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25 Awesome Day Trips from Vancouver, Canada

01/04/2023 By Traveling Canucks 7 Comments Categories: Adventures Beautiful BC Series British Columbia Canada Family Travel Tips Sightseeing Travel Stories Travel Tips Trip Ideas Vancouver

Day trips from Vancouver British Columbia Canada, buildings in Yaletown and downtown Vancouver at False Creek with little aquabus

The best day trips from Vancouver, British Columbia

If you’ve visited Vancouver, chances are you’ve walked around Stanley Park’s iconic seawall , visited Granville Island , snapped a photo of the old Steam Clock in Gastown , shopped on Robson Street and raised a glass in Granville’s entertainment district . In this post, we want to get outside the city and share our favourite day trips from Vancouver.

While there are countless  things to see and do in Vancouver , there’s even more adventure waiting for you just outside the city limits (there’s good reason why Vancouver consistently ranks as one of the world’s most livable cities).

As residents of North Vancouver, we’ve spent the past few years exploring our big, beautiful backyard. It’s been fun doing the research for this long overdue blog post about the best day trips from Vancouver .

25 Awesome Day trips from Vancouver

Table of Contents

Today, we’d like to share OUR favourite day trips from Vancouver.

It should be noted that you can easily convert some of these day trips into an overnight trip or weekend getaway. Read this post for the best road trip from Vancouver for first time visitors.

We highly recommend going slow and spending quality time at each spot, but we’d completely understand if you wanted to see it all.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Day trips from Vancouver, British Columbia, photo of whistler peak to peak gondola in the summer with blackcomb mountain in the backdrop, red gondola

1. Whistler

We’re going to kick things off with our top day trips from Vancouver, rather than saving the best for last. Located 125 km north of Vancouver (about 1.5 hour drive), Whistler is a four season resort town with more than 8,000 acres of terrain spread across multiple mountain peaks.

Simply put – if you like adventure, Whistler is built for you!

Whistler gained world fame in 2010 when it co-hosted the Winter Olympics with the city of Vancouver. Whistler consistently ranks as the top ski resort in North America. In 2008, it introduced the world record-breaking Peak 2 Peak Gondola, completing the longest continuous lift system in the world.

Over the past decade, Whistler has evolved to become a top summer destination in Canada . 

Whistler boasts over 50 km of high alpine hiking trails, multiple golf courses, zip-line courses , ATV off road tours, Jeep 4×4 tours to view glaciers , bungee jumping, helicopter tours , bear viewing tours, white water rafting, and several fresh water lakes for SUP, kayaking and canoeing .

The Whistler Bike Park has quickly become one of the best mountain bike parks in North America. Whistler hosts several festivals and events each year, including the World Ski & Snowboard Festival in April and Crankworx Mountain Bike Festival in August.

Some of the fun things to do in Whistler:

  • Take the Whistler Peak 2 Peak Gondola – learn more here . 
  • Try the Whistler Sasquatch Zipline , the longest zipline in Canada and the US.
  • Rejuvenate and relax at the traditional  Scandinave Spa
  • Golf at 3 different courses, including the impressive Nicklaus North Golf Course
  • SUP or kayaking at Lost Lake, Alta Lake or Green Lake
  • Downhill mountain biking and/or cross-country trail riding
  • Zip-line courses, ATV off road tours, white water rafting or bungee jumping
  • Whistler Jeep Tour to see glaciers and snow-capped mountain vistas
  • Helicopter excursion or float plane sightseeing tour
  • Bear viewing tour and/or nature safari
  • Hike to stunning alpine lakes at Garibali Lake, Joffre Lakes Provincial Park, Chekamus Lake, Elfin Lakes and/or Wedgemount Lake
  • Visit the unique Whistler train wreck
  • Search for Whistler hotel deals here

Related – 20 Things to do in Whistler this Summer

mountains and suspension bridge at the top of Whistler peak in summer months with canada flag and whistler village in the distance

2. Victoria

Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island , Victoria is one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest . People often mistake Vancouver as the capital city of British Columbia, when in fact it’s Victoria.

Victoria is approximately 100 kilometres from both Vancouver and Seattle, making it the perfect day trip or weekend getaway for tourists (and mainland residents). We try to visit Victoria at least once every year.

If you’re short on time, we recommend you check out this Guided Food and History Tour of Victoria. 

While you technically can visit Victoria in one day, we recommend you give it at least one night. Ideally, two or three nights, if you can.

Most people will catch the ferry that departs from Tsawwassen BC Ferries Terminal , but you can take a bus from downtown Vancouver that will drop you off in downtown Victoria (ticket includes the ferry crossing).

If you’re a first time visitor to Vancouver and you don’t have a vehicle, we’d recommend the bus option over renting a car and driving on the ferry.

You can also take a float plane from downtown Vancouver, which is a lot of fun. If you’ve only got one day to spend in Victoria, the float plane is the fastest and most convenient option. The ferry option will take you at least 4 hours in each direction.

If you decide to stay overnight, here’s where to stay in Victoria:

We have stayed at the Magnolia Hotel ,  Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort and Fairmont Empress and would recommend them all. They are centrally located and family friendly. Search for more Victoria hotels here .

Related – 20 Things to do in Victoria, British Columbia

Fairmont Empress hotel view from Victoria Inner Harbour. Best day trip from Vancouver for tourists

3. Visit Bowen Island

Located approximately 25 km’s northwest of Vancouver, Bowen Island is a laid-back island that feels miles away from the hustle of the big city. The island is only 6 km wide and 12 km long, so you can easily explore the island in one day. Popular activities are kayaking, mountain biking, hiking and boating.

The  Snug Cove ferry terminal has a marina with small shops and restaurants. The most popular beaches on Bowen Island are Tunstall Bay, Bowen Bay and Sandy Beach.

An easy scenic hike is the  Killarney Lake trail . It takes about 2 hours round trip, covering 9 km’s. A more challenging hike is the summit of  Mount Gardner . It takes about 7 hours, covering 17 km’s round trip.

To get to Bowen Island, you take a 20 minute ferry from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver. Or you can take a 45 minute water taxi from Granville Island. Check with BC Ferries for sailing times.

If you do wish to spend the night, the best accommodations on Bowen Island are vacation properties. Search for vacation properties to stay here .

Related – 25 Things to do in Vancouver

Upper deck of BC Ferries with North Shore mountains and Howe sound, best day trips from Vancouver, British Columbia for tourists

4. Explore the Sunshine Coast

Although the Sunshine Coast may not always live up to its name (it’s located in the Pacific Northwest, after all), it’s a beautiful coastal area that stretches from Langdale to Lund, with many quaint communities in between. 

If you’ve got the time, this is a great place for a coastal road trip.

Part of the fun is the actual journey to the Sunshine Coast. Most visitors will access the Sunshine Coast by ferry from Horseshoe Bay. However, you can also take a float plane, depending on the time of year. The ferry ride and marinas are quintessentially West Coast.

If you only have one day, you’ll want to focus your time on Langdale and Hopkins Landing .

Hopkins Landing is a short walk from the Langdale ferry terminal and there’s a beach that overlooks the North Shore mountains. It’s a great spot for kayaking, swimming and beachcombing. 

If you are traveling in a small group, you might consider booking a guided tour to explore a few of the hidden gems on the Sunshine Coast.

Day trips from Vancouver, British Columbia

5. Rent a boat and cruise around Howe Sound

Howe Sound is network of fjords situated between West Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast, about 30 minutes northwest of Vancouver. This is one of the most beautiful areas in the Lower Mainland.

If you’re looking for a unique way to experience British Columbia’s natural beauty, driving a small speed boat around Howe Sound should be on your list.

One of the things we like to do in Vancouver during the summer is to visit the lazy seals that hang out on Pam Rocks , a cluster of tiny islands located in the center of Howe Sound. The only way to see these rock islands is by boat. 

The best place to rent boats is Sewell’s Marina , located in Horseshoe Bay.

Renting a boat is relatively inexpensive and you don’t need to have a special boat license. A standard driver’s license is sufficient. For two hours of personal boat time (usually enough to get to the seal colony and back) it’s about $180 (check rates here ). The boat can take between 4 to 6 people.

To visit marine parks and secluded coves that can only be reached by water, it’s wise to do the 4-hour rate and head to Gambier or Anvil Island.

Related – Top Things to do Along the Sea to Sky Highway

6. horseshoe bay.

Another great day trip from Vancouver is the village of Horseshoe Bay , the gateway to Howe Sound and the Sunshine Coast , located on the western tip of West Vancouver .

Horseshoe Bay is also the location of the third busiest BC Ferries terminal . If you plan to visit Vancouver Island, Bowen Island or the Sunshine Coast, you will board your ferry at Horseshoe Bay.

Even if you don’t plan to take a ferry, Horseshoe Bay is a fun place to have lunch and spend the afternoon. There are a few restaurants in the village, including the legendary Trolls Restaurant (get the Oyster Burger or Clam Chowder), and it has a rocky beach with a playground that faces the marina.

After you visit Horseshoe Bay, check out nearby Whytecliff Park , one of the first Marine Protected Areas in Canada and a popular cold water scuba diving spot.

If you have time on your drive back to Vancouver, visit nearby Lighthouse Park , located in a residential area in West Vancouver. It is a popular attraction and a National Historic Site of Canada .

Related – 25 FREE Things to do in Vancouver

trips from vancouver

7. Squamish

Located about halfway between Vancouver and Whistler, the town of Squamish is one of the best day trips from Vancouver. It continues to build its brand as an outdoor adventure destination. It’s an easy drive from Vancouver and the scenery is everything you’d expect from a town in the mountains.

We could dedicate an entire blog post about things to do in Squamish. You can make several day trips from Vancouver to Squamish and still only scratch the surface.

For the thrill-seeker, rock climbing at the Stawamus Chief   is world class and the Via Ferrata from the Summit Lodge is fun change of pace.

If you prefer to get in the water, the Squamish Spit hosts some of the best windsurfing and kite surfing in the Pacific Northwest. There area also dozens of hiking trails and parks, including the family-friendly Four Lakes Trail  and the full day  Elfin Lakes hike .

