The calm that follows the busy holiday season brings a welcome opportunity to embrace the quiet, dream of the year to come…and begin planning.
Because whether you like your vacations highly organized or left to the whims of a summer breeze, you know that with at least a little pre-planning you can secure the basics and maybe a few fundamental experiences you won’t find anywhere else.
Consider the unique opportunities awaiting in British Columbia’s Cariboo, for example. While mineral-rich rivers once attracted eager gold panners, this “Land without Limits” is today rich in experiences of a different kind. And many of them!
Not Your Average Family Vacation
While the Cariboo offers a wide array of experiences, even the new year may leave one or two out of reach – BC Parks opened reservations for paddling the the Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit Dec. 1, for example. But by and large, January is the ideal time to explore everything from a trip to one of Canada’s top rodeos to opportunities to get away from it all in B.C.’s pristine back country.
What might that vacation look like? Here are a few ideas – jumping off points that invite you to dream, discover and plan as much or as little of your Cariboo holiday as you like…
The Williams Lake Stampede – June 30 to July 3, “the wildest show west of the rocks” is a must for anyone with an interest in B.C.’s ranching heritage. In addition to Canadian Professional Rodeo Association action, the 95th annual Stampede features a parade, activities for kids and adults alike, music and a whole lot more, with a Stampede Campground nearby, in addition to numerous other camping and accommodation options throughout Williams Lake.
Billy Barker Days – The City of Quesnel celebrates those gold rush roots with the 47th annual community festival, July 13 to 16. The community comes alive with costumes, free entertainment in the park, a midway, dances, parade, rodeo and many other community-focused activities, topped off with a laser show in the park on Friday and Saturday nights.
Experience B.C.’s wild outdoors
Whether your camping preferences lean to a provincial park with all the amenities, a cabin on a picture-perfect lake, or the rustic experience of remote recreation site, B.C.’s Cariboo has exactly what you’re looking for. Find a map outlining the various options here.
Now, which activities will you pair with your getaway?
The region has quickly earned a well-deserved reputation as a mountain biking destination where options range from family-friendly trails to adrenaline-pumping downhill. From Fox Mountain’s 50 kilometres of single-track near Williams Lake to Quesnel’s Dragon Mountain and everywhere in between – we’re looking at you, 99 Mile Bike Trails near 100 Mile House – this is a must for anyone who loves exploring the outdoors on two wheels, fast or slow.
For a completely different look at the landscape, book a jetboat adventure along the Quesnel and Fraser rivers, complete with a river-side lunch and maybe even a little gold panning, or trade two feet for four hooves and live the life of a cowboy – at least for a while – at one of the Cariboo’s guest ranch getaways. Either way, you’ll leave with a new perspective on the landscape and local history, and memories to last a lifetime!
Unique experience await
For a deeper dive into local heritage, culture and history, the Xatśūll Heritage Village is an award-winning experience from the Xatśūll First Nation that offers authentic teepee accommodation plus meals for those booking in advance. You can also take part in a variety of workshops and tours, and learn about the Xatśūll from elders whose stories pass from generation to generation.
Experiential vacationing is also at the heart of the Barkerville Historic Town and Park near Wells. Beyond the fully equipped Barkerville Cottages, get a taste of travel as it used to be by booking at the seven-room St. George Hotel, depicting an authentic 1890s atmosphere while providing guests with modern amenities in the heart of the National Historic Site. You can even meet many of the colourful historical characters who may have once crossed the hotel’s threshold.
No matter how you plan your Cariboo vacation, you’re in for an adventure. Visit explorecariboo.com to discover the possibilities today!