Romantic Retreats That Will Make You Fall in Love All Over Again

*Reconnect at Radium Hot Springs. Photo by Kari Medig, Courtesy Destination BC

Few sensations get your pulse racing — or open your heart to new places or experiences — like amore. In British Columbia, there are exciting destinations for every stage of romance, from those slow-burning flutters that washed over you the very first time you set eyes on each other, straight through to the heart-pounding adventures that seem all the more manageable when you’re locked hand-in-hand with the person of your dreams.

Here are four destinations sure to impress a loved one, and perhaps even rekindle that spark.

*Take in the beauty of Kelowna’s Hotel Eldorado. Photo by Megan Reading, Courtesy Destination BC

Search for Cupid in Kelowna

For some, the hustle and bustle of a new city offers the ideal opportunity to celebrate coupledom. And in vineyard-fringed Kelowna, you can do just that.

Signing up for a sommelier-guided wine tour? Don’t forget to arrive thirsty. Keeping an eye out for “Cupid” during a hike in Angel Springs? Let us know if you spot the little winged cherub. Lingering over refined French cuisine along the city’s waterfront? Let’s say it en Français: “Oui, mon amour.” For a delicious denouement, nibble local delights during a culinary workshop or unwind with vinotherapy sessions — a relaxing treatment that uses grape leaf wraps for an exfoliating, rejuvenating rub — at Beyond Wrapture Day Spa.

To Impress: Make a reservation at the Hotel Eldorado on the shore of Okanagan Lake. Dating back to 1926, this grand dame meshes luxury with spectacular vistas best viewed with a loved one.

*Enjoy a romantic horseback ride in the Cariboo. Photo by: Blake Jorgenson, Courtesy Destination BC

Add a Spring to Your Step(s) Near 100 Mile House

Log cabins and acres of snowy, forested trails beckon in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region at Spring Lake Guest Ranch, near 100 Mile House. Take advantage of the surroundings with ice skating at the pond. When you’re done at the makeshift rink, you can slip into snowshoes or slide on your skinny skis to explore the seemingly endless forested trails that wind through the area’s 10,000 acres.

If you’ve never tried ice fishing, it’s an outdoorsy way to bond; plus, what you catch is incidental, as huddling together over the fishing hole is what matters most. And when you start to feel winter’s nip, simply head back to your cabin and marvel at the winter landscape from your toasty home-away-from-home.

To Impress: If you’re hoping for some more traditional romance, hop on a horse-drawn sleigh or wagon and tour the forests and meadows on an hour-long excursion. Hot tip: bring a cup of cocoa to warm both your hands and your loved one’s heart.

*Sink into mineral pools at Radium Hot Springs. Photo by Zoya Lynch, Courtesy Destination BC

Find Your Peace in Radium Hot Springs

As you drive into Radium Hot Springs in Kootenay National Park, you’re welcomed by a sign that reads: “The mountains shall bring peace to the people.” That’s good news if you’re eager to leave everyday stresses in the rear-view mirror, and even better news if you’re planning to do so with a loved one at your side.

Here, you can ease into clear, odorless mineral pools — and into a new state of mind. This rejuvenating soak promises a renewed sense of calm and an opportunity for the two of you to melt into the natural beauty and remember all the reasons you were drawn together to begin with. Your only distraction? The wildlife that comb the tree-and-mountain backdrop, including resident bighorn sheep.

To Impress: Overnight in a luxury suite, like those at the stunning Prestige Radium Hot Springs Resort, and spend time together in the warmth of these rejuvenating waters.

*See the Northern Lights sparkling over Northern BC. Photo by Ryan Dickie, Courtesy Destination BC

Take in the Northern Lights in Dawson Creek

Remote communities with little light pollution are the best places to view this breathtaking natural phenomenon, making Northern BC the ideal place to take your sweetheart. Make a stop in the charming town of Dawson Creek, located at Mile 0 of the iconic Alaska Highway, which boasts wide-open skies ideal for watching the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis. The town is also home to plenty of historical sites and museums, including the Alaska Highway House.

In addition to being incredibly romantic, viewing the Northern Lights is often a bit of an adventure. If you’ve never hunted for the Lights before, keep in mind that it’s an after-dark activity that often requires some intrepid driving (and overnight camping) to find the perfect vantage point.

To Impress: Take a side trip to Mount Robson Provincial Park. As the highest point in the Canadian Rockies, this mountain offers incredible views and an endless supply of wildlife spotting opportunities, and its backcountry and Berg Lake Trail are open year-round. Pack a picnic and bring your cameras along with you — you won’t want to miss an opportunity to capture this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

No matter what outdoor activity you’re planning, be prepared for possibly hazardous winter conditions. If you’re travelling through avalanche terrain, you and everyone in your group must be self-sufficient by carrying all the proper gear (transceiver, shovel, and probe) and receiving proper avalanche training. AdventureSmart and Leave No Trace are great resources to help you get informed before heading outdoors. Follow the three Ts  trip planning, training, and taking the essentials — to keep you and your family safe and happy in British Columbia’s wild outdoors this winter.

5 BC Adventures Perfect for Family Bonding

*Warming up with a hot chocolate. Photo by: Reuben Krabbe, Courtesy Destination BC

It’s said that families who play together, grow together. If that’s true, then the wilderness of British Columbia — from the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast through to the Kootenay Rockies, the lush forests of Northern BC, and the sprawling valleys of the Thompson Okanagan — is the perfect place to get away from it all and reconnect with your loved ones. It’s also a great place to enjoy some classic winter activities.

These regions offer bountiful opportunities for cozying up in a rustic cabin with books and board games. Or, better yet, get the family active with adventurous activities amid the powdery snow. From ice fishing, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing to snowmobiling and horseback riding, here are five ways to bring the whole gang together in the wilderness.

*Exploring on snowshoes. Photo by: Kristi Denby, Courtesy Destination BC

Snowshoeing

Get your family’s adrenaline pumping with some energetic snowshoeing. Bring your own to explore snow-sprinkled forests while staying somewhere such as Wettstone Ranch in the Cariboo or Mistaya Lodge in the Kootenay Rockies. Or, visit Sun Peaks Resort in the Thompson Okanagan, where you can rent snowshoes to explore the trails at your leisure. For beginners, there are also a lot of incredible snowshoeing trails around Prince George in Northern BC. Visit the Ancient Forest to cut a path through towering cedar trees sparkling with hoar frost.

*Snowmobiling through fresh powder. Photo by: Geoff Moore, Courtesy Destination BC

Snowmobiling

Snowmobiling is an exciting way to see BC’s diverse landscape on a high-octane adventure. Explore the Gold Rush Snowmobile Trail in the Cariboo, which stretches from 70 Mile House up north to Horsefly. Make a stop at Sheridan Lake Resort in the same region to explore a nearby network of snowmobile trails that follow old logging roads and range in ability from easy to difficult. If you’re exploring the Kootenay Rockies, try White n’ Wild Snowmobile Tours for a fuller picture of the province’s outdoorsy side. If you’re planning to hit the deep powder of the Rainbow Mountains, the deluxe cabins at the Waterfront Resort Motel and Cabins at Nimpo Lake are less than an hour’s drive away and boast awe-inspiring views of the Coast Mountain range.

*Warm your hands after a day in the snow. Photo by: Reuben Krabbe, Courtesy Destination BC

Ice Fishing

Home to Highway 24 (The Fishing Highway), the Cariboo region is a well-known spot for ice fishing. Enjoy the tranquil peace of sitting around a hole in the ice waiting to catch one of the many kokanee fish swimming below the surface. Even the kids will enjoy warming up by the fire and taking in the snowy surroundings. Take a guided expedition from Loon Bay Resort on Sheridan Lake, where you and your family will be carted out on a half-day trip to a frozen lake with all the equipment you need to enjoy the winter wonderland around you.

*Getting in some quality time outdoors. Photo by: Marty Clemens, Courtesy Destination BC

Cross-Country Skiing

Home to a nearly endless supply of cross-country ski trails, BC is a popular destination for families looking for a winter activity that lets them ski together without losing the opportunity for conversation. Spend an afternoon on groomed cross-country trails at the Cariboo region’s 100 Mile Nordics Day Lodge, which offers rentals and is close to Fawn Lake Resort, where your family can stay in either a modern or rustic-style cabin.

