouver to Calgary on an RV road trip and hitting up Jasper and Banff National Park on the way? Well… I didn’t. Not quite. When my friend Stevie told me she was planning a solo adventure in Canada, I invited myself along. Simple! It was the first RV trip for both of us and luckily she was happy to have a passenger.

Almost Ginger blog owner rving on a Vancouver to Calgary road trip in Canada

In early May 2022, we (she) drove over 2,300 km/1,500 miles from British Columbia to Alberta and back again over 13 days. We navigated via an Australian GPS system (the phrase “chuck a U-ey” still haunts my nightmares), spent the GDP of a small country on gas, and got a taste of #vanlife. We sang along to Bryan Adams and other talented Canadians while munching on Nanaimo bars and Twizzlers. Stevie even spotted some bears!

Oh, and a heck of a lot of hiking, eating, and sightseeing in between. It was exactly the epic adventure we wanted.

This is a day-by-day breakdown of the trip so I can hold onto those wonderful memories. But if you’re thinking about embarking on your own Vancouver road trip to Banff National Park and beyond, this guide will help. I’ve included our campsites, hotels, RV rental information, restaurants, activities, and my top tips. Let’s dive into our amazing Vancouver road trip adventure!

Vancouver to Calgary Road Trip (Plus Jasper and Banff National Parks)

Day 1: Flight from the UK to Vancouver

The first day of our Vancouver to Calgary road trip started at 4:00 in the morning and ended around 20:30 with an eight-hour time difference in between. We needed as much stamina as possible to get through the day but we were both attending a friend’s wedding the night before our departure. Luckily, Stevie was sensible enough to leave at a reasonable hour as she was driving from our hometown in Cumbria to Glasgow Airport.

Me? I snagged around one hour’s sleep. I quickly assumed my role as the passenger who promised to stay awake to entertain the driver then inevitably dozes off.

After our flight from Glasgow, we had a layover in London Heathrow before continuing on to Vancouver. I’m very impressed that both of us managed the entire trip with hand luggage only. It meant we didn’t have to find room for two huge suitcases in our RV and it made our layovers less stressful.

After multiple aeroplane meals and movies, we landed in Vancouver and were randomly selected to take a Covid-19 test. At the time, we were required to be fully vaccinated to enter Canada and didn’t need to take any tests before departing. This was our only stumbling block! Thankfully, we could continue on our road trip from Vancouver because a few days later we got negative results.

Stevie was the Queen of all Motorised Vehicles on this trip and arranged an Uber to pick us up and take us, exhausted, to a hotel on the outskirts of Vancouver. We saw little of the city beyond a sneak peek at the skyline on our drive, but we’d be back.

Distance: 8,555 km / 5,316 miles

Accommodation: Inn At The Quay Hotel

View from The Inn at the Quay in Vancouver, Canada
View from our hotel in Vancouver

Day 2: Driving from Vancouver to Dutch Lake

Many people drive from Vancouver to Banff National Park and skip Jasper. I totally understand why people drive a Vancouver to Banff road trip if they are short on time, though I’m so pleased we didn’t. But I’m getting ahead of myself!

On day two, jetlag woke us up in the wee hours and we ate a big veggie breakfast at Angelina’s Dutch Corner. We then stopped by the World’s Tallest Tin Soldier (Canadians love their superlative structures) before picking up our wheels and bed for the next week or so. We hopped in another Uber to Fraserway RV and received a crash course in all the controls and hookups of our Class C Small Motorhome

On top of all the instructions, Stevie received a baptism of fire driving our RV off the lot. Fraserway’s depo was on a business park right on Highway 91 and soon we’d be on the Trans-Canada highway.

We’d already sussed out a Real Canadian Superstore supermarket in Chilliwack en route so we could pick up supplies. We both had our own weird Canadian breakfast missions. Whereas Stevie sought out different types of crazy Canadian cereal, I opted for Tim Horton’s coffee and maple syrup over my granola and yoghurt.

