Sunday, August 2, 2015

Touring (a corner of) the BC mainland

After six consecutive years we decided to give Pacific Playgrounds a miss this year and go further afield for our main camping trip. Nothing against our regular spot, but it was time for a change, and we’d often talked about showing the kids some more of this vast province.

This expedition took more planning than usual if we wanted to avoid horrendously long days of traveling, so we booked short stays near Vancouver on the outward and return journeys, and two longer stays in the Interior. Ali is our family travel agent, and she was close to tearing her hair out looking for decent spots with good facilities on the days we needed, but a plan came together in the end.

We have a well-worn routine these days when setting off for camp. The trailer is loaded and ready during the days beforehand, and hitched up ready to roll the night before. This just leaves the last-minute ritual ferrying of bags of groceries across the drive as we empty fridge and larder, and we’re away.

Usually this marks the start of a long drive, but we live just a few minutes away from the ferry terminal so the majority of that first journey was actually spent on the ferry. No great hardship, because the Swartz Bay to Tsawassen trip is a calm and picturesque glide between islands with views of rugged coastlines and occasional wildlife.

Once on the other side, we’d forgotten what a long trek it was through the suburban sprawl of the Vancouver environs, but memories came flooding back as we hit the open highway and headed into the countryside of the lower mainland. A short while later, we were onto minor roads and our first stop at Cultus Lake.

4 nights at Sunnyside campground, Cultus Lake

A large campground with generous pitches set in trees, and a long stretch of beach on the lake. I think when we arrived they must have recently had rain because first impressions of the pitch were dark and damp, but the ground soon dried out and we know from experience to value shade in a typical BC summer.

Overall, this was a lovely campground that we’d be happy to return to in future years.

The kids enjoyed paddling their kayaks out on the lake, and just a few minutes’ cycle away there was a water slide park and a small but beautifully-laid out adventure park, which happily occupied two of our afternoons. The best part about these out-of-the-way parks was that, apart from a couple of rides, there were no line ups for anything so with our all-day passes it was uninterrupted enjoyment with little time waiting around.

Megan spent a couple of hours on this ride alone

To be continued ...


  1. Looks like your vacation is off to a rousing start.

  2. Wow, I've never been to a campground that had those types of features! Well done.

  3. Stephen, that was indeed a great start. Feels like a long time ago now :)

    Alex, the water slides and amusements were off site, but so close as makes no difference. Reminded me of some of the larger European sites...

  4. Wow, what a lovely campground. All that great outdoors will have you all zinging with good health. Enjoy. :-)

  5. Hi Ian - looks to have been great fun and ideal for you all ... lovely photos ... cheers Hilary

  6. Definitely nice to change things up once in a while, and this time it seems it worked out beautifully for you and your family. Wow! I'm so jealous. :)

    I'm glad you all had so much fun. Vancouver looks beautiful!

  7. Denise, the great outdoors felt good!

    Hilary, it was great fun. More photos to come.

    David, the kids had misgivings about all the traveling at first, but it did work out well for us in the end.


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