If you already have your own skis, then the cross-country trails at Tweedsmuir Park are only a 30-minute drive from Eagle’s Nest Resort at Anahim Lake. Return after your adventure to enjoy a delicious meal in the lakeside dining room — you’ll love the gourmet dishes on offer, and the kids will get a kick out of the incredible view of the water.

Travelling with teens? Embark on a multi-day, hut-to-hut cross-country skiing odyssey with White Gold Adventures through the beautifully desolate Bowron Lake chain. Traipse over snowy portages and frozen lakes, pointing out stars and constellations to your children as you go, then marvel at the Northern Lights from the comfort of your rental cabin. You can also explore Northern BC’s Otway Nordic Centre in Prince George or the Overlander Ski Club or Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre in the Thompson Okanagan to get a taste of the province’s Nordic skiing options.

 

 

*Horseback riding is a relaxing way to connect with nature. Photo by: Blake Jorgenson, Courtesy Destination BC

Horseback Riding

Wrap up warmly and make the most of the dry, cold climate with an adventurous horseback ride through the snow. The Cariboo’s Kayanara Guest Ranch has 4.3 miles of bridle trails for experienced riders and a special area for youngsters or other beginners to learn how to ride during a two-hour session.

If you want a little powder with your pony rides, the Thompson Okanagan is home to Wildhorse Mountain Guest Ranch, whose ranch-to-hill shuttle will carry and yours straight to nearby ski resorts between horseback riding adventures.

No matter what outdoor activity you’re planning, be prepared for possibly hazardous winter conditions. If you’re travelling through avalanche terrain, you and everyone in your group must be self-sufficient — carrying all the proper gear (transceiver, shovel, and probe) and given proper avalanche training. AdventureSmart and Leave No Trace are great resources to help you get informed before heading outdoors. Follow the three Ts  trip planning, training, and taking the essentials — to keep you and your family safe and happy in British Columbia’s wild outdoors this winter.

4 Very Canadian Tips for Your Family Ski Trip

*Source: The village at Sun Peaks Resort. Photo by: Sam Egan, Courtesy Destination BC

In Canada, winter is as much an experience as it is a season. The snow, the skiing, the frost-nipped noses — they’re as integral to life in Canada as maple syrup. These qualities are best enjoyed in British Columbia, Canada’s picturesque westernmost province.

Old-growth forests draped in snow, awe-inspiring mountain ranges shimmering in the winter sun, and crystalline rivers and lakes aplenty equip this province with a natural superiority for all things frosty and white. Because of these elements, ski trips to British Columbia are an unforgettable experience.

Whether your family’s trip to BC is a few days or a few weeks long, there’s plenty around to keep you and yours enchanted. Here are four tips for making the most of a family ski vacation in Western Canada.

1. Seek Out Uncrowded Slopes

Canada is a massive country, with just over 80% of the country’s inhabitants living in urban centres. That means there’s a whole lot of wilderness out there with no one around; it’s unspoiled, just how we like it.

Since many ski bums flock to the resorts closer to the coast, your family can have a less crowded, more tranquil vacation in the Interior. The mountain at SilverStar Mountain Resort, just 40 miles away from the Kelowna International Airport, is a hidden gem in BC’s downhill scene. You and your family will have tons of diverse terrain and breathtaking mountain-top views almost all to yourself. The same goes for Big White Ski Resort and Sun Peaks Resort: fewer people and expansive terrain means you’ll rarely have to wait in lift lines. In fact, Sun Peaks Resort offers Canada’s second largest amount of ski terrain, which means you can spend more time on the slopes and less time waiting for a chair up the hill.

*Source: Wide-open spaces at SilverStar Mountain Resort. Photo by: Destination BC

2. Come to Play, Stay to Learn

The mountains in BC are the perfect place to learn new skills or challenge yourself to refine old ones. Thanks to Interior BC’s comfortable climate, ski resorts like Sun Peaks, SilverStar, and Big White have some of the world’s fluffiest (and most forgiving) powder around. They also offer plenty of family-friendly slopes with dedicated learning areas and both entry-level and intermediate runs, making them the perfect practice areas.

The Sports School at Sun Peaks has program options for skiers and boarders, from kids to adults, while Big White’s Kids’ Centre and Ski School offer award-winning family and individual ski coaching, plus youth lessons that include transportation to and from the ski hill so mom and dad can stay in their pajamas. After all, playing as a family builds affection — but learning as a family builds connection.

*Source: Sun Peaks Resort’s youth lessons. Photo by: Sam Egan, Courtesy Destination BC

3. Opt for the Ski-In, Ski-Out Experience

To take a family ski trip to the next level, truly immerse yourself in the surroundings with a ski-in, ski-out experience. This means you can commute via ski directly to and from your doorstep — a thing some Canadians actually do in the winter. For example, Silver Star offers plenty of on-mountain accommodations for those seeking a seamless ski-in, ski-out experience, including hotels, condos, and holiday homes. Not only is this the pinnacle of convenience (no need to scrape the ice off your car’s windshield in the morning), but it makes for a cozier family environment, too. Think The Shining, but way less Jack Nicholson and way more family-fun board games in the comfort of your own chalet.

*Source: Big White Ski Resort’s snow-dusted village. Photo by: Destination BC

4. Explore Canadian Winter Off the Slopes

When you’re immersed in the Canadian winter, there’s no shortage of things to do. In fact, your family will probably struggle to fit in all the activities on your list. From snowshoeing on moonlit trails to once-in-a-lifetime dog sled rides (who needs Six Flags?), the off-hill entertainment at ski resorts in BC rivals the downhill sports that bring you there in the first place. Sun Peaks boasts an NHL-sized skating rink for the hockey hopefuls, while Big White’s Adventure hub features ice climbing, snow tubing, and horse-drawn sleigh rides. If you have any aspiring adventurers in the family, try snowshoeing through SilverStar’s 34 miles of daily groomed XC trails or fat biking down 10 miles of dedicated fat bike trails. These are only a sample of the fun off-slope activities you’ll find at these winter playgrounds.

The vast array of sunny slopes in British Columbia cater to the needs of skiers and snowboarders big and small, while the off-mountain activities will keep your family busy from dawn to dusk. Plus, you can top off each day with a steaming plate of poutine (and maybe something maple syrup-based for dessert) in true Canuck style.

Top 10 Ways to Enjoy the Snow in BC (Without Skis)

Reuben Krabbe/Destination BC

As the sun begins to set earlier, Canadians everywhere are trading shorts and Birkenstocks for toques and thermals. Chilly breezes and falling leaves can only mean one thing: winter is coming.

While ski-bunnies and snowboarders rejoice, the rest of the population is likely shivering in fear of the slush and stress to come. But winter in the Kootenay Rockies, the Thompson Okanagan, the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, and Northern BC is anything but slushy or stressful — in fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee while looking out at a glassy lake, snowshoe through champagne snow-covered peaks, marvel at cascading waterfalls, or view the wilderness from the sky; with activities galore, who needs skis to enjoy the winter?

Here are 10 ways to explore the snowy season in BC, whether on foot, from a horse-drawn sleigh, or with a canoe paddle in hand.

1. Moonlight Snowshoe and S’mores at Sun Peaks

S’mores and snowshoeing? Say no more. Take a one-kilometre tour through forest trails that lead to a crackling fire, hot apple cider, and s’mores at Sun Peaks winter camp.

The walk back is equally picturesque as you overlook the village’s sparkling lights. These tours kick off on December 9th and run straight through to April.

Reuben Krabbe/Destination BC

2. Flightseeing Tours in Northern BC

See the wilderness from a bird’s-eye view. Coast over mountain peaks and glaciers — and maybe even see a moose or two! From such a height, you can even land on frozen lakes and get into a little ice fishing in true Canadian style.

3. Dogsledding at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

What’s more magical than Revelstoke, BC, you ask? Try experiencing this beautiful mountain destination by dogsled. Whether you’re looking for a relaxed ride or an adventurous romp, these trained teams of dogs are sure to be the best tour guides you’ve ever had. Be sure to bundle up in plenty of layers and bring a thermos of cocoa for the journey.