Other activities include a visit the West Coast Rail Heritage Park (home to the annual Polar Express  experience), eagle viewing in Brackendale , golfing at Furry Creek , paddling and fishing on Alice Lake , shopping at the Squamish Farmers’ Market and brewery tours at Howe Sound Brewing .

Related – The best road trip from Vancouver for first time visitors

Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, day trip from Vancouver

8. Sea to Sky Gondola

Another favourite day trips from Vancouver is the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish. It’s a 10-minute gondola ride that transports guests up the side of the mountain to a lodge that overlooks Howe Sound and the Coast Mountains.

There are plenty of things to do once you reach the summit. The Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge is a big hit and will surely give you butterflies in your stomach as it sways from side to side.

There are multiple viewing platforms and several hiking trails for all skill levels. The Summit Lodge has an amazing patio, so if you’re not up for adventure, you can enjoy a relaxing lunch with outstanding mountain views.

If you plan to visit on a weekend in the summer, make sure you arrive early because it’s a popular attraction and the Sea to Sky Gondola parking is limited. And if you already know your date of arrival, we suggest you reserve your spot here .

There’s overflow parking available across the highway from Shannon Falls Provincial Park (check out the waterfalls if you visit the gondola) . We’re told that there’s a free shuttle service on the weekends.

Or, you can walk 15 minutes to the Sea to Sky Gondola via the connector hiking trail.

Related – Winter fun at Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish

ski pilot bridge, sea to sky gondola, Squamish British Columbia

9. Britannia Mine Museum

The  Britannia Mine Museum , formerly British Columbia Museum of Mining, is located in Britannia Beach . It’s about 55 km north of Vancouver on the Sea-to-Sky Highway on Howe Sound.

The Museum site itself is an exhibit – from historical machinery to heritage buildings and the massive yellow dump truck that lives within the facility.

We recommend you take the underground tour on the old mine train.

The 45 minute guided tour gives you an understanding of what life was like as a miner back in the early 1900s. It’s fascinating to learn how the mines were operated back then. I’m not sure I could do what they did. 

You only need about 2 hours to explore the museum and take the mine train tour, so this is a good activity to bundle with a visit to the Sea to Sky Gondola or Porteau Cove Provincial Park . Book your admission tickets easily here . 

If you like this attraction, visit the train museum in Squamish .

trips from vancouver

Rail track inside the old mine tunnel at Britannia Mine Museum.

trips from vancouver

10. Porteau Cove Provincial Park

Porteau Cove is a small provincial park in British Columbia (about 50 hectares in size), situated on the most southerly fjord in North America. The park stretches between the shoreline of Howe Sound and the Sea to Sky Highway , about 20 minutes south of Squamish .

Aside from its rocky beaches and breathtaking mountain vistas, Porteau Cove’s star attraction the old ferry terminal that’s been converted into a pedestrian pier. 

It’s also a popular cold water scuba dive spot because it has a series of artificial reefs and two sunken ships.

Related – An oceanfront cabin retreat at Porteau Cove

beach at Porteau Cove Provincial Park in British Columbia Canada

Above – the beach at Porteau Cove Provincial Park .

trips from vancouver

11. Hiking at Garibaldi Provincial Park

Garibaldi Provincial Park is a massive wilderness park located between Squamish and Whistler, about a 1.5 hour drive from Vancouver. This beautiful park is best visited during the summer months, when you can hike the popular Garibaldi Lake trail .

The park covers an area of over 1,950 square kilometers (753 sq mi) and is home to some of British Columbia’s most impressive hiking trails. There are five entrance points located along the Sea to Sky Highway. There are also several camp sites that are first come, first served.

The most popular trails in Garibaldi Provincial Park are Diamond Head, Black Tusk , Garibaldi Lake,  Wedgemount Lake ,  Cheakamus Lake and Singing Pass.

If you’re looking for a full day leg burner, the Garibaldi Lake hike will do the trick (pictured above).

Related – The Best Things to do Along the Sea to Sky Highway

trips from vancouver

12. Whale watching in the Southern Gulf Islands

The Southern Gulf Islands , an archipelago of small islands located between Vancouver Island the Lower Mainland, is one of the best places to witness orca whales in their natural habitat. This is one of the best day trips from Vancouver for first time visitors, in our opinion.

The best time to go whale watching is during the salmon migration in the summer months between May to October. Whales, sea birds and other marine animals are attracted to the area to feed, resulting in very strong success rate on many whale watching tours.

There are plenty of whale watching operators based out of Vancouver that offer a variety of options, from 2 hour tours to full day excursions.

Related –  Surrounded by Killer Whales in the Salish Sea

Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver, BC. Top tourist attraction in Vancouver

13. Capilano Suspension Bridge and Cliffwalk

Located in the District of North Vancouver , near the base of Grouse Mountain , the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is a fun and easy day trip from Vancouver.

Over the years, the park has added several features to compliment its famous bouncing suspension bridge, including the recently added  Cliffwalk experience.

The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is a great family friendly attraction for both tourists and locals. Aside from the bridge and Cliffwalk , the park also offers the Treetops adventure , a series of seven suspension bridges attached to eight 30 ton, 250 year old Douglas-firs, and several boardwalks with viewpoints that overlook the canyon.

Skip the lines and book your tickets easily here . 

If you have time, try to squeeze in a visit to nearby Cleveland Dam .

Related –  Cliffwalk at the Capilano Suspension Bridge

trips from vancouver

14. Play in the North Shore Mountains

No trip to Vancouver is complete without a visit to the North Shore Mountains . The most popular and accessible mountains are Grouse Mountain, Mount Seymour and Cypress Mountain. All three mountains have ski operations in the winter, extensive hiking trails in the summer and facilities with restaurants.

Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain , the self-described Peak of Vancouver, is the most popular mountain for tourists. To reach the peak, guests take the Skyride tram to the top of the mountain. This is always fun for first timers, regardless of the season.

For the more adventurous type, you can hike to the summit via the Grouse Grind , also known as Mother Nature’s Staircase (it’s a 2.9 km trail that climbs 2,800 feet). Novice hikers should plan for roughly two hours to ascend the trail. The record is 25 minutes.

There are restaurants and cafes at the summit of Grouse Mountain, so if you’re not up for a strenuous afternoon you can simply enjoy the views with a cold beverage in hand.

During the summer you can witness the Grizzly Bear habitat.

Reserve your Grouse Mountain ticket here .

trips from vancouver

Cypress Mountain / Cypress Provincial Park

Cypress Mountain is located in the southern section of Cypress Provincial Park. With over 240 hectares of skiable terrain and 53 runs, Cypress Mountain has the largest ski area out of the three mountains.

Cypress hosted the Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding events during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics .

Mount Seymour Provincial Park 

Mount Seymour is often overlooked by first time visitors to Vancouver because it’s the furthest away from the downtown. It’s also the smallest of the three local mountains. It’s more of a family mountain and has some of the best snowshoeing and nordic skiing trails on the North Shore.

trips from vancouver

15. Hiking or Kayaking in Deep Cove

An easy day trips from Vancouver is a visit to Deep Cove . It’s a quaint community in the easternmost North Vancouver, located at the entrance of Indian Arm It’s about a 25 minute drive from Vancouver. There’s a little village with a restaurants, shops and the infamous Honey’s Doughnuts (Vancouverites love these donuts!).

Deep Cove is known for its marina and kayaking.

You can rent kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and surfskis from Deep Cove Kayak . This shop gets busy in the summer months, especially on the weekends. You’re best to make a reservation for equipment.

Parking in Deep Cove can be challenging, so it’s wise to arrive early (before 9:00 AM).

Another popular activity in Deep Cove is hiking to Quarry Rock.

Quarry Rock is an easy hike that takes about 1.5 hours round trip, so it’s an ideal day trip from Vancouver. The views from the top of Quarry Rock are fantastic.

If you’ve got the stamina and the time, you could hike the trail in the morning, have lunch at Arms Reach Bistro in the village, then go for a paddle in the afternoon.

Now that’s a perfect day in the Pacific Northwest!

Deep Cove Kayaking, British Columbia

16. Steveston Fisherman’s Wharf

Richmond’s Steveston Village is a charming fishing village located 20 minutes south of Vancouver. It sits at the mouth of the Fraser River and was once the largest fishing port and cannery centre on the West Coast.

Steveson is also the departure point for many whale watching tours that explore the nearby Gulf Islands and the San Juan islands (in Washington State).

On a sunny afternoon we like to visit the village and indulge in fish and chips and cold beer. Then we like to walk along the pier to burn off lunch.

The Gulf of Georgia Cannery (also known as the Monster Cannery) is now a National Historic Site . It offers a glimpse into the history of the multicultural workers who kept the salmon canning lines moving in the early 1900’s.

Steveston is still an active fishing harbour, so you can walk along the docks and purchase fresh seafood directly from the fishing boats. This is where you’ll find the best prices on fresh seafood!

River Rock Casino, Richmond, BC

17. River Rock Casino, Richmond

The River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond is the largest casino in British Columbia, generating an average of 10,000 visitors per day. 

With the addition of the Canada Line SkyTrain, the rapid transit that connects Richmond to Vancouver, there’s now a train station located directly across from the casino, making it easily accessible from virtually anywhere in the city.

The River Rock has a large theater that hosts a variety of entertainment acts throughout the year. If you like Vegas style entertainment you’ll enjoy an evening at the River Rock.

Here’s the upcoming schedule at the River Rock Theatre .

In the summer, the Richmond Night Market runs on weekends and close to the River Rock Casino. The Night Market features live performances, carnival games and over 200 retail stalls with over 500 food choices from around the world.

trips from vancouver

18. Langley Wine Tours 

Did you know the Lower Mainland is home to several award winning wineries? You don’t have to drive all the way to the Okanagan Valley to enjoy wine tasting in British Columbia. 

Chaberton Estate Winery is the oldest and largest winery in the Fraser Valley and the 5th largest in British Columbia. Other popular wineries are Township 7 Winery ,  Neck of the Woods Winery ,  Backyard Vineyards and the Fort Wine Co.

Langley is about a 45 minute drive from Vancouver, depending on traffic (afternoon rush hour can add 1-2 hours). If you plan to sample a lot of wine and don’t want to drive, you can organize wine tasting tours that depart from Vancouver and visit 3-4 wineries. It’s a fun day trip in the summer months.

