School is out and travel restrictions have eased. After a long stretch of time spent closer to home, everyone seems eager to escape the city to explore somewhere new. As a result, travel is at an all-time high, which unfortunately means clogged airport cues, spiked prices, and fully-booked accommodations. So where can you go this summer that promises family fun without the headaches of cancelled flights, lost luggage, and long lines?
Depending on the fuel consumption of your vehicle, one full tank of gas can give you an average of 300-600kms on the road. With that in mind, here are three, one-tank family road trip ideas that will take you to new adventures–without breaking the bank. From a cross-border beach escape to a snow-free slopeside escape, these spots are sure to save your summer.
Cannon Beach, Oregon
Distance from Vancouver: 555 km / 6 hours
In Oregon’s quaint town of Cannon Beach, a long stretch of coastline summons surfers and reveals low-tide marine life–a beachcomber’s paradise. And while there’s lots to love about the beach-side town, the journey is definitely part of the adventure.
Best places to stop along the way: Be sure to veer off I5 for a spin along the scenic route, Highway 101, which takes you through the northwest stretch of the Oregon Coast. Before you cross the border into Oregon, marvel at Mount Saint Helens, an active stratovolcano that last erupted in 1980. See one of the iconic coastal lighthouses (Cape Disappointment Lighthouse near Astoria and Tillamook Rock Lighthouse are on the way), and then stop in Seaside, the first beach town that you’ll hit on your cruise along the Oregon Coast. There, take a stroll along the oceanfront promenade where you’ll find everything from unique boutiques, a large arcade, a vintage carousel, miniature golf, and bumper cars–a hub for family fun.
Things to do in Cannon Beach with kids: Search for sand treasures, try surfing, take a dip, or fly a kite on the beach–the destination’s highlight. Head to Haystack Rock, the third-tallest intertidal structure of its kind in the world and a landmark spotted in the cult-classic movie The Goonies, and then stroll through the shops, nosh on fish n’ chips, and cool off with a cone in town.
Pacific Marine Circle Route, Vancouver Island, B.C.
Distance from Swartz Bay Terminal: 289 km / 5 hours (to complete the loop)
Venture beyond Victoria with a road trip along the Pacific Marine Circle Route, a cruise that takes you along the southern coast of Vancouver Island from Sooke to Port Renfrew, to Lake Cowichan, to Sidney, with a slew of parks, harbours, old-growth forests, and thrilling adventures to enjoy as you ride through varied landscapes.
Best places to stop along the way: On this adventurous road trip, the journey is the destination. Stop at Sooke Provincial Park for a hike and a dip in the rockpools. Take a trek through Cathedral Grove, located in MacMillan Provincial Park, and stroll amongst the oldest and biggest collection of Douglas fir trees in Canada, and then head to Horne Lake Cakes for a one-of-a-kind spelunking excursion on a multi-cave tour of the area’s underworld.
Silver Star Mountain Resort, North Okanagan, B.C.
Driving distance from Vancouver: 465km / 5 hours
While it’s a popular ski destination during the cooler months, Silver Star offers lots of summer fun for families during the warmer months as well. Alpine adventures are aplenty, and lively festivals pop up throughout the season.
Best places to stop along the way: Choose your own adventure with two routes to get you to your final destination. Highway 3 takes you along the slower, more scenic route (via Kelowna) and tends to be the more popular choice. On this route, consider a stop to stretch your legs with a short walk in Manning Park. Pop into Penticton for some fun on the lake, or to pick up some peaches from a roadside fruit stand to enjoy on the way. Take in the scenery at Skaha Lake, and then stop at Tickleberry’s, the area’s most popular spot for ice cream.
Things to do in Silver Star with kids: Downhill biking is an obvious draw, and lessons and trails are available to suit all levels. But you don’t need to be a biker to enjoy the area. Kids will love the self-guided Gnome Roam, where a gentle hike reveals hidden gnome friends around Brewer’s Pond. Take a ride up the Des Schumann Summit Express Gondola and take in views from the peak, or head into Vernon, only a 20-minute drive away, and enjoy a day at the waterslides. Fun festivals include the Crankworx Summer Series bike festival (July 28-31) which features live music, art, food, and world-class riding, and the inaugural Silver Star Summer Wine Festival (August 11-14) which showcases the best wine and food in the Okanagan.