Travel local photo by Scott-Goodwill-unsplash

Staycation Summer

As we all continue dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, which is playing out differently across Canada, this summer is unlike any other we’ve ever experienced. 

You probably don’t have big travel plans (unless they’re within your province) and most large gatherings and festivals in your city or town are probably cancelled. And some simple summer pleasures, like grabbing a patio drink or hosting a backyard barbeque, may now seem logistically complex or risky. 

This is the summer of the staycation, which offers us a chance to take a break right in our hometowns, to treat our rest time as a real vacation (i.e. no housework allowed!) and to play tourist and look at our familiar surroundings with fresh eyes. Backyard Creative’s team members are spread out across Western Canada, and we asked them to tell us about their staycation plans for the coming weeks and their favourite spots in their local “backyards”.

Lisa (Nanaimo): 

I’m looking forward to camping at Saysutshun (Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park) in August. This family-friendly park is accessible only by foot passenger ferry or boat from Nanaimo’s harbour and is considered a local favourite. We usually go as a big group to camp with friends.

This year, we all booked our own sites in a row (rather than the group sites) so we can still see friends, albeit a little more distanced than usual, and spend lots of time outside. Without cars on the island, kids are free to safely run about and just enjoy the creativity that comes from non-structured play in nature. We’re lucky to live so close to this gem.

Madelen (Edmonton): 

Every corner of Edmonton is usually hopping during our short summer season. We’ve been dubbed Canada’s Festival City, since we host over 30 festivals annually. I live for our amazing, jam-packed summer festivals (my faves: Int’l Street Performers festival, Taste of Edmonton, K-Days, Heritage Festival, the Fringe), but of course, they’re all cancelled this year. Aside from taking weekend camping trips to explore the many lakes a few hours from Edmonton, I’ll also be spending a lot of time in our River Valley, the largest urban park in Canada.

We’re lucky enough to live just a few blocks away from a valley entry point, but we usually stay pretty close to home on our adventures. With over 160 km of pathways and 20 parks, there’s a ton of outdoor beauty to explore. This summer, we’re gonna jump on our bikes more and venture further into the valley, following social distancing guidelines and armed with maps and a ton of mosquito repellant! 

Keiko (Nelson): 

For me summer is all about my amazing garden! The seedlings we’ve been nurturing indoors since early spring are now growing and flourishing in the soil. The zucchinis and peas are pumping out, the tomatoes are setting and swelling, and the raspberry bushes are decorated with their juicy berries. And the flowers! They are the icing on the cake. The garden requires daily monitoring to ensure ready-for-picking food is being brought inside to process and enjoy for now or later.

To be honest, meandering through the garden at dusk feels like a magical fairyland getaway in itself, but we still make the time for quick getaways close to home. And this is our typical habit, pandemic or not. This year we’ve nipped away for a couple nights of tenting at my in-law’s paradise acreage in Johnson’s Landing, as well as a sisters-and-sons getaway at Kokanee Creek campsite, a mere 1/2hr from my home! Our “big” trip is coming up soon, with a week of camping at Wragge Beach, a gorgeous sandy beach spot with only a few non-reservable sites at the end of a logging-road at the North end of Slocan Lake. It feels great to really get away and recharge, right here in our incredible backyard. Happy Summer!  

Sebastian (Nanaimo):

This summer is quite a bit different, since my wife and I recently welcomed twins. Our staycation plans involve many local short walks… Not to mention sleepless nights 🙂 A few favourites include the Nanaimo and Parksville Harbour beach areas and neighbourhood strolls to our favourite coffee shops White Rabbit and Cafe Bocca. As the boys get older we’re eyeing an overnight trip south of the Island, in the Sooke area. That’s about it for this summer!

Laura (Nanaimo): 

Our lovely Laura is on maternity leave after welcoming her little one about a month ago (congrats to you and your family, Laura!) We assume her summer will be filled with lots of baby cuddle time in her amazing “yarden”, which she described in her profile blog post a few months back! 

Sarita (Ucluelet): 

I feel very fortunate to live in a place that people choose to travel to for their vacation maybe once a year, or even just once in a lifetime! Because of my choice of local, I don’t feel the urge to stray too far all too often. Although tourism looks a little different out here this year, summer is still the best time to vacation on the Island as there is such a variety of amazing outdoor activity all around us.

This summer will not look much different for me as I take advantage of as much of the physically distanced (by choice) wilderness and waves that I can handle right from my front door. I’ll save the farther afield travel for the long off-season dark and rainy days that we get here … or when conditions are more favourable for such travel … and I’ll just pull out the rainboots!  🙂

Krisztina (Vancouver): 

My partner and I are planning to cycle from the Swartz Bay ferry terminal to the Sooke Potholes campground at the end of July. It’s about 70km on the Galloping Goose bike path but it’s mostly flat, so I think it’ll be a great ride!

In August, a group of friends have an annual camping trip to Sointula which is on Malcolm Island just off the northern tip of Vancouver Island. It’s a special place where the northern resident orca whales go to rub on the stone beaches. We weren’t sure if that community was welcoming out of town guests, but so far the campground is open, so we’re hoping it’s okay to go up. We’ll be cooking our own food instead of sharing our meals as we’ve done in the past. Otherwise, I’ll be biking and walking to parks and beaches here in Vancouver and spending time reading books and drinking coffee on blankets outside.

Although we’re taking full advantage of the summer months, we’re currently booking work for the fall. Have a design project you’d like to discuss? Get in touch with us today!