Cherry Blossoms in Vancouver. Photo: Kenneth Leung via Flickr
By Mary Ann Bell
Spring is finally here in Vancouver, Coast & Mountains and with the days getting longer, the weather getting warmer and the spring flowers blooming, we think it’s the perfect time to start planning your spring adventures. Here are a few of our must do springtime activities.
Every April, Vancouverites celebrate the arrival of spring with the annual Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival. The actual start date varies, depending on weather, but the festival is a great excuse, if there ever was one, to celebrate those magical pink blossoms that line the streets. Inspired by the age old Sakura festivals of Japan, the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival puts on a wide range of events – concerts, haiku contests, a Japanese cultural fair, bike riding, film screenings, and of course, the cherry blossom viewings. Take part in the events or simply look up the map and head out exploring on your own.
A favourite day trip destination, Bowen Island can be reached by a short ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay. There are a couple of different options for a hike, depending on how energetic you feel. The Killarney Lake trail is an easy stroll that, in two hours, meanders through groves of Cedar and Hemlock, with viewpoints of the lake. Or, challenge yourself with the 6-hour hike up Mount Gardner and back with an obligatory stop for a hot chocolate at Cocoa West. Hikers are rewarded with spectacular views of the North Shore mountains, Howe Sound and the Sunshine Coast.
Grab your bike and brush off those cobwebs! With warmer weather it’s a perfect time to hit the trails and breathe in that fresh air. There are so many wonderful riding circuits around the region and whether you’re looking for a leisurely ride through pastoral farmlands or a heart-pumping descent through old-growth forests, there is something for everyone. Head to Richmond and ride the West Dyke Trail, a beautiful, peaceful trail that goes along the Richmond Dyke and leads to the South Dyke into historic Steveston Village. Or, if you’re an advanced rider and are feeling adventurous, check out the Sunshine Coast’s Coast Gravity Park. This year round mountain bike park has downhill trails for all levels.
The Vancouver, Coast & Mountains region has world-class restaurants to suit all budgets. And in the spring, with the temperatures finally warming up, many of these restaurants open their patios and invite guests to soak up the sunshine! Some of our favourite patios in the region, for their views or their people watching potential, are Smitty’s Oyster House in Gibsons, the Watershed Grill in Squamish, Beatniks Bistro in Fort Langley and The Boathouse in White Rock.
Who says ice cream is just for the summer? Ice cream is making a huge comeback in the region and from old-fashioned ice cream shops to handcrafted artisan ice cream, believe us when we say that this is not your run of the mill ice cream. Feel like a scoop of Malted Milk Chocolate Honeycomb? Or how about Black Sesame? Don’t worry, you can still get an amazing scoop of good old vanilla, or strawberry made with the freshest berries! Check out Glenburn Soda Fountain in Burnaby for nostalgic sundaes, milkshakes and egg creams. Or head to the region’s newest shop, The Welcome Parlour in North Vancouver for handcrafted scoops of flavours like Cracked Caramel or Lime Coconut.
With the recent weather bringing fresh (and record) snowfall to the region, it’s time to strap on the snowshoes and start exploring! Great for all ages, snowshoeing is one of the easiest ways to enjoy a winter wonderland. Just about everyone can do it … in fact, if you can walk, you can snowshoe. It’s great exercise and snowshoes are affordable to rent if you don’t have your own. Close to Vancouver, the three local ski resorts all have amazing snowshoeing trails with spectacular views of the city. But for something completely different, consider heading to Dakota Ridge on the Sunshine Coast for gentle hills, wide ridges and amazing views, or catch the Sea to Sky Gondola and discover snowshoeing high above Howe Sound.
Published: April 7, 2017
As a tourism marketer and community manager for some of British Columbia’s most spectacular destinations, Mary Ann Bell spends her days writing, tweeting and posting! When she’s not online, Mary Ann can be found exploring Vancouver’s North Shore trails with her family and her camera, and trying new restaurants in the hunt for the best taco in Metro Vancouver.
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