Here in BC, we love our winter weather – skiing the slopes of our local hills, tossing snowballs and building snowmen in our front yards, and warming up with hot cocoa on chilly evenings. But as the snow melts and we head into March, most of us are ready to feel the sun on our faces once more.
By the time the winter weather begins to warm, families are in a frenzy to find some fun in the sun, but figuring out where to go can be a challenge. While your friends are travelling to the top hot spots this spring, escape the crazy crowds and inflated prices and head to these warm-weather getaway destinations instead.
TOP BC GETAWAY: VICTORIA
WHERE TO GO INSTEAD: PARKSVILLE
Featuring harbour views, quaint shops, and a diverse range of dining options, BC’s capital city is a popular place for Lower Mainland locals looking for a close-to-home getaway. But just over a two hour’s drive from Victoria’s Swartz Bay ferry terminal (or only 30 minutes from Nanaimo), you’ll find the city of Parksville.
There’s so much family fun to enjoy in and around the Parksville area. Gaze at the “goats on a roof” at the Coombs Old Country Market, take a hike through Cathedral Grove (located in MacMillan Provincial Park), which boasts an accessible collection of the biggest and oldest Douglas firs in Canada, creep through the caves at Horne Lake Caves, or simply stroll along the endless sand beaches during low tide and enjoy the wonderful West Coast views.
TOP US GETAWAY: LOS ANGELES, CA
WHERE TO GO INSTEAD: VENTURA, CA
Drawn by Disney, many families opt for LA when visiting the US, but there are so many beautiful beachfront getaways along the coast of California that provide fun for the whole family – and for a fraction of the price.
Venture beyond LA and head to Ventura County Coast, where you can enjoy a beachy break without the big spend. Comprised of the charming towns of Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo and Port Hueneme, and only a one hour’s drive up the coast of California from LA, Ventura County Coast is a quiet oasis that is more than worth the trek.
Check out the annual Family Travel & Adventure Guide 2019 for more travel tips!
Spend a day at Ventura Harbour Village – the go-to spot for beachfront eats, where you can satisfy your sweet tooth and snap an Insta-worthy photo of the one-of-a-kind taiyaki cone from Coastal Cone Ice Cream. Take a spin on the indoor carousel, play some old-school arcade games, and shop along the boardwalk. Then, catch a wildlife cruise that takes you from Ventura Harbour to Anacapa Island, where you can spot harbour seals, dolphins, sea lions and a wide variety of whales along the way.
TOP CARIBBEAN DESTINATION: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
WHERE TO GO INSTEAD: BARBADOS
The Dominican Republic is best known for its beautiful beaches and affordable all-inclusive resorts, but if you’re looking to venture beyond the beach and truly immerse yourself in the culture and cuisine of the Caribbean, head to Barbados instead.
Barbados may be a much smaller Caribbean island, but the region has a big personality. Get a taste of the “culinary capital of the Caribbean” with a local food tour through Bridgetown with Lickrish Food Tours, where you can sample all of the Bajan dishes loved by locals, while learning about the history of the island. Explore the unique limestone caves at Harrison Caves, and then hop on a Barbados Fishing Charter tour and roam the ocean while watching locals reel in the catch of the day.
For more alternate getaway ideas to consider this Spring Break, check out our annual Family Travel & Adventure Guide, available on stands now at a location near you, or read the full guide online here.