VANCOUVER, British Columbia — I find that I tend to over-plan trips. Even the spontaneous ones.
But, a roughly 36-hour jaunt across the border to Vancouver (Canada, not Washington) provided the perfect opportunity to see a new city with minimal planning. Yes, I perused a few travel sites before the visit, but I created no agenda or list of must-see museums or other attractions.
Plus, the escapade gave my wife and me the opportunity to incessantly trade lines from Psych, particularly the Extradition: British Columbia episode.
Here are a few ways to enjoy Vancouver and the surrounding area, mainly Squamish.
Watching the planes take off
Soon after arriving in town, my wife and I headed to Burrard Landing for a view of the busy Vancouver Harbour. The area features a mix of shopping and places to eat.
The landing is home to Vancouver’s largest sea plane terminal. So, we grabbed a few drinks and watched the sea planes land and take off.
Take me to the top
To really take in the beauty of British Columbia, we took a side trip to Squamish and the Sea to Sky Gondola. The Sea to Sky Gondola takes visitors to the Summit Lodge on a ridge leading towards Mount Habrich and offers magnificent views of Squamish and the surrounding area.
Of course, while in the area, be sure to visit Shannon Falls Provincial Park. The 210-acre provincial park is home to a series of cliffs, and the park’s centerpiece is Shannon Falls, the third highest waterfall in British Columbia.
Brews with a view
After returning to ground level, we darted over to Howe Sound Inn & Brewing. Since 1996, they’ve been brewing a mix of classic style beers and innovative brews.
Its setting and its spectacular views of the nearby mountains make for the perfect way to close out a visit to Squamish.
Where there’s a train, there’s a way
Next, we made our way to West Coast Railway Heritage Park, the second largest railway museum in Canada. The museum is home to more 90 pieces of vintage railway equipment, including Royal Hudson No. 2860, a steam locomotive that Montreal Locomotive Works built for Canadian Pacific Railway circa 1929.
I’m a sucker for a restaurant with a view. While rotating 360-degree views are often geared toward tourists, I cannot pass on the opportunity to visit one.
The Top of Vancouver offers a nice relaxing way to take in the city and enjoy some local fare. Be sure to check out the locally grown wine.