Summer Adventures in Vancouver and Nanaimo

Popular tourist destinations in Vancouver include Granville Island which features a farmer’s market, live performances and breweries.

I spent a weekend recently in Vancouver and Nanaimo, BC.  It was the first weekend BC trip I had made for a long time, since pre-COVID.  As an Albertan, weekend adventures in BC are the perfect getaway because they are so convenient.  The plane ride is only about an hour and a half.  The coastal charm of Vancouver and the islands is something that Albertans like myself do not get very often.  The fresh seafood, picturesque hikes, and cityscapes are something I adore.  Despite not being able to afford the high rent and living costs of BC, it still is a fun visit for the weekend.

We started our trip in Vancouver.  This city is diverse and allows for a range of experiences for visitors.  If you’re into the outdoors, there’s many hikes from easy to difficult, such as Grouse Mountain.  In the winter this area turns into a ski destination but in the summer, you can see lots of wildlife and even visit the salmon sanctuary which is in the vicinity of the hike.  For lifestyle, I really enjoyed visiting Granville Island, this is a hub of artists and foodies alike.  The public market at Granville Island has incredible samples of locally brewed beer and wine.

The English Bay is hands down one of my favorite areas to walk around and people watch.  The scenery is unbeatable.  On one side you can see the entire cityscape of Vancouver and on the other you have marinas and ocean that span as far as the eye can see.  Even casually walking through Stanley Park and English Bay makes you feel that no problem is too big for you to solve.  Perhaps this is why retirees are drawn to Vancouver as one of the popular destinations.

Nanaimo’s coastline is stunning and also features some opportunities to try catching your own clams.

My trip couldn’t be complete without visiting the Vancouver Islands just a short ferry ride away from the coast.  Unlike Vancouver, the islands offer a much cozier, small town feel that is perfect for a relaxing weekend journey.  On the island, we leisurely strolled along the coastline and marina.  You also have to try the classic Nanaimo bar on the islands, which is a treat featuring chocolate, custard, and coconut.

The clams we harvested.

Some of the unique things that are not on the tourist books is to try to catch your own seafood.  On my last trip to Vancouver, I had a chance to try freshly caught rock crabs.  This time, we were interested in catching clams.  I recommend familiarizing yourself with the local regulations first before harvesting.  The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is what we consulted prior to fishing for clams.  We also had to get the right equipment including a clam shovel, a mesh basket and gloves to help with the harvest experience.  Some locations are very difficult to find clams but others have tidal flats which makes clams easier to find.  It was such a unique experience of harvesting clams and then cooking them ourselves back at the hotel.

Walking along the English bay and people watching is one of the most serene activities I’ve done in a long time.