Destination BC: Top Spots to Escape to this Summer
Summer has arrived early this year on the west coast, which means it’s time to stop dreaming and get those summer 16 plans rolling.
If you’re anything like me, sunshine + borderline hot temperatures = pre-summertime stoke. Call me crazy, but it has certainly felt a lot less like spring and a whole lot more like summer these past few weeks on the West Coast. I don’t know about you, but in my mind, this is a great excuse to get the pen and paper out and start solidifying those summer 2016 plans.
Unsure of where to head to on your next summer adventure? Take a look at these 9 BC destinations and fuel your wanderlust for the remainder of the summer. Warning: the following list may distract you from completing any constructive work in your office!
If I say Tofino, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. But Ucluelet? Hmm, maybe not so much. That is because Ucluelet is like Tofino’s younger sibling; living in the same house, behind the shadows of their older brother/sister, underrated, and under praised in the family. Essentially, Ucluelet is the counterpart to the extensively visited Tofino, and it offers the same excitement, beauty, and adventure with half the tourists. The two spots are only about 30 min apart by car, but they are unique in many ways. Ucluelet is more of a local’s spot, and it is an excellent destination for camping and surfing in the summertime. I recommend Surf Junction Campground for camping and group/private surf lessons, but make sure you book early because spots fill fast!
This rugged coastal area located in the northwest region of Vancouver Island will fulfill the expectations of any avid hiker. Travel 64km west of Port Hardy and you’ll reach this secluded spot where you can venture on many hikes, visit white sand beaches, and trek through temperate rain forests. If you’re up for it, hike the Cape Scott Trail (18km) or the North Coast Trail (58km) and camp overnight on the beach. Find directions here.
Muncho Lake Provincial Park
Just off the Alaska Highway, you’ll find this tranquil, tucked-away park with “some of the most outstanding views of natural beauty” in all of BC. Diverse wildlife, towering mountains, complex geological features and vibrant wildflowers are just a few of the natural wonders that can be found in this Provincial Park. Muncho Lake itself is 12km of luminous turquoise water and you have the choice of camping at two different campsites to extend your time at this serene spot.
Savary isn’t necessarily easy to get to, but if you’re into white sandy beach paradises with rugged forest landscapes all tied together with a laid back local vibe, then you’ll want to check this spot out. You’ll need to take two ferries and a water taxi from Vancouver, but you will definitely be able to relax once you arrive. The island has no electricity, so power down your cellphone and explore the island’s warm waters, diverse sea life and endless sandy shores.
You’ve most likely heard of Pemberton—Whistler’s slightly less talked about outdoor-loving neighbour— but what you may not know is that this quaint area is a fantastic spot for conveniently accessing some of BC’s most trending adventure destinations : Joffre Lakes, Keyhole Hot Springs, and of course, the Whistler area, where you can go bungee jumping, descend Brandywine Falls, or hike up Garibaldi Lake and Wedgemount Lake. Bring a tent and all your camping gear and make Pemberton your anchor for camping while you venture out on day trips. You won’t pay the pretty penny that you will staying at resort in Whistler, and you can gain ultimate outdoor[wo]man status.
Any adventurous traveler will fall in love with this isolated 50km, 1000-resident island nestled between Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Known as BC’s largest Gulf Island, Texada offers visitors a wide variety of outdoor activities with numerous hiking and biking trails as well as the opportunity to boat and swim in crystal clear lakes. Although large in size, this island is not as well-known as its neighbouring islands, making it the perfect secluded getaway. Find out how to get there here.
Located at the intersection of Malaspina Inlet and Homfray Channel, Desolation Sound is any boater’s dream: warm, calm waters and over 60km of shoreline. There are endless islands and coves to explore, which means this is also an ideal spot for kayaking and scuba diving. You’ll need a boat to get there, but the seclusion will surely be worth it once you do. Camp overnight at one of the many campsites and spend a few days in this hidden BC gem.
Flying U Ranch
The Flying U Ranch is Canada’s largest and oldest western guest ranch situated in Northern BC just 30 miles south of 100 Mile House. With its small, cozy wood cabins and old-time cowboy saloon, this retreat will make you feel as though you’ve stepped back into a classic Western film. Ride horses by day with friends and family (without a guide) on over 70,000 acres of land by day and swim in Green Lake, located just across the road from the ranch, to cool off in the evenings. Management of the ranch has just changed, and new and exciting things are coming to the Flying U this summer including a spa, equine courses, and much much more.
The Juan de Fuca Trail
The Juan de Fuca Trail can be considered a mini West Coast Trail with all of the beauty and half of the hikers. This 49km wilderness path zig zags along the west coast of Vancouver Island between Jordan River and Port Renfrew and passes through a number of stunning beaches such as Mystic Beach and Sombrio Beach. Bring enough gear and food for four days along with some sturdy hiking boots as you hike your way through the island’s majestic forests.