Are you looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life for a weekend? Look no further than the charming town of Harrison Mills. Nestled in the heart of the Fraser Valley, this picturesque destination is the perfect place to unwind and recharge during a weekend getaway from Vancouver.
There are so many incredible places you could go for a weekend trip from Vancouver, BC. The obvious choice for many Vancouverites is Whistler, but this time we’re going in the other direction.
After staying at the cutest cabin in the woods, I had to share the quaint town of Harrison Mills with you. You’ve likely heard of Harrison Hot Springs and Harrison Mills is another community in the same area.
The Harrison River Valley region is a collective of communities including Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs, Harrison Mills, and all the communities in between. For the sake of this article, I will refer to the area as simply Harrison.
Just a short 2-hour drive from Vancouver, Harrison offers a wealth of activities and attractions that are sure to please visitors of all ages. From kayaking on the lake to soaking in the natural hot springs to exploring the stunning local scenery, there’s no shortage of fun things to do in Harrison.
Getting to Harrison from Vancouver
Harrison is located 120 km east of Vancouver, making it an easy and convenient weekend trip. By car, the journey from Vancouver takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on traffic.
It’s a scenic drive through the countryside and a great way to begin to relax and unwind as you start your weekend away from the city. Seeing the vast open fields and farmlands out the car window tells you that you’ve left the city behind. Aah, relaxation is already beginning to set in.
Accommodations in Harrison
When it comes to accommodation, Harrison has a range of options to suit every budget and preference. Whether you’re looking for a cozy bed and breakfast or a luxurious hotel, you’ll find it here.
For a truly unique experience, we stayed at the Sandpiper Resort in one of their woodland cabins.
Staying at The Sandpiper Resort
The Sandpiper Resort is home to Rowena’s Inn on the River, the Sandpiper Golf Course, and the River’s Edge Clubhouse. The clubhouse is where we enjoyed breakfast and dinner every evening. We were out exploring everything that Harrison had to offer during the day.
The studio Rustic Classic Cabins honour the original owners’ family history. Enjoy complete relaxation with a deep soaker tub for two, in-room wood-burning fireplaces, and magnificent views of the Harrison River and mountains.
With no TVs, be sure to bring along games to play. Our cabin had this wooden cribbage board and I wish we’d had to time play a game or two.
The Luxury Nature Series Cabins come in 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom layouts and honour the wildlife and salmon that are indigenous and sacred to the area.
They have the same rustic elements as the classic cabins, but with contemporary touches, such as larger living areas and kitchens, gas or wood-burning fireplaces, and TVs with media streaming and cable packages.
We stayed in the Maple Cabin. Each cabin has its own barrel tub, pictured below, and we enjoyed it every night. It is honestly the perfect way to relax and unwind after a day of exploring the town. Their cedar tubs are handmade in Canada with premium vertical grain red cedar that is sustainably sourced and chemical-free.
If you’re travelling with a group, consider renting one of their larger cabins. This is an excellent option for families or groups of friends who want to have their own space. These cabins have everything you would need for a relaxing weekend getaway from Vancouver.
Rowena’s Inn on the River
Rowena’s Inn on the River is the 1920s themed manor, infused with old world charm. Offered a handful of times a year, guests are invited to dine in the Upper and Lower Drawing Rooms for Step Back in Time fireside dining and, new, are Whiskey Business Nights on Thursday evenings and Afternoon Tea on select Sundays.
The historical colonial inn rooms take guests back to the early 1900s. Each room is named after the original owners – The Pretty’s. Rowena’s Inn is also a popular spot for weddings.
Activities in Harrison
Harrison Hot Springs is famous for its natural hot springs, which are said to have therapeutic properties. A visit to the hot springs is a must-do activity during your weekend trip.