Related – Wine tasting and Glamping in Kelowna

trips from vancouver

19. Cultus Lake Waterpark & Adventure Park

Located two hours east of Vancouver, just south of Chilliwack, sits Cultus Lake Provincial Park and its many family friendly attractions. The lake, beaches and surrounding forests are fantastic, but what lures families to this area is the Cultus Lake Waterpark and Cultus Lake Adventure Park .

The Adventure Park is British Columbia’s newest family theme park and home to the Fraser Valley’s only roller coaster. It’s also home to Giggle Ridge Adventure Golf (18 holes of mini-golf), Bumper Boats, Prospector’s Peak and the Runaway Mine Train.

Cultus Lake Waterpark has all kinds of water slides, wading pools and themed attractions. You could spend the entire day at this park alone.

Related –  A look back on an epic summer in British Columbia

trips from vancouver

20. Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park

Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park is located 150 km east of Vancouver and 64 km southeast of Chilliwack (40km in from the Vedder Crossing).

It’s a beautiful park surrounded by jagged mountain peaks and dense forest. There are several hiking trails, beaches, boat launches, parks and recreational facilities. This is a great spot to go boating, kayaking and canoeing.

To get to Chilliwack Lake, take Exit 104 from Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Hwy) and follow the signs for Cultus Lake until you reach Cultus Lake Road. Instead of turning, follow Vedder Road across the bridge and turn right onto Chilliwack Lake Road.

Follow this road for 40 km to the lake and campground – visit BC Parks website for more info.

Related –  Why We Love Living in British Columbia

trips from vancouver

21. Sturgeon Fishing on the Fraser River (Chilliwack)

If you’re looking for a truly unique experience, you should try sturgeon fishing on the North Fraser River . Sturgeons date back to the Triassic period, some 245 to 208 million years ago.

So, basically, these are underwater dinosaurs! Okay, not really . But some of these fish are over 150 years old and grow as long as 10 feet.

You can take a guided tour that departs from Chilliwack and goes up the North Fraser River. The river is loaded with sturgeon and salmon. While you’re on the boat waiting for a fish to bite, it’s common to see sturgeon breach along the river. On our trip, we witnessed about a dozen sturgeons jumping out of the water. It’s quite the sight.

Chilliwack is about a 2 hour drive from Vancouver, depending on traffic. The fishing tours take between 6 to 8 hours, so this is a full day excursion. Here’s the company we went with .

Watch – Video of us catching a MASSIVE sturgeon fish

Harrison Hot Springs, popular Day trips from Vancouver

22. Harrison Hot Springs

Harrison Hot Springs is a resort community known for its hot springs and picturesque lake and mountain landscapes. It’s located about 2.5 hours east of Vancouver. It’s another one of our favourite day trips from Vancouver.

Harrison Hot Springs Resort is the main attraction, with its 5 hot spring pools and restaurants. However, you can only access these pools if you are a guest staying at Harrison Hot Springs Resort. Consider spending the night here, it’s a nice escape from the city.

There’s more to Harrison Hot Springs than its hot spring pools.

Harrison lake offers every kind of water sport you can imagine, from kayaking to boating to its massive floating waterpark. It has a beach, waterfront parks, golf courses and several hiking trails.

While you’re in the area, check out Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park and its beautiful cascading waterfalls. The park entrance is located just off the Trans-Canada Highway and it’s only a 10 minute hike to the waterfalls, so this is an easy pit-stop that will only take about an hour.

During the summer, you can also visit Bridal Falls Water Park . It’s a smaller water park (when compared to the Cultus Lake Water Park ), but it boasts heated water and plenty of kiddie slides and water play areas.

Related – Things to do at Harrison Hot Springs

Gulf islands Day trips from Vancouver

23. Float plane to the Gulf Islands

The Gulf Islands are located in the Strait of Georgia (also known as Salish Sea ), between Vancouver Island and the mainland of British Columbia. The most popular islands are Salt Spring Island, Galiano Island and Pender Island .

The Gulf Islands are so peaceful and relaxing. You feel like you’re a world away from Vancouver, yet they’re less than 100 kilometres away. 

The Gulf Islands can be reached by ferry. It will end up being a very long day if you plan to return to Vancouver the same day. You are better off spending a night or two if you plan to travel to the islands by ferry.

Alternatively, you can take a short float plane ride from Vancouver to the Gulf Islands.

Weather does impact flights. You will need to have a Plan B if your flight is canceled or delayed due to fog or rain. You should be fine in the summer months, but winter can be hit and miss.

The float plane to the islands is half the fun, as you can see in this short video captured while flying over Howe Sound and the Gulf Islands. 

powder skiing at Sasquatch Mountain Resort in British Columbia

24. Sasquatch Mountain Resort

Located about 2 hours east of Vancouver, Sasquatch Mountain Resort is a lesser known ski resort in the Lower Mainland. It’s a small, laidback mountain with 4 lifts and 36+ runs. If you like skiing and snowboarding, this is a fun mountain that’s known for having no lift lines. 

Aside from skiing, this family friendly mountain offers one of the biggest snow tubing parks in the Lower Mainland, along with several snowshoe trails and a day lodge with multiple restaurants.

In the summer, the mountain offers hiking trails and disc golf. The region is also home to several ATV trails, mountains lakes (some with stocked fish) and campgrounds. It’s located less than 45 minutes from Harrison Hot Springs. 

We like that Sasquatch offers accommodations on the mountain, should you choose to extend your day trip to an overnight trip . 

Related post – Everything you need to know about Sasquatch Mountain

trips from vancouver

25. Point Roberts in Washington State

Point Roberts is close in proximity to the skyscrapers of Vancouver, however, its chilled out vibe makes you feel as if you’re hundreds of miles away from the city lights. In fact, I don’t even remember seeing a traffic light in Point Roberts?

Yes, Point Roberts  that kind of place. Small, friendly, safe and quiet.

There are lots of things to do in Point Roberts , like biking, hiking and beach combing, but the most common activity is doing nothing . By that, I mean waking up in the morning with no agenda and letting the mood dictate your day.

There are only a few restaurants in Point Roberts and some are seasonal, so it’s wise to check hours of operation ahead of time.

The beaches in the Pacific Northwest are different from those found in tropical climates. They are not made of soft white sand that feels silky smooth on your feet. In fact, they are quite the opposite. The beaches in this part of the world are rocky and filled with driftwood, sea shells and coarse sand. At low tide, the ocean floor is exposed and a world of sea treasures is revealed.

Note: Point Roberts is located in the United States, so you need a passport to cross the border.

Related – Photos from our trip to Point Roberts

trips from vancouver

Where to stay in Vancouver

There are plenty of  hotels in Vancouver  to choose from, ranging from upscale five star hotels to backpacker hostels and everything in between.

  • Search for Vancouver hotels  here .
  • Most of the popular Vancouver tourist attractions are located in the downtown area. Consider this when selecting where to stay in Vancouver.
  • Downtown hotels often require additional fees for overnight parking – sometimes as high as $40 per night. Consider this when booking hotels and car rentals.
  • If you prefer to stay closer to the mountains, consider staying at the  Lonsdale Quay Hotel  or the  Holiday Inn North Vancouver . Staying outside the downtown area will make it easier for you to take these day trips from Vancouver.

Vancouver travel tips and things to know:

  • Pick up & return your vehicle at the Vancouver airport. Check out Expedia.com for affordable options.
  • If you visit during winter, make sure you have snow tires for the mountain drives.
  • It’s wise to book reservations for the ferry to and from Vancouver Island, especially over a holiday weekend. Here’s the list of holidays in BC . Check ferry schedule  here .
  • Check the Vancouver weather forecast before your day trip from Vancouver. The weather in British Columbia can be unpredictable.

Read more blog posts from British Columbia:

  • Things to do at Harrison Hot Springs this summer
  • The Best Road Trip from Vancouver for first time visitors
  • The best things to do in Victoria right now
  • 20 Things to do in Whistler this Summer
  • The Best Things to do Along the Sea to Sky Highway

What day trips from Vancouver will you do?

Share your feedback and recommendations in the comments section below. Our readers thank you!

Related posts:

trips from vancouver

08/06/2017 at 1:31 am

Weekends are made for day trips! Loved the long list of places to add to my bucket list 🙂

trips from vancouver

02/23/2018 at 1:51 am

What a great list And perfect timing to, stumbling over your blog… as we’ll be traveling to Vancouver in a few months…

Definitely will be looking at your list of suggestions now that we are sitting down to plan our Seattle/Vancouver trip

trips from vancouver

04/27/2018 at 11:05 am

Thanks so much for all of the detailed info! We’re headed there this summer!

trips from vancouver

05/26/2018 at 1:47 pm

Lots of great information thanks for sharing . I’m think of going in September for 6 nights in Vancouver so hopefully can see quite a bit. Is there a local bus to Squamish to see sea to gondola. How faar are the other mountain points from grouse mountain. Can you get to chillwick by local transport.

trips from vancouver

09/20/2018 at 5:01 pm

This is a fantastic list and one that finally has me sorted for the itinerary for our upcoming Canada trip! Thanks for the effort in putting this together and some great photos.

trips from vancouver

04/09/2019 at 12:34 am

Your explanation of the sight seeings near Vancouver is so detailed with beautiful photos. Thanks a lot. It helps me to make a five-day tour plan in the summer.

trips from vancouver

08/25/2021 at 6:50 am

I’ve only looked closely at item 12 because I am fully informed on the topic of BC whales and whale tours.

The information here became outdated six years ago (2015) when the salmon eating southern resident killer whales last appeared for their annual May-Oct foraging for Chinook salmon, in the Gulf Islands.

Since that time the population of transient killer whales and humpback whales has exploded, they are present year round and can be seen anywhere from Sooke to Port hardy.

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10 fabulous day trips from Vancouver

John Lee

Jan 22, 2024 • 7 min read

trips from vancouver

Just 20 minutes from downtown Vancouver, Richmond has one of North America’s most exciting Asian-dining scenes © Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock

There’s so much to see and do in  Vancouver that you might forget to check out what the surrounding area has to offer.

