Get Outside this Winter at These Inspiring Getaway Destinations!
Travel during COVID-19 doesn't have to mean you get on a plane — if you're in western Canada or the Pacific Northwest, you have access to amazing winter travel destinations right in your own backyard!
It may be cold outside, but that's no reason to be cooped up inside. Being outdoors has endless health and wellness benefits, plus it's ideal for safely physical distancing. Get a literal change of scenery and some fresh mountain air at one of these fun winter getaway destinations, within your own province or state.
Canmore is the epitome of winter wonderland, with the snow-blanketed Canadian Rockies and its proximity to world-class winter sports. Even when the temperature hovers at or below freezing, Canmore enjoys many bluebird days, making it an ideal outdoor-focused winter getaway.
Things to do in the winter
- Hit the slopes - The Banff Big 3 ski resorts, Mount Norquay, Lake Louise, and Banff Sunshine Village, are all just a short drive from Canmore.
- Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing - Kananaskis Country's Canmore Nordic Provincial Park offers miles of snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails.
- Grotto Canyon Ice Walk tours - Canmore is one of just a few places in the world where you can hike on a frozen creek in a narrow canyon, past frozen waterfalls and indigenous pictographs. Take a small group tour, which includes hotel transportation, hot cocoa, and maple cookies.
- Practice outdoor photography - Husband-and-wife world travellers and photographers The Mandagies say Canmore has "some of the best snowshoe trails and aerial photography opportunities in the entire Bow Valley." They recommend Wedge Pond for views of Mt. Kidd, the East End of Rundle (EEOR) for dramatic Ha Ling Peak views, and The Three Sisters, especially from Policeman Creek.
Where to stay in Canmore
- The pet-friendly Coast Canmore Hotel & Conference Centre is in the heart of downtown, making a perfect basecamp for your Canmore winter getaway.
- Table Food + Drink onsite*
- Indoor pool, hot tub, and fitness centre*
- Enjoy 30-50% discounts through March 2021 with the Winter Nights & Snowy Days offer
- *Dependent upon Provincial restrictions at time of stay.
If you're looking for a less wintry destination in Canada, consider Oliver. Its dry, mild winters make it one of the best places to travel in January. Oliver is also the undisputed "Wine Capital of Canada," home to over 40 wineries and about half of British Columbia's vineyards.
Things to do
- Walk or bike the International Hike and Bike Trail - This easy, mostly paved 18.4-kilometer trail runs alongside the Okanagan River and has multiple access points in town.
- Wine tasting - Several Oliver wineries remain open through the winter, offering wine tastings indoors or on heated patios. Locals say Adega on 45th Estate Winery is one of the best places in town to watch the sunset, and Great Estate Okanagan houses several wineries at one property.
- Ski or snowboard Baldy Mountain Resort - Baldy Mountain is a hidden gem, often overshadowed by BC's more famous ski resorts. That means nonexistent crowds and lift lines, but don't let that fool you — at 2,310 metres, Baldy Mountain is the third-highest ski resort in BC and gets over 7.5 metres of snow annually.
Where to stay in Oliver
- The Coast Oliver Hotel puts you at the heart of everything the Okanagan Valley has to offer. The pet-friendly, sustainability-focused hotel is minutes from several wineries, restaurants, hiking, and golf, and Baldy Mountain is only 40 minutes away.
- Complimentary daily bagged breakfast to go
- The only indoor pool in Oliver
- The Stay & Ski Mt. Baldy package includes two lift tickets, valid through March 2021
Seattle, the city that's famous for its weather, the Space Needle and being the birthplace of Amazon, Starbucks, and '90s grunge music, is also the home of endless outdoor recreation opportunities.
Things to do
- Ski or snowboard - Seattle may be on the coast, but it's also near several ski resorts — that's one reason it's one of the best places to travel in January and February. The Summit at Snoqualmie is 45 minutes east, and both Stevens Pass and Crystal Mountain are about two hours away.
- Hike or snowshoe - Travel blog Postcards to Seattle has a list of must-do winter hikes in Washington, and there are also well-groomed trails at nearby ski resorts. If you don't own snowshoes, drop into REI for daily rentals.
- Visit local hot springs - Nothing says winter getaway like soaking in a hot spring in the forest. Check out the Olympic Hot Springs or Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort in Olympic National Park, both a 3.5-hour drive from Seattle. Closer to the city, there's Scenic Hot Springs near Stevens Pass, but they're on private property and visitors must get permission.
- Explore Woodland Park Zoo - If you're craving something outdoors but more low-key, head to the zoo. It's home to over 900 animals and 250 species, and it's open every day of the year except Christmas.
Where to stay in Seattle
- With so much to explore, the Coast Gateway Hotel near the Sea-Tac airport is a perfect jumping-off point for your PNW adventures.
- Complimentary airport shuttle and overnight parking
- Free continental breakfast
- Sharp’s Roasthouse onsite
Chilliwack is known for being home to some of the most fertile land in Canada. Given its prime location along the Fraser River, sandwiched between the Cascade and Coast Mountains and just an hour from Vancouver, Chilliwack provides a small-town feel in a big-town way. The town is also famous for its endless outdoor pursuits, making it one of our top winter travel destinations.
Things to do
- Take a hike - Hiking, snowshoeing, and Nordic skiing are wildly popular. Try Elk Mountain or Mt. Laughington trails for jaw-droppingly beautiful views, or grab a trail map at either of the ski resorts.
- Winter fishing - Chilliwack has earned a reputation as one of Canada's best winter travel destinations for its fishing alone. The Chilliwack River is a honeypot for steelhead, while the Fraser River is the spot for Cutthroat trout. Chilliwack, Cultus, Foley, and Jones Lakes are also regularly stocked with rainbows.
- Harrison Hot Springs - This resort features five mineral hot springs pools. There are a number of other activities onsite, including the totally free outdoor Starlight ice skating rink. Concessions and skate rentals are available.
- Skiing - For those looking to get away from the crowded and more tourist-focused resorts, Chilliwack has a couple of popular ski hills. Ski, board, or tube at Sasquatch Mountain Resort or Manning Park Resort, each an hour away.
Where to stay in Chilliwack