There are several hot spring pools available, including public pools and private pools at local resorts. Soak in the warm water and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
If you’re looking for more adventure, Harrison has plenty of outdoor activities to offer. Hiking is a popular activity in the area, with several trails available for all skill levels. The Spirit Trail is a great option for beginners, while the Harrison Grind offers a more challenging hike with stunning views of Harrison Lake.
The Spirit Trail is a short 1-km walk through a beautiful cedar forest that is very accessible from the Village of Harrison Hot Springs. What makes this trail so special is that a local resident and artist has decorated many of the cedars along the trail with his artful masks.
Boating is a popular activity in Harrison, with several boat rental options available. Take a leisurely cruise around the lake or try your hand at fishing. Other popular activities you can do during your weekend getaway from the city of Vancouver include golfing, biking, and horseback riding.
We opted to try our hand at kayaking. We did a 2-hour introduction to kayaking with Harrison Eco Tours. My friend was nervous at first as the weather wasn’t great but we had a great time. Our guide was fantastic and nobody fell in the water 😂
Best Places to Eat in Harrison
Harrison has several restaurants and cafes to choose from, many of which are on the water. Whether you’re looking for a romantic dinner or a casual meal with friends, you’ll find it here.
One of the most popular restaurants in Harrison is the Black Forest Restaurant, which offers authentic German cuisine and delicious desserts. If you’re looking for a more casual dining experience, try the Old Settler Pub. This cozy pub offers classic pub fare and a great selection of local beers.
For a unique dining experience, try the Circle Farm Tour. This self-guided tour takes you to several local farms and markets, where you can sample fresh produce and artisanal products. The tour includes stops at a goat cheese farm, a lavender farm, and a local winery.
We enjoyed lunch overlooking the lake at Muddy Waters Cafe. Their Crab Cake Salad was fresh and delicious and the perfect way to fuel up before our kayaking adventure.
Day Trips from Harrison
If you have more time than just a weekend getaway from Vancouver and want to stay awhile, you certainly can. While there’s plenty to do in Harrison, there are also several day trips available if you want to explore the surrounding area. One popular day trip is to the nearby town of Agassiz, which is known for its beautiful tulip fields.
Another option is to visit the Fraser Valley Wine Country, which is home to several award-winning wineries such as Singletree Winery. If you’re looking for a more active day trip, consider visiting Chilliwack River Rafting. This exciting adventure will take you on a thrilling ride down the Chilliwack River.
Events and Festivals in Harrison
Harrison Hot Springs hosts several events and festivals throughout the year. One of the most popular events is the Harrison Festival of the Arts, which takes place in July. This 10-day event features music, dance, and theatre performances from around the world.
Another popular event is the Harrison Beer Festival, which takes place in October. This festival features over 50 breweries from across BC, as well as live music and food trucks.
Tips for Planning Your Weekend Getaway from Vancouver
When planning your weekend trip to Harrison, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, book your accommodations in advance, especially if you’re planning to visit during peak season. Second, pack for all types of weather, as the weather in Harrison can be unpredictable.
I can certainly attest to this as I lent my car blanket to my friend for our kayaking adventure. She wrapped it around herself like a scarf to stay warm. It was a rather windy and she would have been cold out on the water. Be prepared and bring layers.
Be sure to bring comfortable walking shoes and a waterproof jacket. The weather in BC is famously unpredictable. And finally, plan your activities in advance to make the most of your time in Harrison.
Packing List for Your Weekend Getaway
– Comfortable walking shoes
– Waterproof jacket
– Swimsuit and towel for the hot springs or cedar tub
– Sunscreen and hat for outdoor activities
– Camera to capture the stunning scenery
Conclusion – Harrison is the ideal weekend getaway from Vancouver, BC
Harrison River Valley is the perfect destination for a weekend trip from Vancouver. With its natural hot springs, stunning scenery, and range of activities, there’s something for everyone.
Whether you’re looking to relax and unwind or explore the great outdoors, Harrison has it all. So, pack your bags and head to this charming town for a weekend you’ll never forget!
Feature photo credit: Robyn Bessenger