Embrace sluggish journey with these 8 getaways throughout Canada you will get to by practice, bus or ferry

A person standing on a cliff overlooking a small town with the Rocky Mountains and a lake in the background, in fall.
(Supply: Michael Matt/@Michealmatti)

Gradual journey — a motion which favours ferries, trains and buses over historically speedier modes of transportation and moments of pause over action-packed sightseeing — has been gaining steam as of late. 

After two years of staycationing, and with pandemic journey bans lifting, taking the scenic route out of city, somewhat than the primary direct flight down south, could appear counterintuitive. Nevertheless, advocates say the journey itself is a giant a part of sluggish journey’s attraction, with airport delays, visitors jams and steep costs on the pumps traded for hours of quiet reflection whereas another person takes the wheel, actually.

For these looking for this sort of mellow escape, we have assembled an inventory of lesser-known locations under. Listed below are eight spots you’ll be able to attain with out a airplane ticket or automotive rental from main cities throughout Canada, together with locations to discover at a leisurely tempo as soon as you have arrived, in addition to the place to remain if you would like to delay the journey. 

Mahone Bay, N.S.

the three famous churches of Mahone Bay. trees in the background and the ocean in the foreground.
(Supply: @itstomjoseph)

Located on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, consider picturesque Mahone Bay as Lunenburg’s low-key neighbour. As soon as you have arrived on this postcard-perfect spot, take a while to meander native boutiques, stroll alongside the water’s edge and snap a pic of the city’s iconic three church buildings mirrored within the Atlantic.   

get there in slow-mo: From Halifax Bus Terminal, hop on the Maritime Bus (you should definitely guide forward of time) and settle in for a scenic trip that takes a little bit over an hour. The bus will drop you off conveniently in Mahone Bay’s city centre, so lodging and facilities will all be inside strolling distance. 

Take all of it in: Commune with nature on a hike alongside the Dynamite Path, a 10-kilometre woodland and lakeside path connecting Mahone Bay to the neighbouring neighborhood of Martins River. Or, if you would like to get out on the water, hop aboard a 35-foot Island Packet sail yacht with Sail and See for a tour departing from Mahone Bay Civic Marina.

Linger a little bit longer: Shack up on the Kitch’Inn boutique inn and wine bar on Major Road for cozy lodging with heaps of East Coast allure. You will not wish to miss the kitchen social gathering — or ceilidh — they host every Thursday, full with Celtic music and a superb three-course lobster meal. 

Florenceville-Bristol, N.B.

exterior of two old train cars with a paved walkway next to them
(Supply: Lauren Mullaly)

The self-proclaimed ‘French Fry Capital of the World’ has a lot extra to supply than simply crispy spuds. Florenceville-Bristol, situated within the Saint John River Valley, acquired its starchy moniker after the McCain household began producing frozen fries there in 1956. Together with beautiful surroundings and farm-fresh meals, the city boasts loads of alternative for journey on close by mountain climbing trails and on the Saint John River, which runs by city.

get there in slow-mo: From the Maritime Bus terminal in Saint John, the journey takes roughly three hours and 40 minutes. You will journey first to Fredericton, then swap buses to proceed onward to Florenceville-Bristol. 

Take all of it in: Pay a go to to the Potato World museum to study in regards to the city’s historical past, savour native delicacies on the French Fry Hut after which spend a while exploring the two-kilometre Shiktehawk Strolling Path by foot, bike or snowshoe.

Linger a little bit longer: Totally embrace the spirit of sluggish journey by bunking down in a decommissioned practice automotive at Shamrock Prepare Suites. These refurbished automobiles on the Shogomoc Railway Web site provide the chance to step again in time, however with all of the facilities of a contemporary resort room. 

Bell Island, N.L.

steep sandstone cliffs on the coast of Newfoundland
(Supply: Julian Calverley)

With its jaw-dropping panorama of sandstone cliffs, starfish-studded caves and otherworldly sea stacks that jut out of the Atlantic like sentinels, it is stunning that Bell Island — a sleepy spot simply 5 kilometres off the Avalon Peninsula — stays comparatively undiscovered by vacationers regardless of its allure and Instagram-worthy vistas.

get there in slow-mo: Board the ferry at Portugal Cove, simply exterior of St. John’s (the terminal, located roughly 16 kilometres from the capital’s downtown, is accessible by taxi). The boat trip to Bell Island is simply 20 minutes from there, so you should definitely preserve your eyes on the ocean for the possibility to identify wildlife, or icebergs through the spring and early summer time.

