No plans to leave your home over spring break but still looking for a quick get-away, even for just a half day? Here are some great ideas for a half-day, full-day, or even weekend get-away here in our lovely Okanagan Valley and surrounding areas.
The Okanagan is comprised of the major centers of Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon and Osoyoos. Starting in spring and continuing through the summer months, visitors are offered countless walking trails, hiking spots, sandy beaches, great weather and a variety of other outdoor and water activities. Okanagan Lake provides the area with a spectacular backdrop to the countless golf courses and wineries located in the rolling hills of the valley. The Okanagan is considered a premiere wine valley, and a tour of the local wineries is a must for anyone local or visiting the region.
Gain unprecedented access to more than 217,000 hectares of pristine wilderness terrain and wildlife habitat at Mount Robson Provincial Park. The second oldest provincial park in British Columbia, Mount Robson is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (part of the Canadian Rocky Mountains World Heritage Site). This iconic park is home to an abundance of wildlife such as mule deer, whitetail deer, black bears, grizzly bears and mountain goats. Its varied wilderness setting offers plenty of quintessential BC outdoor adventure opportunities, including fishing, caving, camping, hiking and mountain biking.
Helmcken Falls plunges 137m into its canyon below. It's one of Canada's highest waterfalls, and the Wells Gray Provincial Park's most famous natural attraction. The best time to view the falls is at sunset. The best viewpoints are the vehicle-accessible viewing platform and the hiking trail that follows the Murtle River to the top of the falls. Wells Gray Provincial Park is a one-hour drive north from Clearwater via the Clearwater Valley Road.
Looking for something a little closer to home? Check out Hardy Falls in Peachland. A natural wonder for Salmon Run viewing!
British Columbia has long enjoyed a reputation as one of the best places in North America to go golfing. In 2007, the International Association of Golf Tour Operators named BC the Best Golf Destination in North America; in 2008, a British Columbia golf course was chosen by Golf Digest as the best new course in Canada. In 2010, SCOREGolf selected its top five golf new courses in the country... three are right here in BC!
The region is home to BC's Wine Industry also. The Okanagan Valley is where the BC Wine Industry started, so there are many wineries and orchards to visit. The quality of grapes grown here produce some of the best wines in Canada and are famous throughout the world. Spend a day, two or even three visiting and touring the finest wineries we have to offer. From large Estates overlooking the lake, to family farms offering the very best in quality. Every winery is unique offering its own blends of flavours and excellence to our panel of fine wines.
Have children to occupy this spring break? Try something different and explore the Kettle Valley Steam Railway! The Kettle Valley Steam Railway showcases a unique part of the Okanagan’s and British Columbia’s history. Built during 1910-1915, the KVR “Kootenay to Coast Connection” powered our pioneer fruit industry into world markets. Experience for yourselves the only preserved section of this historic railway: 10 miles of beauty from lush orchards and vineyards to a spectacular view of lake and land from the Trout Creek Bridge 238 ft above the canyon floor. The sight and sound of the restored 1912 Steam Locomotive will bring the era alive as you ride along on this 90 minute journey in a vintage passenger coach or open air car. An observation game for kids and lively musical entertainment make every run a memorable experience for the whole family. Liven things up by venturing on the journey during one of the staged performances of "The Great Train Robbery". Live outdoor theatre at its best, including all guests in a thrilling old-west adventure. Conveniently located in the heart of the valley in Summerland.
There's plenty more to see, do and experience whether on your own, with visitors or just hanging out with family and friends. Contact your local Travel Agency today for more ideas!
Odaiba Island - an artificial man-made island in the heart of the city of Tokyo. Offering one of only two access points to the seashore, this island is located across the Rainbow Bridge from central Tokyo. It was initially built for defensive purposes in the 1850s, however has become one of Tokyo's top attractions for residents and tourists alike.
Outside a highly priced and prized residential community on the island, there's more than just the standard ''island life'' featured. If you access the island via the Rainbow Bridge you'll notice this colourfully lit structure resembles that of the famed Golden Gate. (Access via train and water taxi also available).
