A Dad’s Guide to Short Trips in BC, the Gulf Islands, and Vancouver
Hooray for the summer! While the kids might be off, for those of us who still work a 9-to-5, our weekends and vacation days are precious things.
I think it’s super important to make the most of the summer months as they’ll be over before we know it, and the rain will be back.
In BC, Canada, we’re lucky to have a huge amount of things to see and places to go, but where should we start?
Good news! I made a list of 2-5 day getaway ideas for Vancouver, the Gulf Islands, and anywhere you could drive to within a few hours.
Places to go – in and around Vancouver
Staycation – First of all, why leave home at all? Book some time off work but make sure you use those days to go somewhere every day.
- Visit Stanley Park and the Vancouver Aquarium
- Cycle the Sea Wall
- Go up Grouse Mountain
- Drive to Squamish and take the Sea to Sky gondola (the highway is beautiful – see photos below)
- Drive to Whistler and ride the incredible Peak to Peak gondola
- Watch Vancouver’s Festival of Lights fireworks on July 28th, August 1st, August 4th, 2018
Places to drive
Camping in Merritt, BC
There are some beautiful spots for camping in Merritt, BC. The Monck Provincial Park is next to Nicola Lake, where you can swim, kayak, or go boating. There are campsites and trailer spots all around the area and you can drive there from metro Vancouver in about 3 hours (not including potty or snack breaks).
Wine Tasting in Kelowna
This is one of my favourites. The scenery is incredible and the rolling hills give home to some of the best wineries in the world. If you go to the Quail’s Gate winery, pick me up a bottle of the Foch. Seriously.
As well as the wineries, there is another huge lake, resort hotels, and the town of Kelowna to hang around. It’s a really chilled out place and well worth a visit.
Where to go on the Gulf Islands, BC
I’ve only just discovered these, even though I’ve lived in Vancouver for five years. We went to the incredible Woods on Pender Island. There are log cabins and Airstream trailers to stay in, some have private hot tubs, and you’ll be able to eat some of the best food you’ve ever had.
There is also a campsite next door if you want to be even closer to nature.
Salt Spring Island
We stayed in a lovely Air BnB called Between the Trees while we visited the island. It’s another quiet spot, although with 10,000 residents, there are all the entertainment and shopping facilities you could possibly need.
There’s also a little spot, hidden around the corner called Barb’s Buns. She/they have some delicious freshly baked pastries and sandwiches. I highly recommend you take home a bag of Barb’s coffee beans to grind at home. It’ll be a little reminder of your trip.
Victoria, on Vancouver Island
There are a number of ways to get here, as with the other islands. You can either go by ferry and drive (or bus), plane, helicopter, or walk-on boat which goes from Coal Harbour, Vancouver to downtown Victoria.
Victoria can feel like a very touristy town, so head inland for a few minutes and check out some of the parks and hotels on the east of the island. We visited the Beacon Hill Petting Zoo to see the goats and I don’t think my daughter has ever been happier!
We stayed at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel for a treat and even let my toddler try out a room service breakfast. I hope she doesn’t get used to that kind of service!
There are so many other options to mention, but I’d love to add your recommendations to the list. Leave your top tips in the comments below.
Michael KwanJune 19, 2018 at 7:37 pm
Harrison Hot Springs is well within reach of the city too. There’s an inflatable water park right on the lake for the more adventuresome (or those with older kids). I shot a short video tour of my room at the resort there, should you be so inclined. There’s a pool and such. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3QfmkjSDmI