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In a few weeks, children will rejoice the end of the school year and parents will take on the sometimes-challenging task of entertaining their younger set during the summer vacation months.

For many families, a holiday road trip is a traditional part of summer vacation, but it will take on new meaning this year after pandemic-related restrictions in each of the past two holiday seasons.

While there may be a certain allure to locations beyond BC’s borders, there are endless opportunities to explore Beautiful British Columbia.  Several websites and blogs provide ideas for travel opportunities from one corner of the province to the other – and the HelloBC road trip ideas page serves as just one example.

BC’s fabled summer weather, provincial and national parks and scenic routes make the province the perfect location for road trips, tempting many British Columbians to hit the highways and explore more of what the province we call home, has to offer.

Northern BC for example, is a destination for salmon fishing, boating, camping, and wildlife viewing. Sights include the Skeena River, the Seven Sisters Park and Protected Area, and Port Essington at the river’s mouth.

If you’re after mountain views, the Trans-Canada Highway 1 from Revelstoke to Golden offers a history lesson as well as breathtaking alpine scenery. Along the way is the Rogers Pass National Historic Site – the last slice of the Canadian Pacific Railway built to connect Canada from coast-to-coast.

If fresh produce, wineries, and sandy beaches sound more appealing to you, the Okanagan Corridor from Vernon to Osoyoos provides fruit stands, wine tasting and lakeside activities.

Whether it’s the British charm of Victoria, idyllic ocean getaways and camping opportunities, or a host of outdoor activities and a charming laid-back vibe, Vancouver Island may be your chosen destination.

But before you pack your snacks and pick a playlist, remember to make sure your vehicle is road trip ready before setting off.

A regularly scheduled maintenance check is always a good idea before you go but also check your fluid levels and tire pressure. Replace your wiper blades and wiper fluid to make cleaning away any spattered insects on your windshield an easier task.

Don’t forget to plan your refueling and bathroom stops ahead of time. It’s also a good idea to thoroughly research your routes to make sure you’re not missing any must-see attractions.

For long drives, pack enough water to make sure that all occupants stay hydrated. If you’re bringing along a four-legged friend for the adventure, make sure they’re properly harnessed or secured inside their crates. Some national parks also have specific rules about bringing your pet, so check online for all the regulations beforehand.

And for those with a zero-emission vehicle, check the latest charging station locations using resources like BC Hydro’s  EV Networking Map or the PlugShare app.

With so many scenic areas to explore, BC can provide the perfect getaway for visitors and locals alike. Plan ahead for your summer trip and drive safe!

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at bqualey@newcardealers.ca.