Unforgettable Places in BC to Restore Your Energy This Year

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Cognitive psychologists who study attention and track the negative effects that tech-infused “busyness” has on our overstimulated bodies and minds have looked to nature for a cure—and they’ve found the ideal dosage: Studies show that immersing yourself in nature for three consecutive days can drastically improve your overall well-being.

But why not feel it for yourself? Here are some unique and inspiring spots around British Columbia where you can take those few, much-needed days to retreat, recharge, and rediscover a different—less stressed and more creative—side of yourself. How’s that for something to bring home from your travels?

 

Grotto Spa at Tigh-Na-Mara | @venturewithtee

Restore Your Self: Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort, Parksville

Let Vancouver Island’s old-growth trees work their magic as you discover the healing properties of forest bathing in British Columbia. Certified forest therapy guides take you deep into the woods near Canada’s top-rated spa, the Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort on Vancouver Island, allowing its natural medicine to lower your heart rate, ease your stress, and boost your bliss. In the evening, take a soak at the resort’s Grotto Spa for the revitalizing effects of hydrotherapy before retiring to your room for some undisturbed, restorative sleep. 

Scandinave Spa Whistler | @ziggylinklater

Restore Your Serenity: Scandinave Spa, Whistler

Surrounded by soaring mountain peaks and century-old cedar trees, this Nordic-inspired outdoor spa in Whistler asks only one thing of its guests: complete silence.

Once you enter its tranquil grounds, you’ll don a cozy bathrobe and be instructed to alternate between cold and warm water immersion, known for its therapeutic effects like improving blood circulation.

Cleanse away aches and cares in the hot baths and cool waterfalls of Scandinave Spa Whistler, as you breathe in the misty mountain air. And for those extra inclined to immerse themselves, say, with a “forest bath,” consider a 45-minute walk using the robust Valley trail system that connects the spa grounds to Whistler Village, abundant with great dining options and evening activities (opting for the short $10 taxi ride home).

Hollyhock on Cortes Island | Amanda Mary Creative

Restore Your Spirit: Hollyhock, Cortes Island

Mystical Cortes Island is the ideal place to connect body and soul and develop gratitude for nature’s many offerings. Programs at this renowned learning centre focus on wellness and cultivating mindfulness, creativity, and leadership, with many options to choose from. You can take a meditative walk through the French-intensive garden filled with an abundance of vegetables that will later be harvested for your meals, which can be enjoyed by the fire or on the deck overlooking the ocean. 

Complimentary adventures with Hollyhock’s resident naturalist will beguile you with stories of the land, flora, and fauna on a guided hike through the ancient cedar rainforest or on a morning row on the Salish Sea.

Meditation sessions in Hollyhock’s cob sanctuary will help you tune in to the peaceful sounds of the forest, and morning yoga sessions are enjoyed in unique handcrafted buildings with skylights open to the towering trees above. Relax in an ocean-view hot tub, the perfect opportunity for bird, seal, and whale watching, and gain new appreciation—and healing—for all that surrounds you.

Restore Your Humility: Emerald Lake Lodge, Yoho National Park

Sleep among giants in the Canadian Rockies with a stay at Emerald Lake Lodge. On the shores of a pristine jade-coloured lake of the same name, this stunning resort is surrounded by some of the Canadian Rockies’ most impressive peaks.

Here, you’ll surround yourself in history of all scales: The lodge’s interiors hark back to a BC of a century ago, with hand-hewn timber, massive stone fireplaces, and a salvaged oak bar from a 1890s Yukon saloon; and when you step outside, find yourself in the presence of prehistory, as the lodge is situated in one of the most outstanding (and year-round accessible) wilderness settings in North America. Take a moment to be reminded of the tiny speckle you are, then retire to your room with gratitude for bearing witness to the sheer beauty of such a magical place.

 

Kerry Maguire | Free Spirit Spheres

Restore your Wild Side: Free Spirit Spheres, Qualicum Beach

In as little as 3.5 hours from Vancouver by car, you’ll find yourself at Free Spirit Spheres on Vancouver Island taking your very own retreat into very unique accommodations. Watching the world go by from one of the spherical hanging treehouses will most definitely have you thinking outside the box! As the founder says, “It’s like being in a nutshell that’s decorated like a palace. It feels like you are floating in the canopy among the sleeping birds.”

