Family Activities

Summer BBQ
Jun11

Use these tips to host the best BBQ party this summer. 

Summer is here and the outdoors are calling. Hopefully, most of you have got your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and are anticipating your second (if applicable). In the coming months, we might even have the go-ahead to mingle with family and friends. 

As gatherings safely restart, you might be thinking of a few outdoor events with which to test the waters. And a BBQ party in your backyard or at a public park is a great place to start. 

Here are a few ideas to plan and host the best BBQ event of the season. 

Pick Guests Wisely

We’re just getting used to hanging out in crowds again. Let’s keep it simple for the first few attempts! Invite your family and a few close friends and keep it at that. A private Facebook group can be a good way to keep tabs on who has RSVP’d. 

Provide Dietary Options

Have meat- and plant-based options and ask your guests ahead of time if anyone needs a special menu (gluten intolerance, vegan, dairy allergy). The same applies to desserts. There’s nothing worse than being the only one who can’t partake in the cupcakes or brownies! 

Decide: BYOB?

Make sure your guests are crystal clear about whether the BBQ is a dry event, BYOB affair, or an open bar situation. Be sure to provide the basics, like a source for water and maybe some soda in a cooler. 

Weather Check

Obviously, you’ll want to aim for a sunny day. But sometimes Mother Nature doesn’t perform as promised. Email or text your guest list a day or two before with a weather update, letting them know what to expect and what to bring—be it sunscreen or umbrellas! 

Game Plan

Bring a few things for people to do, if they are so inclined. A deck of cards, a few sets of dice, or pen and paper for charades can go a long way. Keep it simple, as people may get caught up in socializing and not tap into them at all. Still, it’s nice to have for any lulls! 

Side Dishes

A build-your-own salad is always an easy side. Just chop some veggies and provide a few dressing options. Or, consider having people bring their own dish, salad, or snack while you provide the main course. 

Venue Rules

You’ll want to check any venue rules before you solidify your plans. Does the location have limitations on gathering sizes? Are fire bans in effect in your area? Is the site dog-friendly or not? Be aware of these for yourself—but don’t forget to inform your guests, too! 

DIY DJ

Have a game plan for playing some tunes while your guests mingle. A Bluetooth stereo will do the trick but be sure it has enough juice to get you through the evening. A battery pack, extension cord, or camping generator will do the trick in most circumstances. 

What are your best BBQ tips? Let us know in the comments.

If you’re staying with us at Breakaway Vacation, ask us which of our luxury vacation cottages have BBQ access! Our friendly travel advisors are always happy to help. 

Pender Island Attractions
May21

There’s a lot to love about Pender Island. Here are some of our favourite Pender Island attractions, sites, and hot spots.   

The Beaches  

Pender Island is divided into the North and South islands and both have plenty of beaches to choose from. Try Beaumont Marine Park or Brooks Point Regional Park (south island) or Roe Lake, Medicine Beach Sanctuary, or Roesland Gulf National Park (north island). Waterfront hot spots vary across the island so you might find rocky shore, silky smooth sands, or winding marina docks. 

Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards  

If you know anything about B.C., you know that we love our vineyards and wineries. Pender Island has one of its own: Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards. Their tasting room is open Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4 PM. They were featured by SIP Northwest as one of the “9 Wineries to Visit Before You Die”.

The Parks  

Pender Island offers many parks and natural areas for the wilderness loving traveler. Check out Greenburn Lake or Bridge Trail park on the south island; or, try Community Park or Roe Lake on the north island. You can also access many areas of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, which has touchpoints on both island halves and spand across 15 islands total!

Mount Norman  

Mount Norman Park spans over 100 hectares of land covered by plains, forests, and mountain slopes. Mt Norman is actually a part of Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, as well. You can trek to the mountain summit (44 metres/800 feet) for an unparalleled view of the vistas and waters.

Kayak Rentals   

Pender Island is a great tourist spot for water sports like kayaking and canoeing. Check out Pender Island Kayak Adventure or Dog Mermaid Eco Excursions. These venues offer hosted tours, day trips, or DIY equipment rentals. Any waterway adventure has the potential to expose you to B.C. wildlife like eagles, sea otters, and whales.

The Hiking Trails   

Pender Island has plenty of hiking trails to choose from with varying degrees of difficulty and length. Do some research on the paths before you depart. You can try Beaumont Trail, Greenburn Lake Look Out, William Walker Trail, as well as smaller local hidden gems.

