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The Great Canadian Rockies Road Trip: An Insider’s Guide

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We have partnered with Chevrolet and took the Chevrolet Traverse to find out why the Canadian Rockies make such a great travel destination for families looking to reconnect.

Road trip. The mere words either bring elation or fear. I was born and raised in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies and every summer, my kids and I make the journey home for two glorious weeks. A few years ago, we had car troubles an hour south of the border that forced us to spend the night in Great Falls, Mont.,and get our car fixed the next morning, only to have it break down again about 20 yards past where we originally had to pull over. I wanted to laugh/cry, my daughter Hadley complained but my son Bode had the best reaction of all: “At least we got further than last time.”

We were thrilled when we were approached about test-driving the 2019 Chevrolet Traverse RS on our  latest trip to Canada.  Sleek on the outside, functional and comfortable on the inside, this mid-size SUV has seating for up to eight passengers with that all-important optional third row with ample legroom on ALL rows.  Oh, and not to forgotten is the nearly 100 cubic feet of cargo space which made for a roomy, smooth-sailing journey to the Motherland.

Well, with the exception of when Hadley got carsick after eating Chinese fast food and my Bad Mom moment when I was more concerned that her projectile vomit was aimed outside our beautiful new Traverse. Family vacations would go a lot smoother without the family but they sure make the ride a lot more memorable. 

Follow along as we detail some of our favorite Canadian haunts.

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Sure, you’re heard of popular Whistler and Vancouver but the Okanagan Valley is southern British Columbia’s best-kept secret. Touted as the breadbasket of Canada (with some of the country’s toastiest temperatures),  you will find the area resplendent with lakes, countless sandy beaches, orchards, wineries, golf courses and ski resorts. Alberta is famous for its mountains but the Okanagan is where we go for sun, water and warmth!

 My older brother Pat is a passionate boater and kiteboarder and he has determined that Okanagan Lake is one of the best Canada has to offer for its water depth and size (84 miles long), beaches (over 30 through the region) and warm water temperature (by Canadian standards, at least!) There are many fun legends about the lake like the Ogopogo monster and activities include hiking Paul’s Tomb trail at Knox Mountain or snorkeling in the crystal-clear water of the quiet, secluded bays.

We rent a lakehouse in Vernon for a week every summer and while most of our time is spent kayaking, paddleboarding, sand castle-building and boating, we also love to venture out to Davison Orchard Country Village for a tour of the orchards, darling gift shop, Critter Corral animal barn, fresh-baked apple, peach and cherry pies and their pure [bliss] Appleanches (apple cider slushies mixed with ice cream)

The nearby Log Barn is a kitschy tourist trap and the original barn dates back to 1912. Today, it is brimming with hanging baskets spilling with flowers, and tacky, over-sized plaster and plastic cast animals all over the lawn. Skip the overpriced fresh produce (there are a gazillion more affordable fruit stands in the Okanagan Valley), fill up on their to-die-for berry or peach slushies and marvel at the largest Goat Walk in Western Canada where you can pay a quarter to send a can of food to the top of a ramp where a dozen hungry goats are waiting to pillage it. 

Chevy Pro Tip for Kids: 

(Teen Driver)

The drive to British Columbia is usually long and laborious but the Traverse’s glorious technology kept everyone entertained. Our SUV boasted charging ports on every row and even video/audio inputs to plug in a game console.  With the Apple Car Play and 4G LTE Wi-Fi capabilities, they kids were elated to watch videos, play games and text their friends (even after we crossed the border). And I was content to do my job and drive without all the distractions. 

The Teen Driver technology is standard on all models, and Advanced Driver Confidence packages are standard and Surround Vision features is availabe on the RS, Premier and High Country.  Keep your valuables hidden with a concealed underfloor rear storage compartment (that was so well-hidden we didn’t discover it until our final day). But hands down, my favorite features on the Traverse were the blind-spot monitoring and lane-departure warnings which were game-changers in driver safety and accident prevention.

The Kettle Valley Railway

A few years ago, a friend posted on social media about her family’s experience  biking the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR). As they passed over soaring trestle bridges and tunnels that looked like something from a Grimm fairy tale, I mused “where is this place?”I couldn’t believe it was in Kelowna, the largest city in the Okanagan Valley, and merely 30 miles away from our lakehouse. I became obsessed! KEEP READING

Amber Johnson
Author: Amber Johnson

Amber is the founder and editor of Mile High Mamas, travel writer and former columnist for The Denver Post. She is a passionate community builder and loves the outdoors. She has two awesome teens and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.

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