Sometimes, just a couple of days can be enough to get that vacation vibe! If you are limited on time, consider these destinations that are within a 3-hour drive or flight from most West Coast cities.
Victoria, British Colombia
Victoria offers a wonderful mix of city and nature worthy of a long weekend. The best time to visit the city is late spring to mid-fall, though winter offers milder temperatures and less rainfall than the rest of Canada.
- Wander the path along the harbor, admiring the historic buildings and beautiful setting. On Sundays, there is a special treat: the water taxi ballet!
- Learn about the history of the area, including the indigenous peoples’ history, language and culture at the Royal BC Museum.
- Admire wildlife such as seals, various birds, humpback whales, and maybe even orcas on a whale-watching cruise.
- Wheel around the city on a bike tour.
- Visit the historic Butchart Gardens to enjoy their seasonal displays.
- Hike in Mount Douglas Park and take in the view.
- Hit the playground at Beacon Hill park.
Located in Central Oregon’s high desert, Bend is known for outdoor activities and craft beer. In the winter this means snow sports at nearby Mount Bachelor and in the summer it means hiking, rock climbing, rafting… you name it!
- Take a guided moonlight snowshoe adventure or take a dog sled dash through the Deschutes Forest.
- Follow the Bend Ale Trail to taste some of the region’s best beers and experience unique breweries.
- Learn about the wildlife and geography of the area at the High Desert Museum.
- Hike to Tumalo Falls or to one of the other beautiful falls or lakes in the area.
- Take it easy on a hot day tubing down the Deschutes River.
- Watch the experts take on the manmade waves at Bend Whitewater Park.
Located in the Sierra Foothills, Murphys is the heart of the local wine industry. This quaint town offers some great dining and shopping options in addition to two dozen wine tasting rooms. Further afield are a plethora of outdoor activities for all ages.
- Walk the North Grove loop trail at Calaveras Big Trees State Park, where you can be awed by the size of Giant Sequoias.
- Visit a 165-foot deep cavern or go ziplining at Moaning Caverns Adventure Park.
- Enjoy a lazy afternoon playing board games or cornhole in the ample outdoor space at Murphys Pourhouse while enjoying craft beer and mindblowingly good sandwiches.
- In the winter, enjoy skiing or snow play just an hour away in Bear Valley.
- Learn about the Gold Rush through hands-on exhibits at the Angel’s Camp Museum