You shouldn’t. With easy access to the rest of  British Columbia , Vancouver is an ideal jumping-off point for day trips for gourmets, history buffs, outdoor adventurers and more.

Here are our top 10 favorite escapes from the city.

1. Raise a glass to the Port Moody beer train

Travel time: 1 hour

It’s no secret that BC’s craft-ale scene has surged in recent years. And while Vancouver is studded with lip-smacking tasting rooms, you can also take an unofficial “beer train” out to the suburbs for an afternoon of quaffing with the locals. Lining the street – sort of like...a row of beer taps – you’ll find several intriguing breweries, each with its own inviting tasting rooms and friendly bars.

How to get to Port Moody from Vancouver: Hop on the SkyTrain transit service from downtown Vancouver to Moody Centre Station (about 45 minutes), then walk across the bridge to Murray St in the heart of historic Port Moody.

A Seabus ferry on the water against the skyline of downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

2. Cruise in Vancouver Harbour

Travel time: variable

If the water is calling your name, there are dozens of ways to leave the shore and hit the waves that surround Vancouver on three sides.  Harbour Cruises ’ one-hour tour meanders alongside the city’s waterfront. And its half-day Indian Arm option is a much deeper excursion: as the city shrinks away, you’ll be slowly enveloped in a forested, sheer-cliffed natural wonderland that feels like a Norwegian fjord.

Look out for the community of Deep Cove on your cruise – and consider returning for a kayak or stand-up paddleboarding adventure.  Deep Cove Kayak Centre offers tranquility-boosting guided tours from here that make you feel like cities were never invented.

How to get to Vancouver Harbour from Vancouver: There are many ways to hit the water in this port town. Harbour Cruises can be found near Devonian Harbour Park, with more options as you head into Stanley Park .

Lower Lonsdale and the Quay, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

3. Enjoy food, art and beer in North Vancouver

Travel time: 15 minutes

This ocean-facing city is home to the food stands and artisan boutiques of  Lonsdale Quay Public Market , plus a once-gritty shipyard that’s been transformed in recent years with boardwalks, restaurants and boutiques (many of them in restored factory sheds). The highlight is the  Polygon Gallery , a dramatic contemporary art space that lures culture fans from around the region. The beer in North Van also entices, with a clutch of microbreweries a 10-minute walk away on East Esplanade. Further inland is one of North Vancouver’s top attractions, the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park , easily reached by  shuttle or bus  from downtown. 

How to get to North Vancouver from downtown Vancouver: Hop on the 12-minute SeaBus transit ferry from Waterfront Station to Lonsdale Quay, and you’ll step off in North Van.

A hiker on a hilltop overlooking the water, Bowen Island, British Columbia, Canada

4. Explore Bowen Island

Travel time: 1½ hours

Board a ferry and cruise past towering mountains and tree-covered islands to stunning Bowen Island. Step off in Snug Cove to explore wooden boardwalks, bright-painted storefronts and forest-lined trails where sightings of bald eagles and Bowen’s resident deer are common. Need more? Follow the trail to Opa, a gigantic ancient Douglas fir that’s a highlight for many visitors.

How to get to Bowen Island from Vancouver: Perhaps the best boat trip you can take in this region is the BC Ferries ’ service from West Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay to Bowen Island. The 250 express bus from downtown Vancouver takes you directly to the ferry dock; from there, it’s a 20-minute hop to Bowen.

Crowds at the Richmond Night Market, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada

5. Taste the world in Richmond

Travel time: 20 minutes

Richmond’s pan-Asian flavor reflects a community where many locals have roots in China, Korea, Vietnam and beyond. It’s also revered as the home of what is perhaps North America’s best Asian dining scene.

Start with lunch at  Parker Place , a Hong Kong–style mall with a food court like a hawker market and dishes ranging from juicy pork buns to crispy Vietnamese subs. Then explore the nearby  Aberdeen Centre ’s culturally immersive stores, which stock everything from Chinese teas to quirky Japanese dollar-store trinkets. (Save time for a Taiwanese shaved-ice treat in the upper-floor food court.)

Take the foodie theme further at the clamorous  Richmond Night Market . Running Fridays to Sundays between May and October, it’s lined with over 100 steam-shrouded food stands. Arrive hungry and with a sense of culinary curiosity – and get ready for stinky tofu, dragon’s-beard candy, nori-topped Japanese fries and much, much more.

How to get to Richmond from Vancouver:  Richmond is easy to reach from Vancouver on the Canada Line to Bridgeport Station.

A cable car descends in front of beautiful mountain scenery.

6. Ascend a mountain in 10 minutes in Squamish

The popular Sea to Sky Gondola is a super-scenic cable-car ride that whisks riders up a forested mountainside. The Squamish area ’s other attractions include the family-friendly  Britannia Mine Museum – don’t miss the underground train ride – and the Railway Museum of British Columbia , with a delightful vintage-train collection. Also save time for  Shannon Falls Provincial Park , home to one of BC’s highest waterfalls.

How to get to Squamish from Vancouver: Rent a car for the one-hour drive north of the city. This dramatic cliffside road is one of BC’s most spectacular routes and also home to several great attractions – mostly near the town of Squamish, less than an hour away. If driving is not an option, shuttles will take you from Vancouver to Squamish, including the BC Connector , Skylynx  and the Squamish Connector .

7. Go birding on Iona Beach

Travel time: 45 minutes

If you’ve been meaning to try birding – a pastime that’s surged in popularity in recent years – BC’s Lower Mainland is also a hotbed of easy-access opportunities. Ladner’s  Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary , Delta’s Boundary Bay Regional Park and North Vancouver’s  Maplewood Flats Conservation Area are all justifiably popular. But Richmond’s  Iona Beach Regional Park may be the best of the bunch.

Stretching along the Fraser River shoreline, this relatively compact green space is typically home to a huge diversity of local and visiting birds. Bring binoculars and keep your eyes peeled for eagles, hawks, red-winged blackbirds, Anna’s hummingbirds and many more. It’s the kind of back-to-nature haven that couldn’t feel further from the bustling streets of downtown Vancouver.

How to get to Iona Beach from Vancouver: Travelers can drive to the park, which is located near Vancouver International Airport, or take the Canada Line Skytrain to the airport and a taxi from there.

Freshly caught fish in the harbor of Steveston Village, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada

8. Dine on fish, chips and history in Steveston

Travel time: 1 hour 15 minutes

This charming fishing village fringes the wide Fraser River. Yet its bobbing-boat-filled harbor isn’t just about wood-sided stores and great fish and chip joints (we recommend  Pajo’s ): there’s tons of history here, too. Shipbuilding and fish processing made this one of BC’s busiest communities in the late 1800s, and its two National Historic Sites evoke the story perfectly. The  Gulf of Georgia Cannery tells you what working as a “slimer” in a fish plant was like, while exhibits at the  Britannia Heritage Shipyard illuminate everything from prohibition-era rum-running to the internment of Japanese Canadians during WWII.

How to get to Steveston from Vancouver: Take the Canada Line SkyTrain to Richmond-Brighouse Station, then the 407 bus.

People walk along New Westminster Pier Park with the Port Mann Bridge in the background, New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada

9. Visit the “Royal City” in New Westminster

Travel time: 25 minutes

New Westminster – aka the “Royal City” – was the region’s main settlement before  Victoria took...the crown in 1866. Start your visit here by window-shopping on historic Columbia St. The landmark  Anvil Centre  is home to two free-entry attractions: the popular  New Westminster Museum and the  New Media Gallery , which mounts avant-garde contemporary exhibitions.

A few steps away, cross the train lines to the other side of the tracks and explore a restored linear park that runs alongside the Fraser River like a grass-fringed boardwalk. Look for public art and grand shoreline views here – herons and cormorant sightings included. Hungry? Check out the food stands at the indoor  River Market nearby.

How to get to New Westminster from Vancouver : It’s a 25-minute SkyTrain ride from downtown to New West.

People on Cloudraker Skybridge, Whistler Mountain, British Columbia, Canada

10. Tackle the slopes in Whistler

Travel time: 2 hours

An hour past Squamish, the Sea to Sky Highway reaches  Whistler . Locals and visiting ski and snowboard fans from around the world flock to this famous winter playground. Yet there are almost as many summer visitors to the area (whose icicle-draped alpine village is beautiful year-round). In town, don’t miss the striking  Audain Art Museum  – but also save time to plunge into the great outdoors.

Hiking and biking routes (rentals are available) appeal to folks of all abilities and energy levels; activities from zip-lining to river rafting are also on offer. Don’t miss a ride on the eye-poppingly scenic  Peak 2 Peak Gondola (glass-bottomed car recommended), then inch across the lofty  Cloudraker Skybridge , a steel suspension span with a see-through deck.

How to get to Whistler from Vancouver:  As with Squamish, a number of shuttle buses including  Epic Rides and Skylynx will get you there. Yet those who rent a car for the nearly two-hour drive will have maximum freedom.

This article was first published March 2015 and updated about 24 hours ago

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The Crazy Tourist

Home » Travel Guides » Canada » 15 Best Day Trips from Vancouver

15 Best Day Trips from Vancouver

The ever serene and equally gorgeous British Columbia is home to some of the most stunning natural locations in Canada, favoured by many for its excellent alpine conditions and skiing destinations.

Many of these are easily reachable from Vancouver, making it an ideal base from which to take day trips to either the mountains, or the pristine coastline where you can find endless islands and archipelagos to explore.

From hot springs to small, quaint towns and towering mountainscapes, the area around Vancouver is so diverse that it’s a pleasure to travel around in both winter and summer.

Let’s now check out some of these best day trips from Vancouver :

1. Whistler

Whistler, Canada

The journey up to the world-renowned ski resort is actually one of the highlights of the trip, as it takes you along the Sea-to-Sky Highway, a stretch of alpine roads with some of the most astonishing views in the world, full of pine trees and shocking ice-blue lakes.

Once you pass through the beautiful Howe Sound, you’ll arrive at the world famous ski resort town of Whistler, which attracts visitors to stay for months at a time, let alone a single day.

If you do spend a day here however, winter is the perfect time to go skiing as the snow is ideal and the town is full of energy and skiers from all over the world.

