An ocean and river experience

Tsawwassen & Ladner

Need a break from urban life? Tsawwassen and Ladner may be just what you’re looking for. Nestled between river and ocean, these towns have lots of options for relaxation. Go for a stroll or bike ride on a dike beside a river or the sea, buy wild local salmon at Superior Fish Market, do some shopping in boutiques, play a round of golf or kayak through a quiet slough with only Steller sea lions and great blue herons to keep you company. These are just a few of the attractions of Ladner Village and Tsawwassen.

In Ladner, traffic is light, terrain is flat and the town’s surrounding horse and agricultural farms will make you want to get out and walk or bike. Downtown you will find historic buildings, friendly restaurants and hometown merchants. Have a drink or bite to eat while you watch boat traffic on the peaceful and picturesque Ladner Slough. The Ladner Leisure Center offers plenty to do on the rare rainy day.

The Ladner Village Market is not to be missed – it operates on a “ make it, bake it, grow it” vendor model. This year it will be open on Sundays, July 11 and 25, August 8 and 22, and September 12.

Looking for exercise? Do a few laps on the stairs at Fred Gingell Park on English Bluff Road in Tsawwassen. It offers great views of Georgia Strait and the Gulf Islands as well as a top-notch cardiovascular workout. At the bottom is a mostly deserted beach.

Launch a kayak at Ladner Slough and paddle through the backwaters of the Fraser River. Great blue herons and eagles soar overhead while you explore small islands and marshlands abutting the waterway. Walk or bike the dike on River Road west to Georgia Strait; alternatively, ride the dike from Beach Grove around Boundary Bay. This flat gravel trail goes on and on under silent skies for 20 kilometers.

Both communities are located on the Pacific Flyway, and the surrounding lands are vital stopovers for millions of birds on their annual migration. One of the best places to observe all kinds of birds is at the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary in Ladner. Take River Road West, and turn right for the bridge to Westham Island. Just before the bridge is a small park where often you’ll have a close-up view of Steller sea lions sunning on the docks.

Don’t miss the Delta Nature Reserve at Burns Bog, the world’s largest domed peat bog. Trails lead you through a small portion of the 40-square kilometer reserve.

Between Tsawwassen and Ladner are acres upon acres of blueberry fields; stop at one of the roadside stands for a fresh hit of anti-oxidants. Highway 17 divides the two communities and also leads to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal taking travelers to Vancouver Island and various Gulf Islands.

Tsawwassen is located on the north end of the same peninsula occupied by Point Roberts. More suburban than village, the main thoroughfare, 56th Street, is rich with restaurants, boutiques and food markets.

The huge Tsawwassen Mills outlet shopping center is a huge addition to the shopping scene. If you feel like a little downtime, head to Centennial Beach for a swim and sprawl on the soft sands of Boundary Bay. Miles of sand flats warm the waters of afternoon tides to a comfortable 80°F/26°C.

Alternatively, head up the 56th Street hill towards Point Roberts to cool off in the water spray playground at Diefenbaker Park.

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