This article was written and produced in partnership with Marriott. All opinions expressed within are my own.
Just like the United States, Canada’s landscape varies dramatically from the east coast to the west coast. The country’s maritime provinces have a storybook quality beauty to them and the mountains of the west coast have a majesty that’s truly breathtaking. If you’re ready for a change of scenery (I know … this isn’t how any of us expected the year to pan out), then for Canadians, a road trip in British Columbia might be just what you need. NOTE: While Canada’s borders are currently closed to American travelers (with some exceptions), Canada and the U.S. review their border closure agreement every 30 days, so that could change.
ROAD TRIPS FROM VANCOUVER
A road trip from Vancouver to British Columbia’s capital city of Victoria will take you about three hours … and that’s including the 90-minute ferry ride to Vancouver Island where the city is situated. It’s a popular getaway destination for both BC locals and Pacific Northwesterners and for good reason. Victoria is full of pretty, picturesque places for travelers to visit. Butchart Gardens, for instance, is a delightful display of colorful blooms and was named one of the world’s top 10 gardens by National Geographic. With so much to do outdoors, it’s possible to enjoy comfortable physical distancing while enjoying the best of the city – from whale watching and hiking through a rainforest to strolling the streets of downtown and taking in the colorful Victorian architecture.
Where to stay:
The Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa in Victoria surrounds guests in the natural beauty of the local area. At every turn, you’ll be reminded why you visited Victoria in the first place. With stunning views of the mountains and an 18-hole golf course designed by Jack and Steve Nicklaus, you’ll slip into relaxation mode in no time. A fitness centre and tennis courts will keep you active when you want and the spa and outdoor fire lounge are perfect when it’s time to unwind.
About an hour and a half from Vancouver is the world-class ski town of Whistler. And while it’s most well-known for skiing and snowboarding, there’s lots to do there during the summer and fall months as well. Whistler is about as outdoorsy as you can get so it’s a great destination for connecting with nature. Enjoy the lakes and parks in the area and go fishing, hiking or golfing. If your idea of adventure is a bit more extreme, Whistler delivers. You can ride the world’s highest gondola (1,430 feet above the forest) between Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain or zoom down North America’s longest zipline, which covers about a mile and is 600 feet above the Fitzsimmons Valley.
Where to stay:
The Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler welcomes guests to a hotel that has a lodge feeling with a modern touch. Despite its laidback location and rustic surroundings, the hotel experience is luxurious, from the fireplaces in the mountain view rooms and the indoor and outdoor pools to the spa and world-class dining at Grill & Vine. The hotel’s prime location and proximity to the best things to do in Whistler make it a great choice – it’s just steps from the gondolas to the ski hills and is situated right in the heart of Whistler Village.
Just over a four hour drive from Vancouver is the Okanagan Valley in southern British Columbia, one of the warmest regions in all of Canada. The climate makes this wine country, sometimes called the Napa of the North. The Okanagan Valley has three times the number of wineries than Ontario’s Niagara region. You’ll enjoy lots of vineyard tours and wine tasting here and the numerous orchards and fresh fruit stands are sure to entice you as well. But that’s not all there is to do in the Okanagan. Take some time to relax and rejuvenate at tranquil Okanagan Lake, take in the sights at Waterfront Park, check out a lavender and herb farm or squeeze in a round of golf at a picturesque course.
Where to stay:
Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort is in a gorgeous location on Okanagan Lake and is surrounded by mountains. With a 24/7 fitness centre, indoor and outdoor pools and a full-service luxury spa, you have everything you need to take care of you. When you’re ready to explore the local region, the hotel is perfectly situated for kayaking or water skiing on the lake, biking or exploring all those beautiful wineries.
Sometimes a staycation is just what you need … it provides you with a change of scenery without having to go too far from home. So if you’re itching to get away but not too far, checking into one of Vancouver’s many beautiful hotels might just give you the boost you’re looking for. And besides, Vancouver is arguably Canada’s most beautiful city so there are tons of places you’ll want to explore. From Granville Island and Stanley Park to Yaletown and Gastown, the city is jam-packed with things to see and do. Vancouver also has one of Canada’s most exciting and vibrant food scenes so be sure to check out as many local restaurants as you can.
Where to stay:
There’s no shortage of places to stay in Vancouver. The JW Marriott Parq (pictured above) is a tranquil urban oasis situated between Gastown and Yaletown. The Westin Grand puts you right in the heart of the action in the city’s entertainment district and the Residence Inn Vancouver Downtown will give you that home away from home feeling in modern studios with kitchenettes.