Things To Do
5 Urban Alternatives to Hot Springs in BC
Yearning for the warmth of a hot spring? Here are urban options that deliver a similar communal atmosphere.
Road trips are usually punctuated by diner stops—homey, convivial greasy spoons that fuel the tank for the road ahead. But what if a diner was itself a destination, and cheap and cheerful weren’t the only criterion for on-the-road eats? These five options, near Vancouver, may encourage you to get it in gear.
Chicken and waffles, sure—but chicken and tacos? Mag’s 99 offers the best of both worlds with an inspired blend of fried goodness alongside Mexican standards. The hard-to-miss yellow-and-red building, with its tongue-in-cheek signage, is not your average roadside stop; Mag’s no-fuss menu promises classic fried chicken served with traditional sides, and hearty burritos stuffed with ancho pork, beef, and chorizo. Chefs serve up generous portions of each, best enjoyed in a booth that is all the colours of Mexico.
Must-Try: The herb-and-spice Mexican-style rotisserie chicken burrito
Location: 1584 BC-99 (Highway 99)
Pemberton’s rugged mountain landscapes have long drawn adventurists, not to mention those who are hungry for local eats. Mile One (signalling the beginning or end of a journey) is just the spot to fuel outdoor play, thanks to hearty comfort food that showcases the region’s ranchers, farmers, brewers, and distillers. The Natural Beef Burger Collection (eight in all), topped with everything from local cheese curds to red-wine-soaked apples, will make any burger fan swoon, while an impressive selection of carbs, including inventive mac ‘n’ cheese and poutine offerings, prove ideal pre- or post-hike. And you can pair your meal with Persephone Brewing Company’s Keller Pilsner, a local favourite.
Must-Try: The Hillbilly Deluxe Burger, layered with elk chorizo from Two Rivers Specialty Meats and Blue Buck Beer-braised onions, served on a house-baked buttermilk bun
Location: #7-7330 Arbutus Street (beside the clock tower)
“I fly for pie” is a favoured motto for the pilots who navigate Langley’s airspace—it’s a common sight, in fact, to see uniformed crew at the Airport Coffee Shop stopping for slice, or picking up precious cargo for the return flight. The pie here is so good, and plentiful, that choosing is difficult: blackberry peach, sour cream lemon, and chocolate pecan all tempt. The Airport Coffee Shop serves breakfast and lunch, too, but it’s the pie—a rotating lineup of more than 60 flavours—that will make you fly. Or drive.
Must-Try: The dense, delicious chocolate Mud Pie, perfect for sharing
Location: 5333 216 St #3, Langley
If it’s tough finding a parking space at a roadside eatery, chances are the food is good. Case in point: the Hope Drive In, where attentive, friendly staff make you feel at home, and proprietor Gord Younie engages in spirited conversation with customers. Here, an all-day menu covers the bases, and generous portions satisfy the heartiest appetite, with everything from fluffy pancakes and omelettes to beef dip sandwiches and soups thick with vegetables.
Must-Try: Kick it old school with a double-stack burger, fries, and a thick chocolate milkshake
Location: 590 Old Hope Princeton Way, off Highway 1
The Mighty Fraser Motel in Boston Bar houses an unexpected gem: Fat Jack’s Diner & Pub. In this tiny Fraser Canyon town, Fat Jack’s is home to Chef Todd Baiden, a former Vancouverite who traded in the bright lights for a more subdued landscape. Here, Baiden nimbly blends familiar dishes (chocolate chip pancakes and braised brisket sandwiches) with unexpected plates (spicy grilled pork chops with apple sauce jus and “killer” hanger steaks), plucking ingredients from the diner’s own garden. Be warned: The food is so good, you might be tempted to stay the night.
Must-Try: Cornmeal-crusted chicken and Belgian-style waffles, served with hot sauce and syrup
Location: 50865 Trans Canada Highway
Don’t want to leave the city? Pull up a chair at this new Vancouver hot spot:
Road-worthy adventurists can start their engines in Vancouver at the Fable Diner, the latest offering from Chef Trevor Bird, who runs the show at sister location Fable Kitchen in Kitsilano. While the addition embraces classic diner traditions (historic building location, teal-coloured banquettes), its all-day menu is decidedly modern: sausage and scrambled egg breakfast sandwiches and Benedicts with olive oil hollandaise elevate breakfast options, while double-stacked FD Burgers on housemade buns are sure-fire crowd-pleasers.
Must-Try: Roast duck pancakes with homemade kimchi for a delicious kick
Location: 151 East Broadway
Things To Do
The South Okanagan promises a mix of Indigenous experiences that offer exhilaration, culture, sophistication, and charm.
1 to 3 days / 163.13 km (101 mi)
Map and itinerary ideas for travel along the Sea-to-Sky corridor (Highway 99) from Vancouver to Pemberton just north of Whistler.
From oceanside lots to suburban spots, these campgrounds are all near Vancouver. Try Rolley Lake Provincial Park, or Burnaby Cariboo RV Park, for example.