Pender Island Golf & Country Club  

Pender Island Golf & Country Club is very close to Otter Bay and has been in operation since 1945. This 9 hole public golf course is open year round and the property includes access to a well stocked golf shop and the El Faro lounge. You can also book golf lessons with trainers on site.

The Coffee Shops  

Pender Island shirks big chain venues in favour of small, locally owned cafes like Vanilla Leaf Bakery Cafe and Slow Coast Coffee. Wherever you are staying will have its secret spots and local favourites. Be sure to ask around or do a bit of online searching to see what’s around.

The Summer Markets   

Both North Pender Island and South Pender Island have their own major farmers’ markets. Up north, keep a look out for the aptly-named Farmer’s Market on Pender Island; down south, look for Nighthawk Farm Farmers’ Market. Both have a wide variety of local goods.

Breakaway Vacations Cottages

Big, sterile hotel chains are so blah. As a tourist hub, Pender Island offers visitors a broad choice of where they want to say. For example, a luxury lakeside vacation cottage with access to a pool, BBQs, outdoor seating, and firepits. Contact us at Breakaway Vacations and ask about Pender Island vacation rental availability for summer.  

What Pender Island attractions are you most excited for? Let us know so we can help you plan the perfect getaway.

Staycation blog
Feb05

COVID-19 has changed how we think about travel. Vacationers are sticking close to home and putting a pin in international travel for now. That’s why a “staycation” is such a great idea—it lets you enjoy some time to yourself without the hassle of crossing farther distances.  

But what exactly does a 2021 staycation look like and how can you make the best of it this year? First, let’s cover some basics.  

What is the difference between vacation and staycation?  

Vacation means you are traveling abroad, maybe taking a cruise or staying at a resort. A staycation means you are closer to home, maybe exploring attractions in your own city or taking a quick road trip to a neighbouring community for a long weekend.  

Why is #Staycation popular this year? 

Thanks to the Coronavirus, people are wary about unnecessary travel this year. That’s why staycations are becoming more popular. Not to mention they are often cheaper, less of a time commitment, and much easier to plan.  

How can I spend my staycation in B.C.? 

Considering a staycation this month? Here are some fun staycation ideas that you can try.  

Staycation at Home 

You don’t even need to leave your house for some of the best staycations. Here are a few things you can try:  

  1. Do a spa night with a face mask, long bath, nail treatment, and anything else you can think of 
  2. Enjoy some summer-themed cocktails with a partner and order takeout  
  3. Buy a cheap projector and watch films set in your dream destinations around the world  
  4. Treat yourself to a home-visit masseuse, if there are any ones in your area  
  5. Give yourself a whole “day off” to just lounge at home with no responsibilities  

Staycation in Town 

A staycation can also mean exploring your own backyard in ways you hadn’t thought to do before. Here are some ways you can do so: 

  1. Go out for a fancy dinner somewhere you have never tried before 
  2. Take a day trip to an outdoor market and sample new, local foods  
  3. Check out a tourist “hotspot” in your city that you’ve never visited before  
  4. Go for a walk in a park or hiking trail that you’ve never been to before 
  5. Stay overnight in an Airbnb just to get away from home life for a night  

Staycation Quick Trip  

Sometimes a staycation means taking “stay” lightly. Traveling to a neighbouring town or city can be a safe faux-vacation idea this year: 

  1. Book a cabin or yurt somewhere a few hours away from home for some new scenery  
  2. Visit a friend or family member in another city within the province 
  3. Go skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing for a long weekend  
  4. Stay overnight in an Airbnb the next town over to get away from it all  
  5. Plan a road trip somewhere scenic, stay the night somewhere fun, and then try a new route back home 

Thinking about booking something this spring or summer? See what we have to offer in the B.C. area at Breakaway Vacations. And if you’re already a local, might we suggest a #staycation?  

dice games
Dec26

Whether you are traveling in December for holiday festivities or just some pre-New Years relaxation, you might be looking for things to do indoors when the temperature drops. Here are 3 easy dice games that you can do with minimal prep (super easy to pack, too).

1. Knock Out

This dice game only requires 2 dice and involves adding up to the number 10, making it great for younger kids to play, too. Each player first chooses their “knockout number” between either 6, 7, 8, or 9. Two players CAN pick the same number.