Ryan Creary/Destination BC

4. Soaking in the Liard River Hot Springs

Watch the steam rise off your body as you soak in the 107-125°F Alpha Pool at Liard River Hot Springs National Park. Open year-round, this natural cauldron of warm mineral water is located near the BC/Yukon border and is accessible via a boardwalk that takes you through a boreal forest rich with wildlife and unique plants.

5. Ice Climbing in Big White

Think you can make it all the way up a 60-foot ice tower? You’ll be supplied with all the tools you need and helped along the way by trained staff, just in case. Reward yourself with a Belgian waffle and a hot apple cider after all your hard work.

Ben Giesbrecht/Destination BC

6. Wintertime Yoga Retreat in the Kootenays

Get your zen on before the chaos of the holiday season begins with a peaceful yoga retreat, sure to fuel your mind, body, and soul. Settle into your downward dog beneath snow-covered mountains and nourish your belly with nutritious, organic meals.

7. Winter Wine Tours in the Okanagan Valley

Who knew that winter would be the best time for wine? Avoid the crowds with off-season wine tours in the Okanagan Valley. Some of the wineries even get together and host more intimate seasonal eventsPlan a trip and hit up some cozy tasting rooms with festive lights, a few friends, and all the wine to really get into the winter spirit.

8. Sleigh Rides on the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast

Retreat to the sprawling Spring Lake Ranch for a little R&R — ranching and relaxation, that is. Located near 100 Mile House and surrounded by 10,000 acres of forests and trails, Spring Lake offers something for everyone year-round. In winter, strap on a pair of cross-country skis or snowshoes and explore the lake on foot. There’s even the opportunity to dash through the snow on a traditional one-horse open sleigh! Remember to dress warmly, and maybe bring a carrot or two along with you.

9. Museum Touring in Nelson

While you wait for your buddies to finish hitting the slopes, check out some of this mountain town’s local museums and galleries. Nelson has the Touchstones Nelson: Museum of Art and History, which features a history museum exhibition, regional archives, two contemporary gallery spaces, and of course, a gift shop.

Kari Medig/Destination BC

10. Cave Touring in the Selkirk Mountains

This activity is not for the faint of heart. Accessible by helicopter in and snowshoe out (or by an 18-kilometre snowshoe round-trip) are the Cody Caves, popular for their unique ice formations. Your legs may be tired, but fortunately the Halcyon and Naksup Hot Springs are an hour’s drive away so you can dip in once you return from your adventure.

The winter season also means holiday stress for many of us — making it the perfect time to schedule in a little relaxation. No matter your preferences, winter is the most magical time of the year. With activities like starlit snowshoeing, canoe paddling, and climbing up 60-ft ice towers, there are opportunities around every mountain pass. After all, you don’t need to be an adrenaline junkie or an Olympic skier to enjoy this stunning, snowy season.

The World’s Most Spectacular and Unique Picnic Spots

There are few more idyllic, memorable, budget-friendly activities than enjoying an outdoor picnic. Whether you’re a couple looking for a romantic spot to nosh wine and cheese, a family looking for a day outing, or a big group planning an event or reunion, there are loads of spots that will enhance the overall features with scenery, amenities and unique features built right into the setting. And there are many who agree that food just taste better outside.

1. Irvine Regional Park, CA

Located in Orange, CA, Irvine Regional Park is a mecca for family fun that includes a picnic. In addition to numerous picnic tables and outdoor grills, there is a host of activities to partake in after you’ve finished your potato salad. There are bike trails (bike rentals available), equestrian trails, pony rides, paddleboats and fishing. There is even a train that the family can hop on for a ride across the park, as well as a zoo.

2. Huayna Picchu, Peru

Looking for a picnic perch with a view? You can’t get much better than spreading your blanket out atop Huayna Picchu in Peru, breaking your bread and taking into the vistas out and below. At an elevation of 9,000 ft., stopping atop this mountain after a reportedly grueling hike- not only gives you a chance to rest and refuel your body after the hike, but a chance to refresh your soul as well, with a stunning panorama of the 15th century ruins of Machu Piccu, including the Urubamba River Valley and the iconic city of Inca.

3. Gatineau Park, QC

Gatineau Park, located just outside of Ottawa, ON has 5 different picnic areas within their network of parks. The park is very popular with mountain bikers, hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. Charcoal BBQs are available at various locations throughout the parks, as well as lots of picnic tables. The Etienne Brule Lookout is a popular picnic spot and offers fantastic views of the Ottawa River and connects to hiking and biking trails.

4. Grand Canyon South Rim, AZ

You’ve heard of dinner and a show? How about lunch and a view? And as views go, you can’t replicate the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon National Park at the South Rim has over 300 miles of trails to wander, take in this wonder of the world. Desert View Drive, which winds along the south rim of the Canyon leads to the Desert View Watchtower. Along this road are several lookout points and picnic areas. If you’re looking to extend your stay and camp, reservations are highly recommended. There are three campgrounds at the South Rim, including tent sites that can accommodate up to 50 people and three vehicles- so if your picnic plans are for a large group or reunion- this is a good spot for you.

5. Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park, Bristol UK

This fun park expands over 50 acres along the River Avon and has loads of family activities, including a petting zoo, mazes, a toddler village, and indoor and outdoor play areas. The park offers a “Riverside Experience” with miles of trails to follow along the river, providing idyllic picnic spots along the way.

6. Shannon Falls Provincial Park, B.C.

In Squamish B.C., Shannon Falls cascade down over Howe Sound, and are the third tallest falls in British Columbia. A meandering trail through the forest will get you down to the base of the falls- which is where you’ll want to head for photo ops and great views. If you feel like a longer hike, this trail hooks into the Stawamus Trail, which spreads its way out to three different summits. Shannon Falls Provincial Park is well-equipped for picnickers with a concession stand and picnic area located next to the parking lot. This area is for day-use only, making it ideal for a daytime hike and picnic to take in the views.

7. Villa Borghese Park, Rome

Villa Borghese is Rome’s answer to New York’s Central Park, with vast amounts of green space, walking trails and ponds. This park spreads out over 226 acres, and is populated with statues, museums, fountains, theatres and a zoo. There is a wide patchwork of lush, idyllic gardens in which to stop and smell the roses- literally. There are lots of grassy patches under trees to spread out your blanket and feast on your Italian picnic basket. Afterwards you can wander to one of the many man-made lakes and feed the ducks.

The Best Hotel Hot Tubs In The World

Hotels are often praised for their outstanding accommodations and incredible dining, but what about the extra amenities that can make your vacation go from good to outstanding. Hotel hot tubs can play an important role in making your experience unforgettable. Forget the dingy hot tubs located beside the hotel pool and get ready to experience some of the best tubs in the world. From outdoor hot tubs that give views of mountains, valleys and wildlife to hot tubs that are built right into your room; these 15 hotel hot tubs will make you want to book your vacation today!

15. Amangiri, Canyon Point, UT

Set on 600 acres in Canyon Point and built right into the landscape, this luxury resort offers views over the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, perfect for travelers who love the desert. Along with a massive size swimming pool and incredible terrace, there is a beautiful hot tub located at the base of the rock wall.

King-sized daybeds and sun loungers provide the ultimate place to relax while not in the water. Whether you choose to visit in winter or summer, the hot tub is the perfect place to gaze up into the open sky and watch for stars at night. Guests here will also enjoy the water activities on nearby Lake Powell, exploring the national parks and experiencing the spa treatments.

Via Pinterest

14. Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort & Spa, Beaver Creek, CO

This luxury resort doesn’t just offer one hot tub but five, each with their own selling points, which make this resort one of the best to visit if you are looking to spend some time soaking. If you are looking for some adult only time make sure to wander over to one of the two adults-only hot tubs, if it is a view you are after, make sure to check out the one with a jaw-dropping view of the Vail Valley.

Our favorite hot tub here though is the one with the cascading hot waterfall, straight off the natural rock formation that surrounds the tub. If you are looking to get slope-side service, make sure to head over to the tub that comes complete with cocktails, a personal waitress, plush robes, hot towels and truffle popcorn. If you feel more like swimming and less like relaxing make sure to check out the year-round heated outdoor pool.

