The sun is shining and British Columbians are eager to get out on summer adventures. However, if a celebratory mood feels difficult to muster due to high gas prices and inflation, don’t worry, BCAA has got you covered. Below are some tips to enjoy the sunshine without breaking the bank, whether it’s a week-long vacation, a weekend road trip, or a day out.
Here are a few ideas for summer fun that are easy on the wallet:
Make the most of your BCAA Member discount
With a BCAA Membership, you can find savings everywhere you go. Here’s a few great ways of getting a discount while you’re exploring our beautiful province.
A place to stay: As a BCAA Member, you can get savings at hotels right across BC including Best Western, Hyatt and Marriot. Check out all of our hotel partners and save up to 15% on your stay.
Fly away: If you’re considering leaving your wheels behind, one easy way to travel is with Pacific Coastal Airlines. Your BCAA Membership card can get 10% off base airfare on flights to 17 destinations around the province.
Grab a bite: There’s no better way to enjoy a day out than by stopping for a snack! With your BCAA Membership, you can get a slice and a pop for $3 from Freshslice Pizza, which has 50 locations in BC, or put a pep in your step by heading to Blenz Coffee, where you can upsize your drink for free and get 10% off food.
Catch a movie: If the rain starts to fall or you need to seek some shade for a few hours, a Movie Night Bundle at Landmark Cinemas could be for you! $32 plus tax gets you two tickets to see the latest big screen pictures, along with one large soft drink and one large popcorn.
Get fresh gear: Heading for a hike but not sure your gear is up to the task? Get set for your trek with a trip to Altitude Sports, where BCAA Members earn 4% back in CAA Dollars online, or Columbia Sportswear, where you can earn 8% back in CAA Dollars online.
Stuck for trip ideas? Let your BCAA Membership card guide the way
Now you know how to save some dollars, next it's time to figure out where to go. Your BCAA Membership offers great savings at some of the most entertaining locations province-wide.
All the fun of the fair: Want thrilling rides, live music and side-splitting entertainment? Look no further than the PNE Fair in Hastings Park, Vancouver, from August 19 to September 4. BCAA Members save 30% on gate and ride passes online for what is guaranteed to be a wild time. Be sure check out BCAA ToonCity for musical fun with BCAA's Blue the Bear and friends.
Unwind and relax: If escaping the chaos is more your jam, the Scandinave Spa could be your calling. Find your Zen state of mind in an outdoor spa surrounded by Whistler’s majestic scenery and save 15% on bath access, and 10% on massage service with bath access.
A different kind of driving: Put down the car keys and pick up the golf clubs! For fresh air, fun and exercise, tee off at one of Golf BC’s five premier golf courses, such as the Okanagan Golf Club in Kelowna, and save 10% on adult green fees, clothing and accessories.
Flutter by a world of wonder: Did you know that minutes from Victoria’s world-famous Butchart Gardens is a jungle where tropical creatures like flamingos, parrots, and tortoises roam? There’s way more to Victoria Butterfly Gardens than meets the eye and BCAA Members can save 10% on admission to the rainforest wonderland.
Suspend your belief: Walking through a thriving coastal forest is enchanting enough, but add a 140-metre long suspension bridge, 70 metres above a flowing river and the views are awe-inspiring. BCAA Members save 10% on adult and senior tickets to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.
Take time to reflect at BC’s most beautiful lakes
Searching to be at one with nature? We have plenty more suggestions. Home to over 20,000 lakes, BC is the perfect province to go swimming, kayaking or even bird watching. Here are five standout lakes that won’t leave you disappointed:
Shuswap Lake: A tributary of the Fraser River that is known for spectacular swimming water and clean, sandy beaches. This family-friendly destination is also frequented by adventure seekers for rafting, scuba diving and SUP’ing.
Lake O’Hara: Situated within Yoho National Park (which borders Banff National Park), Lake O’Hara is a marvel, located 2,000 metres up in an environmentally sensitive area. Access to Lake O’Hara is available through Parks Canada via shuttle, camping and hiking–prepare to see an array of wildlife.
Buttle Lake: Turquoise water perfect for swimming and kayaking–Buttle Lake is a stunner. Located within Strathcona Provincial Park (the oldest provincial park in BC) it has an abundance of wilderness and the highest waterfall in Canada, Della Falls.
Okanagan Lake: A must-see within BC’s Interior. It’s large, spanning 135 kilometres, and is famous for its beaches. The lake is family-friendly with playgrounds and bathrooms (thankfully). Sailing, SUP’ing and canoeing are all popular activities here.
Garibaldi Lake: Located near Whistler and only accessible via hiking trails—Garibaldi is famous for its turquoise water. The 18-kilometre round trip hike is worth it. Plus, you can cool off with a swim in the alpine lake. Make sure to reserve a free day pass up to 48 hours in advance.
