Abakhazi Garden in Victoria
British Columbia is synonymous with the ocean, mountains and Lululemon, making it a no-brainer destination for a feel-good getaway.
Wellness travel is one of the fastest-growing vacation trends, and whether it's for a yoga retreat, a hiking trip or a beachy boot camp, many travellers are looking for an opportunity to detox, decompress, meditate or workout. Following up a busy summer and early fall, Canadian Living health and fitness editor and mom to one crazy toddler, Amanda Etty, stole away to the West Coast for some peace and quiet.
First stop: VANCOUVER
A lengthy seawall (the world's longest uninterrupted waterfront path) enhances this vibrant city with natural beauty, making spending time here at once relaxing and replenishing. I checked in at The Douglas, a dreamy nature-inspired retreat in the downtown JW Marriott Parq Vancouver. I promptly attempted to ward off any jet lag with an almond milk latte and avocado toast (with a side of green juice) from the hotel's chic restaurant Honey Salt. Energized, I was ready to take on an afternoon of exploring. Here are my Vancouver picks:
This invigorating massage begins with a dry brush treatment designed to restore muscles and combat travel fatigue. (Dry brushing stimulates the lymphatic system and promotes detox.)
3. Stanley Park
Stanley Park is a sprawling 1,000-acre green space covered in trails and offering amazing views of Vancouver Harbor, Lions Gate Bridge and North Vancouver. If you're travelling with kiddos, the mini train is a fun activity that takes you through the park.
Editor's tip: If you're staying at The Westin Bayshore, take one of its bikes for a spin, and you'll get more sightseeing mileage through the park.
Sweat it out and discover the life-changing magic of The Class by Taryn Toomey at Turf, a fitness studio, shop and vegan restaurant in Vancouver's Kitsilano neighbourhood.
5. The Birds & The Beets
A wholesome menu that includes bircher muesli, a charred veggie sandwich and kombucha on tap makes this cozy plant-filled Gastown café a must to grab a healthy bite and sink into a good book (or catch up on emails). While you're there, pick up a Mason jar of its toasty granola to bring home.
Second stop: VICTORIA
Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Hotel
One of the quickest ways to get to downtown Victoria is via a Helijet from Vancouver harbor. This capital city offers the perfect mix of history, charm and oceanside cool. If you're staying close to downtown, most places are within walking (or biking distance). Here's the best of what to see, do and eat while you're staying in this Northwest locale.
1. Ocean Pointe Resort
Grab a bike from your conveniently located hotel and cruise around the harbor, breathing in the fresh ocean air and looking out for seals. Take in beautiful waterfront views and enjoy local food and drinks at Lure, the hotel's restaurant.
2. Wildfire Bakery
This small organic bakery serves one of the best almond croissants I've ever had, as well as wholesome levain breads, including a sprouted lentil loaf (mixed with espresso and almond milk).
3. The Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden
This historic one-acre garden of Princess Peggy and Prince Nicholas Abakhazi is the setting for a tasteful tea, complete with traditional offerings of sandwiches, scones, sweets and light refreshing teas. Don't miss a tour of the garden, in which your guide tells the story of how the couple painstakingly improved the property throughout their 40 years together.
Third stop: KELOWNA
Get in touch with nature in Kelowna, and stay at the Delta Okanagan Resort. Its Oak+Cru Social Kitchen and Wine Bar features a thoughtful menu with local ingredients and wine. I especially loved the warming Quinoa Porridge before a day of outdoor activity and, at the end of the day, tasting Okanagan wines at the restaurant's Cellar Table.
1. Knox Trail
Located five minutes from downtown Kelowna, Knox Mountain is arguably the most popular hike in the city. The Apex Trail takes hikers to the summit (a moderate climb) and the Paul's Tomb trail is an easy scenic hike that ends at a secluded swimming spot on Lake Okanagan.
2. Myra Canyon
Bike, walk or run along this elevated trail that runs along a steep canyon, connected by 18 trestles. The views are crazy impressive, as is the history of the old railway and its restoration after a 2003 fire. Editor's tip: pack warm layers and gloves. It's chilly up there!
If there's inclement weather, try this intense indoor cycling class, known for its super-sweaty sequences, heart-pumping music and dark classrooms, resulting in a fun, energizing vibe that distracts you from feeling tired.
4. The Hatch
This small winery is a little off-beat and super cool, resulting in a completely unique wine-tasting experience. Sidle up to the bar and chat with the sommeliers—you'll learn a ton about the terroir, the wines and the playful artwork on the labels.
WHAT TO PACK
Bollé Messenger Helmet in Black, bolle.com. Ouai Dry Shampoo Foam, sephora.com. Supergood Unseen Sunscreen, saks.com. New Balance Fresh Foam Cruz v2 Nubuck in Conch Shell with Dark Oxide, $120, newbalance.ca. Girlfriend Collective compressive high-rise legging and Topanga bra, girlfriend.com.