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Springtime in British Columbia: the mere mention puts a song in your heart, doesn’t it? And such a familiar melody, too, full of chittering birds, whispering breezes, and roaring waterfalls. Well, after one long winter, it’s finally time to stop humming and start singing out loud. Pack a bag, hit the open road, and shake it off with these great getaways and travel deals, guaranteed to help you reconnect with the places and people you love best.
Warm weather and wine tasting—talk about ideal pairings. Why not gather some long-lost pals and head for the self-contained vacation rentals at Myra Canyon Lodge, only 20 minutes from downtown Kelowna along the Kettle Valley Rail Trail and close to more than a dozen local golf courses. It’s an ideal launch pad for a most convivial sniff-and-sip holiday. And it’s not just the new releases that smell great in the spring—you’ll find the local orchards bursting with fragrant blossoms. So bring your own e-bike (or rent one locally) and spend a few days rolling through the magnificent seasonal scenery along the Okanagan or Naramata Bench rail trails. You can free-wheel it, or take a more structured half-day Velo Vino Cycle Wine tour guided by the pros at Hoodoo Adventures. Plan to refresh along the way with stops at cideries, distilleries, and brew pubs such as the Welton Arms, Rustic Reel, Vice and Virtue, and Jackknife Brewing.
Whether you journey by seaplane or ferry, you’re sure to arrive on the Sunshine Coast lighter than you left. Just 40 minutes—and light years—away from West Vancouver, this laid-back locale checks all the boxes for a perfect spring getaway whether you skew artsy, adventurous—or even reclusive. Those who seek solace can tune in to nature at Cabins on the Coast—home to Alfie the A-Frame, one of Canada’s “most-wishlisted” rental cottages—and lovers can dial up the romance at Bonniebrook Lodge. And when it’s eventually time to come outside to play, you’ll be spoiled for choice: Explore the coast by kayak with Alpha Adventures or Pedals and Paddles; hit the trails at Coast Gravity Park—Canada’s first low-elevation mountain bike park; or tour local breweries and artist studios with Sunshine Coast Art Tours. But fuel up first at a local restaurant—try the fresh flavours from El Segundo—or DIY dinnertime with a seasonal haul from the Gibsons Public Market or local farmers’ market. Getting there is part of the adventure, especially if you’re venturing up-coast. Harbour Air has launched a seaplane service from Vancouver to Powell River.
Anyone who settled in for a Virgin River marathon during the pandemic already knows how downright sexy Squamish can be in the springtime when the waterfalls are surging. And thankfully, the self-proclaimed Outdoor Recreation Capital of the World has as much to offer couch potatoes as it does adrenaline junkies. The scenic drive from West Vancouver along the Sea-to-Sky Highway will rev your endorphins, and the sweeping view of Howe Sound—recently named a UNESCO Biosphere Region—from atop the Sea to Sky Gondola is guaranteed to keep them flowing. Hikers, bikers, and climbers can keep the buzz going on nearby trails and cliffs, but others may prefer a more relaxing kind of full-body experience over at the AIKA Spa, a private Nordic spa tucked in the Squamish Valley. After a restorative night in the homey vibe of a Sunwolf cottage, head out on horseback with a Cheekeye Ranch trail ride, or try the Squamish Rafting Company’s all-ages family-friendly river tour. Rehydrate with a local brew along the Squamish Craft Tasting Trail, indulge in happy hour oysters at Cordelia’s Locket, or sample an award-winning cocktail at The Salted Vine Kitchen and Bar in downtown Squamish.
No matter what side of the Salish Sea you steer for—Metro Vancouver or Vancouver Island—you’ll find Mother Nature primed for hospitality. In Victoria, photographers swoon over the self-guided Cherry Blossom Trail and the small-but-spectacular historical gardens spread across the city, including the HCP gardens, Abkhazi Garden, Hatley Park gardens, and Government House gardens. And in Vancouver, the tiny, perfect Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden and UBC Nitobe Memorial Garden deliver peak beauty by Easter. The epicurious can literally eat their way through spring, thanks to the growth of local foraging tours such as the ones offered at Deerholme Farm and Eat Wild, and long table dinners featuring highly seasonal and hyper-local offerings such as Pacific spot prawns. And with so many nearby garden farms to rely on, the innovative chefs at top-tier inns like the Oak Bay Beach Hotel Victoria or the Seaside Hotel Vancouver can be trusted to bring the very best of the season to your plate.
Driving the Scenic 7 highway is one long exhale out of Vancouver and into the bucolic beauty of the Harrison River Valley. Gather the crew at The Lodge on Harrison Lake and rent an e-bike from Harrison EcoTours to explore the Circle Farm Tour on two wheels, highlighting the artisanal glories of the region, including locally crafted cheese, honey, coffee, and ceramics. Or, head to the Sandpiper Resort—home to romantic Rowena’s Inn on the River—for a weekend of good food and great golfing on one of BC’s most scenic greens. Bonus activity: grab a souvenir selfie with “Hot Spring Harry” himself on the Sasquatch Trail (note: a larger Museum and Visitor Centre is currently in the works). More fun than fact—the self-guided route nods to local fascination with the elusive creature that has great cultural significance to the Sts’ailes people, who refer to the spirited being as sa:sq’ets.
Let nature take the wheel is the truth-in-advertising tagline for the Spirit Loop, Vancouver Island’s newest circle route connecting Langford, Sooke, Port Renfrew, and the Malahat. A sweet spot for the Birkenstocks-and-mountain bike crowd, the forest-lined route boasts exhilarating views—don’t miss the Malahat Skywalk—and offers all manner of outdoor pursuits including camping, fishing, hiking, and surfing. Not keen to sleep under the stars? The Prestige Hotel Sooke is a great base for day-hikes in beautiful East Sooke Park (and features an on-site spa should tired muscles require it). And a peaceful night at the Wild Renfrew cottages in Port Renfrew will set you up for a busy day exploring nearby Juan de Fuca Provincial Park. Fuel up for your drive—and catch the indie spirit of the region—at funky coffee bars like Dagwoods and elegant eateries such as Wild Mountain and Alpina, which offer seasonal menus. Head home with souvenir tipple from Sooke Oceanside Brewery and the award-winning Sheringham Distillery—their limited-edition Rhubarb Gin tastes just like spring.
Originally published in February, 2022.