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Where to Go with Your Tax Refund: Over the Border to Vancouver

May 1, 2014 at 2:07 PM | by | ()

Tax day is here, and you're probably excited...but not because you love sifting through receipts and credit card statements. You're excited because you're getting a fat refund. Probably. The economy may be on its way back up, but you should try to stretch that tax refund as far as you can...like with a little "you did a great job last year" trip—a Tax Refund Vacation.

Skip out of Uncle Sam’s jurisdiction and head north of the border to celebrate tax refund season, as this time we’re suggesting a trip to Vancouver. The Pacific Northwest is one of America’s many gems, but Vancouver may just be one of its best assets—just don’t tell that to the folks who call Seattle and Portland home.

Those flying out of New York should be able to score flights somewhere in the $700 region (the nighttime nonstop on Cathay Pacific is our pick), as we tried a couple weekend dates later this month. Folks heading from the left side of the continent will do better, as options from Los Angeles can be had for around $350. If the middle of the country is more convenient, there’s always Chicago; flights out of O’Hare should run you around $500.

Sure, there’s rainy weather, but the spring is when things also begin to warm up. Highs are in the 70s for the next few days—or should we say the upper teens (oh, metric system)—and days will only get more moderate as the month continues. You should be fine enjoying and taking in the sights of Stanley Park, or making your way over to Granville Island to take in the famed Public Market.

Cool neighborhoods—we like Yaletown and Gastown—are everywhere to be found, but we’d recommend checking out some of the sights along the water first to get oriented. Check out the cauldron leftover from Vancouver's Olympics, and wave to all the grandparents getting ready to disembark on their cruises up towards Alaska. Gastown is close by the water and has plenty of shops, restaurants, and old timey charm, so be sure to pay a quick visit (don’t miss the steam-powered clock and excellent coffeeshops).

There’s museums, beaches, parks, and other attractions as well, but we’d suggest getting a little outside of the city after a day or two. Lynn Canyon Park in North Vancouver has that dose of forests and streams you're looking for, plus an awesome suspension bridge. It’s a little less of a tourist attraction than the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, and we found it to truly embody the outdoorsy spirit of the region. Bonus! Lynn Canyon Park is accessible by public transportation, just a ferry and bus ride away.

For travels further afield, hop the world's first carbon-neutral airline, Vancouver's Harbour Air, for Victoria, Nanaimo, Whistler and beyond.

The only problem with visiting Vancouver? You might not want to leave.

Below: cycling the Stanley Park Harbour seawall

[Photos: Jaunted]

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