Find new adventured in BC cities this fall.
Hear that sound? British Columbia is throwing open the doors—at work, at home, at school—and the hinges are still a little creaky. Perhaps you can relate.
Mired for months in pandemic-driven ruts and routines, we’re all a little stiff in body and spirit. But with vaccination rates on the rise and leaves beginning to fall, there couldn’t be a better time to shake things loose with a quick and quirky city getaway. Because no matter how well you think you know BC, there’s still so much to be surprised by—and who couldn’t use a dose of curiosity and wonder these days?
So, whether your bucket list includes high-octane outdoor adventure or low-stress rest and relaxation, you’re sure to find your vacation sweet spot close to home—and be safer for it.
Note: This story was written specifically for the unique travel circumstances of 2021. Information is accurate at the time of publication; we recommend you contact businesses directly to confirm availability and familiarize yourself with their COVID policies.
There are so many ways to shake up your perspective on Vancouver Island. Get a bird’s-eye view from the island’s newest attraction, the Malahat Skywalk, offering stunning views from a 32m-high lookout over the Saanich Peninsula, Mt. Baker, and the Coast Mountains.
Hop aboard a charming Harbour Ferry for a “see-level” tour of Victoria’s picturesque Inner Harbour, cycle the city’s bike-friendly roads with The Pedaler’s self-guided tour option, or explore by car with an eco-friendly and custom-crafted tour with Alset Tours.
Foodies will get a new lens on the local culinary scene with a self-guided wander along the Greater Victoria Flavour Trails, or Off the Eaten Track’s Island Eats Passport Tour featuring chefs and restaurants from the new Island Eats cookbook launching this fall. There are even new ways to count sheep: Wind down under the stars in a yurt at Merridale Cidery, a tent at Fort Rodd Hill, or a mineral pool at the luxurious Oak Bay Beach Hotel.
In Vancouver, arts and culture aren’t confined to galleries and grand halls—sometimes they’re right there on a wall in front of you. To that end, Toonie Tours hosts a Street Art and Craft Beer Walking Tour highlighting fabulous local brews and unique outdoor murals in and around the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood.
It’s a great complement to a stay at the roguishly stylish Hotel Belmont in the downtown entertainment district, or the more refined Skwachàys Lodge—Canada’s first Indigenous Arts hotel showcasing local Indigenous art and culture in 18 one-of-a-kind guest suites.
Keep the visual vibe going with a City of Vancouver self-guided walking tour of public art installations; you’re sure to find the perfect backdrop for your holiday selfie in a nearby neighbourhood. Prefer to make your own art? Try Rockwood Adventures’ Rainforest Photography Adventure in Lighthouse Park, an intimate four-hour tour led by a professional nature photographer.
Home to YVR, Richmond is a naturally sociable city and an easy place to reconnect with family and friends. The Richmond Night Market is authentically quirky and as close to Hong Kong as you can get without hopping on a plane—except, perhaps, for the excellent eateries along the Dumpling Trail, cited by CNN Travel as one of the world’s “most enticing food and drink trails.”
Work off the nosh with a self-guided wander along Richmond’s Bird Trail. Fall is a prime season for bird-watching from land or sea: Richmond’s scenic dykes are easy to hike and bike, and Vancouver Whale Watch’s Wildlife Spectacular offers a novel way to view migrating birds.
Round out a family day-trip with a visit to the pumpkin patch at Richmond Country Farms or the Terra Nova Adventure Play Environment, a unique (and free!) play experience designed to bolster connection with nature.
Staying longer? Check out the Panda Pod, a centrally located high-end hostel-style hotel promising considerable comfort at a great rate.
You already know fall is grape-harvest season and an ideal time to visit the globally acclaimed wineries around Kelowna and the central Okanagan. But did you know the phrase “wine flight” now has a whole new meaning? Travel to your tastings in style with Valhalla Helicopters on their unique half- or full-day tours that combine sight-seeing with sip-stops at select local wineries.
Or, enjoy the view from the ground and rent an e-bike, with stops along the way at wineries, cideries, distilleries and popular brew pubs such as Rustic Reel, Vice and Virtue, Jackknife Brewing, and the recently launched English eatery Welton Arms.
And while no visit to Kelowna is complete with some quality time on Okanagan Lake, there’s a new way to spend time on the water: Moccasin Trails offers an insightful tour featuring story-telling and a visit to the Indigenous World Winery—Canada’s only 100-per-cent-Indigenous-owned winery.
Bunk down at the new Hotel Zed in downtown Kelowna: with free roller skates, free bikes, and free VW shuttle vans, it’s the fun-and-friendly offspring of Schitt’s Creek’s Rosebud Motel and Herbie the Love Bug.