Day 6: English Bay Beach; Coming Home; Final Thoughts
We woke up on day six sad to leave Vancouver. We all had such a wonderful time, but all vacations must come to an end. We decided to head over to English Bay Beach for a little bit before hitting the road. We had ridden past it on our bikes the day before. Such a great little area, right downtown almost, with a great green space and wonderful views.
Located in the park is the The Inukshuk Monument, which represents Northern hospitality and friendship. It was also used in the Inuit culture as a navigational aid. I love this guy. He was everywhere. I got a little jade pendant of him as my souvenir. A symbol of friendship is so fitting for this beautiful area- the people were so nice, so friendly. We would all do well to remember to be a little more courteous I think.
For the win…
Here are my top 5 must do activities in Vancouver BC:
- BIKE STANLEY PARK: And the entire seawall if you can. Rent a bike just outside of the park entrance and spend the day exploring. Yes, the day. If you can. Pack a picnic, take your time, enjoy the beaches and stops along the way. The area is second to none and you will find yourself in awe of its beauty.
- GROUSE MOUNTAIN AT NIGHT: Even if you aren’t a skier. I most definitely am not. The views are breathtaking and the whole area is magical. There’s much to do up there including hiking, zip lining, eating, ice skating (in the winter/spring), watching some shows, etc. etc..
- HIKE LYNN CANYON PARK: If you’re looking for a more authentic experience, skip Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and head over to Lynn Canyon Park. You’ll still get a suspension bridge, and it’s free (except for parking)! Less crowds, and more open spaces to explore and hike.
- VICTORIA: Take the BC Ferries over to Vancouver Island and head in to Victoria. You could spend a day or even a week on the island. Rich in history and so much beauty. This peaceful getaway is an absolute must.
- BLOEDEL CONSERVATORY AND SURROUNDING GARDENS: This is an inexpensive, close-in spot that the budding photographer dreams about. Hundreds of birds and beautiful foliage for a really reasonable price.
A few words of advice…
Here are 10 tips and tricks to help you have a great trip:
- CURRENCY: Before your trip, stop by your bank and order up some Canadian dollars. They accept US dollars at most places but you’ll end up paying more. In many shops if an item cost $5.00, you could either pay that in USD or CAD. If you choose USD, you’ll end up paying 25% more.
- CREDIT CARD: Make it easy and just use your credit card for most purchases. (You still want to have cash on hand for transportation and other things.) Just call up your credit card company in advance and make sure you won’t be charged a fee for using it internationally, and to ensure the exchange rate will be equal to current rates. Avoid those surcharges!
- CELL PHONES: Double check your coverage- you don’t want to get charged an arm and a leg for roaming and international fees.
- HOTELS: If you’re on a budget, saving on a hotel can be big. Look outside of the main city for cheaper prices. We stayed in Richmond and it was perfectly situated between everything that we wanted to do. Also, watch for parking fees. Many hotels in the city will charge you for parking. Look for a free breakfast to save lots of money!
- DON’T OVERFILL YOUR TRIP: Take time to really enjoy what you’re doing. We sometimes have the tendency to want to see everything. But that just makes you tired and you miss out on full experiences. If you can’t fit everything in, just enjoy the things you can do. Less stress = better vacation.
- TALK TO THE LOCALS: Get to know the people who live in the area. They have a great perspective and guys- they are OH SO FRIENDLY!
- VENTURE OUT: Vancouver has so many great features, and so does the surrounding area. One of our highlights on the trip was on our first day at a beach in Tsawwassen.
- EAT LOCALLY: We tried to eat at local spots as much as possible. On top of that, we tried to just happen upon our restaurants, meaning- we stopped at something that looked good or unique- we didn’t research it first (with the exception of Off the Grid Waffles).
- BORDER CROSSING: As I mentioned in a previous post, just have all your documents ready and be respectful. These guys were so friendly and helpful when we went through.
- DID YOU BUY SOUVENIRS: Don’t forget that when you cross back in to the US, you need to have an accounting for everything you’re bringing back in that you purchased in Canada. You’ll need to pay duties, or taxes, on items exceeding $200 if you were in Canada for less than 48 hours, or $800 if you were there longer. We kept all of our souvenirs and purchases in one bag close to the drivers seat so it would be easy to access should the officer need to look at it.
Enjoy your trip!