From soaking in outdoor baths to building a gingerbread house with Mrs. Claus, we’ve rounded up the best activities to experience this season—right in your own backyard

It’s easy to get swept up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Between work parties, annual gift exchanges and all manner of family commitments, we’re left with little time to relax. To make the most of that precious time, why not explore some of the awesome winter activities happening all around the province? We’ve rounded up five of the best ways to experience the season, so jump in the car (leaving a little extra time to navigate through winter road conditions), grab your BCAA membership to make the most of the discounts and deals that come with it and explore beautiful B.C.

1. Vancouver Christmas Market — Until Monday, December 24

6Lindsay Elliott, courtesy of Vancouver Christmas MarketStroll through a European-inspired market complete with a German feast of sausages, a delightful pasta-esque dish called spätzle and many more delicious options. Consider taking public transit or a cab, or bringing along a designated driver. That way, you can shop for unique gifts or take a ride on the glittering Christmas carousel with a glass of hot mulled wine in hand (yes, the market is licensed, and, yes, shopping with a buzz will make you a more generous person). BCAA members get a free Fast Pass ($5 value) with each ticket purchased.
Jack Poole Plaza, 1055 Canada Place, Vancouver; 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. (6 p.m. on December 24); Tickets online

2. Canyon Lights Festival — Until Sunday, January 27

1Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Experience the magic of the Capilano Suspension Bridge this winter during the Canyon Lights Festival, when the entire park is adorned with hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights. Explore a series of seven bridges suspended between eight 250-year-old Douglas firs, go on a Snowy Owl Prowl or decorate gingerbread cookies while singing carols along with the park’s holiday band. BCAA members save 10 percent off the retail price of one-day adult and senior passes.
Capilano Suspension Bridge, 3735 Capilano Road, North Vancouver; 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Tickets online

3. Kicking Horse Mountain Resort — Until Sunday, April 14

7Dave Best, courtesy Kicking Horse Mountain ResortSkiing at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is a great way to avoid the lines at the local hills near Vancouver, and a fun chance to explore the Kootenay Rockies region. Kicking Horse is a family-friendly resort that offers challenging runs for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities, just four hours from Kelowna. It’s also considered the champagne powder capital of Canada and boasts the highest elevation dining experience in the country. Plus, your BCAA membership can get you up to 20 percent off regular-priced adult one- and two-day lift tickets.
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, 1500 Kicking Horse Trail, Golden; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily; From $35.95

4. Sun Peaks Resort — Until Sunday, April 14

3Kelly Funk, courtesy Sun Peaks Resort

Downhill skiing, cross country skiing and snowboarding are all great ways to take advantage of the winter weather, but there’s something magical about exploring the great, snow-covered outdoors slowly and quietly. Try snowshoeing at Sun Peaks Resort in the Thompson Okanagan region, where you can create your own adventure while exploring the extensive snowshoe trail system. Pack a thermos of hot chocolate (possibly spiked with a little peppermint Schnapps) and some cold weather snacks and explore the mountain terrain, identifying animal tracks and spotting birds along the way. Remember to dress warmly. The savings really add up at Sun Peaks: BCAA members can save 20 percent on both one-day Peaks Snow Cards and midweek accommodations at the Sun Peaks Grand Hotel.
Sun Peaks Resort, 1280 Alpine Road, Sun Peaks; 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; From $15

5. Scandinave Spa Whistler — Open daily

5Justa Jeskova, courtesy of Scandinave Spa Whistler

Indulge in traditional Scandinavian hydrotherapy in a stunning mountain setting, or treat yourself to a massage and receive access to the baths and a complimentary robe rental. Wash away the holiday season stress that’s causing all that tension in your neck and back as you enjoy the ancient benefits of hydrotherapy, involving hot and cold pools and rejuvenating rest periods in between. If you’re a BCAA member, you can snag 15 percent off bath access and 10 percent off the massage and bath combo package.
Scandinave Spa, 8010 Mons Road, Whistler; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; From $79; 19+ only

With so many great ways to explore B.C. this winter, there’s no excuse for watching It’s A Wonderful Life three times in two weeks. Make sure your vehicle is winter ready and then hit the road. And don’t forget to show your BCAA member card for discounts on everything from mine museum admission to lift tickets and everything in between. At less than $7 per month, it’s truly the best gift you can give (or keep for yourself—no one’s judging here!) this season.