Unique Destinations to Hit on Your 2021 Summer Road Trip
Are you still unsure of what travel might look like this summer, especially when it comes to flying? A summer road trip is always a great idea! It's easy to safely distance yourself from others and you have the ability to explore as much (or as little!) as you prefer.
Even better, there are several lesser-known but highly recommended destinations for your road trip in 2021. Lesser-known means less crowded, fewer lines, and in many cases, more affordable! So what are you waiting for? Start planning now and make this one of the best summer road trips of your life!
British Columbia Road Trips
BC is world-famous for its spectacular natural landscapes, defined by sweeping mountain ranges, alpine lakes, and postcard-worthy stretches of coastline. Beyond those well-deserved bragging rights, though, British Columbia is far more diverse than you might expect.
Chilliwack is in the agricultural hub of Fraser Valley, directly between the Coast and Cascade mountain ranges (how very convenient for a summer road trip!). Not only is the town incredibly scenic, but it's also the home to year-round outdoor recreation.
In the summer, enjoy Chilliwack's seemingly endless hiking trails, take a dip in a crystal-clear mountain lake, go fishing, take the Circle Farm Tour, or visit one of the nearby provincial parks. Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park boasts a 60-metre waterfall, while Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park has several lakes for boating and swimming.
Where to stay in Chilliwack
To truly experience all Chilliwack has to offer, it doesn't get much better than staying in the heart of downtown. The full-service Coast Chilliwack Hotel by APA has an onsite restaurant, indoor pool and spa, and high-end amenities including 55-inch LCD TVs and iconic TOTO® Washlets.
Just down the road from Chilliwack, Abbotsford is another town with an agricultural heartbeat. The fertile land gives farm-to-table a whole new meaning in Abbotsford and here, it's not a trend — it's quite literally a way of life.
Abbotsford is, of course, much more than just a foodie's paradise (though make no mistake, it is indeed the ultimate foodie's paradise). The town has excellent boutique shopping, several art galleries, locally-owned craft breweries, and numerous hiking trails. If you want to stay in town but still get a great workout in, check out the Discovery Trail. For something a bit more ambitious, take on the 13.5-kilometre Sumas Mountain loop trail.
Where to stay during your road trip
Get small-town hospitality with big-city amenities when you stay at the Coast Abbotsford Hotel & Suites. The pet-friendly boutique hotel has a fitness centre and heated indoor pool, plus offers complimentary grab-and-go breakfast boxes.
One of the best summer road trips for true adventure seekers is Williams Lake. Located in the heart of the Cariboo region, Williams Lake embodies a classic Wild West spirit. Nestled between the Cariboo Mountains and Fraser River, there are prairies, lakes (a whopping 4,500 of them, in fact!), and mountains seemingly everywhere you look.
The varied natural terrain means Williams Lake is exceptionally diverse. In just one weekend, you can hike through alpine mountains, kayak on flat-water lakes inside steep canyons, and explore desert-like climates. Fishing, horseback riding, and wildlife viewing tours are also popular activities that should be included in your summer road trip 2021 itinerary.
Where to stay in Williams Lake
The centrally-located Coast Fraser Inn is the perfect basecamp for exploring Williams Lake. Aside from easy access to the area's best amenities, the pet-friendly hotel offers a complimentary hot breakfast, fitness centre, and large-capacity hot tub.
Alberta Road Trips
Full of Wild West spirit from its days as a whiskey trading post and plentiful opportunities for outdoor recreation, Lethbridge in Southern Alberta is one stop worth hitting on your summer road trip. Lethrbridge is also home to the longest and tallest railway bridge of its type, spanning the Old Man River, a popular location for tubing and other water activities during the summer months.
History buffs and nature-seekers alike can enjoy nearby Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park, which contains the largest collection of rock art on the North American Plains, and Indian Battle Park in the Oldman River Valley. If you’re looking to experience some peace and tranquility look no further than the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden which has called Lethbridge home for over 50 years. Meandering through the gardens and listening to the simplicity of water flowing and immersing yourself in the beauty of its flora and fauna is the perfect way to unwind and relax.
Aside from its beautiful natural landscape, Lethrbridge is also a great retreat for those looking to golf, hunt or just enjoy getting away from the major hustle and bustle of city life.
Where to stay in Lethbridge
Located just a few moments from downtown Lethbridge, the Coast Lethbridge Hotel & Conference Centre is the perfect place to rest your head in comfort and style. This pet friendly hotel is nearby local breweries, Fort Whoop-Up, Exhibition Park and more. Here you’ll also enjoy onsite Firestone Restaurant & Bar, free parking and room service.
Washington Road Trips
Washington state may be closely associated with Seattle, rain, Mount Rainier, and coffee, but its allure goes much deeper than that. The Pacific Northwest's natural beauty and diversity are legendary for a reason — it touches the entire state with so much to see and experience. Truly, Washington is one of the best summer road trip ideas.
Two-and-a-half hours from Seattle, Wenatchee is a lesser-known but fantastic destination for your summer road trip 2021. The "Apple Capital of the World" is nestled at the base of the Cascades along the mighty Columbia River. Wenatchee enjoys four-season outdoor recreation and stunning scenery and — rare for the PNW — gets very little rain and over 300 days of sunshine each year!
During the summer, hike, bike, fish, camp, kayak, climb, go horseback riding, or raft one of the rivers. When it's time to relax, enjoy one of the many local wineries or craft breweries or head to Pybus Public Market.
Where to stay in Wenatchee
When you stay at the Coast Wenatchee Center Hotel, you'll be steps away from the Columbia River and enjoy being in the center of downtown. The hotel is pet-friendly and features the rooftop Rivertop Bar & Grill, plus an indoor-outdoor pool.
Pullman, in far eastern Washington, is perhaps best-known as the home of Washington State University. It's also distinctly beautiful, characterized by rolling wheat fields and farm land. WSU is a big draw as far as summer road trips go with incoming and prospective students, but there's much more to experience in Pullman off-campus.
Hike, bike, or run the 7-mile Riverwalk, enjoy one of the city's many urban parks, or stop by the WSU Bear Center. The research center is the only one of its kind, dedicated to studying grizzly bears. The Palouse Scenic Byway is also a summer road trip must. The 200-plus-mile drive features waterfalls, antique shops, and photo ops galore.
Where to stay during your road trip
Whatever it is that brings you to Pullman, the Coast Hilltop Inn is an excellent hotel choice. It's located close to the WSU campus and the airport and offers a complimentary airport shuttle. Guests also enjoy free grab-and-go breakfast and a heated indoor pool.