Via InTomorrow

13. Twin Farms, Barnard, VT

This all-inclusive Vermont resort is home to ten freestanding cottages that feel more like luxurious homes than rustic cottages. Most of these ten cottages also happen to feature incredible hot tubs. Located both inside and out, guests have their choice of accommodation when booking and whether you are looking for a sunken indoor hot tub next to a fireplace or an outdoor tub in a private screened porch, you are in luck.

Each cabin has been designed by professionals and it is no surprise that guests here come back year after year. Our favorite hot tub of all though is the one located inside the Aviary cottage. Guests who stay here will have the opportunity to soak in a tub that has been sunken in granite rock, with views of the New England forest from the huge window. A towering stone fireplace sits a stone’s throw away and you can assure you will never be cold here.

Via Andrew Harper

12. Regent Palms, Turks and Caicos Islands

Part infinity pool and part hot tub make up this incredible multi-million dollar paradise. Overlooking the North Atlantic and situated on the impressive Grace Bay Beach is a ten-person hot tub located inside the infinity pool on its own island. Wooden decking, sun pods, stylish loungers, chilled towels, fresh fruit and complimentary Wi-Fi set the stage for this incredible soaking experience.

The resort itself boasts 72 suites and is just steps away from white sand beaches and turquoise waters. Other amenities include a 25,000 square foot spa, floodlit tennis courts and an abundance of water sports including sailing, kayaking, and snorkeling. It’s easy to spend the entire vacation here poolside though, and whether you are relaxing in the hot tub or plunging into the warm pool, it’s absolutely breathtaking.

Via wowamazing.com

11. Matakauri Lodge, Queenstown, New Zealand

On the edge of Lake Wakatipu is an alpine cedar and stone lodge that offer incredibly beautiful suites, rooms, and guest cottages. It is here where guests will find an incredible hot tub overlooking The Remarkables mountains. The hot tub is surrounded by floor to ceiling glass doors which open to expose it to all the elements and with lit candles surrounding it; this is the perfect romantic destination.

An additional hot tub is located outside the spa, along with a sauna and heated swimming pool. If you are traveling with a family or group of friends, make sure to book the owners cottage where you will have access to your own private hot tub located on the balcony overlooking the beautiful surroundings.

Via Andrew Harper

10. Blancaneaux Lodge, San Ignacio, Belize

It is no surprise that this hot tub makes this list as it was actually designed by Oscar-winning production designer Dean Tavoularis. The lodge actually has a hydroelectric plant that heats the 11,000-gallon tub with the excess electricity it produces, and unlike a typical hot tub that has many bubbles, this one is just straight hot water. Housed in a tropical jungle, soaking in this tub is like escaping reality, even just for a short time.

What makes this hot tub so unique is the fact that it was constructed by local stone craftsmen with thousands of pieces of local granite. Guests here can enjoy drinks served to you by the bar; just make sure to let the bartender know you are heading down there in order to get the best service.

Via thewaywardpost.com

9. The Ski Dream Home, Park City, Utah

This opulent ski-in, ski-out home is located 8,000 feet above sea level atop Deer Valley Resort’s Little Baldy Peak and offers an incredible 12-person stone hot tub. Guests here won’t have to worry about being cold in the frosty weather with the outdoor fireplaces, heated wrap around decks and a heated outdoor pool. From the hot tub, guests will be privy to watching the sun turn the Wasatch Mountain Range into brilliant shades of purple while sipping on a cocktail from one of two bars located inside the house.

Other amenities in this luxurious house include six bedrooms, ten bathrooms, DJ booth, a home theatre, pool table and a full swing golf simulator. After spending days hitting the slopes via a privately heated ski bridge, make sure to relax in this ultra swanky, breathtakingly beautiful outdoor stone hot tub.

Via Luxatic

8. Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, Maldives

It is one of the most romantic hot tubs on this list, located at the ultra-luxurious Conrad Maldives Rangali Island hotel. The hot tub is situated outside the beautiful over-water spa and is meant for just two people, giving guests the utmost privacy. Overlooking the clear Indian Ocean, surrounded by vibrant coral reef and heated to 104 degrees; guests will have no reason to ever want to leave this hot tub.

You won’t have to worry about getting out anytime soon as hotel staff will provide you with fresh fruit juices and cool aromatic towels while you are soaking. Other awesome amenities at this resort include an underwater restaurant, an underground wine cellar featuring over 20,000 bottles of wine, holistic treatments from the beautiful spa and unique experiences such as swimming with whale sharks.

Via Simply Maldives Holidays

7. Doe Bay, San Juan Islands, WA

This rustic resort is tucked away on beautiful Orcas Island and the focus here is on reconnecting with nature. Three clothing-optional outdoor hot tubs are at the heart of the resort, overlooking the Salish Sea and out to the other islands of the San Juan Archipelago. The tubs can seat up to eight people and can be used by guests of the hotels as well as drop-in guests, for a fee.

Guests of this resort can choose from campsites, cabins or yurts as their accommodations and there are plenty of activities to experience on the island. Relax and renew your spirit with yoga or massages, before heading over to the sauna and soaking tubs which remain at a lovely temperature of 104 degrees all year around.

Via Everyone’s Travel Club

6. Nimmo Bay Resort, British Columbia, Canada

Guests of the Nimmo Bay Resort in British Columbia can soak their cares away in one of two red cedar hot tubs that are tempted at a lovely 104 degrees all year around. The setting itself is absolutely stunning and the views from one of the eight-person hot tubs are equally impressive; cascading waterfalls, lush green vegetation and the feeling of being tucked in the middle of nowhere.

Many guests here dare to take a plunge in the cold pool before hopping into the hot tubs for the ultimate cold-hot experience that is meant to invigorate your body and senses. The tubs are actually filled with the clear waters that fall from the top of Mount Stephens. Other activities at this all-inclusive upscale resort include heli-fishing, whale watching, paddle boarding, hiking, and kayaking.

Via mananatravel.com

5. The Hotel on Rivington, New York City

This hotel located on the lower east side is a secretive hot spot for anyone looking for incredible views, a great party, and an incredible rooftop hot tub experience. This 10 seat coveted cedar hot tub is the perfect place to enjoy some cocktails while taking in the view. The round cedar hot tub looks more like a bucket and only adds to this ultra-hip penthouse.

Surrounding this sleek hot tub is incredible extras such as an outdoor shower to cool off in the summer, an outdoor fireplace to warm your toes in the winter and some incredible themed party nights. This hotel boasts luxurious and sleek guestrooms, celebrity parties and a full-size pool table in the lobby.

Via blog.kitchentrotter.com

4. Banyan Tree Lijiang Resort & Spa, Lijiang, China

Guests of this incredible resort won’t have to share a hot tub with anyone else, as each garden villa comes complete with its own two-person private hot tub. Hot tubs look out onto the famous Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and are heated to a comfortable 100.4 degrees. With world-class dining, an incredible spa and luxurious accommodations; this resort offers something for everyone to enjoy.

While soaking in the tub make sure to request some local plum wine or traditional Chinese tea. Other amenities at the resort include Yoga, outdoor tennis courts, a state-of-the-art fitness center and an abundance of tours and treks to experience.

Via karmatrendz.wordpress.com

3. The Molori Safari Lodge, South Africa’s North West Province

This five-suite lodge boasts one of the most impressive hotel hot tubs in the world. This in-ground tub can seat up to six people and visitors should prepare themselves for awesome wildlife viewing. From the hot tub, guests can watch as elephants, zebras, wild dogs and even lions graze nearby. The Molori Safari Lodge is located deep inside the Madikwe Game Reserve, a 185,329-acre reserve that is teeming with wildlife, and is malaria free!

Guests can not only enjoy this epic hot tub but are also treated to a personal butler who serves them traditional drinks and snacks while they are soaking. As an added bonus this beautiful hot tub is surrounded by an equally stunning infinity pool, gorgeous wood furnishings and comfortable chairs and couches.

Via XO Private

2. Hotel Villa Honegg, Lucerne, Switzerland

This outdoor hot tub is one of the largest on this list, being more like a steaming swimming pool than a regular hot tub. On the back lawn of this 1905 mansion is where this incredible hot tub is located, overlooking the pristine Lake Lucerne. In the winter time, the dramatic landscape includes snow-covered peaks while the summertime green grassy hills roll on as far as the eye can see.

