5 Top Day Trips from Vancouver

Summer is right around the corner and so it is time to start planning those summer getaways, but here is the best part, I get to live where people vacation and so I don’t have to go far to plan a perfect trip. Here are some of my favourite places to escape that are just a short drive or ferry from Vancouver.

1. Squamish – 45 minute drive from Vancouver

Ok I might be a little biased here since I call Squamish home but this mountain town is the perfect getaway. Just a short 45 minute drive from Vancouver you can be in the Adventure Capital of Canada. For the daredevil in you there are incredible hikes, mountain bike trails, and of course climber routes at the tip of your finger. They also just opened up a new waterfront park so there is also access to the oceanfront. For those that are a little adventure adverse there are some incredible hidden gems in town. Great local restaurants and shops,  lakes to relax at, art exhibits, and the gondola is a must visit.

Must Do

  • Take in an epic view of the Sound: There are some pretty intense hikes in Squamish, but Murrin is one that the whole family can do – and it offers some of the most beautiful views in all of Squamish.
  • Enjoy Taco Tuesday: There are some delicious local restaurants, cafes, and breweries but one must visit is Luz Tacos. It is a very authentic spot.
  • Relax at the Lake: Cat and Alice Lake are beautiful spots, but if you want to get away from the crowds, make your way up to Levette Lake.
  • Go up the Gondola: The Sea to Sky Gondola is a must visit. There are so many different trails with incredible views of Squamish, delicious food, and activities for the whole family.

 

 

2. Whistler – 1.5 Hours from Vancouver

A little bit further up the Sea to Sky Highway is the famous Whistler Village. While it is famous for its winter skiing, you might be surprised to know that they actually get more visitors during their green seasons. I absolutely love Whistler in the summer time. From the world famous bike park, beautiful alpine hikes, gourmet restaurants, and stunning lakes to cool off on a hot day Whistler is perfect for adventure enthusiasts and families alike. I love that you can go up the gondola and explore the beautiful alpine terrain in the summer months.

Must Do

  • High Note Trail Hike: This is one of my absolute favourite hikes in all of BC. The best part is if you take the Peak Chair it takes a lot of the elevation out of the hike making it more accessible.
  • Visit Alta Lake: I love hanging out here in the summer. The park is beautiful and the mountain views are second to none
  • Sip on Sake Margaritas: I love Sushi Village, some of the best sushi I have ever tasted and it is such a  fun vibe.

3. Bowen Island – 1 Hour Ferry Ride

I love that B.C. is so connected via the ferry system that you can be on an epic adventure on an island in an hour. Bowen Island is such a charming place to visit. I love going paddle boarding or kayaking in the area – and make sure to look out for wildlife, I had a chance to swim with the seals. I love cycling around the island as well. They also have some delicious restaurants to check out.

Must Do

  • Go for a paddle: I love paddle boarding and I had so much fun going off the coast here
  • Visit the Snug: I love the fresh coffee and casual breakfast eats
  • Bowen Art Tour: Bowen is filled with incredible artists across the entire island.

4. Fraser Valley – 2 Hours From Vancouver

The beautiful Fraser Valley is located by the Coast and Cascade mountain ranges, offering lots of outdoor adventures, it is also home to the Fraser River, and lots of farmlands – which help nourish the restaurants, craft breweries, and wineries in the area. You can plan to explore the entire area by taking the Circle Farm Tour. This tour directs you to specialty farms, delicious treats, heritage sites, and other special events.

Must D0

  • Stay at the Sandpiper Resort: You will get the full R&R experience at this beautiful resort located right on the river, and if you are a golfer that is a bonus – the resort has a beautiful course. Oh and during the fall months you can spot hundreds and hundreds of eagles
  • Visit the beautiful flowers: The Laketown Flower Festival is the largest in Canada. Wonder among the tulips, lavender, and sunflowers all summer long.
  • Buzz over to Campbell’s Gold Honey Farm: learn about all things bees and honey and you have to sip some specialty honey wine.

5. Pemberton – 2.5 Hours From Vancouver

Pemberton is one of those places that is just too good to be true. Nestled at the base of the famous Mt. Currie. There is amazing hiking and biking in the area and lots of unique farm lands where you can sip local brews and visit some animals. There are also some amazing camping sites in the area, both provincial and recreational sites.

Must Do 

  • Visit North Arm Farm: The kids will absolutely love it. They can feed the animals, pick berries, and grab a bite while staring up at the beautiful mountains.
  • Sip at the Beer Farmers: I love enjoying a beer on this scenic farm
  • Enjoy an epic hike: Joffery Lakes is one of the most special hikes in B.C. visit all three glacier lakes.

