By: Anindita Gupta, SFU Student
A road trip in the summer sounds like something out of a breezy, Hollywood movie. But you and your selected group of friends can’t drive? You’re looking for something a little more out there? I have you sorted, with ideas organized from closest to furthest from home!
Editor’s note: Prices below are subject to change based on time and season.
- Victoria, British Columbia
The first destination is closest to home. The summer may be the perfect time to visit the province’s capital if you haven’t already! A ferry ride that takes you to Victoria is only about 40 minutes long and costs you a mere $17.20/person, with discounts for a group of 10 or more. Craigdarroch Castle is a must-visit when you’re in Victoria. It is one of the few Scottish baronial-style castles built in Canada, with beautiful stained-glass details and attractive woodwork. Another ideal day in Victoria for me, personally, would be a hearty brunch at one of the many restaurant options (check out John’s Place) and a visit to the Royal BC Museum. They have a wonderful natural history gallery with a mammoth-sized woolly mammoth exhibit, and a First Peoples exhibit with many tokens deeply rooted in the province’s culture and history. Finally, finish the day by taking a stroll through Victoria’s colonial streets.
Approximately a six-hour drive from Vancouver, Tofino is the perfect long weekend/summer getaway if all you want to do is relax and escape the city life for a few days. A Greyhound bus to Tofino costs around $53/person. Tofino is a good option for a lazy weekend trip, with a few outdoor activities. On the first day, when everyone’s energy is high, you can hike through the Pacific Rim National Park reserve and really connect with nature amongst all its greenery. The rest of your time can be spent in the hot springs at Hot Springs Cove, about a one-and-a-half-hour boat ride into Maquinna Provincial Park. Spend the rest of your holiday biking or lazing in the picturesque houses that are available on Airbnb.
- Seattle, Washington
Seattle is the other, more international getaway for a (long) weekend. Just make sure you have the necessary documents and take one of the Quick Coach buses that run between multiple spots in Vancouver and Seattle! The fare for a ticket from Waterfront to downtown Seattle is only $48. It is not a rare fact that shopping in Washington is dramatically cheaper than in Vancouver, so shop your heart out at the many outlet centres. Some of the city’s many tourist attractions include the Seattle Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and the first-ever Starbucks! Want to try something extremely different? Get yourself a ticket for the Boeing Factory tour, through the Future of Flight Aviation Centre and geek out at just how exquisite airplanes are, for only US$25!
- Maui, Hawaii
For a super sweet deal (found on secretflying.com), fly from Vancouver to Kahului for only $424. And do I really have to list out the wonders of Hawaii to you guys? Checkout ‘Hawaii Mermaid Adventures Hawaii’ to literally swim like a mermaid! If you ever get tired of the water and the golden sands, you can take a day to visit the Haleakalā National Park, which is the site of the dormant volcano, Haleakalā, and the pools of Ohe’o. These are freshwater pools and waterfalls among lush bamboo forests that are a breathtaking sight — Google it!
- New York City, New York!
An easy flight that can be relatively cheap if you hop on a Cathay Pacific flight coming in from China and refueling in Vancouver (tickets are anywhere from $500 to $800, so book ahead!) Airbnbs can be approximately $50/night or less and the endless things that you can do in this city . . . The Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty cruise (or the free Staten Island Ferry for a further-but-cheaper view), Little Italy, Chinatown, Soho, Times Square in Manhattan, and Grand Central Station are amongst the many popular tourist locations, but wander off the beaten path to personalize your trip. Food lovers going on this trip to New York? Track down the most authentic New Yorker bagels (tip: start at Zabars), or visit Katz Delicatessen for the love of the famous orgasm scene from When Harry Met Sally. From personal experience, I would suggest you don’t miss the Grand Central Oyster Bar, Junior’s Cheesecake, or pizza from any mom-and-pop shop that you can find.
Runner-up: Bangkok, Thailand
Vancouverites are especially lucky because if you’re going to fly to Asia from anywhere in Canada, this is the place to start! Secretflying.com occasionally sells round-trips to Bangkok for only $519, but the deals expire so keep an open eye and look around. If you want to unwind in a city that is famous for its wonderful mix of culture, history, and commerciality, Bangkok is for you. You can spend a day in the serenity of the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho, or at the Grand Palace. Amongst the many other touristic attractions of the city, you need to take time out for street food when in Thailand. Places like the Victory Monument are where you can shop your heart out and indulge in some amazing street food. You can sample anything from assorted grilled meats, to some sour mango on a stick served with chili, to a Thai cotton candy that you roll in a crepe, to sticky rice with mango, to a special Thai iced coffee! (One of the few times following Tastemade on social media pays off!)
Editor’s note: Gotta work this summer? Check out our ‘Summer job roundup.’