This ultra-modern tub is sleek in design, with stainless steel railings and crisp cut corners, contrasting brilliantly with the surrounding stone. Other amenities at this beautiful hotel include a 20-seat cinema, e-bike rentals, salon and fireplace room, a nearby golf course and an excellent restaurant.

Via AWOL – Junkee

1. Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff, Canada

Known for looking more like a castle straight out of a fairytale rather than a hotel, Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel offers incredible luxury, beautiful surroundings, and one epic hot tub. This enchanted landscape is home to blue skies, towering mountains, huge pine trees and snow-capped peaks. In the middle of all of this sits an outdoor hot tub that begs to be soaked in. Whether you choose to visit in the summer or winter, guest will enjoy soaking in the healing waters while they breathe in the alpine air.

Also located on this magnificent property is the equally impressive Willow Stream Spa, offering its own indoor and outdoor hot tubs, along with numerous treatment rooms and mineral pools. There may not be anything more magical than soaking in the warm waters while taking in the views of this breathtaking landscape that surrounds you on all sides.

Via photos.banfflakelouise.com

Top 12 Mountain Biking Trails in North America

If you have ever thought about taking up the sport of mountain biking, there is no better time like the present, as thousands of incredible trails are awaiting you across the country. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced rider, these trails are packed with incredible scenery, technical descents, and grueling uphills. From narrow trails along the edge of cliff tops to trails winding through 300 year old forests, we have gathered our favorite 12 mountain biking trails in America. So what are you waiting for, grab your gear and hit the trails!

12. Bangtail Divide Trail, Bozeman, Montana

The Bangtail Divide Trail is regarded as Bozeman’s most notorious mountain biking trail, and not because it is difficult in nature. No, the Bangtail Divide Trail is known for its breathtaking scenery and smooth single-track trails. The views here will include several mountain ranges and endless fields of wildflowers. Riders can do the whole loop, which runs about 31 miles and starts off with a big climb, utilizing twenty some off switchbacks.

It’s around 18 miles that you will reach the best part of the trail, a five-mile ride downhill through a pine forest that is nice and smooth. It’s so good, it’s almost enough that you want to go up and do the whole thing over again.  Rounding out the trail is a final downhill that features some tricky switchbacks. All in all, the ride is smooth, moderately easy and full of epic scenery.

Via southwestmontanamba.org

11. Poison Spider Messa down Portal Trail, Moab, Utah

You will either love or hate this trail and it will definitely make you cry, however old and in shape, you may think you are. Technically, physically and mentally this trail will rip you to shreds and that is what makes it all worth it. Words that have been used to describe it are deadly, dangerous, scenic and stunning. Riders can choose to ride the loop which is about 13 miles or as an out-and-back trail, but it starts off the same way, a relentless climb over deep sand, technical bedrock and slippery stones.

After you reach the viewpoint looking over Moab, you will join the Portal Trail that edges closer to the cliff walls than you have ever imagined. It is imperative to know your abilities before attempting this trail and in some places, you must dismount and walk your bike as you are literally on the edge. After riders have cleared the cliffs the trail gets even gnarlier with ledge drops, loose rocks, narrow squeezes and crazy turns.

Via Moab Utah

10.  Top of the World Trail, Whistler, British Columbia

This trail is only a few years old and is already a favorite among riders. To start, head up to the very top of Whistler Mountain via the lift, and make sure you get your ticket early as they only sell 150 of them a day. The trail starts at a whopping 7160 feet with incredible views of the shimmering lakes, Black Tusk, and the coastal mountains. There are two ways to go, as indicated by signs stating “this way is hard” and “this way is harder”.

It’s a 5km descent to the bottom, through creeks, around tight corners, and through rocky sections. The trail itself is a mix of alpine single-track and double-wide ski-runs with views of alpine trees, brilliant blue lakes and the backcountry of Whistler. With no uphill pedaling required, riders should be sure to have the proper gear including bike to ensure they make it the way down on this jumpy, fun, awesome new trail.

9. Mountainside Loop, Kingdom Trails, Vermont

This is the perfect trail to hop on if you are staying at the Burke Mountain Campground as it starts and ends here, but even if you aren’t camping, we suggest trying this trail out. Riders will start off pedaling the 15.5 mile trail by making their way up some switchbacks in this wooded incline but prepared to immediately switch gears as you break into a quick descent.

The downhill is loaded with roots, bumps, a few jumps and some narrow bridges sans railings to navigate. Another ascent/descent awaits riders, although less challenging than the first. The final leg of this trail is an uphill climb to end at the campground where you will surely be ready for a cold beer. This route is technical and for riders that have experience with true dirt trails loaded with bumps, objects to navigate and other riders to contend with.

8. Deep Steep Trail, South Carolina

This single-track 4.6 mile track certainly doesn’t sound that daunting but locals that ride here have a love/hate relationship with Deep Steep Trail. This trail actually has more climbing than any other in the Forks Area Trails and as much fun as it is to go down, one must go back up. It has also been described as one of the most fun trails in the area and riders can choose to ride it either way, with both offering tons of uphill’s and downhills.

The ride is perfect for beginners and advanced riders as beginners can practice their stability and control on the descents whereas advanced riders can let loose. The trail is non-technical and littered with whoops, berms and gentle turns and promises that you won’t want to ride it just once.

Via The Mountain Hiker

7. Downieville Downhill, Downieville, California

What awaits riders coming to this trail is a whopping 17 miles of the sheer vertical downhill drop and is recommended for the intermediate or advanced riders only. The town of Downieville is located a couple hours into the mountain and is a true mountain biker’s destination. To get to the top of this trail, either take a shuttle up or have someone drop you off. From there it is all downhill, taking over an hour to reach the bottom.

Riders have the privilege of having this single-track trail to themselves for 85% of the way down and expect a steep technical ride on top as you battle your way through rock gardens, creeks, and long suspension bridges. Don’t be fooled thinking you won’t have any uphill battles though, as although this trail descends 17 miles, you will still have to pedal a few uphills.

Via vitalmtb.com

6. Munds Wagon Trail, Sedona, Arizona

The most difficult part of this trail is actually staying focused on riding, rather than admiring the beautiful scenery, although many will argue that this trail is both physically and mentally demanding as well. The trail is a tough 21.55 miles, single-track and is in excellent condition. Riders will be faced with a literal uphill battle though as they climb through stunning scenery.

The views only get better the higher you go and the reward at the top is simply surreal. Riders should prepare to contend with a few hikers that are often on the trail as well as a 5-6 hour ride, make sure to pack plenty of fluids and sunscreen. Think lots of speed, lots of technical spots and lots of pictures to be taken.

Via singletracks.com

5. Rock Lake Epic, CAMBA Trails, Cable, Wisconsin

The Rock Lake Epic is, just like the name says, an epic 27 mile trail that is located in the hilly woods of Cable, Wisconsin. It is part of the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA) Trails, which host a seemingly endless network of single tracks in the summer. The Epic loop takes riders through a web of tracks that winds its way through maple and oak forest through four of the best trails in the network: Rock Lake, Glacier, Patsy Lake, and Namakagon.

This dense terrain features plenty of rock ledges, plank bridges, step-ups and beautiful wilderness lakes.  This trail is not for beginners even though no climb is more than 100 feet, what gets riders through it’s the constant rollers, downed logs, rock features and plenty of mud.

Via McKinney Realty

4. Paradise Royale Trail, California

Although much of California’s land is off-limits due to preservation efforts, the Paradise Royale Trail was built specifically for mountain biking. Located deep in the King Range Mountains off the northern coast, this 14 mile loop thrills riders with its brief descend and then steady climb. Riders are advised to ride clockwise to take advantage of the long flowy descent on the east side.

Expect 19 gritty switchbacks which have been nicknamed “The Prince of Pain” along with steep side slopes, a skinny trail, and exciting flowy descents. Riders will take in incredible views of the Pacific Ocean as well as having the choice of optional jumps and drops on the way down. Once you get through that tough climb on the get go, it’s nothing but laughs and fun on the way down, as long as you know what you are doing.