We are so lucky to live in a place where every turn and trail leads to breathtaking views, epic adventures, and endless fun for the whole family. And the best part is, you don’t have to travel very far from Vancouver to experience some of the beauty this province has to offer.

Happy exploring my friends,

xo

Mia

Top ski resorts to visit in BC

It is my favourite time of the year, when the blue bird days are plenty, the snow is slushy, and you don’t need a million layers. It is time for Spring skiing. So to get you excited for the most slush-tastic time of the year I wanted to share some of my favourite ski resorts in what I consider the ski capital of Canada.

  1. Whistler Blackcomb

I may be a little biased here, because sure there could be long lift lines, and expensive lift tickets, but this is my hometown mountain, and why would I need to go anywhere else when I have this beautiful landscape just down the street. From the top of 7th Heaven you get the most incredible views of Black Tusk, and you can see some beautiful views as you ride across the Peak 2 Peak Gondola. There are 8,171 acres of accessible terrain, the largest in North America and has something for everyone (including my two year old son who absolutely loves the magic carpet).  I also love that there is unbelievable slack skiing right off piste. The best part is, the ski season extends well into May.

2. Revelstoke

It has always been a dream of mine to ski Revelstoke and this year I finally got the chance. I had always heard about the epi skiing here with the longest vertical in North America, over 1,700m, and trust me it did not disappoint. There is no shortage of snow or terrain here. One thing I really loved was that it isn’t just about the skiing, but also the culture and art. In fact, make sure you keep your eyes peeled as you ski around because ROAM( Revelstoke Outdoor Art Movement) has placed several art exhibits throughout the mountain, including my personal favourite, the MasterPISTE gallery.

3. Fernie

The highway that this ski resort sits on isn’t called Powder Highway for nothing. Fernie is known to get some of the most snow in the province, and even country. I also love that there were five different bowls to chose from, and one of the the most gorgeous views from the alpine that I could ever of imagined. Polar Peak is not for the faint of heart but maybe my favourite run ever. I also loved that 3 people ahead of us was considered a “long line.”

4. Big White

I absolutely loved this family friendly resort as well as the village around it, and there is a ton of ski in ski out options. Oh and here is the best part, the resort sees about 762cm of powder each year and it is the special champagne powder you dream of skiing. Oh and make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the beautiful snow ghosts all around the resort.  I also loved that there was something for everyone, I had a chance to try ice skating on the highest rink in BC, as well as ice climbing.

5. Sun Peaks

Canada’s second largest ski resort that has over 1,728 ha of skiable terrain spread across three mountains. It is a family friendly ski resort with small crowds and lots of options, in fact the three mountains 130 different runs are all connected. But even on a crowded day you can still find pockets of fresh powder if you know where to look – and who better to help you find the hidden powder then Olympic champ Nancy Green who offers guests an opportunity to go skiing together. And if you don’t like to ski, well why not try your hand at a snow limo that can give you a tour of the mountain.

 

 

 

 

Why you need to book a ski lodge this winter

Since I started ski touring it has always been a dream of mine to stay at a ski lodge and experience a full weekend of backcountry adventures. This winter I finally took the plunge and booked a 2 night stay at the Journeyman Lodge in the Callaghan Valley.

Location

Journeyman Lodge is located within Callaghan Valley, which is just south of Whistler. Here you will find over 9,000 hectares of terrain, sandwiched on the Lee side of Powder Highway (so you know you are going to have incredible snow). What  I really loved about this particular ski lodge was that it was easily accessible. You could either ski tour, rent cross country skis, take a snow cat, or snowmobile the 13km to the ski lodge. Being 3 months pregnant I opted for the snow cat.

The experience

We went with a group of eight and what I loved is it was a chose your own adventure. Right outside the lodge is  breathtaking mountain views and  beautiful forests with groomed cross country trails so it is easy to explore close to home. For those that are more adventurous there is endless ski touring terrain. Also a short walk from the lodge is a beautiful  wood barrel sauna situated right above the river and so you can unwind with a circuit of hot and cold plunges. On site there are two hosts to help you organize your day as well as chef that prepares delicious family styled breakfast, lunch, apres snacks, and dinner that will literally serve any dietary restriction, and the food is delicious. When it was time to head to bed, I was surprised at just how cozy our room was. Our group had the entire second floor. Each room had a double bed, with its own bathroom.

Day 1

Our first day at the lodge we had some serious skiers luck – it has been an underwhelming snow season in BC this year, but we got lucky with 50cm of fresh powder and so I knew I had to get out for a ski tour. Due to conditions we decided to stay on relative mellow terrain and set out to the north face of the mountain and stick to the trees. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky making it the absolutely perfect day, blue bird + powder. After a lap my legs were feeling the burn of pushing through the deep snow, it was back to the lodge for some fresh soup, sandwich, and hot chocolate.

