Summer is short. In the words of Ferris Bueller, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. Okay, he was referring to how fast life moves in general, but the idea of breaking the routine and doing something really cool still applies. Whatever your definition of fun may be, and however long you have to do it, it’s time to make your plans. Here are 10 activities to inspire you; bonus points if you do them all by September.
Fish in the Fraser Valley
Know nothing about fishing but think it might be kinda fun? Great River Fishing can set you up for fishing trips out of Chilliwack (and other locations) that range from a couple of hours to a few days. A basic four-hour package that includes instruction and gear for fly-fishing for trout and Chinook salmon on the Vedder River costs $149 per person. Boat trips cost more: a four-hour guided white-sturgeon-fishing trip on the Fraser starts at $225 per person. (Both prices are based on a group of two.)
Spike your tea in Victoria
Victoria’s growing foodie culture is pushing the city to reinvent its British traditions. At the Hotel Grand Pacific, you can take your tea in a cocktail, made with products from the local Silk Road Aromatherapy & Tea Company. For example, the Earl Gray cocktail is made with tea-infused gin, and the Sunday Breakfast cocktail combines Lapsang Souchong–infused maple syrup with bourbon. Visit the city from July 21 to 24 for tea tastings, wine tastings, and specialty dinners during Taste: Victoria’s Festival of Food and Wine.
Saddle up in the Cariboo Chilcotin
This area features many options for horsey holidays, so you can choose how hard or soft an adventure you’d like. For thematic activity, Chezacut Wilderness and Ranch Adventures in the Chilcotin offers cattle herding, wagon rides, and even a “homemakers’ retreat” focused on holistic cooking and preserving. For luxury, Echo Valley Ranch & Spa in the Cariboo features a Thai spa to soothe those riding kinks.
Sea kayak through the Gulf Islands
Up for a multiday kayak trip but not up for the camping? EcoSummer Expeditions offers a four-night trip around Mayne, Galiano, and Saturna islands with accommodation and meals at local inns. Trips take place in June and September. Or base yourself on Salt Spring Island, where Island Escapades runs a variety of guided paddles and day trips, ranging from two to eight hours each, throughout the summer.
Wine and Dine in the Okanagan
With a name that roughly translates to “golden view”, the new Miradoro restaurant features a wraparound deck that’s designed to celebrate the pleasures of the area. Located at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, just south of Oliver, Miradoro opened in April as a joint venture between Tinhorn Creek and Le Gavroche’s Manuel Ferreira. This restaurant is as serious about its food as it is about wine. Former Aurora Bistro chef Jeff Van Geest cooks Mediterranean-influenced dishes using the local bounty. See the Miradoro website.
Entertain the kids in Osoyoos
Because it’s so celebrated for its wine, it’s easy to forget that the Okanagan can be kid-friendly, too. Rooms at the luxurious Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort & Spa come equipped with full kitchens to better cater to the clan, and a kids’ day camp operates daily in July and August for those five to 12 years old. Activities are offered in three-hour sessions ($20 per child each) and include things like grape-stomping and aboriginal arts and crafts. Operated by the Osoyoos Indian band, the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre provides educational opportunities within walking distance.
Be pampered outdoors on the Sunshine Coast
If having a massage in the great outdoors is your idea of heaven, head to Rockwater Secret Cove Resort in Halfmoon Bay. In the summer, the resort offers treatments under a tent on a bluff overlooking the ocean. At Pender Harbour, the Painted Boat Resort also has a full spa; treatments include access to the outdoor spa garden with its glacial rain shower and saltwater flotation pool.
Surf in Tofino
Even if you’ve never touched a surfboard, the sight of the waves rolling in onto Long Beach on the west coast of Vancouver Island may inspire you to pick one up. There are plenty of surf schools to choose from; Surf Sister features female instructors and lessons in both Tofino and Ucluelet.
Snorkel with seals off Nanaimo
Snake Island, a playground for harbour seals, lies just 15 minutes by boat from Nanaimo. The area is popular with divers, but you can still experience it if you’re not certified. For $100 per person, Sundown Diving will suit you up and take you out for a snorkel. While underwater visibility can be murky, you’ll be at seal level to enjoy the animals as they bob on and off the rocks. Snake Island is also a natural bird sanctuary where you’re likely to spot eagles, cormorants, and more.
Tee up around B.C.
Golf enthusiasts don’t have to go far for a good game: three B.C. golf courses topped the list of SCOREGolf Magazine’s 2010 picks for best new courses in Canada. The magazine singled out Ridge Course at Predator Ridge in Vernon, Shadow Mountain in Cranbrook, and Redstone Resort in Rossland. Closer to home, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler offers hotel packages in conjunction with its golf club, which has won numerous awards from travel and golf magazines.
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