The spheres are designed to fit harmoniously into a forest setting without altering it. Of course, this means an even wilder side to the experience, should you catch yourself up there swaying in a storm! Rest assured, though, as the spheres are engineered to withstand all kinds of weather.

And while bathroom facilities are simply a composting toilet outhouse found at the base of each sphere, you can luxuriate in your own private bathhouse 50 metres away or in the shared sauna. Cozy up for a few nights suspended in the trees, listening for signs of West Coast life as you peek out your rounded window, or venture out and use this unique spot as your base from which to explore the Island.

Echo Valley Ranch & Spa | Blake Jorgenson

Restore Your Balance: Echo Valley Ranch & Spa, Jesmond

Part dude ranch, part Thai spa, Echo Valley Ranch & Spa seems, at first, like a classic rustic western experience. Then you notice the Asian-style architecture.

Indulge in a Thai massage and a cowboy campfire barbecue as east meets west in perfect balance in the Cariboo Chilcotin. This eco-friendly resort sits amidst four distinct geographic regions: Rolling grasslands, the semi-desert Fraser Canyon, the boreal forests of the Cariboo Plateau, and rugged mountains in between. With options from hiking, biking, and horseback riding, to archery and fishing, everyone will find a new passion.

The Wickaninnish Inn | @punkodelish

Restore your Fearlessness: The Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino

Cozy up and watch the sky open up from the comfort of your room, or enjoy unobstructed views of the Pacific’s rolling waves while your worries melt away at the Ancient Cedars Spa. Those ready to venture out into the elements like true PNW locals can book a storm-watching package with “The Wick,” with raingear and rubber boots in every room.

Observe nature’s forces from under the canopy of the lush rainforest nearby, like along the famed Wild Pacific Trail, before you retire back to the inn for a hot cocoa by the fireplace in the Shoreline Terrace. Don’t forget to pop your gear into the drying unit so it’s ready for your next adventure!

 

 

 

Yasodhara Ashram | Daniel Seguin

Restore Your Breath: Yasodhara Ashram, Kootenay Bay

Journey to the rugged mountains of Kootenay Bay and discover a calmer, more peaceful side of yourself by committing to a retreat in this sacred setting. Learn the selfless principles of Karma Yoga while reflecting through meditation at Yasodhara Ashram, founded by Swami Sivananda Radha more than 50 years ago. 

Guests have access to the Ashram’s many spiritual resources, including the meditation rooms, Temple of Light, an extensive library, and surrounding natural areas for contemplation and walking meditation. First-time guests can begin with a guided retreat, which ranges from 2 to 10 days, or a one-month yoga program.

Haida House | Haida Tourism

Restore Your Curiosity: Haida House, Haida Gwaii

Fly into mystical Haida Gwaii, a Northern BC archipelago home to the Haida Nation. Visit remote Haida village sites and let the healing effects of blue and green spaces wash over you on this transformative trip of a lifetime. Opt to stay at Haida House, whose unique position provides access to some of the oldest heritage sites in the area.

You will have opportunities to view traditional art (make sure to stop by the nearby Haida Heritage Centre), learn about Indigenous culture and the land from local Haida storytellers, taste local cuisine, trek through lush nature trails, comb sprawling beaches…all this to say: Enjoy some of the best Haida hospitality that the islands have to offer.

Sparkling Hill Resort | Destination Canada

Restore your Glow: Sparkling Hill Resort, Vernon

Perched on the top of Mount Royce overlooking the sparkling lakeside lights of Vernon, this giant crystal-shaped resort is home to KurSpa, which offers guests seven unique steams and saunas, an indoor saltwater pool under a Swarovski crystal starry sky (complete with underwater music), an outdoor infinity pool under an actual starry sky, and a rejuvenatingly chilly –110°C cold sauna. 

Featured image: Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park 

 

WRITTEN BY: Visnja Milidragovic

Visnja is an avid traveller, writer, and in-house content lead at DBC who's always keen to share her love of British Columbia. Whether planning her next retreat into nature or mindfully exploring her neighbourhood in East Van, she's always keen to find the next thing that inspires her and sends her heart aflutter.

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Feel the British Columbia Effect

While we may share a common search for sanctuary and a desire for revitalizing experiences that transform us, we all have our own unique wants and needs. Find the spot that calls out to you most and inspires you to take a restorative vacation in BC with this handy map.

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