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British Columbia – Beaches, Bridges, Treehouses, along the Sea to Sky Highway

In our usual last-minute fashion, Husband and I decided to pack up our three feral children and head up to Vancouver, BC.

It was a Thursday night and we were enjoying some adult time having dinner and drinks while scrolling the web and looking for a new destination to visit over Memorial Day Weekend.

My husband, Corey, was obviously searching for the “wow factor” while I was sticking each location into my map app to evaluate the length of the trip. After an hour of sipping our wine and discussing potential locations we finally settled on Canada–with the final stop being Whistler.

Corey wanted to wait until the morning, but I was determined to leave that night.

We went home to relieve the babysitter (Grandpa) and let him
know of our crazy plan. I immediately started packing clothes and Corey was
loading the car. It took a few hours to get the kids, dogs, and ourselves all
ready and in the car. The kids were a little groggy and confused as to why we
were taking them out of bed and into their car seats, but I knew deep down that
this was the best thing for us all.

The drive up to the border was nice and relaxing. We got to listen to our music and NOTHING Disney. We didn’t have to pull over for pee stops, more food and, most importantly, we were not repeatedly asked, “Are we there yet?”

 

Our Quick Tour of Vancouver

 

We crossed the border quickly, arriving as the sun was just starting to rise and headed straight for Vancouver as the kids were just waking up.

Once we got into Vancouver, we drove through the city and listened
to the kids comment about the skyscrapers. Our plan was just to drive through,
we weren’t staying long, but we wanted to visit a few places.

Our first stop was Stanley Park in downtown Vancouver. This is a gorgeous park. It’s larger than New York’s Central Park and also includes a phenomenal view of gorgeous snow-capped mountain ranges with sailboats in the harbor and city skyline. The best way to take in the view is from the Stanley Park Seawall walk, where you can walk, bike or even take a horse-carriage ride. The kids loved chasing the geese while my husband chased them, worried they’d get too close.

Away from the seawall, the park is a huge temperate rainforest. Within the park is the Malkin Bowl, a concert venue visited by famous musical acts every few days. Stanley Park also has the world-class Vancouver Aquarium containing nearly 60,000 different animals and other variety of sea life. It’s a must see.

We spent a few hours there and then decided to head over to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. That place was simply amazing! We had so much fun on the swinging suspension bridge, climbing through the tree houses and learning about the animals, trees and history. The actual suspension bridge hangs over a 230-foot drop above the canyon and spans 460-feet across. Between the steps of people crossing and the wind blowing through the canyon, it’s an exhilarating feeling. They also have a narrow canyon-hugging walk that leads to a glass-bottomed perch high above the flowing river below us. From there you can take in the views of the waterfalls and the suspension bridge.

Our Visit to B.C.'s Sunshine Coast and the Secret Cove Resort

Next stop, a place to sleep. We really wanted a unique, but affordable place to stay. After a bit of searching, Corey found Rockwater Secret Cove Resort in Halfmoon Bay. According to the map’s app, it was a two-hour drive in the direction of Whistler, but Corey didn’t notice we would have to get on a ferry to head over to the Sunshine Coast and back to get to Whistler, our ultimate destination.

The Sunshine Coast, sounds heavenly doesn’t it!? Well, it was. The ferry wait wasn’t, but it was worth it. The ferries are large and nicer than the ones we are used to in Washington, they even include a small playground inside for younger kids. We spent most of the ride on the deck taking pictures of the mountainous terrain on either side of us and looking for whales.

The small towns and rocky beaches were perfect. We checked into Rockwater Secret Cove Resort, opened a bottle of wine and went exploring along the coast. We watched a great sunset and found crabs. Little did I know, our five-year old smuggled a few back to the cabin and surprised his sisters during bath time by letting three little, live crabs into the tub. He was super proud of himself and the girls were quite amused!

For accommodations, Rockwater Secret Cove Resort has rooms and cabins you can rent, a well as yurts that hang off cliffsides. Additional amenities include a cute little restaurant, a nice selection of B.C. wines, a pool, and some canoes and kayaks that are available. But after the night and day we had, we were really just looking forward to the comfortable beds.

The next morning, we packed up the van and headed into town for coffee and breakfast. We were told that the Basted Baker had the best Eggs Benedict around and that was not a lie. We got two different kinds to share between the five of us; however, I do wish that we had left room for some of their pastries. The diner was full of industrial/farmhouse décor and was our favorite “seat yourself” style. I cannot emphasize enough: if you visit Sechelt, the cute town nearest Rockwater, you absolutely need to eat here.

Our Springtime Whistler-Blackcomb Excursion


We returned to our hotel, Blackcomb Springs Suites, it was one of our cheaper options. Aside from an issue with an elevator repair, the rooms were large and had everything you’d possibly need. Many of the rooms have balconies and make for a relaxing evening staring out over the mountains.

At Blackcomb Springs Suites,we found out that there are 60-80 black bears that live on and around the ski slopes. They had just recently woken up from hibernation and could regularly be seen wandering around the slopes eating grasses and berries. A few guests told us that they saw a black bear roaming around the property at the same time my husband was out taking photos. We were told by the locals not to worry about them too much, the bears are mostly afraid of people and have plenty of food to eat on the slopes, which means they aren’t rushing out to munch on us.

