August 29, 2016 6:00 am
Updated: August 30, 2016 12:26 pm

5 budget-friendly road trips to take around B.C. before summer ends

Kids sitting in the car and playing with touchpad

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With gas prices lower than normal and the Canadian Dollar keeping people at home, there’s no better time to load up the trunk and take an end-of-summer road trip.

In British Columbia, the places to go are endless: Tofino, Whistler, the Okanagan, and even as far north as Haida Gwaii. Each can be reached by car in a matter of hours or days. There are also plenty of options to enjoy in and around the province’s largest cities: Vancouver and Victoria. Here, we round up five excellent road trip ideas that are not only sweet for your budget, they’ll also help you savour the last few gasps of summer.

Head up the Sea-to-Sky Highway for a round of golf

The trip: Take the scenic drive up toward Squamish from Vancouver and enjoy the spectacular views of Howe Sound and the surrounding mountains. Stop just 28 kilometres from Horseshoe Bay at the Furry Creek Golf and Country Club for nine or 18 holes on the oceanfront golf course.

The best part about this road trip? Your final destination is only 45 minutes from Vancouver, meaning you’ll have extra time to pull over in Porteau Cove for a photo-op on your way back.

How to save: BCAA members can save 10% on regular priced green fees, clothing, and accessories at Furry Creek Golf and Country Club.

Spend a day as a tourist in Vancouver

(Bob Frid – Vancouver Whitecaps 2015)

The trip: You’ve walked the streets a thousand times, but have you ever experienced Vancouver through the eyes of a tourist? Load up the car and prepare to spend a day hopping from one attraction to another. Start your morning at the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver, then head downtown for an eye-opening wander through the Vancouver Art Gallery.

If science is more your thing, go on a journey to the TELUS World of Science for a hands-on learning experience. If you start seeing crowds move toward BC Place, tag along and catch a Whitecaps FC match.

How to save: BCAA members receive discounts on many attractions around Vancouver, including 10% off adult admission at the Capilano Suspension Bridge, $2 off admission at the Vancouver Art Gallery, 10% off admission at the TELUS World of Science, and 30% off Whitecaps FC tickets.

Drive to Whistler for a spa getaway

Scandinave spa

The trip: Whistler isn’t just for wintertime fun. The mountain resort can be experienced all year round, especially if you’re looking for a little R&R. The uber-popular Scandinave Spa offers luxury spa and bath services in a beautiful indoor-outdoor setting just up the road from Whistler Village. Relax with a full body massage, facial, or simply lounge in one of their specialized outdoor pools for a true Scandinavian experience.

Then check-in at one of Whistler’s finest hotels, like the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Hilton Whistler Resort and Spa, or the Westin Resort and Spa, for a deep sleep right in the heart of the bustling mountain village.

How to save: BCAA members save 15% off bath services and 10% off massages with bath access at the Scandinave Spa. Members can also save big on hotels, like up to 20% off rates at hotels like the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, the Hilton, and the Westin.

Spend a day at The Fair at the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE)

PNE

The trip: There’s still time to enjoy The Fair at the PNE – it’s open until Labour Day! Whether you’re making the trip from somewhere nearby or visiting from out of town, there’s something for everyone at the grand event. Giant pigs? Check. Thrilling roller coasters? Check. World-renowned musical acts? Check. Out-of-this-world food? Definitely, check!

How to save: BCAA members save 30% off gate admission and ride passes online.

Visit the capital city

Butterfly Museum

The trip: There are a ton of things to do and see in Victoria on Vancouver Island, and the destination is perfect for a weekend trip away from the hectic Lower Mainland lifestyle. To get there, hop aboard a BC Ferry for a scenic cruise across the Strait of Georgia. On your way there downtown, stop at the Victoria Butterfly Gardens for a close-up look at nature’s most intricate winged creatures.

Once downtown, start at the Royal BC Museum for their latest exhibition and catch an IMAX film on the big screen. Then take a stroll through the inner harbour to see an array of street performers and beautiful views – you might even spot a seal or two. Cool down with an ice cream cone from Marble Slab, while you’re at it.

When it’s time for bed, head to your room at Victoria’s most famous hotel – the Fairmont Empress. The building is a National Historic Site and has been in use since 1908.

How to save: BCAA members save 10% off at Victoria Butterfly Gardens, 15% off admission for 2D films at IMAX Victoria, 15% off ice cream at Marble Slab, and up to 20% off rates at the Fairmont Empress.

These are just a few ways to make the most of those last days of summer in BC without breaking the bank. Whether you’re embarking on a road trip or exploring local hot spots, it’s always good to know that BCAA can keep you on the road and save some money in your pocket too. BCAA Members can save over $1,000 per year at over 100,000 partner locations around the world, on BCAA Insurance, and they’ve got you covered with the Best Roadside Assistance in Canada, the US, and 120 countries worldwide. Not a Member? Join today and get a $20 bonus gift card at bcaa.com.

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