7 fantastic things you can still fit in this summer without spending a fortune
Including renting a private backyard pool for a party with friends
Somehow, it's already August. But fret not, there are still several weeks of summer left and ample time for you to squeeze in a few more activities and adventures in the sun — without breaking the bank. With a little planning and some flexibility, you can still book warm-weather excursions for yourself, your family and friends.
Here are seven ideas for maximum summertime fun.
Go for a private swim by the hour
If you don't have the access or budget for a cottage escape, a swimming pool rental can be a great way to enjoy a private soak. Through the Swimply app and website, you can book a pool by the hour in cities across Canada, from Burnaby, B.C., to Halifax. The offerings range from no-frills to resort-like: many rentals come with extras like barbecues, pool floats and even hot tubs — handy if you want to gather with friends to celebrate a birthday or other milestone.
Stop and smell the (locally grown) flowers
Looking for an activity you can do outdoors with kids or your bestie? There are many flower farms across Canada that are open to the public, and late summer is the best time to schedule a visit for fresh blooms. Tickets are currently available for pick-your-own sessions and more at Country Cut Flowers just north of Toronto, Au Beau Pré in Saint-Anicet, Que., and Miss Millie's Flower Farm west of Winnipeg, to name just a few.
Play tourist in your own city
To experience the joys of travel without the airport woes or high gas prices, make a point of exploring tourist attractions in or near your own city. You may even want to stay the night at a local hotel or vacation rental. (If you book somewhere to stay in Ontario, check out the province's temporary staycation tax credit.) You might not even have to pay: some city libraries, including in Montreal and Toronto, offer free passes to local museums, art galleries and more.
Take a bus to the outdoors
Want to explore — and even camp in — the great outdoors, but don't drive or have access to a car? Find out if there's a bus that will take you where you want to go. For example, you can take a bus from Calgary to Banff, Alta., and there's a Parks Canada shuttle that gets you to popular attractions like Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. Parkbus is another service that connects cities like Toronto and Vancouver to Algonquin Provincial Park and Garibaldi Provincial Park respectively.
Book a resort 'daycation'
The more popular hotels and resorts may be fully booked for summer or outside of your budget, but you can access their amenities, often for less than $100 a day. Wander, in Ontario's Prince Edward County, offers day passes for its beach, which includes daybeds, towel service, live music and games. Similarly, you can relax poolside at the likes of Club Med Québec Charlevoix and Fairmont Banff Springs through ResortPass.
Learn to forage with the experts
If you want to try foraging for mushrooms and other wild edibles, a guided tour with an expert is a safe way to get started — and you'll get to spend time in nature no matter how the foray goes. Montreal's Mycoboutique offers mushroom-hunting excursions in different areas of Quebec. Near St. John's, forager and author Shawn Jay Dawson offers tours at Murray's Garden Centre.
Enjoy an urban paddle
A multi-day or backcountry portage requires advance planning, especially if you're hoping to book a canoe-in campsite in a provincial, territorial or national park. But you can book a kayak, stand-up paddleboard or raft for a quick jaunt in your own (metaphorical) backyard with very little notice! In Gatineau Park, north of Ottawa, there are multiple boat launches with rentals, and the Paddle Station offers riverside kayak, raft and paddleboard rentals for rides in Calgary and Edmonton.
Truc Nguyen is a Toronto-based writer, editor and stylist. Follow her at @trucnguyen.