After many hours of Stevie driving and me taking 200+ photos of the scenery, we arrived at our campsite around sunset. We figured out how to connect the electricity and water and called it a night.

Distance: 461 km / 286 miles

Accommodation: Dutch Lake Resort & RV Park

Top Tip: Aside from the annoying lingo, our Australian GPS couldn’t find a lot of the addresses we needed and our phones lost signal a lot. Download an offline map of the area when you have WiFi before you leave.

Veggie Breakfast at Angelina's Dutch Corner in Vancouver, Canada

The World's Tallest Tin Soldier in Vancouver, Canada

Interesting signs on a Vancouvery to Calgary road trip
Cultural signs from the supermarket car park

Granola and yoghurt with maple syrup and Tim Hortons coffee

Highway between Vancouver and Calgary

Dutch Lake Campground in Canada
Dutch Lake Campground

Day 3: Driving from Dutch Lake to Jasper National Park

On day three, we completed our Vancouver to Jasper road trip! Jetlag woke us up at the crack of dawn which was a blessing because we lost an hour driving over the Alberta border. After we filled up our tank, we headed north along Highway 5. 

We stopped twice before arriving in Jasper. First, at the Mount Terry Fox Scenic Viewpoint and again at the British Columbia – Alberta border. I recommend watching The Terry Fox Story (1983) if you can find it because he’s a Canadian hero.

Around lunchtime, we arrived at Jasper National Park! We were travelling on the cusp of the off-season and the shoulder season, so we couldn’t book our first night at the campground. After we organised this, we finally started exploring. We ate lunch at the beautiful Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen before walking around Maligne Canyon. We spotted deer and evil-looking sheep around here and not for the last time.

Afterwards, we drove into the town of Jasper. It was already getting quite late, so we just walked around taking photos of street art murals, totem poles, and cool mountain lodge-style buildings. We stopped for drinks and food at Jasper Brewing Company where I tried poutine (delicious) and a beer flight (DNF). For someone who doesn’t like beer and was our designated driver, I’m very grateful to Stevie for being cool about visiting breweries on our Vancouver to Calgary road trip!

Distance: 320 km / 199 miles

Accommodation: Wapiti Campground 

Top Tip: Everyone entering a Canadian national park needs to buy a Discovery Pass. Because we visited two national parks over seven days, it worked out cheaper to buy an annual pass. You don’t need to buy it beforehand as there are pass booths on the highway. You can pay in cash or by card.

Mount Terry Fox Viewpoint sign in Canada

Mount Terry Fox Viewpoint in Canada
Mount Terry Fox Viewpoint
Welcome to Albert sign in Canada
British Columbia – Alberta Border

Highway in Canada on a Vancouver to Calgary Road Trip

Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen in Jasper National Park, Canada
Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen
Maligne Canyon in Jasper National Park, Canada
Maligne Canyon
Jasper National Park in Canada on a Vancouver to Calgary road trip
Jasper Town
Jasper Brewing Co. beer flight and poutine in Jasper National Park, Canada
Jasper Brewing Co.
Wapiti Campground in Jasper National Park, Canada
Wapiti Campground

Day 4: Exploring Jasper National Park

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to mention that Stevie did most of the research and planning for this trip and she did an excellent job. We had one full day to explore Jasper and she nailed the itinerary. She found the Valley of the Five Lakes Trail which is a looped hike and there were several options depending on fitness level and distance.

We hiked the longer, outer loop which was around 8.4 km and took three to four hours. This was one of my favourite parts of the whole trip because it was quiet and the turquoise lakes, woodland, and snowy mountains in the distance were postcard-perfect. Because we visited early in the season, we saw a lot of frozen lakes on our Vancouver to Calgary road trip so I’m glad we got this thawed-out experience.

After we returned to the car park, we wolfed down our lunch and headed to the Jasper SkyTram. This cable car transported us 2,277m up Whistler’s Peak for an eyewatering $60 per ticket. But the views were worth it, and we could change into all of our layers before heading up the snowy peak. One of the best perks of travelling in an RV!

