Harrison Hot Springs has always been one of our favourite local escapes. After five long months of looking at nothing other than the grey walls of our townhouse, we were ready for a change of scenery — and a little fun.
With the green light given by Bonnie Henry to explore our beautiful province of British Columbia, we decided on a much-needed girls getaway with my mom.
Here is where we dined, stayed and played (safely).
Rowena’s Inn on the River
While it’s technically just outside of Harrison Hot Springs (approx.15 mins away) in a little town called Harrison Mills, Rowena’s Inn is close enough to all the action but secluded enough to feel far removed from the crowds.
Overlooking the Harrison River and Coast Mountains, this little slice of West Coast paradise is the only destination property in all of Harrison Mills.
This was my third time visiting, but a first for my mom and two daughters, Molly, 11, and Zoe, 9.
In the past, my husband Jason and I stayed at one of Rowena’s dreamy rustic cabins, which are perfect for couples with their sumptuous king-sized beds, deep-soaker jacuzzi tubs for two and wood-burning hand-crafted fireplaces.
For this trip, we booked one of their new two-bedroom luxury cabins, which are ideal for small groups (in your bubble of course).
Our lodgings featured a full kitchen, cozy beds, a full bathroom with a tub, and a living room containing a pull-out couch and mounted flat-screen TV.
The room was clean, modern, and more than enough space for the four of us — even with all our clothes and beauty products.
I’ll admit I was a little nervous staying anywhere other than home during a pandemic but was pleased with the resort’s high standards for sanitation procedures. In addition to automated hand-sanitizer stations in highly visible areas, there was Covid-19 signage located throughout the resort regarding social distancing.
On the way to dinner at The Clubhouse Restaurant located onsite, we stopped to take some photos in front of the iconic English-style manor on the property that has been converted into a boutique hotel. Its rooms were originally the bedrooms of the Pretty Family who owned the property, Today, each room has been named after one of the children.
The entire estate with all its whimsy and charm, makes you feel like you’ve been whisked away to a fairy tale. No wonder it is so popular for weddings.
The patio of The Clubhouse Restaurant was bustling with golfers who had just finished a round at the Sandpiper Golf Course, adjacent to the property. Tables were spaced far enough apart to feel comfortable, and the view made it feel like we had traveled much farther than just an hour and fifteen minutes.
Molly and Zoe were set on their own adult meals, but thankfully our waitress suggested they share as the portions are pretty generous. She wasn’t kidding.
We feasted on fall-off-the-bone bbq ribs, juicy steak for nana, washed down by Shirley Temples.
With full bellies and sticky faces, it was time to clean up, put on our PJ’s and settle in for a Netflix movie and popcorn in our cabin. It would be the first time my girls have seen Dirty Dancing, and I’m sure the memory of watching it in such a beautiful setting with their mom and Nana is one they’ll always treasure.
Visit rowenasinnontheriver.com for more info
Yadoma Forest Therapy
The next morning we headed for the forest to meet up with Kim from Yadoma Forest Therapy who would lead us in an unforgettable therapeutic Forest Bathing experience.
For those unsure of what Forest Bathing, also called Shinrin Yoku is, I’ll assure you it doesn’t require bathing suits or bathing per se.
While in Sooke, Jason and I first tried couples’ Forest Bathing and both of us came out of it feeling so relaxed, peaceful, and connected.
I wasn’t sure how my girls would like it, but Kim, who is also a Kindergarten teacher, led us on a family-friendly adventure that challenged us to experience the forest with all of our senses and childlike wonder.
We played a variety of fun games, made an offering to the forest, and capped it all off with tea ceremony.
If you’re on the hunt for an affordable and child-friendly activity that gets you out of town and away from holiday-goers, I highly recommend booking one of these guided forest therapy walks. The cost for our two-hour Forest Fun session was $15 per person.
Visit yadoma.ca for more info.
Muddy Waters Cafe
We worked up an appetite from our outdoor adventure, so we headed to a popular casual dining destination for tourists and locals alike –the Muddy Waters Cafe.
Located across from the beach in Harrison Hot Springs, the cafe, espresso bar, and ice cream shop is a family-run business that serves up tasty farm-to-table fare.
It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a quick coffee and a fresh-baked treat or lazy afternoon lunch and drinks while taking in the sights and sounds of the Harrison beachfront.
Harrison Watersports Waterpark
As the mercury began to rise, it was time to cool off in the lake. We booked a two-hour slot at the enormous inflatable Harrison Watersports Waterpark, which has everything from swings, teeter-totters, monkey bars, and hamster balls. I’ve always wanted to do it, but never really had the nerve until that particular sweltering afternoon.
In addition to the floatable water park and wetsuit rental, our package included a 30-minute bumper boat rental, which is great fun for all ages. You can lazily float around and soak up the rays and scenery, or get immersed in a water fight.
While this attraction is often busy in the summer months, this year, Harrison Watersports is limiting the number of patrons on some of its activities to follow the recommendations of the province. A max number of customers, set by the province, will be allowed on the waterpark and dock if facilities get too busy. There is also signage on the dock promoting physical distancing and sanitizer stations.
We packed plenty of fun during our short visit, but there are still so many other amazing attractions, dining destinations and recreational activities to check out while in Harrison Hot Springs. Visit tourismharrison.com or stop by Tourism Harrison’s Visitor Information Centre on your way into town, just 3 blocks before the beach.
Disclaimer: All experiences in this post were gifted. All opinions are my own.