A few years ago when I started making my yearly bucket lists I realized that I had to do more to live life and achieve everything I wanted to. Unfortunately money seems to always be an issue so I decided to do at least one affordable activity every year. Either originally that way, or I was able to get a deal. These are the adrenaline rush activities I did locally and was able to cross off my bucket list.
Whale Watching in Tofino
I first did Whale Watching in Tofino, BC with Jamie’s Whaling Station & Adventure Centres using a Groupon and traveling with three others to make a weekend of it. We rented a great two bedroom, two bathroom, suite at the Sea Star Suites. It also had a pullout bed in a sitting area, a fireplace, a dishwasher, washer & dryer, full kitchen, and shared BBQ and hot tub. The best part, it was across the street from the ocean.
Sitting on a boat for a couple of hours and watching the whales was a wonderful addition for a weekend away. Even if I didn’t manage to get an amazing ‘frame it for the wall’ photo, seeing those whales swimming around was amazing. Not something you normally see in your day. Jamie’s has several different types of boats though so you can choose a tour based on the level of adrenaline rush you are looking for.
Tofino is a small community surrounded by such amazing natural beauty. This area of Vancouver Island has Whale Watching, it is the place to go in the fall to watch the storms come in, plus it is a surfer’s haven. I went in June and there were surfers everywhere but not so many that you couldn’t still enjoy the water and the views. The Groupon and traveling companions allowed me to have a very affordable, relaxing, weekend adventure.
White Water Rafting the Elaho
The second year was White Water Rafting the Elaho with Canadian Outback Adventures. They have a variety of different rafting options available, including groups. I went with a large group of people, so it brought the individual price down a bit. My crazy fear of water didn’t stop this from being one of the most fun things I have ever done. Thanks to the very experienced guides, I, the weak swimmer, felt safe no matter what happened. I don’t feel the need to do it again but I am very happy I went.
The Elaho had some stunningly, beautiful scenery. So many times I have driven along a road in BC and seen fast moving water beside it, wondering what it would be like to be in that water. I can tell you, the speed and adrenaline rush was so great during my white water rafting experience, I almost forgot I had a fear once we got into it. Almost.
The drive to Squamish from Vancouver is also one of the most amazingly, scenic drives. Even though this road was updated for the 2010 Winter Olympics and it is now a lot safer, it is still a very curvy road so please watch your speed and the road. Pull over to check out the scenery.
Paragliding in the Fraser Valley
The third summer I went tandem paragliding in the Fraser Valley with FlyBC Paragliding and my step-dad, thanks to another Groupon deal. That one was a bit daunting because you know, you have to jump off a mountain. My Mom, who is afraid of heights, wouldn’t join us. My brother, who is also afraid of heights, went a few weeks before us and thoroughly enjoyed himself.
Watching the amount of preparation your guide does before, as well as the instructions you receive, gives you confidence for staying safe. All that mixed with your concentration to run as fast as you can even after you are in the air, to make sure your guide doesn’t trip over you and you pull up the parachute, meant that I was floating in the air before I even realized it. Jumping off the mountain wasn’t an issue so the adrenaline rush was almost non-existent for me. After that you just sit back and enjoy the ride and view (which is absolutely breathtaking). The guides were knowledgeable and made me feel safe. My only regret was that I went during a heat wave. There wasn’t much wind and the flight wasn’t as long, or as exciting, as I knew it could be.
Zip-Lining in Whistler
This year’s activity was Zip-Lining in Whistler, BC. I had never been to Whistler before, which is embarrassing seeing as I have lived in Vancouver for almost 15 years. My loss. Whistler is great year round and for all ages. There are spas, shopping and restaurants for all budgets. In the winter there are the obvious ski hill activities on offer. In the summer, the ski hill transforms for mountain biking plus has many other activities including Zip-Lining.
My 20-year-old cousin and I went up to Whistler for the day. We found parking, went for lunch, walked around the village a bit, went Zip-Lining, had a late dinner then drove home. A day trip from Vancouver is definitely possible. Although next time I would prefer a weekend so that I could fully enjoy more of what Whistler has to offer.
We chose to use ZipTrek Ecotours for our zip-lining experience. They have a good reputation plus they offer a bit of a talk regarding the ecosystem of the area. The tour was very informative, the guides very safety conscious and the Zip-Lining was wonderful. I loved the adrenaline rush and the scenery and the rush of the wind in my face. I loved the whole adventure. We did the tour after 5:00 pm, which saved us a couple of dollars, and even though we went at the end of June, I would suggest a light jacket. You end up going pretty high and quite fast.
The activities I did, the companies I chose, the places I did them & the people I shared these experiences with, whether they were family, friends or strangers, all contributed to the great experiences I had. While I have no way of controlling your choices in any way or your experiences, I really hope you have wonderful & safe adventures. The Vancouver area offers a lot of options for the everyday traveler’s adventure or for the adrenaline junkies. These were only a few. Enjoy!
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