Travel & Culture

Grab Your Girls & Go

June 18, 2022

I’m behind the wheel of a CanaDream Maxi Motorhome and I’m repeating to myself, “Are you crazy … you are going to drive this rig through city traffic before heading onto the Sea to Sky Highway. What are you thinking?” Well, it turns out that not only did I survive city congestion, my girlfriend getaway turned out to be an epic adventure filled with lots of laughter and fun.

When CanaDream asked me if I was interested in taking an RV for a four-night trip to see if I’d like it, I didn’t even hesitate. Imagine: you and a couple of besties gathered around the campfire, comfortably nestled under the stars, glass of vino in hand, with the sweet sound of the creek in the air. Sounds pretty relaxing, doesn’t it? Having said that, I am claustrophobic and I usually stay in really nice hotels, so I did wonder what the accommodations would be like. I didn’t need to worry.

With three of us ladies, the motorhome was roomy enough. The beds were very comfortable, and to be honest, you spend most of your time in the great outdoors, so going small didn’t matter. One of the many bonuses of Rving are the people you meet. As a French-Canadian, I was fortunate to have a large group of Francophones camped next door—it made the trip that much more memorable.

We spent the first two nights in Squamish, B.C., at MTV Fun Basecamp. Situated next to Alice Lake Provincial Park, I soon learned it is the top choice for mountain bikers because it links directly to some gorgeous pine forest trails. As I’m not a mountain biker, I journeyed onto these trails every morning, enjoying breathtaking mountain vistas and a meandering creek. P.S. The bathrooms at the campground are clean and feature free showers. With three of us, it was nice to have the option to shower there.

They don’t call Squamish the Outdoor Recreational Capital of Canada for nothing. It is home to the world-famous Sea to Sky Gondola. Within a 10-minute ride, that takes you straight from sea level to the summit, you truly get Instagram-worthy shots of Shannon Falls and the Squamish Chief from an entirely new and thrilling perspective. Once there, the terrain offers easy nature walks or more challenging hikes, both of which I did. After a long hike, what’s better than a fine glass of red at the Sky Pilot Eatery while taking in those sweeping panoramic views? Not much, I’d say.

We then ventured to Whistler’s Riverside RV Park.  Whereas MTV Fun Basecamp is more rugged, this campsite, which also offers quaint log cabins and yurts, is modern and pristine. Our site was directly across from the Riverside Green Putting Course and our view was nothing short of peaceful—and very beautiful. Like MTV Fun Basecamp, Riverside offers free Wi-Fi and free showers, in addition to dining. They also have a shuttle service to and from Whistler village, but it is only a short, picturesque 20-minute walk to the village.

The next morning it was off to Scandinave Spa Whistler, where the turquoise pools with a Nordic waterfall and surrounding forest views will melt away all of your cares. The spectacular spa sits on three acres, with solariums, terraces, outdoor firepits, eucalypts steam room and its hot and cold mineral baths. The postcard-worthy setting will make you forget (OK, maybe for a minute) how cold some of the pools are … may I suggest the tepid or warm ones? Then, grab a good read, or not or simply soak in the tranquility of the solarium for some well-earned R&R. Hungry? There’s even a bistro offering delicious light fare.

The last day the sun shone bright, and I headed for a hike to the glacial fed Cheakamus River. Surrounded by basalt column cliffs and old growth forest, united with the breathtaking peak of Black Tusk in the background, it was one of the most impressive hikes I’ve ever done. It is also where Whistler Bungee is located. Watching these adrenaline junkies lunge themselves head first towards the river, made me realize I will never be brave enough to take part in this experience.

In terms of dining, two of the four nights, we ate by the campfire. After all, that is what camping is all about. However, if you do want spoil yourself, here are two Whistler restaurants that are worth a visit.

Like most celebrated cuisines, Mexico takes pride in its tacos, tortas, tostadas and tamales. The Mexican Corner Restaurant isn’t just about tacos and tamales. From the gastronomy to the décor and ambience, Mexican Corner offers Whistler an authentic experience without the expense of an airline ticket. Whether you want Tuna Tostaditas, the Chile Relleno, roasted poblano pepper stuffed with braised beef and ground pork, or some down-home street food like Cochinita 3 Tacos, one thing’s for sure—you’ll never be short of fabulous options.

Arguably the Grand Dame of Whistler, the iconic Fairmont Chateau Whistler’s award-winning Mallard Lounge is where you can indulge in some Canadian cuisine with unmatched verve. After my visit at the spa, I settled in with a fine glass of Burrowing Owl Malbec and a mouth-watering hothouse tomato and spring asparagus salad with prawns. Taking in the views of Blackcomb Mountain, it was an unhurried lunch. Bonus: At the helm is executive chef Isabel Chung, who is currently the only female executive chef at all Fairmont hotels and resorts worldwide.

Would I RV again? In a heart beat. It truly was a road trip of a lifetime. —Michelle Hopkins


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