From extreme sports, to a calm unwinding spot – the lodge is perfect for whatever you are looking for. In the afternoon I sat by a cozy window with the sun beaming down and read my book before delicious apres snacks were brought in.

Day 2

Another sunny and beautiful day in the mountains, today I decided to explore some of the groomed trails just outside the doorstep on my snowshoes. There is about 6km of trails right outside the lodge to explore and the terrain is quite easy to navigate. It takes you through a scenic forest that then takes you down to the river. Being up here honestly made me feel so small because everywhere you looked were giant mountain peaks.

After a morning of some exercise it was time to head back to the lodge and this time we decided to enjoy some time in the games room, complete with a ping pong table, dart board, and other board games.

As someone who has wanted to get more into backcountry skiing and experiences, but also wants to be comfortable and cozy at night – this was the perfect combination and I cannot wait to explore more of BC’s backcountry lodges.

Happy exploring my friends,

xo

Mia

 

 

 

 

 

A two week itinerary in Portugal with a toddler

When my husband and I were trying to figure out our next big family vacation we wanted to try somewhere new. We also recently have fallen in love with surfing (not that either of us are any good at it) and so we wanted to go somewhere unique where we could hit the waves – and we all know the biggest waves in the world are in Portugal so that’s where we decided to go.

No, we weren’t planning to surf the 100 foot wave, but rather take in the beauty of the Algarve, drink wine in the Duoro Valley, and take in the culture of Lisbon. But there is one thing we had to keep in mind while planning, how will we also entertain our one and a half year old?

The more research we did, we realized Portugal is actually an incredible place to take a toddler. They let you skip the line at most museums and castles, they have a lot of toddler friendly beaches and parks, and lots of delicious food.

I wanted to share our two week itinerary with you – and honestly we fell so in love with this place, it is one of the few I hope I will get to travel back to someday.

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Why Harrison Hot Springs is the best shoulder season getaway

Southern B.C. can be quite grim in the Fall. They don’t call it Raincover for nothing. I usually plan a sunny getaway this time of year, but with a toddler my free time is a little limited nowadays, so I decided to mix it up and stay local this year. I discovered my new favourite shoulder season getaway  in B.C., Harrison Hot Springs.

The reason I decided to book a getaway here was after I heard about the healing powers of hot springs, (something that was much needed this time of year when the weather is just blah). Some of the benefits include boosting circulation, pain reduction, stress relief, improve skin conditions, and detoxify.

I wanted to share my weekend getaway to Harrison Hot Springs with you

Getting there

Harrison Hot Spring’s is part of Harrison River Valley in the heart of the Fraser Valley just a short 90 minutes from Vancouver. You can get here by car, bus, boat from Vancouver, or even a float plane.

Where to stay

There is no better place to stay in Harrison Hot Springs than Harrison Hot Springs Resort. It is located along the gardens and shoreline of Harrison Lake. Walking inside you notice the rustic charm right away. I had a pet-friendly room overlooking the beautiful lake. It is also home to famous hot mineral spring pools, that come straight from the mountain pools located just a short 15 minute walk away. There are 5 pools in total both indoors and outdoors each different temperatures. I spent 4 hours in the pools and felt like a whole new person afterwards.

There are also a few on site restaurants including the infamous Copper Room. The restaurant including delicious west coast favourites, amazing live music, and a dance floor so make sure you bring your dancing shoes.

Things to do

Soak in the hot springs 

The top reason to come here is to relax and rejuvenate and soaking in mineral waters is the best way to do that

Enjoy the lake

Sure, you may not be laying out in the sunshine in November – but you cans till enjoy the beautiful lake. There is a path all around with gorgeous views of the mountain and forests that surround the area.

Take a cultural tour 

I had a chance to join a tour with St’sailes First Nations to find out more about the healing powers of the hot springs and learn about the history of Qwolts (which means land of boiling water).

Visit Sasquatch Provincial Park 

There is everything you could want in this park, beautiful waterfalls, mountain ranges, and gorgeous second growth forest.

Visit the Sasquatch Museum 

If you didn’t know, Harrison Hot Springs is known for Sasquatch and there is even a must see museum with all the history and information of this spiritual animal.

Visit Bridal Falls 

On the way to Harrison Hot Springs make sure that you stop by Bridal Falls. It is just a short walk to see the gorgeous views of the waterfalls.

Get a coffee and treat at Muddy Waters Cafe 

With views of the lake and delicious farm to table treats it is a great little stop for a quick meal in the area.

Visit Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory 

You need to stop by here for a post meal treat, and make sure you try their Sasquatch feet.

I hope this inspires you to make Harrison Hot Spring your next B.C. getaway.

xo

Mia