You'll notice the island also features a replica of the Statue Of Liberty along with a giant Ferris Wheel resembling the London Eye. This island has become a true melting pot for cultures of the world. Don't miss Madame Tussaud's famous Japanese wax museum closely located to the Japanese National Museum.
Other features of Odaiba are the exhibition hall of Toyota, Zepp - Japan's largest nightclub, a variety of shopping malls, eateries, high-end hotel accommodations, 24-hour gaming and karaoke clubs, a beach club and don't forget to tour the Fuji TV Building! The Panasonic Centre features a science and technology showroom where you can view technology of the past, present and future.
With plenty of green space and the development of motorized pedestrian traffic with elevated walkways, the island is easy to navigate through. Visit one of the many indoor theme parks, stop by LegoLand Japan, the Maritime Museum or the National Museum of Maritime Science. And, a visit to Oedo Onsen, a hot spring theme park which reproduces the atmosphere of the Edo Period is a must! Here you can enjoy various types of indoor and outdoor baths which are fed by hot spring water pumped from a depth of 1400 meters. Restaurants, massage, games and other entertainment, as well as overnight guest accommodations are available.
Walk through the Tokyo International Exhibition Center, Japan's largest exhibition and convention center and one of the bay island's boldest architectural creations. And don't forget The Panasonic Center, a one of a kind showroom for the latest products and technologies by the Panasonic Corporation. On display are the latest and newest cameras, TVs, computers, Nintendo games, home appliances and more.
With something to offer for every visitor, this island is a vacation spot in itself. Talk with your travel agent about making plans to visit Japan's man-made island wonder!
.....with the sounds of fun! That's right - we're only halfway through another OK Valley ski season but there's still a half season left to enjoy. And with this year's mild winter (sans that one cold snap) it's a perfect time to get up to your local hill and enjoy the beauty of the valley we live in.
Not a skier? Not a snowboarder? Not a problem! Our local mountain resorts offer more than just the slopes. Here's a quick overview of what they have to offer for residents and visitors alike.
Known to us locals as 'Biggie', this hill has more than just skiing and snowboarding to offer for sure! Located only 56 kms from downtown Kelowna, did you know this resort mountain is the 2nd largest in BC? (Whistler/Blackcomb is first.) This modest resort area opened in 1963 with only two T-Bars. Now with 118 designated Alpine trails and over 25 km of Nordic trails there's a run for skiers and boarders of all skill levels. Guests can stroll through the village, shopping and dining in world-class restaurants and pubs. Try snowshoeing, ice skating, ice wall climbing, take a horse drawn sleigh ride, go snowmobiling or grab a tube and toboggan the day away! With rental accommodations from hostels to chalets and spa rooms, there's something for every budget and mountain skill-set. See more at www.bigwhite.com
Crystal Mountain and Telemark
Crystal Mountain Resort is a small day-use ski area near Westbank, BC. It has two chair lifts and a T-bar and has 30 designated runs most of which are groomed. It was long known as Last Mountain Ski Resort, but changed its name to Crystal Mountain Resort in the 1990s. Crystal Mountain offers lessons for skiing and snowboarding as well as offering rentals for snowshoeing. Only 15 minutes from the center of Westbank this is a great and affordable little hill for a quick day trip or even a couple of afternoons. And Telemark just below the ski hill offers a 2500 acre facility with a modern, spacious chalet with heated washrooms and snack bar. They have over 50 km of groomed trails for both classic and skate cross-country skiing, 4.3 km of lit trails, biathlon range, 62 km of snowshoe trails, classic and skate ski and snowshoe rentals and lessons. See more about both locations here www.crystalresort.com & www.telemarkx-c.com
Twenty-two km north of the city of Vernon, Silver Star's snow season runs from late November to mid-April weather permitting. Silver Star has been awarded as "Best Small Resort in North America" and has also won numerous awards on being one of the best family resorts in Canada and in having the best groomed runs in the country. The annual snowfall of approximately 700 cm of Okanagan champagne powder makes the resort a vacation destination for snow lovers of all kinds! Silver Star also provides summer lift access for mountain biking and hiking from the end of June through to Labour Day. The area also offers offers over 60 km of daily groomed Nordic trails for cross country skiers and snowshoers. The village and accommodation developments have been designed with a distinct Victorian Alpine theme. There are more than 10 hotels to choose from and more than 100 vacation homes and condos available for vacation rental on or around the resort village with many offering a ski-in/ski-out feature. The area also features skating, indoor rock climbing, snowmobiling, tube tobogganing, sleigh rides and a day spa. See more at winter.skisilverstar.com
With spring just around the corner those of us who enjoy 'fair weather' walking are looking forward to getting back out in nature.
