Summer is just around the corner. As much as we would all love to jet set off to Hawaii, or Vegas, sometimes our finances just won’t allow it. What’s a Vancouverite to do?
Go on a staycation! You’re used to the daily grind of going to work, coming home, going out for dinner, then drinks. Yes, you know Vancouver is beautiful with our mountains and ocean, but when was the last time you actually saw Vancouver?
You may know Steveston as the place for fish and chips (check out Pajo’s), and amazing ice cream, frozen yogurt, or gelato (check out Timothy’s Frozen Yogurt), but there is so much more to Steveston than that. The village is home to one of Canada’s largest fishing fleets, with 600 vessels, you will always find fresh seafood for sale off the wharf. The Steveston Fish Market is open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
When was the last time you flew a kite? Steveston has one of the best parks to do just that! Garry Point Park has a great breeze coming in from the sea, and also has 75 acres for you to master your kite flying skills. The park also features a Japanese style garden, 2-km hike path, sandy beach access and also a historic moorage facility to explore.
If you have time, check out the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site. It was built in 1894, and was the largest building of its kind at the time. There are interactive exhibits and guided tours. The site is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Also, check out the Britannia Heritage Shipyard. The society restores ships to help promote West Coast marine history. Its park-like setting is great for some amazing photography.
You know Grouse Mountain as the local ski hill that is 15 minutes from downtown Vancouver. You also know about the Grouse Grind, aka “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster.” But have you ever visited Grouse in the summer time? Take a trip up to the Eye of the Wind, it is the world’s only wind turbine that has a viewing pod. Its 360 degree visibility allows you to see Vancouver like never before.
Wolves, owls and bears, oh my! Check out the Wildlife Refuge on the mountain to learn more about the animals, and also their natural habitat.
Like Whistler, Grouse also has a five-line zipline tour. You can book all five lines, or you can book a three-line tour.
If you’re looking to splurge, Grouse also offers heli-tours and paragliding. For more economical options, you can take a ride on the chairlifts or opt for eco tours.
You can find more information about Grouse Mountain activities here.
Did you know there are two suspension bridges in Vancouver? Both have more to offer than just a sketchy looking bridge.
Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is a free suspension bridge in Lynn Valley. It is 50 metres above the water, with views of waterfalls, and deep water pools. Once you cross the nerve-wracking bridge, you will come across Twin Falls. If you don’t want to cross the suspension bridge, Twin Falls is also accessible by the Baden Powell Trail. There are some great spots for picnics and swimming at Twin Falls.
If you’re looking for a hike before the dip, 30-Foot Pool is for you. The pool is accessible from Lynn Valley Road, over Pipe Bridge, and down some stairs. The hike has a great view of 30-Foot Pool and its surroundings.
There’s also Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver. It’s open from 8:30am to 8pm daily, there is also a shuttle service from downtown. Admission is $34.95 for adults, but if you are a B.C. resident, the annual admission pass is the same price. So you can pay once and go year round! In addition to the suspension bridge, admission also includes Cliffwalk, a tiny trail that juts out from a granite cliff, Treetop adventures, The Living Forest and much more.
Learn more about Capilano Suspension Bridge activities here.
Twenty minutes from Horseshoe Bay, Bowen Island is a quick getaway from Vancouver. There are various beaches to relax on, calm waters to kayak through and trails to hike up and explore. There are also artisan gift shops, cafés, restaurants and pubs to hang out at. There are also Bed and Breakfasts on the island if you want to explore the island for a couple of days.
Cultus Lake has a great campground with access to the beach. You can golf, visit the waterslides, and swim and waterski in the warm freshwater lake. There are trails for horseback riding and logging roads for ATVing.
If you want to go camping over the weekend, make sure you make a reservation! Cultus Lake is one of the most popular campgrounds in the Lower Mainland.
Squamish is where you stop for breakfast on your way to Whistler. Why not make Squamish your destination this summer? Most of you know about the Stawamus Chief. It’s a nice hike, with an amazing view at the top. But if you’re looking for something that’s more adrenalin-inducing, you’re in for a treat! The Squamish River is great for water sports for all levels. You can go canoeing, kayaking or white-water rafting. You can also go wind and kite-surfing at the Squamish Spit at the mouth of the Squamish River, or standup paddle at Alice Lake.
If water sports are not your thing, Squamish is also rated as one of the top 25 wildest and most exotic place to ride, with trails for mountain bikers of all levels. With numerous logging roads in the area, it is also a playground for dirt bikers. There are also trails for horseback riding, a beautiful golf course, or if you’re looking for a relaxing day, check out the guided tours.
What’s your favourite activity for a Vancouver staycation?
Connect with Michelle on Twitter: @michelle_au
Photo credit: Raul Pacheco-Vega (first image), fujitariuji (second image), Capilano Bridge (third image), Bowen Island Municipality (fourth image), Cultus Lake (fifth image), Tourism Squamish (sixth image)