Ten B.C. getaways put escape within reach
Summer in B.C. has an uncanny way of making you forget the rest of the dreary, drizzly year. Blue skies, crisp air, warm sunshine on your cheek”¦ Those are the days to remember. While you may question it in November, B.C. really does feel like the best place on Earth in June, July, and August. So why vacation anywhere else when there’s so much to offer close to home?
Whether you want to escape to a cold, clear lake, a warm beach, or a refreshing forest—or all of the above—here are 10 activities and events to inspire your vacation. Grab the calendar and mark off some holiday time. You’ll thank us come the rains of Remembrance Day.
Beachcomb on the Sunshine Coast
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with renting a cabin somewhere on the Sunshine Coast—preferably one with a sparkling ocean view—and doing nothing but sit out on the deck with a good book. But if you choose to venture further and explore the communities along Highway 101, you’ll be rewarded with beach after picturesque beach, including pebbly, driftwood-strewn Roberts Creek Beach and sandy Davis Bay. Both lie within a 45-minute drive of the Langdale ferry terminal.
Celebrate small-town Lumby
What, you’ve never heard of Lumby? It’s a village of 1,681 residents located in the Okanagan 25 kilometres east of Vernon, or about a 40-minute drive from the Kelowna airport. From June 11 to 13 this year, Lumby is holding its 55th Annual Summer Family Festival. With such a long history, we’re guessing the fair is long on charm. The scheduled events are tantalizing: a parade, lawn tractor races, show and shine, a miniature railroad display”¦ What’s not to love? Not to mention a midway, a pancake breakfast, and the 4-H club’s Guess the Beef Weight contest. If that’s not enough, a mile north of town you can watch the Canadian National Hang Gliding Championships, which kick off June 13 and run for a week.
Chill out in Vernon
Brand-spanking-new, Vernon’s Sparkling Hill Resort is all about the bling. Swarovski crystals are used everywhere, from the hotel rooms’ cabinetry to the “starry sky” ceiling over each bathtub. The resort’s spa is also unusual. In addition to an array of hot saunas, it offers a cold sauna, chilled to a temperature of –110? °?C. Patrons can stay in it for up to three minutes. According to the spa’s Web site, “Guests report a pleasant warm feeling throughout the whole body [and] feeling happy, strong, and full of energy” after using the cold sauna. There’s only one way to find out”¦
Slurp some seafood in the Comox Valley
British Columbia’s self-proclaimed shellfish capital is the place to be on June 19 and 20. That’s when the fourth annual Comox Valley Shellfish Festival happens, celebrating the area’s claim to producing more oysters, mussels, clams, and scallops than any other region in the province. The fest takes place in Comox, about an hour north of Parksville on Vancouver Island. A nine-course shellfish dinner ($120 including wine) is set for Filberg Heritage Lodge in the open air next to Baynes Sound on the Saturday, while Sunday is a more casual affair with an oyster-shucking competition and venders selling raw and barbecued oysters, steamed clams and mussels, and more at Comox Marina Park.
The fourth annual Comox Valley Shellfish Festival offers treats from the sea.
Show your pride in Victoria
Our provincial capital offers more than just pretty gardens, pinkies-up high tea, and political corruption. Victoria’s annual Pride week starts on June 27 with a Big Gay Dog Walk along Dallas Road, for which you can kit out your canine in costume. It culminates on July 4 with a Pride parade and a festival in MacDonald Park, with live bands, a beer garden, and drag performances. According to Tourism Victoria, each year over 45,000 people watch the parade or take part in the week’s events.