The sun is finally shining, the birds are chirping and the cherry blossoms have made their spectacular debut. All aforementioned signs can only mean one thing – spring has finally sprung here in the Fraser Valley.
Winter dragged on way too long for my liking, which is why I’m eager to go on some local adventures with my family. How about you?
I’ve done a little digging by chatting with some of my favourite top influencers from out this way, and have discovered that there are quite a few places I have yet to explore. In fact, the response was so fantastic that the blog post has spun into a three-part series.
Here is the first round of tried tested and true hot spots and hidden gems that come highly recommended from local Influencers who definitely know their stuff.
1- Kwantlen Park (North Surrey) ~ Rebecca Bollwitt, Miss 604
From kick flips and monkey bars to pool noodles and cannon balls, this North Surrey gem, located at13035 104 Avenue, offers plenty of fun for the whole family.
“I lived near the park growing up and it was a seemingly endless hub of activity,” said Rebecca Bollwitt, a multi-award-winning blogger who provides daily information about life in Metro Vancouver, events, community happenings and local history over at Miss604.com.
“From the old wooden playground and fitness circuit, to the forest trails where I would ride bikes with my neighbour, the public pool to cool down in the summer, and the hill between sports fields that was perfect for tobogganing in winter. Watching friends play baseball or soccer, playing tennis with my sister, and being a brooding teen on the bleachers during our West Whalley lunch breaks.”
As an adult, Rebecca says she still love the forest trails and all the amenities of this Valley gem.
“The views of the North Shore mountains, watching my nephews shred at the skate park or playing ball hockey at the lacrosse box. It keeps up the old tradition of the City of Parks in what is now the city centre.”
2– Duft & Co Bakehouse (Abbotsford) ~ Nicolle Hodges, nicolledoublel.com
“I feel like Abbotsford got a lot cooler right when I was on the verge of leaving,” says CTV Reporter/Blogger/Fashionista Nicolle Hodges, who grew up in the area.
“Then again, maybe my preferences just changed from being a narrow-minded teenager to a young adult who craved feeling “cultured.”
Working for the Abbotsford News from the age of 21, Hodges was exposed to some “pretty interesting people and places,” and found much more joy wandering Historic Downtown Abbotsford than she
“That’s where I found (and fell in love with) Duft & Co Bakehouse,” she says.
“I was actually writing a story for ValleyBuzz and had the chance to interview the founders, who were equally passionate about one another as they were about pastries. You could tell everything was made fresh and with love. Because of this, it became my favourite place to hang out and devour as many Lemon Sugar Balls as possible – sweet dough, baked and then filled with house made lemon curd, rolled in sugar. Simple, tart, and delicious!”
Satisfy your sweet tooth at Duft & Co Bakehouse, located at 103, 2636 Montrose Avenue in Abbotsford.
3- Albert Dyck Park aka Molson Lake (Abbotsford) ~ Samantha Lenz, SamanthaLenz.com
For freelance writer and mental health advocate Samantha Lenz, there’s a certain Abby watering hole she can usually be spotted at once the mercury rises.
“A favourite family hot spot in Abbotsford (which used to be a hidden gem but now is insanely popular) is Molson Lake,” says the Abbotsford resident and single mom of one.
“I love the fact we live 10 minutes away; there is a path around the whole park – an off-leash area for dogs, the lake, a beach. It’s the perfect combo. I also love that I can take Ry for a walk around the trail, and then this summer take him into the lake for a swim. If you’re not wanting to drive the 45 minutes to Cultus, this is the perfect alternative.”
Type Walmsley Avenue in your GPS to cruise on over to this hidden gem in Abbotsford.
Whether you’re looking to cool off and take a dip in the ocean, soak up the scenic views from the pier and nature trails or partake in some beach volleyball, Crescent Beach has everything one could need for a fun day on the seaside.
Kama Money of Orange Bridge Communications might be new in town, but is already having a blast being a guest IGer for Tourism Surrey about her favourite Surrey finds.
At the top of her list is beautiful Crescent Beach. And honestly, who could blame her?
“We love exploring Crescent Beach as a family and it’s been the best place for our little guy to learn how to bike,” says the former Port Alberni resident.
“Of course, we need to have fish & chips at Hooked afterwards… and ice cream across the street!”
5- Hayward Lake (Mission) ~ Carolyn Bechard, Moments in Mommyland
Many are unaware of the scenic beauty that can be found in Mission, says Carolyn Bechard of Moments in Mommyland.
For this homeschooling family that recently relocated to Mission to build their dream home, Hayward Lake has made a big splash.
“A popular beach for locals in the Summer, Hayward Lake is owned by BC Hydro and well kept,” says Bechard.
“The sand is perfect for building castles and the water has a gentle, shallow entry. The bathrooms are clean, the trails are great for exploring, and there is plenty of parking available. That being said, arrive early on a weekend. It will fill up!”
This Valley outdoor oasis is located at Dewdney Trunk Road in Mission.
Do you have a favourite hidden gem or hot spot in the Fraser Valley that’s not on this list? Let us know in the comment section below or join the conversation on Facebook.