During the summer, Whistler is a gorgeous place to explore, with hiking, mountain biking, dining and golfing all on offer.

2. Vancouver Coast

Kayaking

A mere 30 minutes from the confines of the city, you’ll find Vancouver’s wonderfully pristine coastline that has an abundance of diverse places to discover and explore.

Known as one of the best kept coasts in the country, you’ll find quaint little beach towns like Deep Cove, which is snugly nestled between gorgeous pine forests and the charming beach itself.

All along the coast you can find places like this where you can indulge in hiking, kayaking, sailing or simply just unwinding on the beach and relaxing.

3. Victoria

Victoria, Canada

You can get to the province’s capital city of Victoria by taking a picturesque ferry ride from Vancouver that takes less than two hours and feels like its a whole world away.

The charming waterside city is an ideal place to travel on foot as you soak in the sights and sounds of the Inner Harbour, famous for its street performers or marvel at the city’s parliament buildings.

If you’re looking to learn a little more about the capital, then you can’t miss the Royal British Columbia Museum, one of the most impressive and fascinating in the country.

4. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

A day trip that combines breathtaking rainforest scenery with a rare insight into the culture of the First Nations People, the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is the ideal destination for either keen hikers or cultural buffs who want to learn about the indigenous population.

Home to some beautiful forest trails and river walks, there are endless photo opportunities before even arriving to the impressive suspension bridge.

The First Nations Cultural Center is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to their history and you’ll also have the chance to view the world’s largest totem collection built within the forest itself.

5. Harrison Hot Springs

Harrison Hot Springs

Less than two hours away from Vancouver, you’ll find the tranquil village of Harrison Hot Springs built on the shores of the beautiful Harrison Lake.

Wildly popular with health enthusiasts and intrepid travellers alike, the hot springs here are amongst the most mineral-rich in the world due to their heat and particularly high sulphur concentrations.

If you don’t want to spend the entire day here, you can also explore the picturesque marina, catch an art festival or take a stroll through Sasquatch Provincial Park.

  • 6. Stein Valley Nlaka’pamux Heritage Park

Stein Valley Nlaka’pamux Heritage Park

Though it’s a bit of a trek through some pretty rugged country, for lovers of majestic natural scenery, the 90-mile drive from Vancouver to Stein Valley Nlaka’pamux Heritage Park is nothing short of breathtaking.

The park consists of more than 250,000 acres of undisturbed watershed in British Columbia and features a variety of natural and historical attractions along the Stein River.

The park’s amenities are on the sparse side, so those who plan on spending a day hiking or a night or two at a rustic wilderness campsite will have to bring in all the food and gear they’ll need.

Highlights include amazing mountain views, archaeological sites, and a number of pictographs created by the Nlaka’pamux people generations ago.

  • 7. Visit Abbotsford

Abbotsford, BC

For its relative proximity, abundant activity options, and all-around charm, there’s really no better day trip destination than Abbotsford.

Though Abbotsford is BC’s 5th largest municipality, it has a decidedly small-town feel compared to its big-city cousin to the west.

Fishing is one of the town’s most popular outdoor recreation options; its rivers and streams are teeming with hearty game fish like trout, salmon, and massive sturgeon.

There’s also an amusement park nearby that’s a big hit with traveling families, and an ever-popular flea market that has been an iconic weekly social event for more than four decades.

8. Squamish

Squamish

Less than an hour from Vancouver but a world away in terms of atmosphere, Squamish is a small town on the Sea-to-Sky Highway on the way to Whistler, but is sometimes overlooked as a place to spend the day.

However, its idyllic location at Howe Sound at the base of a breathtaking mountain range makes it an unmissable place to visit if you’re in Vancouver.

Popular among rock climbers looking for dramatic rock faces to climb and other adrenaline seekers indulging in biking and hiking routes, Squamish is an incredibly convenient trip for a few hours of fun.

9. Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island

A wonderfully homely island, Salt Spring is teeming with farms, homesteads and even a number of artist’s studios who have moved to the green and hilly haven.

On a sunny day it really is a pleasant escape from Vancouver’s city life and you can reach it by catching a non-stop ferry from Tsawwassen.

Activities on Salt Spring Island range from sampling local produce at family-owned farms, to visiting walk-in art studios and seeing some artists at work.

For some city comforts, should you miss them, head to the main town of Ganges where you can explore the waterfront community and check out the shops, restaurants and galleries there.

10. Mount Baker, Washington

Mount Baker, Washington

With a peak visible from Vancouver itself, Mount Baker isn’t always the first on the list of day trip ideas – but at just over two hours away it’s one of the most worthwhile excursions to take if you’re looking for incredible mountain scenery.

Offering hiking in the summer and some world-class skiing in the winter on account of the amount of snow that falls here, Mount Baker has something for everyone.

One of the highlights is during late summer, when the wildflower displays are in full bloom and for a few weeks, are incomparably beautiful.

11. Fort Langley

Fort Langley

Popular among families on account of panning for gold and re-enactments from the 1800’s, Fort Langley is a former fur trading post that’s steeped in history and only an hour from Vancouver.

A true gold rush outpost, you can lose yourself in the wild stories of the first British Columbia colonies as you walk around the old fort that’s open all year round.

12. Bridal Falls

Bridal Veil Falls Canada

Less than two hours from Vancouver, you’ll find the town of Bridal Falls that proudly caters for visitors looking to explore the base of the famous Bridal Veil Falls.

A wonderful place to have a picnic in the summer, the 60m high falls are beloved by locals and travellers alike on account of the serene setting tucked away in the forest.

The highlight however is during winter when the temperature plummets and the falls themselves freeze, causing an icy dreamscape that attracts just as many fascinated visitors as in summer.

13. Britannia Mining Museum

Britannia Mining Museum

An ideal day trip for those looking to learn more about British Columbia’s rich, industrious past, the Britannia Mining Museum is a fascinating insight into the 19th Century gold rush and more.

Asides from this, the building itself has long been an unmissable landmark on the Sea-to-Sky Highway, with over twenty-tiered storeys towering over surrounding pine forests.

From the location of the former Britannia Mine, you can do everything from going on a guided underground tour, to panning for gold, or seeing some original 20th Century equipment.

14. Hell’s Gate Airtram

Hell’s Gate Airtram

Take a scenic drive up to Hells Gate which lies around 2 hours away from Vancouver and is home to one of the area’s most impressive spectacles.

The iconic Fraser River narrows to a point where the water is forced through a small, rocky section and the resulting flow of raging white-water is truly a sight to behold.

Taking you even closer to the action is the Hell’s Gate Airtram, that between spring and fall will take visitors on a hair-raising ride directly over the churning water and safely to the other side.

Complete with a gift-shop, restaurant and information center, Hell’s Gate is a great day out for families who want to see something a little different and want an exciting way to see it.

15. Lighthouse Park

Point Atkinson Lighthouse, Lighthouse Park

Conveniently located in a residential area a mere 40 minutes from the center of Vancouver, Lighthouse Park is a wonderfully picturesque spot at the base of a classically designed lighthouse overlooking the water.

Popular amongst couples on account of its romantic settings, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a picnic at sunset and close enough to town that you won’t need to hurry back.

For those looking to do something more active, there are also numerous hiking trails in the area, as well as a number of rock climbing sites.

15 Best Day Trips from Vancouver:

  • Vancouver Coast
  • Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
  • Harrison Hot Springs
  • Salt Spring Island
  • Mount Baker, Washington
  • Fort Langley
  • Bridal Falls
  • Britannia Mining Museum
  • Hell’s Gate Airtram
  • Lighthouse Park

PlanetWare.com

14 Top-Rated Day Trips from Vancouver

Written by Lana Law Updated Oct 14, 2022 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Within easy reach of Vancouver are some of British Columbia's most interesting and beautiful destinations .

Quaint island towns and the provincial capital of Victoria are just a ferry ride away.

A drive up the famous Sea-to-Sky-Highway leads past Squamish and up to the renowned ski resort of Whistler , one of the venues of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

Inland, towards the Fraser Valley , are Bridal Veil Falls; Fort Langley National Historic Site; and Harrison Hot Springs, known for its hot pools, beach, and small-town atmosphere.

For those who want to venture over the border to the USA, Mount Baker is a short drive away, with hiking in summer and skiing in winter.

For ideas on how to plan your day of adventure, see our list of the best day trips from Vancouver.

1. Whistler

2. victoria, 3. squamish, 4. harrison hot springs, 5. salt spring island, 6. mount baker, washington, 7. fort langley national historic site, 8. bridal falls and bridal veil falls provincial park, 9. britannia mining museum, 10. hell's gate airtram, 11. capilano suspension bridge park, 12. shannon falls provincial park, 13. cultus lake, 14. steveston village, map of day trips from vancouver.

Whistler

The scenic drive along the Sea-to-Sky Highway (Highway 99) is enough to make a day trip to Whistler worthwhile. The views out over Howe Sound and the mountain scenery all along this stretch of highway are outstanding. Be sure to stop in at the stunning 355-meter-high Shannon Falls along the way.

At the end of the drive is the famous ski resort town of Whistler; a year-round destination with golf, skiing, hiking, shopping, and dining. In the summer, this is a wonderful place to wander the streets, go for a hike, mountain bike, or play a round of golf. Take a trip up to the top of the mountains and ride across the Peak-2-Peak gondola for incredible views. If you are lucky, you'll be able to ride in the glass-bottomed car.

In winter, the town has a completely different feel, snow-covered streets are full of skiers looking to hit the slopes of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains . This is one of Canada's top ski resorts .

Without traffic, the drive time to Whistler is about an hour and a half, but heavy traffic, particularly around the bridges in Vancouver, can add time to the trip. For an easy and relaxing day, take the Whistler Small-Group Day Trip from Vancouver tour. You'll see all the highlights along the way and have the afternoon (four hours) to entertain yourself in Whistler.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Whistler

Victoria

The ferry ride to Victoria passes by some of British Columbia's most spectacular coastal scenery. This quaint seaside city, with its compact city center, is the perfect place to explore on foot.

The waterfront, graced by the historic Empress Hotel , famous for its afternoon tea service. You can stroll along the Inner Harbour to see street performers, relax on a park bench, or admire the city's parliament buildings.