Back in Jasper town, we warmed up over coffee at The Other Paw Bakery Cafe. Then, we stopped by a supermarket before heading back to our campground. Stevie performed an act of God by building a fire out of a broken fire lighter and paper from my notebook so we could roast marshmallows. Stevie also got to taste the first of many weird and wonderful versions of Canadian cider. If you want to keep track, Growers Cider Co. tastes like peach soda.

Other Things To Do in Jasper National Park:

Distance: 0 km / 0 miles

Accommodation: Wapiti Campground 

The Valley of the Five Lakes Walk in Jasper National Park, Canada
Creeping on Stevie at the Valley of the Five Lakes

Valley of the Five Lakes Walk one of the top things to do on a Vancouver to Calgary Road Trip

Jasper SkyTram in Jasper National Park, Canada
Jasper SkyTram

Jasper SkyTram view in Jasper National Park, Canada

The Other Paw Bakery Cafe in Jasper, Canada
The Other Paw Bakery Cafe

Roasting marshmallows on a campground in Jasper National Park, Canada

Day 5: Driving from Jasper National Park to Calgary

Already, we’ve completed half of our journey with day five covering the last section of our Vancouver to Calgary drive. The distance from Vancouver to Calgary is 1,057 km (660 miles) which is even more than The Proclaimers were prepared to walk.

We experienced the most dramatic season switches on this drive. We left Jasper National Park (following a man riding rollerskates on the highway, I might add) in the early days of spring. Once we hit the Icefield Parkway (rated as one of the top drives in the world by Condé Nast Traveller), it was as if we’d driven back in time a few months. As we ascended into the mountains, snow and mist with glaciers and fields of black pine trees were all that we could see.

And before we knew it (well, after several hours of driving…), we arrived in time to experience summer in Calgary. The Great Plains, as the name suggests, are incredibly flat so we swapped snowy peaks for yellow, dusty fields. And a big city!

After glancing at the bus timetable, we realised it would be better to use Uber to get out of the campground and into the city. Soon, we were dining on veggie tacos at the First Street Market: Food Hall & Bar before heading to Village Ice Cream Shop. Top Tip: Get the Earl Grey flavour and thank me later.

There are lots of opportunities to pose in front of street art in Calgary, which we spent way too much time doing before heading up Scotsman’s Hill Viewpoint. We had just enough time to drink a couple of cocktails at Leopold’s Tavern where I accidentally poisoned Stevie as I confused my Rusty Nail cocktail with her Long Island Iced Tea. We people-watched approx. 7,468 Calgary Flames hockey fans walk through the streets to watch the game before getting an early night.

We got back to our campground and did laundry. The drier was excellent.

Distance: 408 km / 254 miles

Accommodation: Calgary West Campground

Icefield Parkway on a Vancouver to Calgary Road Trip in Canada
Icefield Parkway

Icefield Parkway on a Vancouver to Calgary Road Trip in Canada

Road to Calgary, Canada
Totally different landscape as we neared Calgary
First Street Market in Calgary, Canada
First Street Market
Village Ice Cream Shop in Calgary, Canada
Village Ice Cream
View from Scotsman's Hill in Calgary, Canada
View from Scotsman’s Hill
Street Art in Calgary, Canada
Calgary Street Art

Cowboy statue, cocktails at Leopold's Tavern and Calgary Flames Games in Calagary, Canada

RV Road Trip in Canada
Calgary West Campground

Day 6: Exploring Calgary

Before driving to Vancouver from Calgary, we spent one whole day exploring Calgary, Canada’s third-largest city. On the one hand, it’s incredibly modern with tons of skyscrapers. But on the other hand, its nickname is ‘Cowtown’. The entire city revolves around the Calgary Stampede, a HUGE rodeo and festival in July.

We started in the north exploring Prince’s Island Park where we walked across the Peace Bridge and attempted to spot beavers in their dams. Next, we tried our first-ever Tim Hortons (Stevie is not a fan of Timbits. Regular doughnuts or nothing, please). 

