There are plenty of reasons for a road trip. Vacation. Romance. Escape. Passion to see what’s out there.

Growing up, the beat for my father’s plate glass and storefront contracting business took in New Brunswick, western Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, and was fodder for short haul road trips in a parade of Ford and Mercury glass-rack trucks. The fact my mother’s parents had moved from New Brunswick to Montreal meant an annual 20-hour assault on the 1,200-kilometre potholed, two-lane route to The Big Town.

The road trip is a perfect place to get to know someone, meet roadside folks, watch an endless travel log unfold through the windshield and most importantly, to have some fun. If you’re in Vancouver, here are some road trips worth taking.

Tofino on Vancouver Island

Here is a varied two-day drive that involves up to three ferry boats. Take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo, then that winding route through the rainforest and mountains to Vancouver Island’s wild west coast. There are plenty of accommodation options ranging from the swanky Wickaninnish Inn to cosy B&Bs On the way back, drive the Trans-Canada Highway south toward Victoria, but pull off at Mill Bay. Follow the ferry signs and take the small ferry across Saanich Inlet to Brentwood Bay, lunch or spend the night at the Brentwood Bay Resort & Spa, then drive to Swartz Bay and catch the ferry to Tsawwassen. Back in Vancouver, try to wipe that smile off your face.

Okanagan Valley Drive-about

It’s well worth the four-hour drive to Kelowna at the north end of the Okanagan Valley. Drive the Trans-Canada Highway east to Hope, then the Coquihalla to Merrit and across lonely Highway 97C to Kelowna. Overnight at the funky Eldorado Hotel. In the morning, drive south on B.C. Highway 97 through Peachland and Penticton, check out some of the wineries like Dirty Laundry, Quail’s Gate and Burrowing Owl, then overnight in Osoyoos at the south end of the valley. The Okanagan Valley has the warmest winters in the country, so if you have a chill, fill your boots with a shot of one of the most beautiful valleys in Canada. Take the Crowsnest Highway 3 from Osoyoos to Hope through EC Manning Provincial Park to join Highway 1 back to Vancouver.

Harrison Hot Springs

This is an easy shot from Vancouver for an overnight or a day trip with a variety of roadside attractions. There are plenty of accommodations in Harrison Hot Springs, and if pampering yourself is what you want, spend a few hours at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa. I like to take Highway 7 on the north side of the Fraser River to get there. On the way back, drive to Hope, then take Highway 1 back. Take advantage of side trips into the lush countryside of the Fraser River Valley.

Lillooet Loop

Driving loops are good and there is an obvious one following the Trans Canada Highway through Hope, then branching onto Highway 12 at Lytton to Lillooet. Complete the loop along the Sea to Sky Highway 99 through Pemberton and Whistler. Try a night in Lillooet, where there are decent hotels, interesting eateries and friendly folks. Don’t expect trendy Whistler venues or fine dining though. That’s OK, though, because road trips are about escape and when roaming the streets of Lillooet, it seems no one would ever think of looking for you there, which just might be what your weekend road trip is all about.

Garry Sowerby’s Road Trips column appears in Postmedia newspapers.

© Copyright (c) The Province