Susie Wall, Style Expert and Media Personality
“Is there anything better than a weekend at Whistler? I never need those first few hours to decompress or unplug when I roll into our little treehouse there. And I wish I could rattle off a list of spas and relaxation lounges to duck into – but the truth is I’d rather be mountain biking trails like Gypsy Drum and Tin Pants above Lost Lake, dropping into a morning flow class at White Gold Yoga or going for a solo paddleboard at Wayside Park.
“My sister (Andrea McDonald) is a registered holistic nutritionist, so a trip to the Whistler Farmers Market pre-Sunday night dinner is such an amazing experience with her.
“And a weekend isn’t complete without modern tacos from the kid-friendly and super cool La Cantina (I highly recommend the Machu Picchu salad).
“And just a few steps away at Marketplace? The jaw-droppingly delightful 3 Singing Birds is an emporium for everything from Happy Spritz aromatherapeutic sprays and James Perse toppers to twine spools and washed linens.”
Shaun Verreault, Singer/Guitar Player, Wide Mouth Mason
“My family discovered Cultus Lake this summer. It is a little bit of a drive (a couple of hours from where we live downtown), but so worth it.
“We made straight for the Cultus Lake Water Park and were really pleased with the selection of toddler-friendly slides and play areas there, and appreciated the complimentary kid-sized life jackets. We were also impressed with the supplies they had available to rent, including big beach umbrellas and hibachis.
“When we’d had our fill of sliding, we went across the road to the Cultus Lake Adventure Park and yahoo-ed our way around the many kid-centric rides.
“To top off the day, we had dinner at the Lakeside Beach Club's patio and stopped for fresh produce at the farmers' stands along the road home. We’re planning a return trip this month and hope to make it an overnighter this time.”
Ryan Dahle, Musician, The Mounties/Limblifter/The Age of Electric
"My lady, Megan Bradfield, her family and I gather once a year on Mayne Island where her parents have a cottage.
"Our favourite hike starts at the end of Edith Point Road. We can easily spend a couple of hours exploring the three trails that lead out towards the point through cedars, Douglas firs, giant arbutuses, alders and even Garry oaks. There are views of Bennett Bay on one side and the Strait of Georgia towards Vancouver on the north side.
"Another hike I'd recommend – for its elevated views of the Gulf Islands, Vancouver Island and the Salish Sea – is in the middle of the Island up Mount Parke.
"For ice cream or coffee, we stop at the Sunny Mayne Bakery Café. For dinner, our favourite is The Groove Island Kitchen and also we always frequent The Bennett Bay Bistro at the Mayne Island Resort. It’s a beyond beautiful location and we’ve heard only great things about staying at the resort. It’s on the water and renting a kayak is easy.
"Some trip highlights over the years have been kayaking out of Dinner Bay near a small island full of seals, where we were surprised by a deer swimming in the ocean. We have witnessed Orcas playing around in Active Pass from the Miners Bay Wharf with whale-watching zodiacs crowding around them. It's also fun to check out the Mayne Island Fall Fair and Parade and The Japanese Garden."
Tyler Bancroft, Musician, Said The Whale
“Vancouver has the best backyard of any city I’ve ever been to (and I’ve been to a lot). My favourite corner of the yard is Howe Sound. It’s home to several gorgeous islands: Gambier, Bowen, Anvil, Keats, and a handful of smaller ones. It’s best explored by boat, because you can drop anchor in almost any bay and stay the night. The northerly outflow will rock you to sleep, and you’ll wake up the next morning to the sweet sounds of waves lapping and coastal birds chirping.
“If you don’t have access to a boat, there’s plenty that can be done on foot or by car. Porteau Cove campsite (book in advance), Gibsons, or Bowen Island (both ferry access) are all prime spots for blissing out with B.C.’s natural beauty, and all within an hour of the city.
“If you’re thirsty, Gibsons is home to Persephone Brewing, a great new microbrewery that has an amazing tasting room in a converted barn.
“On Bowen Island, make sure you eat at Tuscany Pizza – their pear-and-brie pizza is next-level amazing.”