One of the top things to do just outside the city, is the stunning Butchart Gardens . Set in what was once an old quarry, this is a year-round attraction, with particularly fabulous displays from early spring until late fall. Victoria is also home to the Royal British Columbia Museum , one of Canada's finest museums of natural and cultural history.

You can walk on or take your car on the ferry to Victoria. During peak times, and particularly around holidays, the ferries fill up. Plan ahead and book your sailing online.

Cascading waterfalls, spectacular views, and historical sites greet you on the hiking trails around Victoria . Most are within 30 minutes of downtown Victoria.

A tour from Vancouver takes all the guesswork out of a trip to Victoria, you'll get all the highlights without the hassle. A lower cost bus option is the Small-Group Victoria and Butchart Gardens Day Trip from Vancouver . This full day tour travels both ways by ferry.

For a more spectacular trip, consider Vancouver to Victoria by Seaplane and Ferry tour. You'll get both a bird's-eye view of the incredible Gulf Islands and also the sea level experience on the ferry on the way back.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Victoria

  • From Vancouver to Victoria: Best Ways to Get There
  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Victoria, British Columbia

Squamish

On the drive from Vancouver to Whistler, along the Sea-to-Sky Highway , Squamish is an easy and fun day trip from Vancouver that is often overlooked by travelers.

About a one-hour drive from Vancouver, this town is picturesquely set at the far end of Howe Sound. While it was once a forestry and mining town, it has gradually developed into a popular tourist destination.

One of the area's most popular new additions is the scenic Sea-to-Sky Gondola . The views from the beautiful Summit Lodge down Howe Sound and up towards Mount Habrich, Sky Pilot, and Goat Ridge are jaw dropping. At the top of the ride, don't miss the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge .

Outdoor recreation rules the day in this town, and rock climbers flock here to climb the sheer cliff walls. The giant granite monolith known as Stawamus Chief mountain is an incredible site and one of the main climbing areas in this region. Great hiking trails , mountain biking trails, and campgrounds, provide endless opportunities to get out into nature. Squamish has eight provincial parks within easy driving distance.

Shannon Falls , just two kilometers south of Squamish, is also worth a stop. This is the third highest waterfall in BC, dropping 335 meters, and the easy access makes it very popular. Short hiking trails in the area run through the forest right to the base of the falls. Bring a rain jacket; this is a wet spot due to the spray. You'll also be able to see the falls from the Sea-to-Sky Gondola.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Squamish

  • Read More: Things to Do in Squamish

Harrison Hot Springs

Just over 90 minutes from Vancouver, the small town of Harrison Hot Springs is a great escape from the city. Nestled between forest-covered mountains on the shores of beautiful Harrison Lake, this resort town, known for its hot springs, has much to offer day trippers. Activities available including golf, hiking, mountain biking, boat tours, fishing, and more.

Plan your visit for the summer months. The beautiful beach that runs all along the town's waterfront has a spectacular view out to the islands and mountains across Harrison Lake.

For a soak in the soothing spring-fed water, you'll have to check into the Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa ; the public pools are currently closed.

View from Mount Maxwell on Salt Spring Island

A trip to Salt Spring Island on a sunny day is a perfect getaway from Vancouver. Ferries leave Vancouver from Tsawwassen and land at Long Harbour on Salt Spring Island about 1.5 hours later.

The ride across the Straight of Georgia and through Active Pass is truly spectacular. The best option for day trips is to catch a non-stop ferry if possible, and reservations are strongly recommended.

Salt Spring is a quirky island, with small farms and artists' studios spread around the island. You can stop in at some of these family-run farms to sample and buy cheese and other specialty items, or pop into a studio to see an artist at work.

A popular way to get around the island is to rent a bicycle. Splurge on an e-bike – Salt Spring Island is hilly!

The main town is Ganges , a pleasant waterfront community, with restaurants, shops, and galleries. On Saturdays, during the summer months, Ganges hosts a popular market, where locals sell their crafts and other goods.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Salt Spring Island

  • Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do on Salt Spring Island

Mount Baker, Washington

On clear days in Vancouver, you can see the glimmering snowcapped peak of Washington State's Mount Baker off in the distance. Despite its obvious presence, few people think to make the day trip to explore the mountain up close. Those who do will find quaint towns on the approach, nearby hiking trails in the summer, and great skiing in the winter.

Numerous hikes in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest surrounding Mt. Baker offer access to gorgeous mountain scenery. Well-maintained hiking trails generally follow the ridge lines below the slumbering volcano. The views up towards the peak and the glaciers are stunning.

In winter, Mt. Baker receives incredible amounts of snow, typically ranging from 50 to 65 feet. In 1998/99 the mountain set the record for the most snowfall in a single season in the USA with a total of 1,140 inches, almost 95 feet. It's one of the best ski resorts in Washington .

The drive from Vancouver takes under 2.5 hours. However, drive times can vary depending on wait times at the Canada-US border, check the border wait times online before setting out.

Fort Langley National Historic Site

About an hour's drive east of Vancouver is the old Hudson's Bay Company fur trading post of Fort Langley, established in 1827. The fort was the site of much activity in the 1800s, from the fur traders to the Fraser River gold rush in 1857, and the establishment of the colony of British Columbia.

Today at the site, you'll be able to explore the history of the fort, see the 1800's come to life with interpreters and demonstrations, and try their luck panning for gold. The fort is open year-round and is a popular family attraction.

After visiting the fort, pop into Langley for a bite to eat, to do some shopping, or to check out a few local museums.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Langley

Bridal Falls and Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park

The town of Bridal Falls lies east of Chilliwack, about an-hour-and-a-half drive from Vancouver. The most famous site in the area is the 60-meter-high Bridal Veil Falls, in the provincial park of the same name.

This is a day-use area, where you can enjoy a picnic and walk to the base of the falls. In winter, if the temperature plunges, the falls turn to ice and take on a completely different appearance.

Also worth checking out, depending on the time of year, are the 32-acre Minter Gardens , the Bridal Falls Waterpark . More trails and bird watching opportunities found in the Cheam Lake Wetlands Regional Park .

Britannia Mining Museum

Just off the Sea-to-Sky-Highway, about 45 minutes from Vancouver, is the Britannia Mining Museum, a National Historic Site of Canada .

This tiered, 20-story building has been an impossible-to-miss landmark along the highway for decades, but between 2005 and 2010, the building underwent massive restoration work and changed its name from the BC Museum of Mining to the Britannia Mining Museum.

The museum is the site of the former Britannia Mine. You can see some of the original equipment from the early 20th century, pan for gold, or take an underground tour. The museum has recently added what they describe as an "immersive live-action experience." The movie along with the sound track played over 30 speakers is full of fun special effects.

Hell's Gate Airtram

From spring until fall, the Hell's Gate Airtram takes you out over the raging waters of the Fraser River in a tram connecting both sides of the canyon.

Hell's Gate is uniquely located at a narrowing in the Fraser River, where the fast-flowing water is forced through a section only 33 meters wide, creating a churning spectacle of white water. The aerial tram covers a distance of 152 meters, dropping you on the opposite side of the river. On this side there is a restaurant, gift shop, an area for gold panning, and an information center.

If you are brave enough, walk across the swaying suspension bridge that crosses the roaring river below. The drive to Hell's Gate from Vancouver is very scenic and part of the attraction of this day trip, which takes between 2.5 and three hours each way.

Capilano Suspension Bridge

The Capilano Suspension Bridge was first built in 1889 and over the years has evolved into the exhilarating tourist attraction it is today. You can walk 137 meters on a swaying platform, 70 meters above the river below.

Millions have made the somewhat scary crossing to the other side, with a steady pace and a tight grip on the rope. The park also has a tree top walk among 1,300-year-old trees, a cliff walk with a glass floor, and an extensive collection of totem poles.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is an easy trip from downtown Vancouver if you have your own car. If not, or if you don't want to deal with traffic, a tour is a good option. Tours take in other sights along Vancouver's North Shore, including a ride up the gondola at Grouse Mountain. Consider the 6.5-hour North Shore Day Trip from Vancouver: Capilano Suspension Bridge & Grouse Mtn .

Shannon Falls

Almost halfway between Vancouver and Whistler lies Shannon Falls Provincial Park. Be sure to pull off the highway and stretch your legs with a short stroll to the base of these 335-meter falls.

Plunging off a near vertical cliff, these scenic falls are a result of meltwater from Mount Habrich and Mount Sky Pilot. An easy 350-meter long, fairly level walking trail winds its way through towering old-growth pine trees and emerges at the base of the falls. You'll hear the roar of the falls before you see them.

Picnic tables are available along with restrooms; a small concessionaire sells drinks and snacks.

Cultus Lake

Cultus Lake, one of the best lakes in British Columbia , is the perfect place to take the family for a day on the water. The lake is only 1.5 hours from Vancouver, making it an easy place to visit before the familiar refrain from the backseat of "Are we there yet?" kicks into full gear.

Wide beaches with shallow water and designated swimming areas make cooling off an easy task. If you'd like to get out on the water, be sure to bring your stand up paddleboard, canoe, or kayak. Or, if you prefer something a bit more action packed, trailer the boat or Jet Ski, and launch at one of the public boat ramps. You'll find lots of room to race around on this large lake.

An alternative to the beach is the Cultus Lake Adventure Park , an action-packed place full of waterslides and thrill rides.

After your day at the lake, swing by the delightful city of Chilliwack for a bite to eat on the way home.

Fish market at Steveston

This small village is an ideal place to see the mighty Fraser River and the Pacific Ocean. Steveston is a top destination in Richmond and an easy day trip from Vancouver if you don't have a car. The prime waterfront location is perfect for strolling, shopping, and catching up with friends.

Foodies come here to feast on the fresh seafood served up at the local restaurants, many of which have lovely patios, ensuring you'll get your fair share of people watching.

Planning a dinner party? Steveston has a lively commercial dock area where you can purchase fresh seafood right off the boats that will be sure to impress.

The area is very picturesque, with old buildings painted in lively colors, and makes for wonderful photos, especially when the sun shines.

