Not-So-Obvious Vancouver Weekend Getaways

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With the incredible scenery surrounding Vancouver and Seattle, a great trip doesn't always mean escaping thousands of miles away.  Here are some not-so-obvious weekend getaway options for whatever trip style you're feelin' at the moment:

For the spontaneous Hotwire has a trip planning feature called go local search that finds travel options within 250 miles of home. Alternatively, why not take advantage of Bellingham's small airport and easy parking, and book a weekend in any of the sunny destinations where Allegiant flies. I recently booked an Allegiant SUPER SALE trip style = weekend getaway to California for $9.99 each way {$56 return with taxes}; you couldn't drive between Vancouver and Seattle for that little!

For the luxists Once you arrive at the sprawling beaches and gaze toward the pacific ocean on one side and the West Coast rainforest on the other, making the mini trek to Tofino is well worth it. Admiring it from your oceanview room at the Wickaninnish makes it even more magical. {Don't miss their $300 June special, valid for select dates! To Reserve: 1.800.333.4604}

For the 5-star spa seekers If the idea of being surrounded by millions of Swarovski crystals, bathing in a tub-for-two overlooking Lake Okanagan, or "refreshing yourself" in a -110 degree Celsius sauna appeals to you, then the new $122-million Sparkling Hill Resort in Vernon, BC is right up your alley. Drive or fly to Kelowna and a free shuttle will transport you to the crystal castle. {Don't miss their June Grand Opening Wellness packages from $840 -- includes 2 nights, breakfast for 2, 5-course dinner for 2 and 2 $150 spa vouchers}

For the outdoorsy who don't camp Something most people don't know is you can rent vacation homes from the Washington State Government. Whether you want a lakeside retreat or beachside bungalow, they've got you covered. Accommodations like the red-roofed Lighthouse Keeper's Residences at Cape Disappointment won't ... disappoint.

For the outdoorsy who kind of camp In addition to camping and vacation homes, the Washington State Government also offers cabins, yurts and teepees. Yes, you did just read teepees. For an incredible view, a night at Quartz Mountain's "fire lookout" in Spokane will result in weekend zen.

For the wine'ers & dine'ers Vines from three incredible wine regions thrive close to home. For those who like to "discover" the of-the-moment wine, or eat and drink their way through the Pacific Northwest, this weekend in wine country is for you:

  • Vancouver - take a day trip and discover the amazing wineries in your own backyard.  Don't miss Domaine de Chaberton, Lotusland Vinyards, Township 7 and others.
  • Okanagan - internationally recognized for its perfect mix of mountains, lakes, fresh air and intense sunlight, the Okanagan's wineries give Napa a run for its money.
  • Washington - I just learned that Washington's wine region is situated along the same latitude as France's. Merveilleux! After Napa, Washington is the US's biggest wine-producing region with 650 wineries and vinyards to enjoy! {Don't miss Chateau St. Michelle's incredible concert series pairing their latest pour with Earth Wind & Fire, Blondie, the B-52's, or Harry Connick Jr.}

For the rail enthusiasts Try out Portland's street food scene or shop 'til you drop {no sales tax} in Oregon's biggest city. Amtrak Cascades rail service runs from Vancouver to Portland {return} and departs twice daily. Seattle to Portland has more frequent daily departures.  I hear Amtrak is rolling out wireless internet on most of their trains, but this roll-out has not yet reached the aforementioned trains. {Update: as of Feb 2011, there is wifi on the Amtrak Cascades}

[photo by @tripstyler]