Fall Getaways Close to Home

by Deborah Rogers –

We can’t travel right now but we can all still benefit from waking up in new surroundings. Take a mini-break in your own community this fall and help support our local economy. Whether it’s camping, glamping, a B&B or a hotel stay, the Saanich Peninsula and Gulf Islands have welcomed millions of tourists over the years; isn’t it your turn for some time out?

It was hard to get into some of our island campsites this summer with visitors flooding in from other parts of B.C., but before the weather gets too wet you might have a chance to sneak in one last tent or RV trip. Cooler nights will make the campfire all the more appealing and there’s no sleep better than one where your sleeping bag is zipped up tight to your nose!

Parks Canada frontcountry campsites close September 30th, but backcountry camping is still possible in the Gulf Islands National Park if you have access to a boat. Or take the ferry over to Salt Spring and use one of Ruckle Park’s first-come, first-served winter campsites. This park is beautiful with abundant hiking trails and the chance to fall asleep to the sound of the ocean! www.bcparks.ca/explore/parkpgs/ruckle/

On the site of the old Inn on Pender Island and Memories Restaurant is a completely renovated, modern camp experience: WOODS on Pender. Think glamping, not camping, as the collection of cabins, airstream trailers and motel create quite a distinctive, funky setting for a weekend break. Just a short drive from the Otter Bay Ferry Terminal on North Pender, you’ll feel transported to a different world even though home is just a few kilometres away! There’s a restaurant on site serving farm-to-table food, B.C. wine and craft ales. Explore their website to see the different accommodation options: www.woodsonpender.com.

Bed & Breakfast
If a B&B is more your thing, there are lots of options on the Peninsula and you could try something quite unusual in Sidney. Sidney SeaSuite is a houseboat available for vacation rental in Port Sidney Marina. The location doesn’t get much more waterfront than this! With a cosy sleeping area, full kitchen, three-piece bathroom and sea views in every direction, a couple of nights on the water could be just the thing for you! There’s also a deck on the roof should the weather stay dry, but even in the winter there’s something distinctly appealing about cuddling up indoors with the gentle motion of the water to lull you to sleep. www.seasuites.ca/vacation-rental/

There are hotel options in Sidney and Brentwood Bay and you can bet this fall and winter they will be quiet and potentially offering some great deals. The hotel trade has been especially hard hit by the pandemic and will need support for some time to come. Is it worth it to spend the money on a hotel room when it’s so close to where you live? I can’t answer that, but I can ask you these questions: Do you like having someone else make the bed, clean up and generally look after you? Does your house have waterfront views? Would you enjoy a spa-like bathroom or the chance to have a restaurant dinner and wine without worrying about who’s going to drive? If your answers are yes, no, yes, an overnight at the Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa could be just the thing, with the newly opened 10 Acres Restaurant downstairs and luxurious rooms with ocean views on the floors above. www.sidneypier.com

Give a getaway in your own community some consideration this fall and benefit from all the R&R that a few nights away can give you.

Photos provided by Deborah Rogers, WOODS on Pender,
Sidney SeaSuite and The Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa.

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