Via MTB Project

3. 401 Trail Crested Butte, Colorado

It is one of the best rides in the area as voted by riders and is a mix of road and single-track trail, which has you climbing and dropping for miles. This loop begins with a long but easy climb up Gothic Rd to Schofield Pass where you will catch the single-track trail and this is where the scenery begins to get epic with an incredible view of Emerald Lake.

Around 6.5 miles in is where the climb pays off as riders can take in unparalleled views of the Elk mountains and as you descend expect to see fields of colorful flowers. The downhill is generally fast and flowy with a few skinny sections to watch out for. Expect two more climbs after the downhill which are a little more technical than the first, or take the exit at Rustler’s Gulch back to Gothic Road to end of one awesome ride.

Via Mountain Bike Bill

2. McKenzie River Trail, Oregon

This trail on the west side of the Cascade Mountains will take riders through lush green forests and lava fields on a single-track that is meant for both beginners and advanced riders. It is recommended that riders shuttle to the top and then ride down to the bottom, zipping past crystal blue pools, towering waterfalls, and hot springs. The total distance of the trail is 26 miles and riders will do plenty of bobbing, ducking and weaving as they make their way through one of America’s top trails.

Riders won’t find any painful climbs here but will find challenging lava rock sections along with an abundance of logs, roots, and rocks. Don’t expect to be going downhill the whole ride though, this trail drop 1800ft and goes back up 1000ft with lots of pedaling. Prepare to want to stop every few minutes to gaze at the waterfalls, 300 year old forest, mountain river and other spectacular scenery.

Via Greg Vaughn Photography

1. Porcupine Rim Trail, Moab, Utah

This world-famous ride should definitely be on your bucket list of trails, only if you are an advanced rider though. It can either be one-way with a shuttle car or a grueling 34 mile loop, for those truly hardcore riders. An incredible climb at the beginning takes riders up to the rim for breathtaking views of Castle Valley. From the top, the trail descends quickly through slick rock sections and some long smooth bits.

It is when you reach the single-track where the downhill gets extremely technical. The trail gets fast, the rocks start sloping sideways and the trail stays narrow. The views start to get incredible and riders should make sure to stay focused as the trail twists and turns. Expect to reach the bottom brimming with relief and excitement, knowing you just completed one of the best mountain biking trails in the country.

Via Doug in Idaho

8 Historic Canadian Forts That Still Exist Today

Canadian forts offer a glimpse into the past, built over the last two centuries to defend the young country. Nowadays they stand as a testament to the history of Canada and offer visitors a chance to go back in time. Many of these historic forts have been rebuilt time and time again, in order to give visitors access to them. Beautiful views, fun activities and a great lesson in Canadian history await visitors to these eight historic Canadian forts.

8. Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site, Victoria, British Columbia

This coastal artillery fort was built in the 1890’s, intended to defend Victoria and the Esquimalt Naval Base. The site is adjacent to Fisgard Lighthouse, the first lighthouse on the west coast of Canada. Visitors here have the chance to tour secret bunkers, military command posts, and original 19th-century buildings.

Hear personal stories of soldiers and their families, explore the nearby tide pools and bring a picnic and spend the whole day here. Known for its breathtaking views, the fort overlooks the beautiful coastline and out into the mountains. Open every day except Christmas, most visitors choose to visit the fort and the lighthouse in the same visit.

7. The Citadel National Historic Park, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Fort George is the fortified summit of Citadel Hill, first fortified in 1749, the year when Halifax was founded. A series of four different defensive fortifications have occupied the summit of Citadel Hill. While it was never attacked, the Citadel played an important part in the defense of the Halifax Harbor and its Royal Navy Dockyard. The star-shaped structure offers an incredible view of the city and the harbor.

Visitors should plan on taking a guided tour to learn more about the fort’s history from 1749 through WWII. Make sure to visit the Army Museum while you are here to view over 70,000 artifacts chronicling Atlantic Canada’s military history. Visit in July and be a part of the Great Canadian Backyard Campout where you can set up camp inside the walls of the citadel.

6. Fort Chambly National Historic Site, Chambly, Quebec

This imposing stone structure has been guarding part of one of the largest navigable waterways in North America for more than two centuries. It was first constructed in 1711 to defend the colony and three wooden forts preceded the stone fortification. For many years this fort was the main footing of the defensive chain of fortifications along the Richelieu River, which was the easiest route into New France.

The fort was lost to the British in 1760 in The Conquest of New France, captured by American forces in 1775 and finally restored in 1882 by a citizen of Chambly. Today visitors can see a fully reconstructed version of the fort where they can learn more about New France history and culture.

5. Fort St. James National Historic Site, Fort St. James, British Columbia

It was one of the first permanent fur trading posts in the West, built in 1805-1806 and has been rebuilt a total of four times. Visitors here will get a good look at life in 1896 that includes a fur warehouse, storage facility, trade store, and gardens. It displays the largest group of original wooden buildings representing the fur trade in Canada and the story here revolves around the relationships and interactions between the fur traders and Native Peoples of the region.

Its location on Stuart Lake offers fun for outdoor enthusiasts including hiking, sailing, fishing and mountain biking. Special event days happen throughout the year including Salmon Day with its ‘iron chef’ cook-off and Harvest Day.

Via Salmon Trails | Northwest BC Culture

4. Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site, St. Andrews, Manitoba

The original Fort Garry was destroyed in 1826 by a devastating flood, leading the Hudson’s Bay Company to search for a higher ground to build the next fort. Thus Lower Fort Garry was built, 32km north of the original in 1830. What makes this fort so significant is the fact that Treaty 1 was signed here.

Visit here from May to September when costumed interpreters recreate like at Lower Fort Garry in the early 1850’s. Original buildings and walls, hands-on activities and original-to-era furnishings are all a part of the experiment. Around Halloween, candlelight tours are offered through the fort, along with hot chocolate around a campfire.

Via National Post

3. Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada, Amherstburg, Ontario

It was formally known as Fort Amherstburg, built in 1795 by Britain in order to ensure the security of British North America against any potential threat of American Invasion. It here where Sir Isaac Brock and Tecumseh met during the War of 1812 to plan the siege of Detroit. Unfortunately, this border fortification was torn down after the War of 1812. The fort was rebuilt and it’s the second structure that survives today.

Ideally located along the Detroit River, visitors here are privy to some true Canadian flora and fauna including sugar maples, swans, and geese. Throughout the year there are special events such as the haunted fort tours during October and Christmas celebrations that show visitors how soldiers over two hundred years ago celebrated the holiday.

Via Ontario’s Southwest

2. Fortress Louisburg, Louisburg, Nova Scotia

The original settlement was made in 1713 by the French and developed over several decades into a thriving center for fishing and trade. Fortified against the threat of British Invasion during the time of empire building, Louisburg was besieged twice before finally being destroyed in the 1760’s. Luckily for visitors, archeologists have reconstructed the fortress as it was in the 18th century.

Today the site features more than a dozen buildings to explore as well as daily demonstrations recreating life at the fort that includes cooking, dancing, music and military drills. This is more than just a fort to explore, with its three 18th-century restaurants as well as a delicious bakery to explore. One of best things about visiting this fortress is the help you are giving the local economy, which has struggled economically with the decline of the North Atlantic fishery.

1. Old Fort Erie, Niagara Falls, Ontario

It is known as Canada’s bloodiest field of battle, due to more than 3,000 troops who lost their lives during the Siege of Fort Erie from August 3rd to September 21st in 1814. The original fort was built in 1764 and was the first British fort to be constructed as part of a network developed after the Treaty of Paris concluded the Seven Years’ War. The fort was first a supply base for British troops, before the War of 1812, a base for troops during the American Revolution and later an important crossing point for the Underground Railroad.

The annual Siege of Fort Erie takes place on the second week of August each year and is most definitely the favorite time to check out this historical fort. It is then that re-enactors from all over North America descend on the fort to re-create the historic battles, complete with plenty of firepower.

The 11 Best Wilderness Retreats in Canada

If there is one thing Canada does well, it is Wilderness resorts. From the west coast to the east, and everything in between, this country is overflowing with incredible log cabins, luxury glamping resorts and scores of activities centering around nature. Discover one of the most expensive lodges in the country, hike through the Great Bear Rainforest, come eye to eye with an Orca Whale and embrace the beautiful country at these 11 incredible wilderness retreats.

