Who says you have to spend thousands of dollars and all your precious vacation time to refuel from the doldrums of daily life? With a local guidebook and one free day, you can rejuvenate the mind, body and soul. Here are 10 getaways you can complete in 24 hours.
1. Check out a local winery
When it comes to wine-making, it's not just about Ontario and British Columbia anymore. Many provinces have growing wine industries. When you think about New Brunswick, for example, attractions like the Bay of Fundy, Chaleur Bay and the Appalachian Range spring to mind. But the province is also a hotbed for winemaking these days, with 10 makers producing a range of ciders, fruit wines, ice wines and more. For a full day's adventure, hop on the Fundy Coastal Drive to hit six of the wineries, including Ferme Bourgeois Farm, located just outside Moncton and open year-round.
2. Go antiquing
Maybe it's the picturesque villages, rolling scenery, winding rivers and covered bridges, or maybe it's the thrill of finding a treasure among the ruins, but antiquing has a definite way of recharging the soul. For a fun day trip, head to a nearby town or region known for antique shops. If you live in Montreal, for example, you'll want to check out the Eastern Townships, just 80 km away, to add to your collection, buy a gift or simply window-shop the day away.
3. Pick up a paintbrush or take a picture
If you haven't painted since grade school, or only snap pics of the family, you might have fun painting or taking photographs. Those picturesque villages from your antiquing trip may inspire you to pick up your camera or watercolours and capture what you see. Go it alone or take a one-day class, such as the painting and drawing workshop in the seaside village of Victoria-by-the-Sea, P.E.I., just a 30-minute drive east of Charlottetown.
4. Take a cooking class away from home
For those who love great food and want to learn some kitchen tricks, try a cooking class, like the ones offered at the Good Earth Cooking School in Beamsville, Ont., an hour's drive from Toronto. Whether you go for the brunch, the sweets, or any course in between, you'll return with some great recipes and a full stomach.
5. Relive history
If your idea of a getaway involves enriching the mind and learning about our land and our place in the world, then hit one of the many tours and sites offered across the country. Canada is rich with stories, including those revolving around Al Capone's bootlegging operation in Moose Jaw, Sask., about 40 minutes from Regina.
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6. Go to an ecological reserve or conservation area
There's something so serene about watching animals play in their natural habitat, and Canada is rich in wildlife -- and in sightseeing tours. A number of such tours operate in the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, about 30 km south of St. John's, which offers visitors the opportunity to feast their eyes on the several thousands of whales that come to feed and the millions of seabirds that stop to nest.
7. Drive on
Pack a lunch, hop in the car, turn up the tunes and drive out of the city into another world. Through the mountains, along the ocean or past the glaciers, you never know what's waiting for you round the next bend. For unforgettable landscape, cruise to Truro, N.S., 90 km from Halifax, and veer onto the Glooscap Trail. From there, decide where and when to pull off -- perhaps to walk on the ocean floor at Burncoat Head Park, to raft the Tidal Bore on the Shubenacadie River or to dine on fresh steamed lobster and blueberry pie.
8. Pamper yourself
You may want to leave the city, but that doesn't necessarily mean you want to ditch all the perks to which you've become accustomed. Have no fear, there are plenty of grand hotels nestled in the countryside, such as the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge in Jasper, Alta., a few hours from Edmonton. The snow-capped peaks, sparkling lakes and cabin accommodations offer rustic charm while the gastronomic delights and rejuvenating spa treatments will cater to your inner diva.
9. Hit the beach
Soft, sandy beaches and cool sea breezes combined with recreation and leisure activities like fishing and windsurfing make the beach a top spot for getting away from the city and all the hustle and bustle of urban life. Winnipeg Beach, an hour north of Winnipeg, provides boardwalk strolls, cottage-lined streets, sailing opportunities and everything else you could want from a beach retreat.
10. Get active
No matter what kind of sport you enjoy -- from hiking and biking to skiing and snowboarding -- you can find a trail, hill, lake or course to play without problem in Canada. Some areas, like Whistler, B.C., a two-hour drive from Vancouver, even accommodate your multi-sport fantasies. The Whistler Blackcomb resort alone offers snowboarding, tubing, dogsledding, skiing, mountain biking, hiking, golfing and river-rafting. So much to do, so little time!
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