British Columbia

Summer staycations in B.C.: Where to go and how to travel safely

Although the COVID-19 crisis may have thrown a wrench into many summer vacation plans, the Crown corporation responsible for tourism in our province says there's still plenty to do right outside our front door.

Rules around physical distancing and hygiene still apply while travelling, Destination B.C. says

An aerial shot over Dune Za Keyih Provincial Park in the Stikine Region in the Northern Rockies, which Maya Lange says is great spot for adventurous travellers. (Destination BC)

Although the COVID-19 crisis may have thrown a wrench into many summer vacation plans, the Crown corporation responsible for tourism in our province says there's still plenty to do right outside our front door.

Canada's closed borders gives British Columbians the chance to explore their home province, says Maya Lange of Destination B.C.   

"We have such a beautiful province and such an amazing place to be," Lange told CBC On The Coast guest host Margaret Gallagher.

But she says it's paramount to explore safely and the same rules around physical distancing and hand hygiene apply regardless of which town you are in.

One way to limit exposure to people in smaller communities is to pack your groceries ahead of time and, if you do need to stop and top up, try to do it in larger cities.

As well, Lange says it's important to call any businesses you may be considering visiting ahead of time to learn about their health and safety measures, and then decide for yourself whether you're comfortable with them.

Where to go

When it comes to deciding on where exactly to go, Lange says there's an option for every type of traveller.

While you can't go wrong with reliable spots like the Okanagan and southern Vancouver Island, she says there are plenty of lesser known but equally amazing destinations.

Lange says Vancouver Island offers travellers a chance to take in all sorts of wildlife, including orcas. (Destination BC/Reuben Krabbe)

Guest ranches in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region offer curious wanderers a taste of B.C.'s cowboy culture, or if you feel the mountains calling, southeast B.C. has plenty of options for fearless adventurers, she says.

Northern Vancouver Island is a wildlife lovers' paradise, she says, giving the example of Indigenous-led tours out of Port McNeill, where you could spot grizzly bears, eagles and whales.

As for her own travel list, Lange says she's been dying to explore Tumbler Ridge in the Northern Rockies, which is home to the province's only dinosaur museum.

Camping, Lange adds, is a great option for anyone looking to travel on a budget.

"Although the campsites are booked up in southern B.C., I know there's lots of room in northern B.C. and on Vancouver Island," she said.

The Cariboo-Chilcotin region hosts the majority of guest ranches in B.C., says Lange. (Destination BC)

If the provincial parks in your preferred destination are fully booked, try looking for private campgrounds, which Lange says can often have plenty of availability.

One thing she says we don't have to worry about this summer is running out of space for everyone to travel safely.

"We have a huge province…we have a lot of room," she said with a laugh.

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