Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, British Columbia
We won’t go on about the giant economic meltdown as the media is flooded enough with depressing news as it is. The truth is everybody needs a holiday and maybe now is the perfect time to stretch your dollar as much as you possibly can. Why not venture over the border to Canada’s stunning National Parks to discover just why they are always placed top of the list of places to visit by travelling magazines and websites. Here are some of the highlights.
The beauty about trails and hikes is that other than what you choose to pack, there are not many other costs. To top it off, at the end of the day, you will be so tired that the only thing you can spend is time resting on a couch. In Pacific Rim, there is a 46-mile trail through old-growth temperate rain forest, a hundred islands for wilderness kayakers, and 20,000 migrating gray whales each spring. All free!
When to go: Late June to early September for the finest weather, but March and April for the whale migration.
Wildlife: Killer whales cruise offshore, eagles soar over the Broken Islands, sea lions and seals play in the surf. Bear-watching boats depart from the towns of Tofino and Ucluelet for respectable prices and when walking, always bring a buddy, wild cougars prowl the area. Free but dangerous.
Where to stay: Tofino is traditionally the cheapest but check out other options. www.banfftravel.comBanff Travelor call toll tree (888) 659-3394 or local 403-774-7219.
Don’t miss: The park has free interpretive walks and trails where you can explore at you own pace or dip your toes into the tidal pools. One good example is the Nuu-chah-nulth Trail, which focuses on the history of the First Nations, the preferred term for Canada’s indigenous people.