Next, we headed to Stephen Avenue Walk which is Calgary’s main shopping area. I spent a small fortune on stamps and Stevie resisted the urge to buy lots of western shirts with jazzy patterns. After walking around for a while, we went to Chinatown and ate lunch at Happy Veggie House Chinese. We didn’t go up the Calgary Tower (I think it was closed anyway) but you can spot it from almost anywhere in the city.


We spent the entire second half of our day in the Inglewood neighbourhood. Our first stop was Fort Calgary before trying on hundreds of dollars worth of bright felt cowboy hats at Smithbilt Hats. They’re a Calgary institution and everyone from Tom Selleck to William & Kate has posed in a white cowboy hat in this store.

Lucky for me, Cold Garden Brewing Company was right next door. I ordered a flight of beer (three beers and one glass of Inglewood iced tea). Stevie sampled their one cider. We then hit up Tea Trader, a speciality tea shop. Stevie loves bags of loose leaf as well as having awkward conversations with airport security, so she had to pick some up.

Next was Rain Dog Bar, one of the most hipster bars I’ve ever visited. They had a zine for a menu, you guys! Beer for me and a hot pink cider for Stevie. This bar was just up the road from Inglewood Pizza (as featured in the Fargo TV series) where we stopped for a slice.

While looking for a more substantial place to eat dinner, we found The Blues Can. They served southern cuisine and we stayed to watch their headline act that night: Micki Free. Imagine a less successful Slash from Guns N’ Roses. But it was awesome to see some live music in Calgary and I think stumbling across this great venue was one of the highlights of our trip, despite them serving Somersby cider that tasted (and looked) like Apple Sourz.

Other Things To Do in Calgary:

Distance: 0 km / 0 miles

Accommodation: Calgary West Campground

Prince's Island Park in Calgary, Canada
Prince’s Island Park
Peace Bridge and Tim Hortons in Calgary, Canada
Peace Bridge & Tim Hortons
Stephen Avenue Walk in Calgary, Canada
Stephen Avenue Walk

Calgary Tower and Happy Veggie Chinese in Calgary, Canada

Fort Calgary in Calgary, Canada
Fort Calgary
Smithbilt Hats Inc. in Calgary, Canada
Smithbilt Hats Inc.
Cold Garden Brewing Co. in Calgary, Canada
Cold Garden Brewing Co.
Tea Trader in Calgary, Canada
Tea Trader
Rain Dog Bar in the Inglewood Neighbourhood of Calgary, Canada
Rain Dog Bar
Inglewood Pizza and The Blues Can in Calgary, Canada
Inglewood Pizza & The Blues Can

Day 7: Calgary to Banff National Park

Calgary was as far east as we would travel, so it was time to drive from Calgary to Vancouver. With plenty more stops along the way, of course! And the first section of our Calgary to Vancouver drive would be a short one. 

We wasted no time exploring Banff National Park as soon as we arrived back in the Canadian Rockies. Our first stop was the Three Sisters Peaks (these mountains appeared as a Brokeback Mountain (2005) location) and then Banff Gondola just outside of the town. The cable car took us 2,281 metres up Sulphur Mountain so we could look over the town and glacial lakes we had yet to explore.

There’s so much to see up Sulphur Mountain so I’m really pleased we got there early to explore. In fact, the car park was so full when we got down. How do people visit Banff in the peak season without spending half of their trip waiting for traffic to move?!

Afterwards, we walked up to Banff Upper Hot Springs. It’s essentially a glorified hot outdoor swimming pool teeming with people. But we still enjoyed it and the mountain views were nice! Another great thing about RV travel was having our cold-weather clothes for the gondola and our swimming stuff with us.

Next, we drove into Banff town. We checked out the Whyte Museum of the Rockies where we learnt all about how Banff became a popular mountain resort town. It was cool! Then, we ate dinner at Three Bears Brewery and Restaurant before heading to our campsite.