So where's the best spots to head to for a 'fair weather' hike in our beautiful Canada ?
Here's the current top 5 spots for a Canadian Hiking Adventure! Of course these are open year round so talk to your Travel Consultant about making arrangements to visit these 'must go' hiking hot spots.
** Remember: Hiking should be done with a buddy and always pack safety gear with you!
Fundy Trail - New Brunswick
Known to locals as the Fundy Parkway or the Fundy Footpath, this hiking trail offers 16 km of seaside beauty. Perfect for biking as well as cross country skiers, the trail offers a unique opportunity to 'stay' as there is a lodge at the center point. With the world's highest tides, this trail is the perfect spot to enjoy some whale watching from as the Right Whales use the Bay of Fundy for breeding and calving grounds. With a variety of elements the 16 km offers something for all persons from children, to the serious hiker, to those with walking disabilities. With less traveled paths veering off the main trail leading to seaside cliffs and waterfalls, this truly is the gem of New Brunswick.
Lake Agnes Teahouse Hike - Alberta
This 3.5 km, uphill, 6 hour hike is not for the mild adventure hiker. This hike ends with the option of a cup of steeped tea, a bowl of soup and sandwich or dessert. The trail starts at the front of the lake near the Fairmont Chateau Hotel in Lake Louise Alberta. Afterwards you can view Lake Agnes and see its glorious mountain waterfall, followed by climbing up the Big Beehive for jaw-dropping views of the Bow Valley and Lake Louise. Then join the Highline trail, a 5 km trek along the Plain of Six Glaciers trail view Alberta’s Rocky Mountains soaring peaks and the Victoria Glacier. Refresh yourself again at the Plains of Six Glaciers Teahouse before completing the 5.5 km loop back to Lake Louise.
Galloping Goose Regional Trails Park - British Columbia
For hikers, cyclists, and horse riders the Galloping Goose Park is one of the most beautiful and unique paths for exploring southern Vancouver Island. With 55 km of pathways between Victoria and Sooke, this multi-use trail existed in the early 1900s as a railway line. The first 12 km are as low and gradual descent and the beauty of the scenery from forest to farmland is perfect for all abilities of hiker or walker. Along the way stop and enjoy the view from Charters Trestle, a steel bridge decked with wood. And when the trail meets Matheson Lake it's the perfect place for a picnic and a swim.
Twillingate Islands, Notre Dame Bay - Newfoundland and Labrador
It's the iceberg capital of the world. Whales, bald eagles, icebergs and sea life thrive in abundance along the string of hikes and pathways that run through the islands. From the rocky cliffs of Spiller’s Cove to the Long Point Lighthouse and the 360-degree panoramic view atop the Twillingate trail, you can enjoy wild blueberry picking and whale watching along the way..... not a hike you want to do without a camera. With inlets and coves off every pathway there is always a corner to be discovered. This Atlantic hiking experience is best enjoyed in fair weather as winter storms can create an unpleasant outdoor environment. Try your hand at fishing or rent a boat and explore the inlets after your done your hike.
Trans Canada Trail - Canada!
The Trans Canada Trail is the world's longest network of recreational trails. When fully connected, the trail will stretch 23,000 kilometres from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic oceans. With an estimated completion by 2017, this hike is done in portions and by all fitness levels. The trail is multi-use and, depending on the section, allows for hikers, bicyclists, horseback riders, cross country skiers and snowmobilers. Spanning across all our great provinces there is more diversity to offer than any other hiking system in the world. Learn more about this Canadian treasure here: http://tctrail.ca/
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