You don’t need to go far from Vancouver to experience something out-of-the-ordinary. The province offers many distinct locations that each offer exciting activities for a quick romantic weekend away. Whether it’s taking a wine tour and surfing in the ocean in December or going whale watching off the coast. All are great ideas for Vancouver locals looking for a weekend away together or people visiting with a few extra days on their itinerary.
All experiences are within 300 km of Vancouver, BC. You can easily drive, take a seaplane or go on a ferry. Either way is very scenic, from going over the Georgia Straight to Vancouver Island or driving through the mountains towards BC’s wine country.
So book a weekend away with your boo, escape the hustle and bustle of the city and experience what else BC has to offer. Don’t think you need to travel far to get a sense of discovery. Here are three experiences to try out all year round (or for a Valentine’s Day weekend) at some of trivago’s top-rated hotels that are sure to make your experience even more memorable.
Never Have I Ever… Gone Surfing in December
Long Beach Lodge Resort
283 km from Vancouver in Tofino
Where: On the western shores of Canada, lies the town of Tofino. A place of dreams, starry nights, endless waves and West Coast culture. Located on the oh-so-majestic Vancouver Island, this oasis is just about as close to paradise as one could possibly get. You can see why many locals are from elsewhere, coming for a vacation and then never leaving.
Stay: Relax and enjoy the coziness at the Long Beach Lodge Resort on Cox Bay Beach. Cozy, pet-friendly, and a great place to stay if you’re a fan of board games by the fire. It’s literally on the beach. You can even book a room with a view of surfers and the ocean. They serve up local spirits, beers, and ingredients in their dishes. Enjoy all of this with an amazing view of Cox Bay Beach while dining.
Photos left and centre are courtesy of the author
The lodge has 41 lodge rooms and 20 cottages, located on eight acres of oceanfront property on the beautiful beach of Cox Bay, just seven kilometres south of Tofino. It’s a popular surfing spot with pretty amazing views. Ask for a room that faces the beach, so you can watch surfers from the comfort of your bed. Absolute heaven!
In reality, you don’t really need to leave the lodge. Some people don’t all weekend. You can surf right there, their restaurant and bar are fantastic and you can easily hike around the area.
Do: Carve out time for what is the equivalent of going to church in Tofino. You can surf year-round, water is relatively warm (after squeezing into a top to bottom wetsuit) and it’s a great place for both beginners and pros. The hotel can set up surfing lessons for you at The Surf Club, located at Long Beach Lodge. It can be one of the most fun two-and-a-half hours of your life. You might even walk away with that ever-longing lust to hit the surf again!
Never Have I Ever… Explored the Desert in BC
Watermark Beach Resort
297 km from Vancouver in Osoyoos
Where: If you’re not familiar with the province of British Columbia, you may not know that it houses Canada’s only desert! It’s beautiful, with rolling hills and filled with wineries and lakes. Take a trip to Osoyoos for a quick mini-moon. Astride the 49th parallel runs the unique pocket desert of Osoyoos, a sunny lakeside town full of wineries, beaches, and really good food. What more could you want?
Osoyoos is a small town with a quirky character. It has the province’s warmest lake and hundreds of wineries nearby. Osoyoos means “the place where two lakes meet,” and the water is the spot all summer, for Sea-Doos, stand-up paddle-boards, and beachside blankets.
Stay: Book a room at the Watermark Beach Resort right on Osoyoos Lake. The pet-friendly resort has 123 suites (studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom penthouse suites) and 30 spacious beachfront villas, all with air conditioning, private balconies and fully-equipped kitchenettes. It sits at the foot of Main Street with a mix of cityscape rooms and (infinitely preferable) lake-facing townhouses.
The lakeside resort’s amenities include the award-winning Restaurant at Watermark, hot tubs, steam rooms, an outdoor heated pool, waterslide, spa, onsite wellness team and facilities, Yoga, Pilates, SUP and more.
Do: The wine country is divided up into two benches – Golden Mile and Black Sage – depending on what side of the lake you’re on. On Golden Mile, the vines get the sun as it’s rising, and on Black Sage, the vines get the sun as it’s setting, so it changes the composure of the soil and grapes, even though they’re so close to each other.
Tour the local wineries (Road 13, Tinhorn Creek and Covert Farms are some favourites), grab lunch at Miradoro and pick up some local fruit at the many orchard stands.
Never Have I Ever… Gone Whale Watching
114 km from Vancouver in Victoria
Where: Victoria is the capital of BC so it’s also home to our provincial government HQs. With Queen Victoria as its namesake, you can expect an element of British charm. Whether it’s the famed gardens throughout the whole city or the lovely cobblestoned alleyways, it’s got that Brit vibe while also being home to a thriving multicultural scene (its Chinatown is the first one in all of Canada.)
Take the seaplane over to Victoria. From stunning views of Vancouver on take-off to coastal views on the 30-minute trip to Victoria, I bet you’ll be enthralled the whole time. And there’s something about travelling in a seaplane that some people find very soothing! Again, all around the trip is half an hour which sure beats the hours-long journey on the ferry.
Stay: Book a room at the Magnolia Hotel, located right in the centre of downtown. It’s close to everything but because it’s tucked up on Courtney Street, you feel like you have a little sanctuary in town. Be impressed by their stunning decor, their beautiful views of the harbour and city, their pillow-like beds and serious attention to detail. Take their city guides for instance – they take on the work of planning out themed itineraries for their guests so that they can have the best possible experience in Victoria.Book It In »
Meet some of the other top-rated hotels across Canada…
Do: Catch a whale watching tour right in the harbour of Victoria. Majestic mammals and marine wildlife abound in the waters surrounding Victoria, including the orca, or killer whale, and gray, humpback, and minke whales. Other aquatic neighbours include sea lions, seals, porpoise and many marine birds. There are three orca pods totalling over 80 whales in Victoria’s waters alone.
Cruise with local certified naturalists and experts for a guided marine adventure to discover, observe and learn about these enchanting creatures up-close. Most voyages include a trip to Race Rocks Ecological Reserve, the southernmost part of Vancouver Island (and Canada’s West) on the Pacific coast. The reserve is Canada’s first Marine Protected Area and home to an abundance of rare marine life.
Can’t make it out of the city? These one-of-a-kind Vancouver stays might be your Date Night match…
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So what do you think? Any of these catch your sense of adventure? Which one will you start with first?