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The 14 Best Day Trips From Vancouver Canada

Locals brag about our city being voted one of the best places in the world – but give us a second of free time, and we’re quickly saddled up for some of the best day trips from Vancouver.

Call it a weekend getaway, a Vancouver escape, or leaving the city behind – we’ve got some of the prettiest places in the country just hours away. And now I want you to get out there and enjoy them.

So, here’s my Vancouver day trip guide for those looking for BC day trips.

14 Best Day Trips from Vancouver

The Empress Hotel, in Victoria’s Inner Harbour

Cross the Salish Sea on a Tour of Victoria from Vancouver

The capital city of British Columbia holds the distinction of being Canada’s warmest city, so there’s that. In fact, with just one day below zero yearly, a trip to “the Garden City” is one of the best things to do in Vancouver in winter .

Over 3 billion flowers bloom here every year, making it a great stop to take in colonial architecture, have tea at the legendary Empress Hotel, and eat gourmet foods sourced from the area’s 1700+ farms. It’s no wonder this is one of the top weekend getaways from Vancouver.

The city is also home to Canada’s oldest Chinatown , the famed Butchart Gardens, and offers a host of fantastic Victoria whale watching tours . And it has taken home all sorts of accolades, including the Best City for Women, Canada’s Most Bikeable City, and the 2nd Best Small City in the World.

Getting to Victoria from Vancouver involves a 90-minute ferry ride to Vancouver Island.

Wanting a full tour package? Check the best Vancouver tours to Victoria .

Related : Best Things to do in Victoria

outdoor patio in winter in whistler bc canada

Enjoy a Whistler Day Trip from Vancouver

How many major cities have a world-class ski resort just 90 minutes from Vancouver city center? If you want an upgrade on Vancouver’s top ski mountains , this is one of the top places to visit from Vancouver for you.

Yes, Whistler has been voted Top Ski Resort in the World by various publications, and the 200+ marked runs famous for champagne powder make it a no-brainer for winter fun. But there are tons of things to do in Whistler besides skiing.

There are loads of great restaurants in Whistler , making it a gourmet foodie escape. It also offers great summer lake activities at Lost Lake, includes BC’s most beautiful hike at nearby Joffre Lakes, and is a top spa and mountain biking destination.

Looking for some culture? The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre is the best window into local First Nations culture.

Related: Vancouver to Whistler: 6 Ways to Get There Fast

two bottles on a barrel at a fraser valley wine tour

Sip and Savour a Fraser Valley Winery Tour from Vancouver

Did you think we’re just a one-trick pony of snowy mountains and water activities? Well, think again. To the east of Vancouver, you’ll find temperate Langley and the prime wine-making region of the Fraser Valley.

Renting a car and taking a DIY drive is a great day trip escape from Vancouver. Vista D’oro is a great place to see old-school wine-making perfected, while Backyard Vineyards is a small-volume producer that makes some of the best BC VQA sparkling whites around.

Want to take the guesswork out of it? A winery tour can even pick you up at downtown  Vancouver hotels and take you straight to the action in a Mercedes Benz Sprinter van.

The small group tours include stops at up to five wineries over 6 hours.

Related : Best Vancouver Food Tours

aerial view of bc ferries travelling in howe sound bc

Embark on a Howe Sound Boat Tour

This picturesque body of water between Vancouver and the outdoor playground of Squamish is surrounded by a network of towering fjords. This makes it a great place to explore by boat. Renting one at Granville Island or Sewell’s Marina in Horseshoe Bay is a good start.

Expect to pay about $150 for 4 hours, so this day trip is best done in company.

Bombing around Vancouver’s waters is fun just for the ride, but strapping up with fishing gear and trying to land a big spring salmon (they can reach over 80 pounds) is one way to experience the Sound.

Looking to explore as part of a package? Then click the link below:

Related: The Top Vancouver Whale Watching Tours

trips from vancouver

Enjoy a Mountain Getaway at Grouse Mountain

Those towering North Shore Mountains that frame our city skyline aren’t just for show.

In fact, a 2800 metre gondola ride up from North Vancouver will transport you to a mountain paradise – complete with lumberjacks, bears, and beaver tails – but enough of the Canadian stereotypes.

Of course, the Wildlife Refuge and its star grizzlies, 30-minute lumberjack shows, and massive tail-shaped donuts are just the beginnin. Some of my favourite things to do at Grouse Mountain are:

  • Having a cold beer at Altitudes Bistro overlooking the city
  • Going up to the highest point of the city at the Eye of the Wind
  • Swinging through the Mountain Ropes Adventure

In winter, this is the area’s most accessible ski mountain, and in Vancouver in summer , you can hike up the mountain on the legendary Grouse Grind.

Related: How to Get to Grouse Mountain from Downtown Vancouver

hikers atop the stawamus chief in squamish bc

Visit Canada’s Outdoor Playground Squamish

Are you already taking a fun day trip up the legendary Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler (one of the world’s top-rated road trips)? About halfway up, you’ll come across this picturesque, sporty mountain town just 70 minutes from downtown Vancouver .

The name of the game here is outdoor adventure. Just look up at the imposing granite monolith that dwarfs the city. The Stawamus Chief offers a 4-hour intermediate hike with one of the best panoramic view rewards in the entire province.

Some other top things to do in Squamish include Via Ferrata climbing adventures (optimal for first-timers), some of the greatest white water rafting in the Lower Mainland, and a 2-hour Ropes Course Adventure .

You’ll also find Shannon Falls, British Columbia’s third-highest waterfall. Don’t forget too that there’s some amazing craft beer made in the area, the optimal nightcap for all that adventure.

Related : Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge

a craft shop and restaurant patio on salt spring island bc

Relax at Tranquil Salt Spring Island

This tiny island in the Salish Sea which is just 80 minutes by ferry from Vancouver, has a huge amount of character. This is one of the best places to visit from Vancouver if you’re seeking peace and quiet.

‘Canada’s Island of the Arts’ is a place to buy things that are fresh or made by hand. There are over 200 organic farms here, forming the base of British Columbia’s best little Artisan Market – some local farmers even provide their grass-fed lamb to the Queen.

trips from vancouver

Other highlights include small-batch smoked salmon, artisan gin, and apple pie moonshine. The 120 artisans here also sell jewellery, woodwork, pottery, fine art, body care, clothing, and more.

Don’t forget camping at Ruckle Park , tastings at Salt Spring Wild Cider , and visiting Salt Spring Island Cheese Company – grabbing an Airbnb overnight and coming back with the trunk full of goodies is a Vancouver tradition.

Related : Best Time to Visit Vancouver

Fishing boats sit in the harbour at dusk, Steveston BC

Head Out to Historic Steveston Village

This is one of the best day trips from Vancouver without a car. Yes, in just 40 minutes by Vancouver public transit , you can be whisked away to this tiny fishing village along the Fraser River.

On the fringes of the suburb of Richmond, this place has yet to be corrupted by big chain shops and six-lane highways.

Visiting Steveston gives great insight into the early economies of the area, in particular through the Gulf of Georgia Cannery Museum – a retrospect on the salmon industry of British Columbia and the many immigrant communities (primarily Japanese) that helped build the province.

Beyond this, a trip through Steveston is about artisan gift shops, fresh-off-the-boat seafood stands, and the obligatory load-up of fish and chips at the legendary Pajo’s . Not to mention, it’s a great place to take a Steveston whale watching tour .

Related : Best Vancouver City Tours

the seattle skyline with mount raineer in the background

Cross the border on a Seattle Day Trip from Vancouver

It’s hard to put this American supercity on the list because, let’s face it, you need way more than just a day. That said, I’ve probably done this day trip from Vancouver 20+ times in my life. You can take the Vancouver to Seattle Bus , the Amtrack Cascades Train , or even a Vancouver to Seattle Seaplane flight .

It’s a little cumbersome, but it’s one of the best places to visit from Vancouver for locals due to:

  • Major league American sports like the NFL, NHL and MLB
  • A much more diverse concert and live music scene
  • American brand-name shopping and discount outlet centres
  • Unique tourist attractions like the Space Needle and Museum of Pop Culture
  • Pike Place Market

Driving from Vancouver to Seattle for day trips takes just over two hours, more than doable with an early start.  If you’ve got a bit of extra time on your Vancouver itinerary and want a little piece of Americana, this is the best cultural day trip you can make.

Related: How to Plan the Perfect Day Trip to Vancouver from Seattle

sunbather relaxing at harrison hot springs resort near vancouver bc

Chill out at Harrison Hot Springs

This small Fraser Valley resort community is just 90 minutes from Vancouver. It has been one of the top day trips near Vancouver since 1886 when the Canadian Pacific Railway brought its lakeside springs within reach.

The two relaxing, rejuvenating springs heat up to 65 °C (149 °F). Harrison Hot Springs Resort is the star of the show here, creating five different pools of different temperatures for the ultimate spa getaway experience. With two restaurants on-site, this is the ultimate ‘not lift a finger’ Vancouver day trip.

You can rent a cottage out here to soak in the hot springs. But you can also take a lovely forest hike alongside numerous waterfalls along the Miami Bridges Walk. And, of course, taking part in any number of fishing or boating activities on Harrison Lake is also a fine option.

If you’re looking to avoid the crowds of Vancouver’s best beaches in the summer, taking day trips to the lakeside beach here is a much better swimming option.

a gondola climbing up mount habrich in squamish bc canada

Sea to Sky Gondola

An hour from Vancouver, this Swiss-style ski gondola whisks passengers 885 meters up Mount Habrich, providing amazing views of crystal blue Howe Sound and our Coast Mountain paradise.

The Sea to Sky Gondola is a mountain adventure wonderland that can be as hardcore as you want. Taking in the three panoramic view platforms and walking the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge is included in every ticket.

Of course, if you’re willing to get a little more advanced on your day trips from Vancouver, you can go off on backcountry hiking tours, snowshoeing and tubing (winter), and even rock climbing (summer).

Throw in interpretive tours on the ecology of the area and the rich history of the local Skwxwu7mesh Nation, and this outdoor escape gets educational.

There’s also a licensed bar, and the Sky Pilot Restaurant offers live music, wine tastings, and all sorts of events. So this Vancouver day tour has it all.