11. Tweedsmuir Park Lodge, Bella Coola, BC

Nestled in a beautiful and secluded area of British Columbia is this breathtaking wilderness lodge, with a specialty in grizzly bear viewing. The lodge was originally built in the 1920’s as a hunting and fishing lodge but today serves visitors as an eco-friendly, wilderness retreat. Placed in the middle of one of the healthiest bear habitats in the world, bears can often be seen wandering past the lodge or even napping on the lawn.

Springtime brings something special as the bears come down to the Atnarko River to feast on spawning salmon. The beautiful open lodge is welcoming with its amazing fireplaces, outdoor hot tub, and large dining rooms. Guests will spend the night in one of 11 private chalets that sleep anywhere from 2-4 people. With helpful guides on site, you can choose to do as little or as much as you want here at this incredible wilderness retreat.

Via Bella Coola Heli Sports

10. Siwash Lake Ranch, Cariboo Mountains, British Columbia

This remote resort is small, personal and sophisticated, beckoning travelers who are looking for an authentic adventure and life-enriching experiences. This genuine family-owned ranch is located in cowboy country and legendary for providing guests with the ultimate wilderness experience. Guests here have the choice of suites in the ranch house or private luxury tent suites overlooking the Siwash Lake. Dine on food that has been grown on-site or foraged from the nearby forests in the authentic dining room or outside on the sun deck or fireside.

Besides the signature horseback riding program that is offered to all guests, this ranch offers other exceptional activities and experiences including but not limited to archery, wilderness survival, kayaking, yoga, mountain biking, swimming and more. This off-grid ranch is determined to offer an authentic wilderness retreat to guests of all ages, including families that tend to head here in the summer months.

Via Nation Geographic Lodges

9. Trout Point Lodge, Tobeatic Wilderness Area, Nova Scotia

It boasts itself as luxury accommodations in unspoiled wilderness, an intimate secluded resort that caters to anyone looking to escape the ordinary. This wilderness lodge and nature retreat offers guests locally-inspired cuisine and copious amount of nature activities. Picture a massive lodge created out of log walls and beam ceilings, furnished with Tiffany lamps and handmade furniture. Crackling fireplaces, incredible views, and a welcoming atmosphere complete the picture.

With two dining venues, every guest is taken care of and served the freshest of Canadian seafood along with fresh veggies and organic ingredients. The real draw to this wilderness retreat though is the experience, from hiking through the Acadian Forest ecosystem to trout fishing in the lakes to star gazing at night to soaking in the cedar hot tub; there is no shortage of amazing experiences to be had.

Via Booking.com

8. Wilderness Resort, Sunshine Coast, BC

Located in one of BC’s best-kept secrets, this resort offers over 124 acres of pristine wilderness at your fingertips. Wilderness Resort is located within the Sechelt Inlet Provincial Marine Park on the Sunshine Coast and you can expect to share your space with bald eagles, black bears, bobcats, deer and more. Getting here is just the beginning of your wilderness experience as it’s either a 20 minute float plane ride or 40 minute ferry ride. Accommodations here range from cabins to platform tent cabins and all come beautifully furnished, ready to enjoy.

Guests here take advantage of the incredible kayaking, hiking, yoga, bird watching expeditions, sailing and seaplane tours. There is no dining room on-site here, instead fresh food is brought in daily and guests can cook it themselves, with the hosts, other guests or hire a personal chef to do it all for them. With one of the most beautiful landscapes surrounding you, the urge to go out and explore will keep you busy all day here.

Via My Trips Canada

7. Esnagami Lodge, Nakina, ON

This premier fly-in fishing lodge is for those who are looking to get serious in nature and catch the fish of their lifetime. Fully furnished cabins complete with beautiful lake views are the source of accommodation here, along with a lodge that houses a beautiful dining room, comfortable couches and other modern amenities you may need. Esnagami Lake is known for its bountiful waters, majestic wildlife, and trophy fishing.

This pristine lake offers over 120 miles of shoreline and over 200 islands, along with 18,000 acres of clear cool water. What awaits you after a full day of fishing, either guided or self-guided, is warm delicious home cooked meals in the main lodge’s dining room, a crackling fire and great company.

Via Scottmillsfishing.com

6. Cathedral Mountain Lodge, Canadian Rockies, British Columbia

Sitting in the very heart of the Canadian Rockies, it is hard to imagine how one could not fall in love with this incredible wilderness lodge. This stunning timber lodge is combined with 31 luxury lodge cabins offering the ultimate in accommodations to visitors. Activities here are endless, from 310 miles of hiking to kayaking, white water rafting, mountain biking, fishing, horseback riding and more. Guests will wake up surrounded by majestically mountains, the smell of pines and the sound of the river.

Meals are served in the incredible dining room that looks out onto the Kicking Horse River and is accompanied by fine wines. The on-hand adventure specialist has the inside scoop on wildlife sightings, the best hikes and all the activities guests can participate in here. With no televisions or phones, the Cathedral Mountain Lodge encourages you to shut down from your normal life and get outside and explore the beauty that surrounds you.

Via Cathedralmountainlodge.com

5. West Coast Wilderness Lodge, Egmont, BC

It is one of the most accessible wilderness retreats in British Columbia, just a three hour drive or 20 minute float plane ride from downtown Vancouver. Guests will feel as though they are miles away from reality though as they stare out at the calm waters that surround this lodge. This lodge offers superior marine and wildlife tours by zodiac, the only ones of its kind on the Sunshine Coast and this comfortable and exciting journey are one of the best ways to learn about the ecology and geography of the west coast.

Guided tours are the specialty here and include ocean kayaking, canoeing, fly-fishing and nature hikes, just to name a few. Nature is behind the design of the accommodations and guests here should expect spectacular views, private decks, outdoor hot tub, and communal fireplace lounge. This lodge also boasts one of the most incredible water-front restaurants in the country and watch as eagles soar high above and sea lions laze on by while indulging in incredible gourmet meals.

Via wcwl.com

4. Tincup Wilderness Lodge, Yukon

This breathtaking wilderness lodge is set right on the shore of Tincup Lake, surrounded by miles and miles of the untouched and raw beauty of the Yukon. The lodge can only be reached by floatplane and sets a maximum of 10 guests per week, making this an incredibly personal and unique experience. Accommodations echo the true idea of Canadian comfort, log cabins that are comfortably furnished and a large welcoming lodge with woodstove, kitchen and dining room.

The lodge here prides itself on delivering fresh authentic Northern cuisine and provides all three meals to guests. Activities here range from fly-fishing in the crystal clear lake teeming with fish to hiking one of many trails that start at the lodge to canoeing and kayaking through the calm waters. If relaxing in nature is more your style, you will love the lakeside sauna and hot tub.

Via Tincup-lodge.com

3. Nimmo Bay Resort, Port McNeil, BC

This all-inclusive luxury resort is reached only by helicopter, float plane or boat and has been listed as one of National Geographic’s most unique lodges worldwide. This intimate family owned and operated resort promises to deliver the ultimate wilderness retreat to its guests through a variety of activities, luxury cabins, and an incredible dining experience. The nine wooden cabins include awesome extras including BC wine, luxury linens, organic bath and beauty products and more.

Dining is done in the cozy lounge or outdoors on the gorgeous floating dock where local, homemade meals are served alongside local wines and beer. Included in your stay here are activities such as bear watching, canoeing, hiking, snorkeling, sunset cruises, yoga, whale watching, windsurfing and more.

Via Outside GO

2. Tagish Wilderness Lodge, Tagish, Yukon

Offering intimate and memorable experiences, Tagish Wilderness Lodge is located in the middle of the Yukon’s pristine wilderness, accessible only by boat, floatplane, skiplane or dogsled. The lodge is made up of 4 private log cabins, with a maximum of eight guests in total at one time, along with the main lodge which features a wood-fired sauna and large dining table. All meals are included and served around a family-style dining table using only the freshest of ingredients.

The lodge operates in both the winter and summer and different activities are available depending on when you visit. During the summertime, guests should expect plenty of canoeing and kayaking, fishing trips, boat tours, and hiking. In the winter guests enjoy snowshoeing, dog sledding, ice fishing and staring in wonder at the Northern Lights. Any time of the year you will be sure to observe local wildlife like moose, bears or caribou in their natural habitat.