Distance: 127 km / 79 miles

Accommodation: Tunnel Mountain Village II Campground

Driving from Calgary to Vancouver on a road trip in Canada
Back to the mountains
Three Sisters Peaks in Canada on a Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip
Three Sisters Peaks
Banff Gondola up Mount Sulphur in Banff National Park, Canada
Banff Gondola up Mount Sulphur

View of Banff from the top of the Banff Gondola up Mount Sulphur in Banff National Park, Canada

Banff Upper Hot Springs in Banff National Park, Canada
Banff Upper Hot Springs (dressing like the lady in the sign was unintentional!)
Whyte Museum of the Rockies in Banff National Park
Whyte Museum of the Rockies
Three Bears Brewery & Restaurant in the Banff National Park, Canada
Three Bears Brewery & Restaurant
Tunnel Mountain Village II Campground in Banff National Park, Canada
Tunnel Mountain Village II Campground

Day 8: Exploring Banff National Park

We’d survived one whole week living in an RV on our Vancouver to Calgary road trip (or our Calgary to Vancouver road trip now). 

Day eight was a day of lakes! We woke up bright and early to drive to one of the top attractions in Canada, Lake Louise. You’ve absolutely seen this turquoise glacial lake on Instagram somewhere. Well, it was still pretty frozen when we visited. Someone was even skiing on the lake. But we didn’t let the ice ruin our day so we hiked up the Lake Agnes Trail.

I cannot stress how long it took us to hike part of this 3.5 km trail. Bloody AGES. We could either walk in the middle of the trail, which was a sheet of ice (no joke, I used it as a slide on the way back down) or to the side.

But walking beside the trail was like playing minesweeper. You might be putting your foot on a solid surface, or you might end up thigh-deep in snow. I have no idea if the man who passed us wearing crocs survived but I doubt it.


After Lake Louise, we attempted to visit Moraine Lake. This is the lake my friend Robbie made me promise we’d visit. Unfortunately, the road was still closed due to bad weather. So, we left the lakes and drove back towards Banff town along Bow Valley Parkway. We stopped at Morant’s Curve for the epic viewpoint before continuing on to Johnston Canyon. This is a nice little walk along a gorge with some waterfalls.

Not to be deterred by our lack of lake success thus far, we drove out to Lake Minnewanka. It was a little more thawed out than Lake Louise, but still too frozen for canoes or kayaks. Luckily, we spotted Two Jack Lake on our drive out which we learned had just thawed out the week prior. Cue a mini photoshoot with lots of selfies and failed jumping shots.

Stevie booked an evening wildlife tour for us with Discover Banff Tours and it was amazing. We learned absolutely everything about all the bears, caribou, elk, goats, sheep, wolves, and other animals living in the area. And we learned all about the wildlife overpasses you’ll see on the highway!

Our tour guide took us to several places around the national park including the Vermilion LakesBig Hill, and back to Two Jacks Lake.

Distance: 0 km / 0 miles

Accommodation: Tunnel Mountain Village II Campground

Top Tip: Don’t worry about having a lot of cash, essentially everywhere we visited took card payment. And don’t worry about splitting bills. Every restaurant asked us if we each wanted our own cheques which made it really easy to manage our money.
Lake Agnes Trail at Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Canada
Lake Agnes Trail on Lake Louise

Lake Agnes Trail at Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Canada

Lake Louise in winter in Banff National Park, Canada
Lake Louise
Moraine Lake Road Closure in Banff National Park, Canada
Moraine Lake – Closed!
Morant's Curve on the Bow Valley Parkway in Banff National Park, Canada
Morant’s Curve on the Bow Valley Parkway
Johnston Canyon off the Bow Valley Parkway in Banff National Park, Canada
Johnston Canyon
Smoke from forest fires in Banff National Park, Canada
Smoke from controlled forest fires
Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park, Canada
Lake Minnewanka
Two Jack Lake in Banff National Park, Canada
Two Jack Lake
Vermilion Lakes in Banff National Park, Canada
Vermilion Lakes
Discover Banff Wildlife Tours in Banff National Park, Canada
Discover Banff Wildlife Tours
Banff National Park Wildlife Overpass in Canada
Banff Wildlife Overpass

Day 9: Exploring Banff National Park

On our last day in Banff, we woke up surrounded by a thin sheet of snow. Beautiful to look at but f*cking freezing when you’re sleeping in an RV. Luckily, it melted quite quickly.