That morning, my husband informed me that he planned an adventure for us first thing. What was this adventure? He was going to take us zip lining. Whistler has the longest zip line in North America–appropriately named the Sasquatch–along with many other zip lines that zip back and forth between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. Schedule your zip lining through ZipTrek EcoTours, they pride themselves on their low impact on the environment, sustainability and use clean energy.

The idea of taking a one-year old ziplining sent my mom-worry-mode into overdrive. The kids are 5, 3, and 1. I didn’t pack for this type of adventure. The kids had slip-on shoes, how the F is the baby going to zip line? My three-year-old hates strangers and would be a JOY if she needed to be strapped to some random guy. Cohen was stressing over the heights (although he just did the suspension bridges and LOVED it). Worst of all, my husband scheduled the zip line adventure during our chance to relax by the hotel pool, which is our — well, the kids and me — FAVORITE thing to do on vacation.

We get all checked into ZipTrek and board the van to our zip lining adventure. While on the van, we noticed a few elderly people, which leaves my husband and I a little confused but hopeful. Maybe this wasn’t going to be some crazy adventure. Come to find out, Corey accidentally booked us on a walking tour—a WALKING TOUR. Really, Husband, really. How much did you pay to walk through the woods and be envious of all the people zip lining?

Not knowing if I should be upset or relieved, I decided to just go with flow and chill out, and it was a lot of fun. Our guide was amazing and hilarious. The other guests were from Australia. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to go to Australia, but my husband, who is terrified of spiders, just says, “NOPE, everything is poisonous there.” I told the Australian’s and they laughed and said, “You’re worried about spiders, you have bears, wolves, and mountain lions. We don’t even see the poisonous animals for the most part.” My husband just said, “Huh, that’s a pretty good point.” He looked at me and said, “You win, we can go to Australia.”

If you have little ones, we highly recommend this tour. Of course, we also plan to return to ride the Sasquatch once the kids get a bit older.

We spent the rest of the afternoon in town before deciding that we should start heading back to Washington.

On our way out of town, my son and I were giving my husband a real hard time about not getting our pool time. While we were griping at him, Corey shouted, “BEAR!!!” We all turned to look, but It wasn’t there. We turned the van around at the next available spot to go see it, but it had wandered into the woods, right behind a bus stop, where two tourist girls sat completely oblivious to the predator behind them. As we went to tell them, the bus approached and they hopped on, never knowing how close they were to a black bear my husband claimed was huge.

At that point, Corey said, “I’m sorry about you not getting to go swimming. Why don’t we stay just one more night?”

We pulled over at a little viewpoint, and we found a shockingly great deal at the Whistler Four Seasons. My sweet husband mentioned that we would almost never find this price for the Four Seasons anywhere, so we booked the room.

Pro-tip: Whistler Blackcomb is very slow during Memorial Day Weekend. There was just enough snow left at the top of Blackcomb to go skiing and the mountain biking season was just getting started. If you want a great trip to Whistler at a low cost, pick this weekend; you can find the best hotel deals on Sunday night.

OMG. I am NEVER going to be able to stay at another hotel in my life. This place was insane. We were greeted and immediately handed an adorable teacup with freshly pressed blueberry lemonade. The young woman checking us in came from around the corner and presented our kids with stuffed animals. They sold us on the tea and they completely won over our kids with the stuffed animals!!!

 Our luggage was taken to our room–the Executive Suite!!! I was in heaven. The room was luxurious. The bathroom is a million times better than our home bathroom. That night we put the kids to bed. Popped open a bottle of wine and watched the sunset amongst other things.

When we went to crawl into bed, the kids were sprawled across it. Somehow three children with a combined weight of less than a hundred pounds managed to take the entire bed. I wasn’t willing to miss out on the bed. My husband reluctantly pulled out the sofa bed.

The Four Seasons bed was probably the most comfortable bed I’ve
ever slept on. Even my husband mentioned that the pull-out sofa bed was super
comfortable.

We got ready and went right down to the pool, where
immaculate drinks were delivered poolside by the delightful staff. It was
relaxing and the kids had the best time.

Our next goal activity was the hotel’s complimentary s’mores and wine tasting. BEST. IDEA. EVER. The area it was in was amazing, too. The firepit was next to this adorable mini travel trailer, which also has a variety of games from ping pong to pool to cornhole.

Afterwards, we made the trek home in just about 5 hours of “Are we there yet? I need to pee. I am hungry. Can we get more KinderEggs? Are we there yet? Why aren’t we moving? How many more hours?” But we survived. We had a great trip, explored so much (in such a short time) of what British Columbia had to offer, including waterfalls and beaches. British Columbia is nothing short of breathtaking. The Sea to Sky Highway is probably the most beautiful drive I’ve ever been on in my entire life.

We will be going back to B.C. every chance we get.

P.S. Four Seasons- you have absolutely ruined me for staying
anywhere else. I’m sure my husband thanks you.

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Written by Heather Dembeck

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