Pull on your boots and take a hike
Few things are more quintessential BC than a summer hike. Luckily, within the province there are an abundance of hikes with varying degrees of difficulty. Here are three to consider:
Family-friendly hike: Lighthouse Park, West Vancouver. This is a choose your own adventure hike, so you can adjust according to your family’s needs. You’ll encounter large Douglas Fir trees and stunning ocean views. The full loop is 6 kilometres, but it’s just as easy to do 500 metres and ensure a lovely family hike.
Take it easy hike: Grey Canal Trail, Vernon. This trail takes about two hours and is considered moderate. Popular for birders, hikers and bikers, the trail follows the former Grey Canal–BC's longest irrigation channel in the early 1900s. You’ll see some pretty views and flowers along the trail.
Step it up hike: Mause Creek Tarns, Cranbrook. A three-hour hike–this trail reaches an elevation of 2,118 metres in a Rocky Mountain basin. It’s also considered moderate. It takes you through sub-alpine meadows where you’ll see wildflowers, ponds and Fir trees. Four wheel drives are recommended on the 13 kilometre access road.
Daylong hike: Mount Galiano, Galiano Island. A 6.3-kilometre out-and-back trail near Galiano Island Trust Area. Many people ferry with a vehicle to the Gulf Islands, however, if you stay on the southern end of Galiano Island you can go on foot. Beautiful vistas and bald eagles await on top of Mount Galiano.
Multiday hike: The Juan de Fuca Trail, Vancouver Island. A 47-kilometre trail that treks through rainforest and beaches. It is considered a difficult hike. It takes three to five days depending on fitness level. However, it’s known for breathtaking west coast scenery, sandy beaches and old-growth trees.
Soak in the sights of some hidden gems
Invermere: Widely known for Lake Windermere, this town is situated in the East Kootenay region, and is buzzing throughout the summer. Take a dip in the lake or shop on 7th Avenue–home to interesting shops and pop-up markets.
Peachland: Located on the western shores of Okanagan Lake, Peachland is famous for fruit and wine (and the legendary lake monster, Ogopogo). This is a perfect driving destination. Bring a blanket and relax on the 7 kilometres of beach, eat local fruit and enjoy the sun.
Nelson: Located in the West Kootenay region overlooking Kootenay Lake. The town has over 350 heritage buildings from the 19th century silver rush. It also features trendy cafes, shops and galleries, featuring an array of local artists.
Leavenworth, Washington, USA: An alpine-styled village nestled in the scenic Cascade Range, Leavenworth has a distinctly Bavarian feel. Take a 300 kilometre drive across the Canadian border, grab yourself a bratwurst or schnitzel, and gaze at beautiful German architecture set against panoramic mountain views.
Ucluelet: Situated south of Tofino with a similar vibe, except slightly less tourists. An excellent driving destination in its own right, plus you can bike the paved trail through the forest from Ucluelet all the way to Tofino. Explore the ocean, the Wild Pacific Trail and the Pacific Rim Visitor Centre–all for free.
Looking to go easy on the gas?
Once you’ve arrived at your vacation spot, you may want to simply leave the car in park and explore the area on foot. Here are six hiking essentials:
- Hiking backpack
- Hiking boots or shoes
- Weather-appropriate clothing (layers and moisture-wicking)
- Water and food
- Navigation tools such as a map and compass (plus a knife or multi-tool)
- First-aid kit
If you’re planning on jumping on two wheels, here are three tips for biking on trails:
- Signal to trail users that you’re coming by giving a greeting.
- Slow down when approaching hikers or horses and give them space.
- Yield right-of-way to cyclists traveling uphill (in singletrack, stop completely and lift the bike out of the trail).
And if you are hitting the road, here are a few fuel-efficient driving tips to help with that.
What to do with those few bucks you’ve saved? Road trip snacks! Some of the best snacks are chips, candy and something nostalgic from childhood—sandwiches for some, popcorn for others. BCAA Members save 10% on in-store purchases at participating Shell stations, plus 10% on car washes, and 3 cents per litre on gas.
Take BCAA with you on your summer adventure!
A BCAA Membership comes with 24/7 Roadside Assistance, so we’re always here to help in case of the unexpected. With this summer’s travel boom, we expect an increase in calls, so be prepared for the possibility of longer than usual wait times. Reminder: you can request BCAA Roadside Assistance online or via the BCAA Mobile App for Android or iPhone to connect directly to our dispatch team.
Pro Tip: your BCAA Mobile App is the ultimate travel companion. In addition to helping you get faster Roadside Assistance, you can get real-time travel conditions and savings from BCAA Rewards Partners along the way. Learn more about how to get the most out of your BCAA Mobile App.