Road trips in my convertible are what I love most about the summer travel season. Driving in the car as opposed to taking the train or an airplane offer moments of spontaneous additions to fluid itineraries. This was especially the case when I took a road trip from Kelowna to Whistler, a 6 or so hour drive depending on traffic through a winding highway nestled in between mountain and ocean bays.
I drive down to Vancouver often and it always goes by fast because the scenery is so gorgeous and changes greatly from each valley and mountain pass. From the blue Okanagan lake nestled in between a mountainous valley to the mountaintops of the Coquihalla Highway to green and golden rolling hills and grazing cattle ranches in Merritt extending into jagged cliffs carved by wind and water. It’s only after you have descended from the mountain passes that you’ve arrived in the Lower Mainland.
On our way to Whistler, which starts by a long climb to higher altitude, further ocean views and deeper forests, I had to make a mental note of a popular rest stop with a picturesque pond. Luckily I remembered on our way back home and stopped to take a quick tour of the area as expressed by my Instagram pictures above and below.
When I first became a blogger I was hesitant to make the driver stop at all the little places that caught my eye along the way but when I eventually stopped worrying about nagging them I have found that these spontaneous pauses bring the most surprising and worth while moments you’ll often remember, find unique photo ops or end up sharing with loved ones or readers like I am now.
Murrin Provincial Park is a perfect spot to stretch your legs, maybe even go for a quick hike into the woods, rock climb, swim or let your Lassie run free with fresh air. While I was there a notice upon the park board let us know that falcons were nesting in the area and to watch out for bears. Aside from bird watching and dodging grizzlies you can swim in the lily pad clad pond or take your SUP out for a paddle in the sunshine. There are plenty of picnic tables for an al fresco lunch or follow the trail to hike deeper into the BC backcountry amongst ponderosa pines and mossy cliffs.
Tip: Road trips make it too easy to pass through a city or town without seeing its highlights. To get a better sense of the town try to hit the local Farmers’ Markets – this may require a bit of research to know before you go but you’ll be supplied with healthier and unique road trip snacks while seeing more than the town’s gas stations and Starbucks from the highway.
From the Okanagan to Whistler here are a list of Farmers’ Markets to visit along the way:
Kelowna Farmers’ Market – Wednesday & Saturday 8 am-1 pm
Nicola Valley Farmers’ Market – Saturday 9 am – 2 pm located at the old historic Baillie home
Chilliwack Farmers’ Market – Saturday 9 am – 2 pm
Abbotsford Farm & Country Market – Wednesday & Saturday 9 am – 1 pm (check for locations as it differs from Wed. to Sat.)
Squamish Farmers’ Market – Saturday 10 am – 3 pm *Note: this is the closest Farmers’ Market to Murrin Provincial Park (20 mins or so).
Top tips for a memorable road trip
If you’re planning a road trip, you want it to be memorable for all the right reasons. It’s not possible to avoid every hazard, but it is important to remember that over 90% of accidents are caused by driver error. You have the right to contact a car crash lawyer if you are injured by another road user as a result of negligence, but you should also be aware of the importance of driving carefully. If you cause an accident because you are driving too fast, for example, you will be held liable. Pay attention to road signs and warnings, make sure you are familiar with the rules in the state, region or country in which you’re traveling, take regular breaks and keep your eyes on the road at all times. If you want to check messages or take photographs of incredible scenery, find a safe place to pull over. Take extra care if the weather is unpredictable, or you’re driving in bright sunlight, heavy rain, strong winds or snow and ice, or you’re navigating narrow, winding roads. Try to plan your route before you leave, charge your phone, and take a map, plenty of snacks and drinks and a first aid kit with you.
What’s your preferred way to travel?
Are you a road tripper, an airplane adventurer, or a train traveler?