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One of British Columbia's most scenic drives and the province's most celebrated year-round recreation center are both just north of Vancouver, making great destinations for a weekend away or a short road trip. The Sunshine Coast Highway is the name given to Hwy. 101 as it skirts the islands, fjords, and peninsulas of the mainland's Strait of Georgia coast. The scenery is spectacular, and the fishing and logging communities along the route offer friendly hospitality. No small part of the charm of this drive is the ferry rides: To reach road's end at Lund, you'll need to take two ferries, both offering jaw-dropping vistas of glaciered peaks floating above deep-blue waters. To make this route into a full loop trip, catch a third ferry from Powell River across the Strait of Georgia to Comox, and begin your exploration of Vancouver Island.

The road to Whistler is equally spectacular, as it follows fjordlike Howe Sound, flanked by cliffs and towering peaks. But there's more to do here than gawk at the landscape: Whistler is Canada's premier skiing destination in winter (it hosted the ski events for the 2010 Winter Olympics) and a golf, hiking, and white-water rafting mecca in summer. Accommodations, dining, and recreational facilities are first-class, and the well-planned lodging developments have yet to overwhelm the natural beauty of the valley.