5 restful B.C. weekend getaways for every budget

Fall getaways are the best. Grab your rain boots, scarf and load up on carbs for those chilly mornings. Here are five B.C. destinations to consider, whether you want a budget booking, or you’ve cashed in your bank stock for a splurge.

Our list starts on the high end — because we like to dream — then moves on to budget realities during a pandemic. Prices are lower for the off season, too. Social distancing is in place for all accommodations, so just bring your mask and hand sanitizer, and you’re set.

1. Fairmont Waterfont, Vancouver

This Sky is the Limit package caught our eye because it fits with the pandemic pampering that we crave, and features a helicopter ride.

Social distancing measure will be in place, and the helicopter ride is private, for two passengers. If your bubble contains more than two people, arrangement for up to five people in the party can be made.

Priced at $863.50 for two, all you have to do is show up at the Fairmont Waterfront at Canada Place for your reservation, then prepare for the roughly hour-long ride with Sky Helicopters over Vancouver to locations that will be determined according to flight conditions, such as an alpine lake, waterfall, island or mountaintop. Seems sort of like James Bond is ready to whisk you away.

The flight features a stop for a gourmet picnic, which you’ve chosen from a menu of four-course meals. And the package includes a night at the Fairmont waterfront.

The Seaside is the newest hotel in North Vancouver’s revitalized Shipyards District. PHOTO BY VANESSA PINNIGER

2. Seaside Hotel, North Vancouver

If the car is not an option, consider this North Shore hotel that is steps from the Seabus and close to everything you’ll need.

Stay here and you can take leisurely walks along the Spirit Trail all the way to West Van’s Park Royal shopping centre, or wend your way through Lower Lonsdale‘s Shipyards district, collection of shops, restaurants, the Quay and the Polygon Gallery.

Priced from about $150 a night, a special fall package has the third night for free. Local residents receive 20 per cent off as well.

A beachfront A-frame cabin at Quadra Island’s Taku Resort.

3. Quadra Island

Take a few extra days to accommodate the ferry trip and drive before taking the short ferry ride from Campbell River to this quiet island.

Top of list for accommodation is Taku Resort, where you can book a studio suite, a cabin, or stay in a two-level beach house or townhouse. Bookings are by email or by calling 1-877-285-8258. Rates start at about $139 a night, plus there are campsites for up to five people starting at $30 a night for tenting, $40 for RVs. The Heriot Bay Inn — a lovely place on the bay — is also a favourite spot, with prices starting at about $149 in October, and reducing further in winter months. There is also a seaside campground for tenting and RVing.

UNDATED -- Submitted March 22, 2012 - Nairn Falls Provincial Park. (For B.C. Provincial Parks story by Stephen Hume.) Photos courtesy of BC Parks [PNG Merlin Archive]
Nairn Falls Provincial Park. PHOTO BY GREGORY SIMPSON /Vancouver Sun

4. Pemberton

While the resort municipality of Whistler to the south gets a lot of attention, Pemberton is just a half hour north and endearing in a different fashion.

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Accommodation is not as expensive as Whistler, with rooms at the Pemberton Valley Lodge renting for less than $200 a night. There are other options, including the Log House InnPemberton Valley Inn and a few small hotel and Airbnb options.

Some hotels have a two-night minimum stay, with another night added at a reduced rate. Prices vary, anywhere from about $150 a night to $277 for a private carriage house.

The appeal of Pemberton is in its quiet valley lifestyle within the shadow of looming Mount Currie. Hiking and biking are de rigueur here, as is the requisite walk at One Mile Lake. An easy side trip awaits at Nairn Falls Provincial Park, which can be hiked into as the gate is now closed for the season. No crowds, no fuss.

VANCOUVER, B.C. Sept 19/2006  FRASER RIVER and  the mountains near Hope. News story by Maurice Bridge. (ian lindsay/Vancouver Sun)  [PNG Merlin Archive]
The Fraser River near Hope. PHOTO BY IAN LINDSAY 

5. Hope

Tucked away from the bustle of the Lower Mainland is this beautiful district chock full of hiking and biking trails, and numerous day excursions to feed your wanderlust.

Accommodation on offer features campgrounds, bed-and-breakfasts and hotels/motels. You can book a motel stay for about $100 a night — just like the kind you used to stay in as a kid with your parents, in a large room with a kitchenette. There’s no charge for parking, and it’s close enough to all the amenities. Yes, you can get your latte or a smoothie but without the lineups and prices of metro areas.

There are bike and kayak rental shops — at about a third of the price you’d pay in the Metro Vancouver area. Depending on the weather and availability, you can also book jet boat whitewater tours. A day trip along the Fraser Canyon to view the swirling chop of the Fraser River is a must. It never disappoints. You can plan your trip on the Hope tourism site.

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