Autumn is the best time of the year to get out of the city.
The weather is cooler (but still gorgeous), the province’s forests are a mosaic of orange, red and gold, and there are fewer crowds. That means more fun for those of us who are already missing summer.
When the hustle and bustle of the season makes you need some down time, check out these six fall escapes.
If you’re only away for the weekend, you might not want to spend hours getting to your destination. Thankfully, this local gem is only a 20-minute ferry ride away. Bowen Island is an outdoor adventurer’s dream, with hiking, kayaking and boating opportunities around every corner. This autumn, visit Applefest on October 9 at Heritage Orchard, or buy your ticket for the Bowen Island Wine Festival, happening October 27.
For a journey that’s just as beautiful as the destination, skip Whistler and drive through the Pemberton Valley, located just north of the famous ski town. Along this route, you’ll see beautiful views of the landscape while driving past forests of red, orange, and yellow fall leaves. This is the perfect getaway for avid hikers, as you can visit Joffre Lakes, Keyhole Hot Springs, and Nairn Falls before winter arrives, as well hike the trails in and around Garibaldi Lake. We recommend staying at the quaint Sweetwater Lane Farm BnB.
Thinking about escaping not only Vancouver, but our entire country? Take a star spangled road trip down to Portland. People often compare these two cities, but there are a few things Portland has that Vancity doesn’t. That includes a growing youth population, bars open late and a vibrant visual arts scene. Make sure to visit Voodoo Doughnut, a local favourite, and sip on craft beers made from the autumn hops harvest at any of the breweries in town.
If you want to see gorgeous fall colours, there’s no better route than into the Rockies. Instead of visiting Banff and Jasper, drive down to Kootenay National Park. Treat yourself to a hike along the Rockwall Trail, which is named after a 900 metre-tall limestone wall that looms above parts of it. Routes range from four hours to several days, so choose the path that best fits your schedule. With fewer visitors this time of year, the wildlife is more likely to come out to play. Keep your eyes peeled for elk, bighorn sheep and moose.
Ask a Tofino local what their favourite time of year is and chances are they’ll say autumn. This fishing and surfing town on the west coast of Vancouver Island is a hotpot for tourists all year round, but the fall lends the town a unique laid-back vibe. Get out on the water to catch the last of the grey whales as they migrate south for the winter, or plan your trip around October’s Queen of the Peak, the premiere all-female surf championship in Canada. Looking to meet some locals? Hang out at the Tofino Brewing Co. and try their famous Tuff Session Ale — it’s totally mellow.
The Sunshine Coast is a classic escape for Vancouverites who want to get away without trekking too far off course. Simply hop on a ferry and drive north to Pender Harbour, a collection of coves and bays east of the Malaspina Strait. With a population of under 3,000, Pender Harbour is perfect for a quiet, relaxing getaway from the stresses of city life.