When I recapped our Joshua Tree trip, I mentioned that for the last few years I’ve been planning a fun surprise weekend as a Christmas gift for J instead of buying more stuff. This year, I’ve had a few ideas for what we might do, but I can’t decide!
So far I’ve come up with a few options. Our constraints are: 4 day trip (or less- thinking Fri-Mon or Sat-Tues), low to med price range (I definitely save up for this in advance since it’s such a nice treat for both of us) and makes sense to go in March-ish (usually we go in Feb but we have another exciting plan that’s come up!). Jan loves outdoor photography and so I have fun looking for new places to explore!
Option 1: Go visit the polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba
Pros: Polar bears! Canadian!
Cons: $$$$, and you (we) really do need more than a long weekend to do it properly because of all the travel time
Details: Fly from Vancouver to Winnipeg, then get on a much smaller flight to Churchill. Check out Hudson Bay and the famous Inukshuk, see Polar Bears and real Canadian tundra landscape, visit nearby Wapusk National Park, and watch the Northern Lights.
Option 2: Sunshine hikes in Zion and the Grand Canyon, USA
Pros: Warm! Outdoor adventures! Also, I’ve never been to either of these places. Can easily camp or airbnb (the Belgian is not always as excited about camping as I am!)
Cons: J has been (though wouldn’t mind going back), very similar to last year’s trip, lots of driving (I am the driver in this little fam!)
Details: Fly from Vancouver to Las Vegas, then rent a car and drive (through Death Valley??) to Zion. Spend a day exploring there, then head to the Grand Canyon for another day or two. Back to Vegas and home. Hiking, exploring, photography. Ideally restful and lots of no-phone time.
Option 3: Surf and storm watch in Tofino, BC
Pros: Much more local than the other options, meaning I feel a whole lot better about my carbon footprint. I’ve never been, and J has never been in the winter! Also makes transportation a little more affordable.
Cons: The weather might be terrible, which can be fun but can also make it harder to explore. Feels so close to home that I’m not sure it’s worthy of a big surprise trip!
Details: Ferry over to the Island and rent a car for the 3h drive to Tofino (note that you can fly on the seaplanes, but that defeats the “pros” above). Spend the weekend learning to surf, watching storms, and relaxing in a cozy cabin. We could also check out Ucluelet and Kennedy Lake Provincial Park!
So – what do you think? Any other ideas? Jan, are you reading?? 🙂