If you like your scenery with a side of culinary adventure, then head to Richmond and the Sea-to-Sky Highway to follow in the footsteps of seasoned eater and imbiber Viranlly Liemena, a Vancouver local who set out to rediscover his own backyard. We describe Viranlly’s journey below, complete with his insider tips.
Start your journey in Vancouver, where urbanites without a car can pick up an Evo using the car share app. Round up your friends and pack your luggage for a road trip south to Richmond then up the Sea-to-Sky Highway. Fuel up with a coffee from one of Vancouver’s many cafes—Viranlly recommends Revolver in Gastown—before you grab a car and hit the highway.
Start your trip in Richmond, where the city’s multicultural population has made it a must-visit for international cuisine. Take an afternoon trip to the fishing village of Steveston for fresh-off-the-boat seafood, and a scenic stroll to walk off some calories.
Leave Vancouver in the rear-view mirror and follow the Sea-to-Sky Highway as it undulates and curves around the Coast Mountains. Pull-over points allow for panoramic views of favourite local spots including Howe Sound, Bowen Island, and the Sunshine Coast as you drive up North America’s most southerly fjord.
Easily accessible adventure abounds in Squamish, where hotspots include Alice Lake (ideal for a cool dip) and glacial rivers where you might see black bears foraging along the riverside. Experience the views from the summit of the Sea to Sky Gondola where you can explore the suspension bridge, or make your way to the top via the thrilling Via Ferrata—a high-octane adventure that involves ascending the granite rock face with the help of a system of cables and metal rungs.
Next up? Stop in Whistler for outdoor and culinary adventures. The Village is ideal for outdoor dining in the summer, so take a mask to enjoy one of the many patios or order take-out and enjoy it at one of the many picnic tables available. Bars and restaurants are open with limited capacity, so book in advance if you have a favourite spot on your list. Work up an appetite with an adventurous UTV ride (Utility Terrain Vehicle: holding on is a workout in itself!) or take it easy by soaking up the incredible views on the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola (closed for annual maintenance for a month each spring). Or simply soak in the hot and cool plunge pools surrounded by fresh air and the forest at Scandinave Spa Whistler.
With smaller capacities and safety protocols in place, it’s best to book ahead if you want to visit a popular bar or restaurant, and don’t forget to pack your mask and hand sanitizer. We asked Viranlly how he prepared for the trip:
“Packing for any trip during the COVID-19 era requires a couple extra items. New travel essentials include several hand sanitizers—I typically have one small bottle in every bag—cloth and disposable masks, extra packs of vitamin C, and anti-bacterial wipes are a must. I also packed several additional articles of clothing to make sure I had a change of clothes after every activity. The weather during this time is also a little tricky: it gets really hot and humid during the day, and balmy and windy at night.”
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