5 Places for a Digital Detox in BC

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How many times a day do you scan social media or check your email? If the answer is “too many to count,” maybe it’s time for a digital detox . A vacation really becomes a vacation when you’re out of cellphone range and there’s no Wi-Fi to tether you to reality. Sorry boss, no signal!

With great swaths of wilderness, BC offers plenty of places to unplug. Of course, you don’t have to ditch your device cold turkey: some remote mountain resorts and fishing lodges offer satellite internet for those who simply must take care of business or can’t resist sharing on Instagram.

But if you’re determined to disconnect, it helps to limit temptation. Here are five properties that are either Wi-Fi-free or that encourage digital detox. Each promotes connecting with your spirit, your partner, your family, or even your coworkers instead—in real life rather than through “Reply All.”

Heillen Longhouse Village, Haida Gwaii

Tucked in the forest on Haida Nation land at the base of Tow Hill, this property has limited cell service and no Wi-Fi. But why play with your phone when you’re steps from crabbing and clam-digging on North Beach and hiking through the wilderness?

The property, which is owned and operated by the Old Massett Village Council’s Economic Development Team, offers accommodation in traditional wooden longhouses. Amenities are basic—think “camping indoors” —and you must bring or rent a sleeping bag. Creature comforts include hot-water showers, a gas stove for cooking, and a cosy wood stove to warm up.

Beaverfoot Lodge & Resort, Near Golden

Snow-capped mountains look down upon a circle of pioneer wagons and people on horseback.

There’s no Wi-Fi in the pioneer wagons at Beaverfoot Lodge in the Rockies. Photo: Beaverfoot Lodge

Family-oriented Beaverfoot Lodge has Wi-Fi in the main lodge, but the campsite, cabins, and covered pioneer wagons remain blissfully signal free. Covered wagons, you say? Set in a circle around a campfire, each of these 20 wagons sleeps two people on raised wooden beds.

Located in the Rockies about 40 kilometres (25 miles) east of Golden, this spot is off-grid and produces its own power from a micro-hydro generator that runs off their creek. It’s popular for weddings and family reunions, and with parents who want to reconnect with their kids. Families can power down their devices and spend the time fishing, horseback riding, and whitewater rafting instead.

Echo Valley Ranch & Spa, Near Clinton

A stunning red sunset over a sprawling ranch.

Groups can digitally detox at Echo Valley Ranch in the Cariboo, which has a Thai-inspired spa. Photo: Echo Valley Ranch & Spa

Located in the Cariboo interior about 50 kilometres (32 miles) from Clinton, this property is part of cowboy country and offers activities such as horseback riding, hiking, and fly-fishing. It also has a unique Baan Thai spa building that specializes in Thai treatments.

Although Wi-Fi is available on demand, Echo Valley offers a Digital Detox Retreat for groups of 14 to 42 people. Packages include daily yoga classes, campfires at night, and more, such as a Thai banquet with Thai dancing. With no cell service or TVs, face-to-face communication is amplified.

Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat and Health Spa, Near Nelson

A group of hikers follow a path that overlooks a lush green valley.

Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat and Health Spa in Nelson encourages guests to tune out the world back home. Photo: Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat and Health Spa

Mountain Trek runs a variety of week-long programs from its lodge near Ainsworth Hot Springs. Retreats include fitness classes, hikes, nutrition lectures, spa cuisine, and detox sessions at the spa. (It was named #1 International Destination Spa by the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards for 2016.)

With no cellphone coverage during long hikes through the mountains, the focus is on nature. While Wi-Fi is available in the lodge, guests are asked to not use their smartphones and devices in the common areas. They’re even encouraged to turn off their morning alarms; a staff member will tap on the door instead. No TV, radio, or news media on site helps to soothe the spirit.

Caverhill Lodge, Near Kamloops

A man paddles a small boat through a tranquil pond.

Fishers can have a lake all to themselves at Caverhill Lodge north of Kamloops. Photo: Caverhill Lodge.

With accommodation for a mere 10 people, Caverhill Lodge caters to those looking for privacy and solitude. The lodge is isolated on undeveloped Caverhill Lake, a 1-1/2 hour drive from Kamloops. From there, you can head out to fly-fish on 15 nearby lakes—it’s likely you’ll be the only one there—and you can savour the silence all day.

There’s no cellphone or internet in the cabins, and owners Larry and Marlene Loney restrict Wi-Fi access in the lodge. Both on the water and on land, this is a place for quiet meditation.

Opening image: Heillen Longhouse Village, Haida Gwaii. Photo: Heillen Longhouse VillageFor more digital detox accommodation ideas, see HelloBC.com, Backcountry Lodges of British Columbia Association, and the Camping and RVing British Columbia Coalition.