Jillian Harris, Former Bachelorette and Co-host of Love It or List It Vancouver
“My favourite weekend getaway is Tofino where I love to walk my dog, Nacho, spa at the Wickaninnish, and have dinner at the Wolf in the Fog and Tacofino. I like to stay at the Pacific Sands Beach Resort townhouses and hot tub in the rain… OOHHH, I WANT TO GO NOW!!!!"
Grant Lawrence, CBC Personality
“The boating paradise of Desolation Sound has long been my go-to B.C. vacation spot. It started with a family cabin built 30+ years ago, then there was a big dip of interest during my teen years, but now I long for the place almost constantly.
“Desolation Sound is B.C.’s wild coast at its best, filled with feather, fur, and fin in the air, land, and sea. Because it's water access only, what you won't see is too many people. Show up outside of the height of the summer and chances are you won't see any people.
“In the nearby town of Lund, there is plenty to do once you kayak back to shore. Fine dining and a killer view can be found at the Laughing Oyster at Okeover Landing, whereas Nancy's Bakery, located in Lund's busy inner harbour, offers up casual breakfasts and lunches, along with her world-famous cinnamon buns.
“Nancy's is also in spitting distance of the water taxi to Savary Island, in case you feel the need to trade the warm waters and granite cliffs of Desolation Sound for our closest white sand beaches. I forgive you. Say 'hi' to Colin James while you’re there!”
Tamara Stanners (back row, left) with family and friends, Program Director, 102.7 The PEAK
“I live in Squamish, which is like a fabulous getaway in itself, but I am also absolutely blessed to have a place in one of the most beautiful places on earth on the Sunshine Coast: Pender Harbour.
“The locals call it the ‘Venice of the North’ and it is truly spectacular. It's all arbutus trees and sea stars. There are hundreds of tiny nooks and crannies only accessible by water – warm freshwater lakes with rope swings and jumping fish. One lake, Sakinaw, is actually salt water on the bottom and freshwater on top. It is the only lake of its kind on the planet, and scientists are diving deep and finding never-before-seen life forms (most of them microscopic, but still super cool).
“And then, there's Madeira Park, one of the cutest little towns ever. We love boating or kayaking over to get our groceries there and checking out their funky second-hand stores.
“Paddleboarding in front of our place is magical, so much sea life, and jumping in the ocean there is one of the most life affirming things I do. We watch boats from all over the world meander their way into the harbour from our dock while sipping cocktails.
"And then there is the beautiful, if challenging (read 3 km straight up through which I feel like dying), hike to the top of Mount Daniel. The pic above is from a couple of weeks back with some of my family and friends. The view is so worth the pain!
“There are so many exceptional places in B.C. We are the luckiest humans and we should feel so grateful to live here!”
Erin Cebula (reflected), Entertainment Producer/Reporter at ET Canada
“Tofino holds a very special place in my heart. It's where – 16 years ago – I fell in love with my husband, and where I said 'yes' to his proposal two years later. Since then, rugged and beautiful Tuff City has been our oasis; the place we unwind and reconnect. Here we wander (Chesterman Beach), eat (The Pointe at The Wickaninnish), sleep (not telling) and drink (in our hot tub) just a little too much. Yes, we've done the obligatory surf camp, storm watch and zodiac trip, but what makes this place really magical is that it gives you permission to do nothing – something I get better at every visit!”
Shawn Hook, International Recording Artist
“My favourite weekend getaway is Whistler in the summer. I love doing anything outdoors, like riding the gondola up the mountain and hiking around the trails. Also, Whistler has some of the nicest golf courses in B.C. My favourite is Nicklaus North on Green Lake. The amenities of the course are world-class and if you’re in a rush, you can take a floatplane form Coal Harbour in Vancouver directly to the golf course!
“After a round of golf, my favourite place to eat is The Bearfoot Bistro. It's French cuisine done right and the vodka tasting bar is a must. It's located in a -32°C ice room and you can sample vodka from all over the world.
“And getting to Whistler is half the fun. The Sea-to-Sky Highway is one of the prettiest drives in the province. There are plenty of spots along the road where you can stop and take the most picturesque selfie you’ve ever dreamed of.”