We followed Hoodoos Trail from our campground into town along the Bow River. After stopping at the Surprise Corner Viewpoint, we continued on to the Banff Pedestrian Bridge. It had a rainbow path which was a lovely surprise!

Stevie was in the mood for a McDonald’s for lunch, but we were a bit surprised that Banff’s version of a vegetarian burger was not the McPlant, as it is in the UK. It was, in fact, a regular Big Mac without the meat patties. Thankfully, our next stop was BeaverTails. From what I understand, beaver tails are fried pastries in the shape of a beaver’s tail covered in sugar. Delicious!

We shopped for a bit and I bought a cap. I definitely recommend Big Bear Trading Company for souvenirs. Then, we headed to Banff Avenue Brewing Co. I sampled yet another flight of beer and Stevie tasted yet another type of Canadian cider. I should have asked her for a definitive cider ranking.

Despite having not stopped eating and drinking for the entire afternoon, we ate dinner at Park Distillery & Restaurant where they served incredible cocktails. I sipped a maple old-fashioned that I still dream about today (can you tell I like whiskey?).

Finally, we hopped on a bus back to our campground and roasted marshmallows. Everything was wet after the snow earlier in the day but some friendly campers gave us a fire starter.

Other Things To Do in Banff National Park:

Distance: 0 km / 0 miles

Accommodation: Tunnel Mountain Village II Campground

Hoodoos Trail in Banff National Park, Canada
Hoodoos Trail

Hoodoos Trail in Banff National Park, Canada

Banff National Park sign in Canada

Banff Pedestrian Bridge Rainbow Path in Banff National Park, Canada
Banff Rainbow Path
Cascade Mountain from Banff Town in Banff National Park, Canada
Cascade Mountain

Banff Town in Banff National Park, Canada

BeaverTails in Banff Town in Banff National Town, Canada
Flight of beers at Banff Avenue Brewing Co. in Banff town in Banff National Park, Canada
Banff Avenue Brewing Co.
Big Bear Trading Co. Shop in Banff Town in Banff National Park, Canada
Big Bear Trading Co.
Park Distillery & Restaurant in Banff Town in Banff National Park, Canada
Park Distillery & Restaurant
Roasting marshmallows at the Tunnel Mountain Village II Campground in Banff National Park, Canada
Roasting marshmallows (for the last time on the trip!)

Day 10: Driving from Banff National Park to Cedar Falls

After two luxurious days off driving for Stevie, it was time to complete the penultimate leg of our Calgary-Vancouver drive. This Banff to Vancouver road trip would take the better part of two days to tackle!

Aside from Stevie spotting her second bear, not much else happened on this drive. I wrote all my postcards and caught up on my Instagram posts. We spotted a billboard on the highway for a hotel that reassured us that it was “definitely not a haunted house.” We stopped for fast food on the highway and then got right back in our RV to reach Vernon before it got too dark.

Our campground for the night was around halfway between Banff and Vancouver. One of the only notable things to say about it is that you had to pay one loonie (a Canadian dollar) for four minutes in the shower. As Stevie found out during this trip, I don’t care about the state or cleanliness of a campground shower block, if the water is hot enough I will stay in the shower all night. So, this was an eye-opening experience for me because we only had so much change. I live such a sheltered existence, don’t I?

