As Christmas draw nearer, we start thinking about family and spending time together. The end of the old year also leads to planning the year ahead. These thoughts lead us to thinking about the importance of family vacations.
Family vacations allow us to take a break from our daily routines and just enjoy each other’s company. Sharing new experiences strengthens our bonds and creates memories, stories and traditions that last a lifetime or even generation. Taking time away from our daily concerns and distractions, (like electronics) frees us to connect on a much deeper level, and trying new activities together allows us to learn new things about each other, and ourselves!
Stepping off the treadmill of daily life for a few days or weeks has other tremendous benefits as well. Lower stress levels, lower blood pressure and better sleep are just a few of the many proven side effects of a vacation.
Planning the family vacation can be a family affair. Everyone can be involved at some level. Kids involved in budgeting will learn the importance of saving and understand that vacations don’t just magically happen. “Old –School” atlases and maps can be pulled out for a lesson in geography. Choosing activities that appeal the group can be a lesson in democracy.
The beauty of the family vacation is that it doesn’t have to involve travelling halfway around the world, or even out of your hometown, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. The opportunities are endless, though one thing is certain, there will be countless memories that will live on long after the vacation has ended and you have hopped back on the treadmill, and those memories will sustain you until you can get away for the next vacation.
There is something delightfully satisfying about fall. I think perhaps I think this every year, but I must say that this has been a particularly beautiful autumn. We’ve been blessed with really great weather, and have had some really great opportunities to take advantage of some of Quadra Island’s excellent activities.
We did some mushroom picking. An hour out in the woods yielded us 9 pounds of delicious Golden Chanterelle mushrooms.
There have also been plenty of hikes just for the sake of being in the forest. One of our personal favorite hikes is the Heriot Ridge Trail. The Quadra Island hiking map defines this as a moderate hike. It leads to some stunning views of Vancouver Island from the west-facing ridge and spectacular views of the Discovery Islands from an east-facing ridge. The trails are very well marked and there are multiple options that allow you to hike for 2 to 4 hours through forest, and mossy bluffs. Those mossy bluffs are perfect for picnics!
Right now summer on Quadra Island is pretty spectacular. There have been days and days of lovely sunshine, and we are loving it! Yesterday, some clouds rolled in, and a quick check of the weather forecast spoke of thundershowers. There is something pretty special about a summer thunderstorm in my books, plus the idea of not needing to water the garden for one day was pretty appealing, but I hoped that the rain wouldn’t last too long. The clouds moved on after only delivering a small burst of rain, and no thunder or lightning. The forecasted storm had me thinking about being on vacation while it rains, and how Taku Guests will often ask us about what to do on Quadra Island when it rains. So even though it is sunny and 23 degrees Celsius right now, and not a cloud in the sky, I decided to make a list of things to do in the rain.
Take a hike in the forest. The forest canopy is an excellent umbrella.
Visit a local gallery or art studio.
Check out the public library and the bookstore.
Grab some groceries and cook up a gourmet meal room in your suite.
Spend some time in the games room, watching a movie, reading a book or playing a game.
Head to one of the local coffee shops.
Enjoy a meal at one of the local restaurants.
Splash in the puddles.
Have a nap.
Go retro – write postcards to your friends.
Grab your camera and get creative.
Pick up some art supplies and get crafty.
Visit the Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre.
Get soaking wet, you’ll dry off.
This is not a complete list by any stretch, but just a few seeds of inspiration. The great thing is that all of these things can be done rain or shine! Now, I’m off to water the garden.
One of the most vibrant hubs of activity on Quadra Island is the Quadra Island Community Centre. The Quadra Island Recreation Society ensures a packed schedule of interesting events happening at the Centre, and visitors are always welcome. Drop by and meet some of the fascinating folks who call Quadra home.
The recreation programmers express beautifully their vision for your enrichment:
“The vast selection of opportunities for education, entertainment, physical health and well being, socialising, strategizing, and skill development await only your decision to participate.”
For those looking to relax and soothe the body, the Community Centre offers yoga classes almost every day of the week. Most classes have a drop-in rate.
If you’re craving some nourishment for the mind, there are plenty of educational, self-development and sustainability-centred workshops. Every second Friday, you can catch an entertaining and thought-provoking film at the Centre. From drawing to low impact fitness to folk dance to knitting, there are countless opportunities to enjoy your hobbies or discover a passion for new hobbies. There’s really something for everyone.
If you’re going to be enjoying a longer stay on the island, maybe a few weeks, there are many different ongoing sports, arts and learning programs to sign up for. Many are free. Others cost just a few dollars per week.
If you’re a regular visitor to Quadra Island, or even plan to make it here a few times in the year, you may want to purchase the Centre’s family lifetime membership for $20. It’s hard to find a better deal than that, and you’ll feel free to join in on as many activities as you like.
While planning your trip to Quadra Island, it’s a great idea to check out what’s happening at the Centre on the days you plan to visit. For full details on activities and events at the Quadra Island Community Centre, the “Current Program” is available online at www.quadrarec.bc.ca.
Parents know that travelling with kids can be a mixture of incredible joy with a dose of frustration and anxiety. So many things need to go right to make family trips as relaxing and nourishing as they can be. And most parents won’t be satisfied with a little peace and quiet (although that’s pretty great). It’s also important to them to feel that their children are learning something and building wonderful memories.
Quadra Island is the perfect spot for a family getaway filled with adventure and learning, and Taku Resort & Marina is the ideal place to call home while you’re away.
The greatest thing about a Quadra Island vacation is that the adventure and learning happen at the same time! Every parent is on a quest, especially on vacation, to help their children learn about the world in ways that don’t feel like learning. The best learning is the most fun, the kind where the kids have such a good time they never guess they’re also learning something! Quadra Island is utterly packed with adventurous learning opportunities.
Here are some of our top recommendations:
1] Exploring the plant and animal life, especially marine life. If you’ve ever watched a child observing a shallow pool of starfish for the first time, you’re sure to see the wonder of discovery in their eyes.
2] Snorkelling off Quadra Island’s beaches. Especially for older kids, this is a blissful treat. Strap on the snorkel and slip into a light wetsuit and you’ve bought yourself hours of guaranteed family fun. It’s also a great way to start a discussion about sustainability.
3] Hiking. We’ve got something for every skill (and motivation) level.
4] First Nations’ culture trek. See art created and inspired by Canada’s founding peoples.
We know it’s also parents’ top priority to keep their kids safe. Quadra Island is a very safe environment, so you can breathe freely. Just be careful around the water – certain currents can be challenging even for the strongest swimmers – and everyone can play to their hearts content in safety and security. Your only concern will be remembering the sunscreen.
This is just a small sampler of ideas. Take a read through some of our other blog posts to discover more opportunities for family adventure. Or better yet, come visit us to see for yourself!