Mary Zilba, TV Personality/Recording Artist and Producer LadyPants Productions
Clayoquot Wilderness Resort
“Beautiful British Columbia – a place with so many special and hidden treasures to visit. We are all very lucky here to be able to just get in the car, take a floatplane or even a train to see places full of stunning beauty and country charm.
“One of my favourite weekend getaways is the stunning Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, a remote sanctuary of wilderness and five-star accommodations combined. It's a place that is only reachable by floatplane. You are whisked away to the campsite which consists of five-star cuisine, white tents filled with antiques, fluffy duvets and every amenity you can imagine.
“I personally love riding one of their many horses through rivers and unexplored land, whale-watching is spectacular and if salmon fishing is your thing, it’s like fishing in paradise.
"Clayoquot is a perfect weekend getaway and a place to renew your spirit and senses, while being at one with nature – a very special treat I like to give myself once a year.”
Todd Talbot, Host of Love It or List It Vancouver
The Sunshine Coast
“We are spoiled for choice in B.C., but one of my all-time favourite spots is the Sunshine Coast. I'm really lucky to have the best accommodations, which come with home-cooked meals and babysitting! My parents have designed and built a gorgeous house on Sergeant Bay (which you can book on airbnb), but if I didn't have that, I'd be at Rockwater Secret Cove Resort for sure.
“The Sunshine Coast is all about ocean experiences like kayaking, fishing, and paddleboarding at dusk! I'm also addicted to golf and the three courses – Sunshine Coast Golf and Country Club, Pender Harbour Golf Course, and Sechelt Golf and Country Club – are really fun (if you need a lesson, you have to find my buddy Mike Hobson!).
“We always take the incredible hike out to Smuggler Cove, which is good for all ages, and if you want to see something super cool, try the hike at Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park to see the tides. There are also a number of awesome mountain bike trails too.
Fiona Forbes, Host on Shaw TV
“My fave local weekend getaway is hands-down my aunt’s house on the West Bay of Gambier Island. It’s such a peaceful, beautiful little spot. We either sail over from Vancouver or take the water taxi, which is a quick little jaunt from Horseshoe Bay (where you can always pop into The Boathouse Restaurant for a quick little pre-trip Caesar and snacks).
“We have a great little beach that's just a stone's throw from the house with kayaks and paddleboards on the ready. The pier at the foot of the property is also a perfect diving board to jump in for a cool, refreshing swim!
“Our family tradition has always been croquet matches (usually with our coffee in hand in our PJs first thing in the morning). My favourite spot to eat? My aunt's dining table... it doesn't hurt that she’s a gourmet cook who could put Julia Child to shame!”
Tommy Europe, Celebrity Trainer
White Pine Beach
“I love to go to White Pine in Port Moody with the family to relax and enjoy the water. It makes for an amazing workout as well, as I bring a large inflatable boat, fill it with family and friends and push them with my flippers!
“Whistler is another go-to destination for me, and you can’t beat the Fairmont Chateau Whistler for accommodations and entertainment. Araxi is a must with their mouth-watering food and fabulous service.”
Sophie Lui, News Anchor, Global BC Morning News
“I love many places in B.C. – Whistler and Penticton come to mind – but Tofino is special. Every time I arrive there, I am struck by how beautiful it is. It never gets old.
“I mostly catch up on sleep when I’m there. I usually spend a lot of time walking along the beach at Cox Bay. I also like to visit the great eateries in town. Among my favourite places to eat and drink are Shelter Restaurant, Wolf in the Fog, RedCan Gourmet, and Wildside Grill. To be honest, I never feel the need to do anything in particular... other than enjoy some down time.
“One of my favourite stops in town is Habit Clothing. Tofino may be a tiny town, but Habit has great clothes and accessories and I always end up buying more than I expect when I'm there.”
