Things to Do in Vancouver - page 3
Just outside British Columbia’s largest city lies a tall-sided glacial fjord, carved into the landscape during the last Ice Age. Because road access is limited, Indian Arm provides some of the most dramatic mountain scenery and wildlife in the region. The calm, salty waters are surrounded by steeply rising granite cliffs and heavily wooded hillsides. There are also dozens of waterfalls and creeks, which can freeze in entirety during the winter season. The largest accessible waterfall is Granite Falls, on the eastern side.
A rough hiking trail extends around the perimeter of Indian Arm, with the possibility of viewing local wildlife such as bald eagles, seals, black bears, and salmon. Many choose to take in the natural beauty from the water, with a variety of boat trips offered through the fjord. You may even pass by one of the area’s many islands or secluded beaches.
To take in some of the most spectacular scenery in the Vancouver area, climb aboard the Rocky Mountaineer Train for a one-day rail trip to Whistler, home of North America’s largest ski resort. The “Whistler Sea to Sky Climb” train travels 74 miles (120 kilometers) along the shore overlooking Howe Sound and the Coast Mountains as you eat breakfast, enjoy entertainment on board and soak up the views. You’ll pull into Whistler three-and-a-half hours later, just in time to have lunch and briefly explore the village. The return train departs from Whistler mid-afternoon. Alternatively, you can stay overnight in Whistler, so you have more time to experience the mountain town, and catch the return train the next afternoon.
If you have more time, head for the Rocky Mountains. In two days, you can make the scenic journey aboard the Rocky Mountaineer to Banff, Lake Louise, or Jasper.
Salt Spring Island is the biggest, most populated of the Gulf Islands. Blessed with the best climate in Canada – or so they say – and only half the rainfall of Vancouver, Salt Spring Island is a charming destination regardless of the season. The island is well known as a retreat for artists and many painters, photographers, musicians and writers have come here to find a serene workplace in the midst of a peaceful island setting. Thus, a number of galleries, studios and even simple roadside exhibits have sprouted up everywhere and the island is a dream for artists and art lovers alike. The island has an idyllic landscape and rustic character and apart from visiting one of the many art exhibits, popular activities include camping, kayaking, fishing, horseback riding, bird watching and other outdoor activities. Salt Spring Island offers both Ruckle Provincial Park and Mt. Maxwell Provincial Park.
Bowen Island is a quiet, forested island of about 20 square miles (52 square kilometers) that is home to approximately 3,500 year-round residents. Due to its popularity as a location for Vancouverites’ vacation homes, that number swells to 5,000 in the summer. The common theme of the island’s inhabitants is a commitment to laid-back, rural living. Bowen Island is easily accessible by ferry (from Horseshoe Bay) or water taxi (from Granville Island). Ferries and water taxis land in Snug Cove, a short stroll away from shopping and dining in Village Square, Artisan Square, and the Marina on the Pier.
In the summertime, you can enjoy kayaking around the island’s sheltered bays and swimming at the island’s sandy beaches. Hiking and mountain-biking trails also abound on the island. The artistic community on Bowen Island celebrates its culture and history at festivals and events all year long.