Read the original article from The Georgia Straight here.

Summer might look a little different this year due to physical-distancing recommendations. But that doesn’t mean it needs to feel different—you can still pack the next two months with fun by visiting local parks, restaurants, and shops.

The City of Coquitlam has launched the “75 Days of Summer” campaign to guide you in the right direction when it comes to planning a relaxing or action-filled day trip to the outdoorsy city. Instead of travelling out of B.C. this summer, you can stay safe and use this opportunity to fall in love with the scenic areas and small businesses found within Coquitlam. The city is a mere 35-minute drive from downtown Vancouver and can be conveniently accessed by SkyTrain.

Not only will you be staying safe this summer by travelling closer to home but you’ll also be providing much needed support to the local businesses—navigating the new normal is exceedingly challenging for small business owners. It is these unique retail shops, eateries, and boutiques that give Coquitlam its charm.

“We want people to discover the magic of Coquitlam by exploring our fantastic parks, recreational areas, restaurants, and the arts and culture scene,” says Eric Kalnins, tourism manager at the City of Coquitlam. “Stop by the local businesses, say ‘hello’, and ask them for recommendations. This is how you’ll get the best experience.”

For those who enjoy planning day trips around hiking and mountain biking, Pinecone Burke Provincial Park is filled with trails. Coquitlam’s Town Centre Park is a top destination for visitors with children as the large fields are the perfect spot for a two-versus-two family soccer game. Town Centre Park also features a lake where visitors can fish for trout.

Since many of us have had to tighten up our budgets, exploring local cities will give you the feeling of a vacation at a fraction of the cost.

“You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a great time in Coquitlam,” says Kalnins. “Families can grab some coffee and snacks from a café, and then spend the rest of the day exploring one of the 80 municipal parks.” However, Coquitlam is jam-packed with stores, boutiques, and shopping centres for visitors who want to spoil themselves.

Picnics are a great way to enjoy the sunshine with your friends and family while following social-distancing guidelines. Visit a local market or order some takeout from a nearby restaurant before setting up at Mundy Park, Como Lake Park, or Blue Mountain Park—these are all prime picnic locations.

If you’re having a difficult time shedding the weight gained while self-isolating, the Coquitlam Crunch off Lansdowne Drive offers you a solution that takes the form of 900 stairs. The Crunch is similar to North Vancouver’s Grouse Grind and will take you approximately 1.5 hours to complete. Other popular hiking trails in Coquitlam include the Minnekhada Regional Park trail and the hike up to the High Knoll lookout.

After you’ve finished your workout, head over to Coquitlam’s vibrant downtown area for a refreshing beverage and a snack. For those looking for more sustenance, the city’s streets are lined with diverse restaurants run by owners who are eager to share their passion for food with hungry guests. Coquitlam visitors can chow down on authentic Korean, Japanese, , and  cuisine, which will provide them with fuel for their next activity.

Guests can expect to see  at many restaurants and extra space put between tables to ensure that customers are kept safe.

Coquitlam also has multiple golf courses, including a driving range and a mini golf course. Other popular outdoor destinations within the city are a disc golf course at Mundy Park, six off-leash dog parks, an off-leash dog trail, and nine water parks.

If you’re looking for a safe and entertaining way to celebrate Canada Day this year, the City of Coquitlam is hosting an afternoon filled with music that can be livestreamed from your backyard. Get together with your close circle of family and friends, order some delicious takeout, and groove to the tunes played by local musicians. For more local music, tune into Coquitlam’s annual summer concert series on Friday evenings from July 10 to August 14.

For further recommendations and inspiration, follow Tourism Coquitlam’s social media channels, @visitcoquitlam. Comment and share your adventures and personal favourites by tagging your photos and videos with #SummerintheCQ and #ExploreCoquitlam.

Throughout the summer, you can enter to win multiple giveaways and contests each week with prizes ranging from gift cards to goods and services, and special gift packages.

For more information on 75 Days of Summer, go to . To enter the weekly contests, follow Tourism Coquitlam on ,, and .

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