Ashleigh McIvor DeMerit, 2010 Olympic Gold Medallist, Skicross (with husband Jay DeMerit, Vancouver Whitecaps Ambassador)
“The advantage to living just over an hour from what I feel is the most beautiful place in the world is that you can make every weekend a getaway weekend! I love that scenic drive up the highway; I actually think that, in itself, is therapeutic. My favourite things to do in Whistler vary from season to season, of course. I'll start with summer.
“Mountain biking has really blasted its way back onto the scene with new technology, making everything so much easier for weekend warriors (much like in skiing). If you don't own a bike, head to Fanatyk Co. and they'll set you up with a top-of-the-line rental, and point you in the right direction. Best is to start with the Lost Lake Trail system. There really is something for everyone, from the mellow cross-country ski trails, all the way up to technical rides with ladder bridges and steep descents. It's always nice to finish a ride with a dip in the lovely Lost Lake or cruise down the nice, paved Valley Trail to any of the other gorgeous beaches like Rainbow Park on a hot day.
“Once you're back in the village, the GLC (Garibaldi Lift Co.) patio is a fun place to catch up with friends and have a drink in the sun while enjoying the entertainment from the Whistler Mountain Bike Park. The bike park is a really great activity too, again, with something for everyone. My Mom enjoys the green trails – they are all rated, just like the ski trails, from green to double black diamond – and I like to remind people that the easy trails are actually easier to tackle than those on flat ground because you don't even need to think about pedaling!
“In the winter, just replace all of that mountain biking with skiing and you'll be sure to have a blast. I like to finish a day of shredding ‘pow’ with a drink at Dusty's in Creekside (if I don't have a bunch of friends already meeting me at the GLC in Whistler Village).
“As for accommodations, we have a cool place right at the base of Whistler's Creekside in Lake Placid Lodge, so we are kind of spoiled! We do rent it out here and there, but as with most Airbnb lodgings, it's sometimes tough to convince owners to host for just two nights over a weekend. Even still, there are lots of great places you can book through that platform, but be sure to check that they have the correct zoning for nightly rentals before you book.
“When it comes to hotels, my favourite place to stay is definitely the Nita Lake Lodge. I think it's one of the nicest hotels in the world, with incredibly unique, high-end finishing touches in each of the guest rooms, an elegant lounge and restaurant, and views across the pristine Nita Lake.
“f you do end up staying in a place without a pool and hot tub area, be sure to spend some time at the Scandinave Spa. It's magical.”
Nira Arora (second from left), Morning Show Host, 94.5 Virgin Radio
“I'm in love with Sparkling Hill Resort in Vernon. I went with some girlfriends for a weekend getaway a couple of months ago and I can't wait to go back. We made it a girls’ getaway spa weekend at KurSpa, but you could make it a romantic getaway or mom-and-daughter thing as well.
“I came back so refreshed and recharged – so much so that my friends thought I had work done. (I didn't, I swear!) The seven sauna and steam rooms were amazing and walking around in a robe for two days is incredibly relaxing.
“We ate at PeakFine, the restaurant at the resort, and enjoyed all our dining experiences.
"The trails there are gorgeous so I actually was inspired to go for morning runs before my spa appointments. There are amazing farmers markets and local wineries, which completes the trip.”
Erin Ireland, Food Reporter
“One of my favourite weekend getaways is Tofino. With its epic, vast beaches and top-notch dining, it offers the best of both worlds – nature and luxury, that is. If we're going all-out, I love to stay at The Wickanninish. Never before have I experienced this kind of hospitality and charm in a hotel. The resort is located on the water and its in-house restaurant, The Pointe, offers a 240-degree view of the ocean. This is also home of one of my "top 3 meals of all-time" – the chef's tasting and wine pairing menu is worth the splurge. Also, they're dog-friendly!
“Ocean Village is my other favourite Tofino accomodation. Their A-frame huts, located just up from MacKenzie Beach, are clean, cozy and simply perfect for a relaxing getaway. A dinner in town at Kuma is a must. This family-owned company specializes in Japanese comfort food – the mayo-drizzled cabbage pancake is a must. The sake and cocktail menus are also excellent. Return home to your oceanfront hut for a walk on the shoreline, some beach campfire s'mores roasting and sunset gazing.”