Distance: 441 km / 274 miles

Accommodation: Cedar Falls Campground

Top Tip: Buy an eSIM card if you are travelling to Canada from abroad. You don’t have to take out your own SIM card and you can choose the best plan for you. I used Holafly and spent €44 on 20GB of data for 30 days. Since we were staying in an RV, I knew I wouldn’t get much WiFi.
Driving to Vernon on a Vancouver to Calgary (or Calgary to Vancouver) Road Trip in Canada
Road to Vernon
Cedar Falls Campground in Vernon, Canada on a Vancouver to Calgary Road Trip
Cedar Falls Campground

Day 11: Driving from Cedar Falls to Vancouver

On the last leg of our Calgary to Vancouver road trip, we awoke before sunrise. It was a race against the clock to return our RV back to Fraserway RV before the drop-off deadline. There’s something so humbling about donning rubber gloves and emptying an RV’s waste tank at four in the morning.

Thankfully, we did cross a timezone change somewhere along the way so we were able to gain an hour. After we said goodbye to our temporary home, we perked ourselves up with a Tim Hortons on the next business park over. Stevie arranged an Uber to pick us up and take us to our hotel in Gastown where we dropped off our bags and started exploring.

We walked along Vancouver Harbour before walking along the Vancouver Sea Wall and Stanley Park. In the park, we saw totem poles, Brockton Point Lighthouse, Beaver Lake, and the Rose Garden. We were super hungry by the time we stopped for vegan hotdogs and margaritas at Good Dogs Plant Foods

Stevie wanted to check out some Vancouver filming locations from Supernatural and X-Files. Her quest took us around Davie Village (Vancouver’s LGBTQ+ district) where there was some cool street art and, yes, another rainbow crossing. We also went to Vancouver Art Gallery before walking deeper into Gastown to check out the Gastown Steam Clock.

It’s literally a clock from the 1970s (but it looks much older) powered by steam and it whistles to tell the time. We then hit up the Clough Club for cocktails and The Cambie for even more cocktails. Stevie must have been absolutely knackered.

Distance: 443 km / 275 miles

Accommodation: Days Inn by Wyndham Vancouver Downtown

Driving to Vancouver from Calgary Road Trip and posting postcards in Vancouver, Canada
Driving to Vancouver and mailing postcards
Vancouver Harbour in Vancouver, Canada
Vancouver Harbour
Stanley Park, Vancouver Seawall and Beaver Lake in Vancouver, Canada
Stanley Park
Stanley Park Rose Garden in Vancouver, Canada
Stanley Park Rose Garden
Vegan hotdogs and margaritas at Good Dogs Plant Foods in Vancouver, Canada
Good Dogs Plant Foods
Street Art and Rainbow Crosswork in Davie Village Gay Village in Vancouver, Canada
Street Art in Davie Village
Vancouver Art Gallery in Vancouver, Canada
Vancouver Art Gallery
Gastown Clock and cocktails in Vancouver, Canada
Cocktails in Gastown

Day 12: Exploring Vancouver

We started with breakfast at Koffie before catching a bus across the Lions Gate Bridge to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. First built in 1887, this bridge stretches from treetop to treetop across the Capilano River. It’s amazing and there are lots of other treetop platforms you can walk along to explore the rainforest and wildlife.

As the day went on, the rain got heavier and heavier. We caught a bus even further north to the Grouse Mountain Skyride which Stevie assures me featured on X-Files.

Do you remember when I said travelling in the RV was helpful because it meant we could throw on a few extra layers when we rode gondolas? No such luxury in Vancouver! It was a wee bit chilly and snowy at the top. But we all know I’d have made Stevie battle a snowstorm if it meant visiting the filming location of a TV show I watched.

We did treat ourselves to the luxury of an Uber back to Gastown for lunch to avoid waiting for the bus in the pouring rain. We ate soup, tacos and churros in the warm and dry Tacofino Taco Bar

Stevie knows I like checking out independent bookshops so she found The Paper Hound Bookshop. It was a lovely little bookshop with quirky categories like ‘wet adventures’ and ‘books about bears’. I chose Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion, a book about neither of those topics.

Afterwards, we chilled out in our hotel for a bit before unanimously deciding we wanted to go to the cinema. We watched Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022) in a packed-out Scotiabank Theatre and it was phenomenal. Really, just a great way to end our last night in Canada. 