Take all of it in: Take pleasure in exceptionally recent cod at Dicks’ Fish and Chips; hike the coast alongside the Gregory Normore Strolling Path, which circles the island; or study in regards to the island’s mining historical past on a guided tour of No. 2 Mine. You will discover the island fairly walkable, and something not inside strolling distance could be accessed by Lahey’s Taxi, an area operation that can take you virtually wherever on the island for simply $5.

Linger a little bit longer: The quaint and vibrant Bell Island Cottages present the proper place to unwind after a day of exploring. Located throughout two picturesque acres that boast a communal hearth pit, this set of 4 fully-equipped lodging is designed to really feel like a house away from house. 

Saint-Sauveur, Que.

a small town nestled in the foothills of mountains with lots of autumn foliage. a church with a tall steeple is in the middle of the town.
(Supply: Tourisme Laurentide)

Nestled within the foothills of the Laurentian Mountains, charming Saint-Sauveur carries all of the attraction of bustling Mont-Tremblant, with out all of the crowds. Dwelling to biking and cross-country ski trails, downhill ski resorts, beautiful gardens, a formidable water park and even an alpine roller-coaster, the city affords a welcome escape from the on a regular basis. 

get there in slow-mo: Board the Galland Laurentides bus from Gare d’autocars de Montréal, the intercity bus terminal in downtown Montreal. The trip through Mirabel and Saint-Jérôme to Saint-Sauveur will take roughly an hour and 40 minutes.

Take all of it in: Whatever the season, Saint-Sauveur’s slopes provide an antidote for what ails you. Earlier than the primary snowfall, head to the area to expertise a mountain climbing and yoga tour, or hop on a chairlift to view the autumn foliage up shut. Throughout winter, you’ll be able to clear your thoughts gliding down greater than 100 ski trails.

Linger a little bit longer: Only a few minutes’ stroll from the bus cease is the majestic Manoir Saint-Sauveur, which is a recently-refurbished resort advanced full with all of the makings of a really restful trip — together with a full thermal expertise that’s complimentary for resort visitors.

Churchill, Man.

A via rail train next to a train station that says "Churchill". Snow is on the ground.
(Supply: Journey Manitoba)

Churchill, famend for its polar bear, beluga and northern lights sightings, just isn’t precisely under-the-radar, however the attract of the practice journey to the sting of the Arctic from Winnipeg makes it value revisiting for the sluggish journey set. 

get there in slow-mo: The VIA Rail practice from downtown Winnipeg to Churchill — the one rail line in North America laid over permafrost, says Journey Manitoba — departs twice every week, traversing the province from tip to toe over two and a half days. Be careful the window because the panorama adjustments from golden fields to boreal forest then barren tundra blanketed in snow in winter.

Take all of it in: Wi-Fi just isn’t obtainable on the trip north, so take the chance to check the surroundings and join with different passengers. When you arrive, there’s a lot extra to admire: In summer time take a Zodiac, paddleboard or kayaking tour to see the beluga whales that come into the Churchill River to feed and provides delivery. In fall, you’ll be able to hop on a Tundra Buggy to look at the polar bear migration on the shores of the world’s largest inland sea. Or in winter, take a tour exterior of city to look at the northern lights dance overhead. 

Linger a little bit longer: Not removed from the practice station, you will discover the Resort Churchill, which affords easy lodging and an on-site restaurant. The property’s greatest draw, nonetheless, is its assortment of Aurora Domes, situated about 20 minutes from Churchill. These heated plexiglass bubbles are designed particularly for viewing the northern lights. Inquire on the resort to rearrange a shuttle and dome reserving.

Waterton Park, Alta.

