Say hello to Myrtle Beach, S.C., as the newest American city on WestJet’s map. In Canada, Fort St. John and Nanaimo, B.C., are the first two destinations to be served by the airline’s brand-new regional carrier, WestJet Encore. Read on to discover the unique delights of these three locales.
Myrtle Beach may be best known for its amazing (and abundant) golf, but it also has more than 90 kilometres of Atlantic beachfront. Head to the Myrtle Beach State Park for private beach access. The pier is perfect for fishing, and numerous hiking paths slice through the rare Maritime forest of wax myrtles, magnolias and hollies.
Once you’ve built up an appetite, enjoy fresh, East Coast seafood at The Original Benjamin’s Calabash Seafood, where you’ll be surrounded by models of schooners and ships, including the 30-foot-long Queen Elizabeth. If you’re looking for something more romantic, try Aspen Grille for crab cakes, filet mignon and a selection of market-fresh fish.
The city’s old nickname, “Hub, Tub and Pub,” says it all. Every July, Nanaimo hosts a Bathtub Race where small, bathtub-shaped boats race 58 km in the Strait of Georgia. You can experience the event as a spectator, or make your own boat (for around $3,000) and participate yourself.
After the race, take a ferry to North America’s only floating pub, the Dinghy Dock Pub, to celebrate or commiserate with a crab and bacon melt and a local beer.
The city is also the birthplace of the Nanaimo bar, which is available in many delectable forms—squares, cupcakes, cheesecake, ice cream and martinis—on the self-guided Nanaimo Bar Trail.
Fort St. John
To truly appreciate one of British Columbia’s oldest non-native communities (and the province’s oil and gas capital), try fishing, boating on the mighty Peace River or visiting the North Peace Museum. Visitors can see a trapper’s cabin, a 1930s outpost hospital room and relics from the city’s First Nations history. WestJet flies to: Myrtle Beach twice a week from Toronto starting May 2. Dallas-Fort Worth once a day from Calgary starting April 29. Nanaimo once a day from Calgary starting June 24. Fort St. John once a day from Calgary starting June 24, and once a day from Vancouver starting June 25.