Decide who goes first by each rolling a die with the person who rolls the highest taking their turn first, second highest goes second, and so on. On their turn, a player must roll two dice. If they land on their chosen “knock out” number, then they are disqualified from rolling until everyone has been knocked out and the next round starts.

Every roll (EXCEPT the knock out number) contributes to the player’s overall score. Players race to a score of 100, or whatever goal your group decides on.

2. Catch Up

This dice game is great for a larger group, as it requires between 4-8 players. You will need 2 dice as well as an assortment of counters, which can be anything from bits of paper to coins, etc. The first player to obtain 3 tokens wins.

Give the dice to the oldest and youngest players (or however else you want to divide it up). Both will roll their dice at the same time and anyone who lands on a 6 must pass their dice to the right. The goal is to be the one person holding both dice. Then, you earn a counter and the process starts again.

Between each dice roll, there is a chant (mainly to give those without the dice something to do), which you can customize to your group. Use an assortment of clapping or knee-slapping to emphasize every other word to make it more exciting. We like to use the “We Will Rock You” chant, changing up the second repetition to announce the dice roll, as such: We will, we will, rock you. We will, we will, ROLL NOW!

3. Run For It

You will need 6 dice to play this and any amount of players is fine, though it tends to work best with 4-5 for time’s sake. Players will take turns rolling all 6 dice and trying to make “straight”, that is: a series of numbers that progress in counting order. For example: 1, 2, 3, and 4 OR 5, 6, and 7.

A “straight” can encompass anywhere from 2 to 6 numbers and each dice in the sequence gives the player 10 points. So 1, 2, 3, 4 would be worth 40 points in total. You can only make ONE straight per roll, so players should pick the one that gives them the most points.

Whoever reaches 500 points wins. You can raise or lower that number depending on how long you want to play.

Bonus: Want something even simpler? Check out these dice games that require only a single die!

Have Fun and Roll Away

Whatever dice games you decide to play, be sure to enjoy the time spent with your loved ones this holiday season. Play games, enjoy the snow, and celebrate the holidays together.

If you need some help booking your next great vacation rental, be sure to reach out to us using our phone number or contact page!

christmas crafts
Dec11

Winter holiday travel will be filled with Christmas markets, building snowmen, and ice skating…but sometimes you just want to stay warm indoors! Whatever the reason for staying in, your family night together needn’t be uneventful. Here are some family-friendly Christmas crafts to keep everyone entertained.

  1. Paper Plate Santa Clause

This craft is great because minimal supplies are needed. Also, the resulting product is flat and easy to pack in a bag or suitcase to take home after your holiday trip. The main supplies are a paper plate, construction paper, googly eyes, and paint or markers. However, you can modify the list to customize the experience: try pipe cleaners, pom poms, stickers, or glitter (if you dare!).

How to make it.

  1. Pinecone Christmas Tree

Turn a simple pinecone from your walks and hikes in the area into seasonal souvenirs! Use a bit of paint and whatever supplies you want to use for a star (construction paper, wood cut-outs, etc.). Kids will love exploring outdoors to find their “perfect pinecone.” Plus, the craft is minimalist if you need to buy supplies: just a few paint colours and brushes will do! You can leave them as stand-alone decorations or attach a hook or thread loop to them and turn them into tree hangings.

How to make it.

  1. Paper Snowflake Cut-Outs

Ah, a classic! The best part of this craft is that you can print out patterns at home and easily pack them along to have an easy, on-the-go craft ready for any occasion. Patterns range from ridiculously simple to quite challenging and precise. That means there is a design out there for any age range to enjoy. You can also fold the paper and “freestyle” a design to see what you can come up with from scratch.

How to make it.

  1. Popsicle Stick Ornaments

A simple pack of popsicle sticks and a few odds-and-ends to decorate with can go a long way. This can also be a multi-night craft, as there are plenty of patterns to make: reindeer, gingerbread, penguin, holiday tree, snowman, and anything else you can dare to imagine! Use buttons, markers, pipe cleaner, pom poms, felt, construction paper, and ribbon to decorate to your hearts’ content.

How to make it.

The best part about the above Christmas crafts is that many of them use similar materials so you can buy bulk supplies and mix and match projects on different nights of your winter vacation. Plus, you can have fun exploring the local shops to find supplies!

Need somewhere for your holiday parties or weekend ski trips? Check out Breakaway Vacations’ selection of luxury vacation rentals.