Situated at Canada’s Pacific gateway, Vancouver is one of Canada’s major entry hubs, second only to Toronto. As such, it is a place where many visitors to one of the most visually stunning nations on Earth begin their Canadian journeys. Additionally, Van City is a place where many expats and Canadians have emigrated to over the decades, attracted by its mild winter, unreal natural beauty, and unmatched opportunities for outdoor recreation within minutes of downtown.
However, travelers and residents alike will eventually run out of things to see and do within this marvelous metropolis, so after the attraction contained therein get stale, a trip outside the Lower Mainland to the many delights that lie a short flight or drive away will certainly be in order.
To get the wheels in your mind in motion before the summer season is upon us, we have picked three getaways that are filled to the brim with adventure, wonder, and precious moments, but kill you with a full day’s drive. Let’s check them out together…
1) Salt Spring Island
Located a short, relaxing and scenic ferry ride away from Tsawwassen ferry terminal, Salt Spring Island will set you down on an artist’s paradise, which inspires its creative residents with its mountain and ocean views. Boasting one of the mildest climates in Canada, coming here retains its appeal throughout the whole year, but the island is at its best in the summer, when the sun can shine without interruption for weeks, even months on end without rain.
2) Shuswap Lake
If you’d don’t mind a leisurely drive spread out over a day of stopping to take pictures of the astounding scenery along the way (Cascade Mountain Range, Hell’s Gate, Kamloops desert landscape, etc), Shuswap Lake is a destination that can be reached solely by car. Alternatively, one can fly to Kamloops, and then rent a car to drive a much shorter distance to this summer Shangri-La.
By far the most popular activity on this lovely but large lake is houseboating, a pastime where you take a weekend’s (or a week, if you’re hardcore) worth of food and booze on a boat outfitted with bedrooms, a kitchen, living space, and on the deck of some uprange models, a hot tub. Cruise around this lake filled with countless coves and bays, taking pleasure in exploring its hidden hideaways, admire the mountains towering above you, and partying with folks you meet along the way.
3) Kootenay Rockies
Being situated at the opposite corner of British Columbia, the Kootenays may not seem like a quick and easy place to get away to from the Vancouver area, but with the expansion of the Canadian Rockies International Airport near Cranbrook, the joys of the Kootenay Rockies are a quick flight away from YVR airport.
Upon arrival, a plethora of options opens up for you, as golf courses snaking between pine and spruce trees, rivers, and rugged mountainous features will challenge your swing, wild hot springs that have escaped the sterilizing touch of modernization can be reached through healthy day hikes, and raging rapids will hammer you with gallons of ice cold glacier water as you bump and wevae your way between rocks and over waves.
Vancouver: A world of awesome is only a short drive, ferry trip or flight away
While this vibrant city of the future has plenty of charms within its metropolitan limits, those will willing to go just a bit further will begin to truly understand why this part of the world regularly ranks near the top of listings concerning overall quality of life. If you’re visiting the area, or are lucky enough to live here, take a look around its immediate surroundings: if you do, you’ll begin to develop a very healthy addiction to this place.