Other Things To Do in Vancouver:

Distance: 0 km / 0 miles

Accommodation: Days Inn by Wyndham Vancouver Downtown

Koffie cafe in Vancouver, Canada
Almost Ginger blog owner on Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver, Canada
Capilano Suspension Bridge

Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver, Canada

Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver, Canada

Grouse Mountain SkyRide in Vancouver, Canada
Grouse Mountain SkyRide
Tacofino Gastown in Vancouver, Canada
Tacofino Gastown
The Paperhound Bookshop in Vancouver, Canada
The Paper Hound Bookshop

The Paper Hound Bookshop in Vancouver, Canada

Gastown and Scotia Bank Theatre in Vancouver, Canada

Day 13: Flight from Vancouver to the UK

For the entire trip, Stevie had talked about how much she wanted to eat waffles with maple syrup somewhere in Canada. When finding somewhere that sold waffles proved almost impossible, she luckily settled for pancakes at Deacon’s Corner Gastown Diner for our last breakfast.

We were basically killing time for the rest of the day until our flight. We visited some more filming locations and enjoyed our last Tim Hortons. And Stevie might have spotted two bears on the side of the highway in the national parks, but I spotted Cole Sprouse buying milk in Gastown

Vintage shops in Vancouver don’t open until around midday, for some reason, but Mintage Café was one of the few that opened earlier. I liked it and bought a bright orange flowery shirt. We ate lunch at Zefferelli’s on Robson Street before heading back to the hotel to grab our bags. 

Instead of getting an Uber, we decided to hop on the SkyTrain to Vancouver Airport instead. Two planes and a car journey later, we were listening to the Eurovision Song Contest on the radio back home.

Distance: 8,555 km / 5,316 miles

Accommodation: British Airways Flight to Heathrow Airport

Deacon's Diner in Gastown, Vancouver Canada
Deacon’s Corner Gastown Diner

Streets and Buildings in Vancouver, Canada

It's Going to Be Okay sign in Vancouver, Canada

Mintage Vintage Sop, Zefferellie's and SkyTrain in Vancouver, Canada
Mintage, Zefferelli’s and the SkyTrain

What’s the Best Time of Year for a Vancouver to Calgary Road Trip?

We literally couldn’t have ventured on this road trip outside of May – October. Most of the campgrounds close over winter and some of the roads (like the Icefields Parkway) shut in the cold seasons. So, definitely not then!

Despite the frozen glacial lakes and the chilly mornings, I’m still pleased we visited in early May. I think if we had planned our trip perhaps two or three weeks later, the balance between fewer crowds and better weather would have been perfect. But you don’t know what you don’t know.

We were still able to enjoy our Vancouver to Calgary road trip without worrying too much about parking spaces and pre-booking activities.

Obviously, the weather is better from June – September but the crowds around Lake Louise and Banff, in particular, look so busy and stressful. You’ve just got to balance what’s important for your trip, you know?

What Should You Pack for a Vancouver to Calgary Road Trip?

Layers! As I mentioned, when we took the gondolas and cable cars up the mountains we needed to wrap up warmer than we did on the ground.

We also noticed that Banff was much colder than Jasper, despite them being only 200 km apart. Banff has a higher elevation. Also, Calgary was much, much warmer than both of the national parks and Vancouver was rainy. And I’ve heard that Vancouver rains year-round! 

You’ll need waterproof hiking boots for the outdoorsy stuff and nicer trainers for exploring the cities. In terms of coats, I brought a packable insulated puffer jacket and either wore my denim jacket or raincoat over the top. I also had a fleece, hoodie, and shirts I could layer on top of t-shirts. On the bottom, I wore leggings and skinny jeans that I could wear together in cold weather. 

Bring hats, scarves, and a pair of gloves too! I was bored with all the clothes I packed by the end of my trip, but everything fit in a carry-on bag.

And that’s my Vancouver to Calgary road trip itinerary based on my experience driving the road-trip journey in an RV! Are you planning a Canada road trip? Let me know in the comments below!

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Vancouver to Calgary Road Trip: Our Epic 13-Day RV Itinerary |

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