A person standing on a cliff overlooking a small town with the Rocky Mountains and a lake in the background, in fall.
(Supply: Michael Matt/@Michealmatti)

Gorgeous surroundings abounds in Waterton Park, the place the rolling prairies meet the imposing Rockies. With simply over 150 inhabitants, this city on the southern fringe of Alberta is chock-full of facilities and sights. Waterton Lakes Nationwide Park boasts world-class mountain climbing and watersports, together with lodging that vary from campsites to luxe motels — all with jaw-dropping mountain views.

get there in slow-mo: From Calgary, you’ll be able to entry Waterton by reserving a trip with the Waterton Shuttle Service. The journey takes roughly three hours.

Take all of it in: Waterton’s trails beckon irrespective of the season. In summer time and fall, plan to spend your time roaming seeking waterfalls, wildflowers and native wildlife. In winter, pack your snowshoes or cross-country skis to expertise absolute serenity within the snow-blanketed evergreen forest.

Linger a little bit longer: Waterton Glacier Suites is a superb guess for lodging year-round. This family-owned mountain lodge options suites with non-public balconies, fireplaces and scorching tubs, along with a number of on-site eating places.

Bowen Island, B.C.

The Bowen Island Ferry on the very calm water of Howe Sound with trees on both sides of the image and mountains in the background.
(Supply: Vacation spot BC/Alex Guiry)

Although it is situated only a few kilometres throughout Howe Sound from West Vancouver, Bowen Island can really feel prefer it’s a world away. This idyllic island enclave made headlines in 2016 with a cheeky “Inform your pals it is terrible right here” tourism marketing campaign, nodding to Bowen’s love-hate relationship with guests. Fortunately, the realm nonetheless retains its attribute quiet allure, sense of neighborhood and delightful pure environment — the proper surroundings for a change of tempo. 

get there in slow-mo: From downtown Vancouver, hop on the 257 Horseshoe Bay Categorical bus for a 35-minute trip to the ferry dock. From there, you will board a BC Ferries boat for a 20-minute switch to Cosy Cove on the island’s east coast.

Take all of it in: There’s a lot to discover in Cosy Cove simply steps from the ferry dock. Take a five-minute stroll to Sandy Seaside to spend the day by the water’s edge, guide a tour with Bowen Island Sea Kayaking to discover the shoreline or seize a rental from Bowen eBikes and go for a cruise inland.

Linger a little bit longer: Kitoki Inn‘s forest cabins — there are solely three of them — are purpose sufficient to go to the island. Designed to mesh seamlessly with nature, the cabins provide luxurious facilities, kitchenettes, books, video games and puzzles, in addition to flawless rainforest views. Kitoki’s open-air Japanese bathhouse can also be a really perfect place to soak away your worries amidst an awe-inspiring forest cover.

Kingston, Ont.

Two people dressed for fall standing next to their bikes, smiling and looking out over a lake with trees in the background.
(Supply: Tim Forbes)

Gateway to the Thousand Islands and residential to stunning historic structure, Ontario’s oldest public market and thriving music and makers scenes, Kingston, the primary capital of the Province of Canada, has a lot to supply guests. Spend your day mountain climbing, biking and getting out on the water, or take a extra mellow strategy and peruse the town’s many independently-owned boutiques, eating places and craft breweries.

get there in slow-mo: From downtown Toronto, board the VIA Rail practice, which arrives simply exterior Kingston’s downtown core. From the practice station, you will must stroll about 10 minutes and hop on the No. 4 bus, which is able to take you downtown.

Take all of it in: For a really distinctive expertise, chill on a sundown dinner cruise of the Thousand Islands, full with reside music and a three-course meal. Boating apart, Kingston’s meals scene is definitely an excellent purpose to go to, particularly should you’re a fan of farm-to-table fare. Many native cooks flip to producers in close by Frontenac County to supply components and inspiration for seasonal menu objects. Join a meals tour for a sampling of a number of the metropolis’s most scrumptious choices.

Linger a little bit longer: Decompress on the swish Rosemount Inn, a Victorian home turned boutique resort, conveniently situated in downtown Kingston. This recently-renovated property affords a glimpse of the town’s storied previous through 11 well-appointed rooms. You will really feel particularly pampered waking as much as a connoisseur continental breakfast field every morning, which the resort employees delivers proper to your door.


Jen O’Brien is an award-winning editor and freelance author based mostly in Toronto. Observe her @thejenobrien.


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