Yes, you read that right. The past 2 weeks saw us put in 35 hours of driving over 2500 kilometres between Calgary and the Sunshine Coast.
Each year we escape to Vancouver for a week or two in the summer. Usually we drive the Trans-Canada through. One year we went straight through in one day. Charlie was 7 months old, and it took forever. We stopped in Canmore. We stopped in Lake Louise. We stopped in Revelstoke, Salmon Arm, Kamloops, 2 random places on the Coquihalla, and Chilliwack. It took us north of 14 hours to make the 11 hour ish drive. Never again.
Then we started stopping Salmon Arm, a favorite pit stop for our return trip too.
This year was to be different. We were going to do Calgary-Fernie-Sandpoint-Seattle-Vancouver. That was the plan, until I let my passport expire. So a new route was plotted, the scenic route from Calgary to Vancouver, if you will.
The new itinerary took us from Calgary to Fernie to Nelson to Osoyoos to Vancouver.
Each day would be 3-5 hours of driving, with scenic pit stops to break things up. Unlike the TransCanada trips, we weren’t in a rush here. The drive was going to be part of the fun, so the roadside attractions weren’t delays in getting to the destination, they were the show!
If you’re taking the Crowsnest Highway, the so-called scenic route from Calgary to Vancouver, here’s a list of roadside attractions to stop and see along the way:
Day 1 Calgary to Fernie [291km – 3h22m]
Calgary – Nanton
We stopped for lunch in Nanton at the Bomber Command Museum of Canada. There’s a playground, an ice cream shop, and the big museum for the kids to explore. Sandwiches from the cooler in the trunk were easy.
Nanton – Blairmore
A quick fill-up in Blairmore is mandatory before you cross the border in to BC. You’ll save at least 10c a litre and you can grab a coffee and donut at the Tim’s.
Blairmore – Sparwood
Sparwood is home to the biggest truck in the world. Well, it probably was at one point in time when this mining town was booming, I don’t know if it is anymore. Still, a quick stretch of legs, and climb of the big wheels on the truck is something to do en route.
Sparwood – Fernie
Fernie was stop one for the night. We stayed at the Lizard Creek Lodge right on the mountain. There’s mountain biking, hiking, swimming, fishing and more in this mountain town. Don’t forget a stop at The Happy Cow for an ice cream.