Feature: 5 Best Hidden Travel Spots in BC

Guest Post by Claire Newell, Travel Best Bets

When we’re planning a trip, the first destinations that come to mind are the popular tropical spots. But the perfect trip may be where you least expect it, hidden under the radar in your own backyard. Sometimes the perfect getaway is only a few hours away, just waiting to be discovered.

Looking for a last-minute long weekend getaway that’s a bit closer to home? Keep an eye out for these hidden gems, located right in our beautiful province of BC.


1) Summerland

If a lakefront getaway is what you’re looking for, consider a trip to Summerland in the beautiful Okanagan. Located between Peachland and Penticton, the area is famous for its “bottleneck drive”, a system of roads connecting a large number of wineries.

Summerland is home to one of Canada’s largest wine industries, with numerous world-renowned wineries and vineyards connected along bottleneck drive. However, don’t think that this a spot that only adults can enjoy. The sandy lake beaches and Kettle Valley Steam Railway offer plenty to keep young ones entertained and happy, making it a great destination for multi-generational families.

Whether you visit Summerland for the sandy beaches, to enjoy some wine touring, or to visit the orchards, there is something fun to do for everyone in the family. You can swim the waters of Okanagan Lake and have a picnic on the beach, visit the many local art galleries, or better yet, see the work of the artists in their own studios. You can even get the whole family together to do something more active, such as hiking, or mountain biking the trails that surround the town.

The best part though, is that Summerland gets more spring and summer sunshine than anywhere else in Canada, and it stays warmer throughout the evenings compared to neighbouring cities such as Penticton. The average temperature throughout the summer months is between 17C and 21C.

My favourite place to stay is the Summerland Waterfront Resort, for its relaxed style, range of amenities, and convenience for the whole family. Soak in the sun and the views (and the wine) this Summer in this spectacular lakeside town.

Pender Island (Hello BC)

2) Pender Island

If a quiet family getaway is what you are looking for, then my recommendation is a trip to Pender Island. This island is actually one of my favourite places to visit in the province. It serves as a beautiful and welcomed break from city life with easy access by BC Ferries. If you really want to maximize your stay, there are also seaplanes that can get you from Vancouver to the Gulf Islands, arriving in less than half an hour.

Pender is known for their array of outdoor activities, such as fishing, boating, scuba diving, wildlife viewing, camping, and more. The whole family can find something to enjoy in the fresh air.

If you’re staying overnight, consider heading to the South Island to Poet’s Cove Resort & Spa. The premier luxury resort of the Southern Gulf Islands, Poet’s Cove is perfect for families thanks to their private marina and villa-style accommodations. Situated on a secluded bay, this is the perfect spot to relax and take in the ocean views and sunsets.


3) Whistler

I know what you’re thinking: How is Whistler a hidden gem? But most people only think of it as a winter destination! Summer trips often get overlooked despite everything Whistler still has to offer in the off-season.

If you’re feeling adventurous, rent a bike and head up the mountain for some downhill biking, or try out ziplining through the forest. If that sounds a little too adventurous for you, bike the trails or paths around the lakes and town instead.

Another option is to explore one of the hundreds of hikes that offer breathtaking views. A popular trail heads over to the turquoise waters of Joffre Lake, but a lesser-known favourite of mine is Iceberg Lake, which can be found at the top of Skywalk Trail.

If relaxing is more your speed, there are many lakes and pools to choose from where you can do as much or as little as you want. Although you can always just hangout on the sand, younger visitors are going to love all of the water activities available. Paddleboard, sail, canoe, or float around the lakes, or join a kayak tour down the River of Golden Dreams.

I always prefer to stay close to the action of the village, where there are several hotels to choose from, such as the Delta, Westin and Hilton. From the village, there are shuttles or bike paths that lead to the lakes and trails, so you won’t ever need to pull out your car.

Savary Island

4) Savary Island

Savary Island is a beach getaway paradise, perfect for those looking for an adventure. The island is a short and frequent water taxi ride from Lund, located on the Sunshine Coast. It can be bit difficult to get to if you are coming from Vancouver, but once you’re there, you’ll see why it’s worth the trip – especially when the more accessible islands are in peak tourist season during the summer months.

Savary Island offers gleaming white sand beaches and stunning ocean and mountain views. But most amazingly, due to the warm southern tide, it also offers the warmest water north of Mexico.

There are plenty of cabin rentals, but if you’re looking for a hotel check out the Savary Island Resort. The resort offers modern suits that are only steps away from the beach. Consider heading over during Savary Stock, a local music festival that’s fun for all ages!

This is an amazing getaway if you’re trying to get your children off their devices and spend some quality family time outdoors, as the island is only powered by generators. The only cars on the island are owned by the locals, so most visitors get around by bike. Be prepared for some exercise, and remember to check if your cabin rental has a generator or propane for you!

Radium Hot Springs

5) Radium Hot Springs

Radium Hot Springs (also known as just Radium) is a village of under 1,000 residents, located in the East Kootenays, just an hour away from Banff. Located on the “warm side of the Canadian Rockies”, it’s a small town that is big on hospitality and old-fashioned charm.

Here you’ll find the Purcell and Rocky Mountain ranges, as well as national parks, wildlife, horseback riding, golf courses and of course, the natural mineral pools. The odourless hot springs are surrounded by natural rock walls, so you really can’t miss relaxing in these gorgeous natural thermal pools that are rejuvenating in every sense of the word.

Hopefully these beautiful BC destinations give you some inspiration for a quick-and-easy family getaway. The bonus of closeby vacations is that you can take more than one!

Check out the May/June 2018 issue of WestCoast Families Magazine for more spring fun, available on stands at a location near you, or online here.