Via Charlote Travel

1. Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, Tofino, BC

This five-star wilderness retreat is seriously one of a kind and from the moment guests step off the float plane they know they are in for something special. Visitors to the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort will experience world-class dining, luxury tent accommodations and countless activities to choose from. This resort is only open from Mid May to September and is one of the most costly resorts per night in the country.

Accommodations are safari-style tents decorated with antiques, king-size beds, remote-controlled propane wood stoves, and ensuite bathrooms. Gourmet meals are served and often include wild salmon, scallops, and vegetables from the organic garden. Because of its location in the 350,000-hectare Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve, guests are invited to can catch salmon and halibut, ride horses into the old-grown rainforest, kayak in the Bedwell River and hike along numerous trails. This once in a lifetime wilderness retreat should not be missed, as long as you have the money to spend.

Via Kiwi Collection

Canada’s 10 Most Beautiful University Campuses

Canada is blessed from coast to coast with incredibly beautiful and unique university campuses. While some feature historic buildings and castles, others are blessed with lush landscapes and an abundance of flora. Canadian universities have done their part to keep up these beautiful landscapes and as more modern buildings are created, they are done so in environmentally friendly ways. From the bustling metropolis of Montreal to the quiet paths of Thunder Bay; here are our top 10 choices for the most beautiful university campuses in Canada.

10. McGill University -Montreal, QB

McGill doesn’t just have one beautiful campus but two, both of them gorgeous in their own ways. The downtown campus features the lush greenery from the slopes of Mount Royal, combined with over 70 state of the art buildings. Macdonald Campus on the other hand is located on the very tip of the island of Montreal and features 100 year old buildings, numerous bike and walking paths, an awesome arboretum with skiing trails and just steps away from the mighty St. Lawrence River. Expect buildings here that have commanding stone walls, copper roofs, impressive stained glass windows, concrete plazas that have been turned into gardens. A shuttle runs between the two campuses and no matter where you study, or visit, it will be downright beautiful.

McGill University

9. University of Toronto -Toronto, ON

The University of Toronto offers three different campuses but it is no contest when it comes to which one is the most beautiful of them all. St. George’s campus is located right downtown and manages to blend incredible historical architecture with green space. Visitors should make their way to Victoria College and check out the Old Vic building, the oldest of the college and perhaps the most beautiful. Head over to University College, the founding college of the University of Toronto and check out Laidlaw quadrangle, which looks more like a medieval courtyard than a university campus. The Mississauga campus on the other hand is located on 225 hundreds acres of protected green space on the Credit River and provides a beautiful background for students and visitors alike.

University of Toronto

8. Queen’s University -Kingston, ON

Think limestone buildings, stunning architecture and waterfront; as that is exactly what Queen’s campus offers students and visitors. Fall is one of the best times to visit this campus as the leaves turn into brilliant shades of red and orange, making for a striking scene against the historic buildings. Students here spend a lot of time at Douglas Library and it’s not hard to see why, as not only is the building stunning but it features a pretty awesome fourth floor which houses a “Harry Potter” room. Although this campus isn’t as large as others on this list, the students and faculty make up for that as school spirit is high. Part of what make this campus so beautiful is the sense of community that is felt; expect to see a lot of blue, red and gold worn around campus as students show off their school spirit.

Queen's University

7. Western University -London, ON

Western offers the best of both worlds, historical architecture mixed with modern buildings and amenities. The campus is situated along the banks of the Thames River in London and offers trails both throughout the campus and along the Thames River. London isn’t the most exciting city on this list which means that students have created their own fun and expect to see them whipping down University Hill on skis and snowboards in the winter. The gothic style buildings have been restored to remain charming while the insides have been renovated, giving students the best of both worlds. This university also signed a pledge a few years ago to transform the campus into a model of environmental responsibility. Plans are in the works to add more buildings to this campus and expect great things in the years to come.

Western University

6. Bishop’s University -Sherbrooke, QB

This small liberal arts university in the tiny town of Sherbrooke offers a lot in term of beauty. Founded in 1843 the goal of this university is to educate the whole person, not just focusing on one subject. The campus is spread over 500 acres, at the junction of the St. Francis and Massawippi rivers and features some of Quebec’s most historic buildings. Many weddings are held at this university campus as St. Mark’s cathedral provides and absolutely stunning setting to say “I do”. This historical chapel features intricate woodwork inside and beautiful stained glass windows. McGreer Hall is the oldest building on campus and stands out as a stunning red castle like building, which looks even more amazing when white snow surrounds it. School spirit and community only adds to the beauty of this school and students who attend Bishops make lasting friends and family.

Photo by: QUT
Photo by: QUT

5. Mount Royal University -Calgary, AB

Mount Royal has a beautiful campus, there is no denying that, especially during the warm seasons when the ponds are shimmering and the gardens are blooming. One of the most notable features of this campus is the outdoor amphitheatre where the students and the community can gather for events, such as plays and concerts. Mount Royal is working hard to do their part in being environmentally friendly and in 2006 opened its first certified LEED building, and has since dedicated to making every new building on campus LEED certified. Make sure to head to the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts, a beautiful modern looking building in which you can take in a fabulous performance or take some time to reflect in one of the many green spaces throughout the campus.

Photo by: Under Western Skies
Photo by: Under Western Skies

4. McMaster University -Hamilton, ON

Located in the residential neighborhood of Westdale in Hamilton, Ontario; McMaster is beautiful both inside and out. There are amazing trails to be found throughout the campus and in the surrounding areas, as well as conservation areas and a plethora of waterfalls to explore. The main campus itself is both bicycle and pedestrian friendly with wide paved paths throughout, making it easy to get from one place to another. Make sure to have lunch at the Refectory, one of the original buildings on McMaster, as the top floor features a restaurant that looks over a beautiful treed ravine. One of the highlights on this campus is Cootes Paradise, a wildlife sanctuary owned by the Royal Botanical Gardens which features an abundance of flora and fauna. With a mix of original architecture, new buildings and lush landscape, this university is downright stunning.

McMaster University

3. Lakehead University -Thunder Bay, ON

Lakehead University has two campuses, one based in Orillia and the other in Thunder Bay and it is here in Thunder Bay where you will find one of the most picturesque campuses in the country. Spread out over 116 hectares, under the steep cliffs of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, this campus features 39 buildings and an abundance of green space. What you won’t find here is the rows upon rows of historical buildings like many of the campuses on this list. Instead you will find stunning nature, all around you. Buildings were designed with floor to ceiling windows so both faculty and students could feel like they were outside. With gardens overflowing with beautiful flowers and Lake Tamblyn running through the campus it is easy to see why in the warm months, classes are often taught outdoors.

Photo by: Lakehead University
Photo by: Lakehead University

2. University of British Columbia -Vancouver, BC

It is arguably one of the most beautiful university campuses across the country with incredible surroundings and breathtaking views. The Vancouver campus is located at the western tip of the Point Grey Peninsula, surrounded by forest, ocean and mountains. Getting to downtown Vancouver takes just twenty minutes and there are numerous beaches just a short distance away. To add to this awesome campus are the ultra cool buildings situated here. Visitors should definitely head to the UBC farm and check out the yurt, one of the only yurts on a university campus in the world. The library is light and airy, featuring literary quotes on the outside of the building while the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health is sleek and modern with glass windows and a unique shape. Whether you are viewing this campus by air, walking through it or attending as a student, it is simply breathtaking.

University of British Columbia

1. Royal Roads University -Victoria, BC

Up until 1995 this University was actually a Military College and features an impressive main building, the Hatley Castle. The castle was completed in 1908 and was once meant to house the Royal Family, but instead they remained in the UK as the world was at war. Lucky for students and visitors alike, this campus is now a public university spread over 260 hectares of parkland with incredible surroundings. Walking through this campus gives visitors gorgeous views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the impressive Olympic Mountain Range. Walking, hiking and biking trails wind throughout the campus and you will come across an incredible Japanese Garden, among other hidden treasures. The entire campus is a part of the Hatley Park National Historic Site and between the incredible buildings and extensive gardens; it is clear why this truly is the most beautiful campus in the country.

Royal Roads University