At the start of the year, all most of us could think about were carefree summer days (and what destination we would visit next on vacation).
While things have turned out slightly different than we imagined, with Canadians advised to avoid non-essential travel outside the country, we’re using this time to get creative when it comes to adventuring within BC.
Since the end of summer is near, we’ve created a bucket list of destinations to visit and experiences to enjoy across the Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver. Whether you choose to spend an afternoon soaking up new scenery or sleep in serenity with a staycation, there’s something to inspire you.
Get on the water and explore sunflower fields in Chilliwack
Is your dad’s old “gon’ fishing” sign collecting dust? The largest freshwater species in North and South America, the White Sturgeon, calls the majestic Fraser River home. Book a guided fishing adventure with one of Chilliwack’s amazing fishing guides to catch and release the dinosaur of the river yourself.
This summer, the Chilliwack Sunflower Festival is back with more than 25 different varieties of sunflowers, over 50 kinds of dahlias, and colourful gladiolas galore. With your tickets at the ready, spend time roaming around three kilometres of lush fields, taking plenty of Instagram snaps along the way.
Channel your adventurous side in Burnaby
Adrenaline seekers have endless options for thrill rides in Burnaby’s Deer Lake Park as kayaks, rowboats, canoes, and pedal boats are all available for rent. To bike (for free) on the world’s largest and only outdoor wood pump track, bring your wheels down to the Mountain Air Bike Skills Park.
Later, enjoy fine dining in a spacious setting at Hart House or the new Time & Place restaurant. Alternatively, for something quick to take home, visit Cioffi’s for Italian delicacies or Chez Christophe for freshly-baked macrons.
Find a new appreciation for entertainment in Abbotsford
Foodies, the Fraser Valley’s first jungle lounge is popping up at Woodbridge Ponds in Abbotsford. Indulge in delicious charcuterie and drinks from Ripples Winery and New Wave Distilling at the Secret Garden Cabana Series on August 28. You can take advantage of a promotional deal on an overnight hotel stay, too.
An Abbotsford family favourite, Taves Family Farms have opened their new hard cidery where you can stop by for a flight of locally-made drinks. Make sure you save enough time to wander through the apple orchards, cuddle some cute goats, and snap a picture in the Instagram-worthy sunflower patch.
For a completely different bucket list activity, snap up a ticket for Goat Yoga, Sip & Sunflowers at Maan Farms. Warning: things might get hairy (literally).
Discover Richmond’s wildlife and arts scene
Richmond is easily accessible from Vancouver, but when you’re there, the rich culture and unique excursions will make you feel like you’re a million miles away. Here, you can cross whale watching off your bucket list with a tour led by Vancouver Whale Watch or Steveston Seabreeze Adventures. Daily excursions offer the chance to see majestic humpback whales and orcas in our local waters.
Art aficionados can look forward to the 2020 Grand Prix of Art taking place at Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site on August 29, and virtually online. Artists will be positioned around the historic site (with their easels set up) as they embark on the three-hour art race.
Reinvent date night in Langley
While you may not be able to visit Europe or New York this summer, you can feel as though you’re transported there — with some West Coast flair — at Fort Langley’s new wine and tapas spot, The Bench Wine Bar. Find a table on the expansive patio, order some charcuterie or burrata, and sip in the sun.
Tired of having date night at home? Instead, spend the evening at Metro Vancouver’s only drive-in movie theatre, Twilight Drive-In. You can watch anything from one to three movies from your vehicle with snacks on standby. Pro tip: Book your tickets online ahead of time.
Another adventurous option is to take in picturesque views on horseback during a two-hour guided ride along the Campbell Valley Park trails with Glen Valley Stables.
To discover even more local gems near Vancouver as you plan a day trip or staycation, visit the websites for Tourism Abbotsford, Tourism Burnaby, Tourism Langley, Tourism Richmond, and Tourism Chilliwack.