Related :  Capilano Suspension Bridge vs. Sea to Sky Gondola: Which is Better?

craft beer bar at the seaside promenade gibsons bc

Soak in the Rays on the Sunshine Coast

A quick hour ferry hop across Howe Sound from Horseshoe Bay brings Vancouverites to the Sunshine Coast, famous for low annual rainfall and long, sunny summers. If you need a beach here, then Savary Island is Canada’s answer to Bermuda (don’t laugh).

This 180 km stretch of coast is famous for its laid-back attitude, unspoiled beaches, arts and crafts, and sneaky good culinary scene that rivals some of Vancouver’s best restaurants .

Most folks head to Sechelt for the galleries and boutiques along Cowrie Street, which also offers all sorts of vintage shops, tap houses, and gourmet restaurants.

Lovers of paddle sports also find plenty to do here. The Powell River Canoe Route is a solid way to spend a day on the water, but kayaking along the fjords of Desolation Sound is probably the best bet.

A family enters mine no.3, Britannia Mine Museum

Pan for Gold at the Britannia Mining Museum

This historic mine near Squamish makes for a fun day trip from Vancouver for those visiting town with children. The Britannia Mining Museum was once one of the largest copper ore mines in the British Empire.

Since closing up shop, this imposing 20-storey building has transformed into a fully interactive museum that’ll put you in the boots of a turn-of-the-century miner.

The train ride through the historic haulage tunnel is the highlight. But any of the over 7000 artifacts (some brought to life by in-person demonstrations) really kick things up a notch.

Think it looks familiar? The museum has been featured in everything from The X-Files to Scooby Do 2: Monsters Unleashed .

Visiting here also puts you on the Sea to Sky Highway, a scenic attraction in itself.

Related: The Vancouver Attractions Passport: Your Passport to Savings

aerial view of mount garibaldi with blue lake

Take a Hiking Vancouver Hiking Tour at Garibaldi Provincial Park

The enormous Garibaldi Park is situated about halfway between Squamish and Whistler along the Sea to Sky Highway. While it takes about an hour to reach, it’ll feel like you’re days from civilization.

The area’s rugged mountains are covered in over 150 glaciers, contrasting with the dense Douglas fir and red cedar forests. It’s simply a paradise for those seeking a quick Vancouver hiking tour.

Some must-do hikes include Garibaldi Lake Trail (18 km, about 5 hours) and Black Tusk Trail (28 km, about 10 hours). Both are packed full of full of strata volcanos, turquoise blue lakes, and viewpoints galore.

Other local highlights include nearby Elfin Lakes, Cheakamus Lake, and Wedgemount Lake.

Related: Is Grouse Mountain Worth it?

Vancouver Day Trips FAQs

Where can i go for a day trip near vancouver.

Many places for a quick Vancouver day trip are technically located in the Greater Vancouver Regional District. The North Shore offers the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain, which is a year-round outdoor mountain playground.

You can hit up the charming fishing village of Steveston for its small-town vibes and great seafood. And the nearby Fraser Valley offers a number of wineries that are perfect for tasting some of BC’s greatest wine.

Where do locals go for a weekend getaway from Vancouver?

In the summer, locals looking for a weekend getaway from Vancouver typically go to Vancouver Island or the Okanagan, in the interior. Weekend getaways across the border to Seattle are also quite common.

In the winter, the world-class ski resort of Whistler is the most popular spot for weekend trips from Vancouver. But don’t sleep on the Sea to Sky Corridor in the summer. This picturesque region is packed with outdoor activities for active travellers.

What are the best day trips from Vancouver?

The best day trips from Vancouver allow you to take advantage of the area’s breathtaking natural beauty. The most popular Vancouver day trips include Whistler and the Sea to Sky Corridor, Victoria and Butchart Gardens, Harrison Hot Springs, and the Sunshine Coast.

Can you do a day trip to Whistler from Vancouver?

Yes, Vancouverites often take day trips to Whistler. The average drive from Vancouver to Whistler is 90 minutes, which is more than doable.

In fact, people from Vancouver often drive to Whistler for the day for skiing and mountain biking and return later in the day.

Can you do day trips from Vancouver to Seattle?

Yes, taking a day trip from Vancouver to Seattle is extremely common. The average drive time (not considering border waits) to Seattle from downtown Vancouver is 2.5 hours.

Many people from Vancouver head to Seattle fairly regularly. We do so to catch concerts, watch sports, take advantage of American shopping, or take in any of Seattle’s top attractions.

What is the best way to take a day trip to Victoria from Vancouver?

Taking a day trip from Vancouver to Victoria is a fantastic way to explore the beauty of British Columbia. However, you’ll need to take two ferry trips across the Salish Sea to make it happen. As a result, we recommend taking an organized tour. Or you can take the popular Vancouver to Victoria seaplane to be as efficient as possible.

Any Questions on Day Trips from Vancouver?

I’ve laid out some of my favourite places to visit from Vancouver, but maybe you’re in need of something a little more custom?

Don’t be afraid to reach out in the comments below if you’ve got any questions – I’m here to answer any questions about visiting our beautiful city or escaping it on a day trip from Vancouver.

Life is a highway?️

trips from vancouver

I've lived in 5 countries and created content for travel websites like eDreams and Amex Essentials, but here I finally get to work my passion project - my hometown, Vancouver!

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Claudia Travels

17 fantastic day trips from Vancouver you need to take

There’s nothing like packing up the car for a day trip adventure within your own backyard. From Vancouver, you don’t have to venture too far out of the city to experience an exciting escape that can transform your state of mind from urban to wild in just a few hours. Whether it’s tiptoeing through tulips in Abbotsford , riding a tram over a rushing river gorge or ziplining in Whistler , these 17 day trips from Vancouver will help you support local and explore your own wonderful, west coast backyard.

Whether it’s tiptoeing through tulips in Abbotsford or zip lining in Whistler, these day trips from Vancouver will showcase the best of your own backyard.

17 fantastic day trips from Vancouver

These incredible Vancouver day trip destinations offer something for everyone. Note: Distances are measured departing from downtown Vancouver.

Discover Abbotsford in the Fraser Valley

Abbotsford is an agricultural and bible belt community in the Fraser Valley. It’s also one of the fastest growing cities in British Columbia. The bustling shops, cafes and restaurants in its downtown show the new energy that’s making Abbotsford a destination for day trippers from the city.

In the city’s historic downtown, enjoy healthy pressed juices at the HABIT Project, roasted coffee goodness at Oldhand Café, unicorn cakes at Tracycakes, more baked goodies at Duft and Co Bakehouse and tasty seafood at Bow and Stern.

Looking to tipple? Go mead tasting at Campbell’s Gold Honey Farm, sample award-winning wines at Singletree Winery, or sip great craft ales and lagers at Fieldhouse Brewing.

Need to work off the food coma? The Discovery Trail connects the city with an extensive trail system that winds through forests, ponds, parks and includes off-leash dog areas.

Birders will enjoy the peace and avian life at Willband Creek Park. Keep an eye out for some of the 230 different bird species in this lovely urban wetland, including herons, hawks, eagles and smaller birds.

Distance: 90 km

tulip fields in fraser valley

Use the map below to search for hotel and short-term rental options

Board the Boat to Bowen Island

The scenic 20-minute ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Bowen Island is a journey to a laid-back day of island life. Bowen Island is one of our favorite Vancouver day trips, and was once a popular holiday destination for mainlanders, who arrived via the Union Steamship Company. You can still book charming USC historical cottages for a weekend stay. 

For day trippers, enjoy a beautiful hike around Killarney Lake or a brisk and hilly bike ride along the island’s winding roads. 

Pop into the Snug Cove or Artisan Square shops (and Cocoa West for chocolate) for beach picnic supplies to enjoy in Crippen Park or Cape Roger Curtis.

If you’re feeling active, rent kayaks in the Cove to paddle along the shoreline, or tighten your boots for a climb up Mount Gardener, the highest point on the island.

Distance: 27 km (car and ferry)

lighthouse on bowen island in summer

Chill out in Chilliwack

Head east into the sprawling farmland of Chilliwack for fresh air adventures. Check out the hiking trails at Cheam Peak or walks in Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park. You’ll find family fun at Cultus Lake Adventure Park, including a water park, roller coaster and other rides to keep the littles and older tweens busy all day. 

This is prime agricultural land so don’t leave without a baker’s dozen of supersweet Chilliwack corn from the green and yellow drive-in Corn Barn during summertime. Wander through the sunflower fields in August, and the corn mazes and pumpkin patches in fall.

Take a detour north off of Highway 1 towards Agassiz and Harrison Mills to check out the Kilby Historic Site. This museum of rural life includes townsite buildings from the early 20 th century.

Food: Shandhar Hut Indian Cuisine, Bubba’s Big Bites, Corner Nook Café. 

Distance: 110 km

lake in chilliwack, fraser valley

Explore Squamish

Head north for a scenic 45-minute drive (depending on the Sea to Sky Highway) for an outdoorsy day in Squamish. Squamish does bill itself as the “Adventure Capital of Canada.” So if mountain biking, kite surfing, hiking and river rafting are up your sleeve, welcome to an adventurous day in paradise. 

But even if you have no intention of doing any of those activities, you will have a grand day out in this vibrant mountain town.

Stop at Porteau Cove to walk out onto the pier and look for seals and scuba divers. Pan for gold or delve deep into the mines at the brilliant and family-friendly Britannia Mine Museum , in Britannia Beach, a village of the Sea to Sky Highway.

Stop at Shannon Falls to admire the rushing waterfall. Ride the Sea to Sky Gondola for stunning views of the Howe Sound Fjord and Garibaldi mountain range. Cross the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge if you dare (it’s not that bad, really). Or enjoy a free interpretive tour with a First Nations guide along the Spirit Trail.

Outdoorsy types will enjoy hiking to the summit of the Stawamus Chief, an impressive granite monolith. Others will be content trying to spot the tiny dots of humans rock climbing the face.

Food: Refuel at the Watershed Grill,  Fergie’s Café at SunWolf or Sunny Chiba’s.

Distance: 64 km

sea to sky gondola suspension bridge

Tour Fort Langley and Langley Township

Travel back in time to the 19 th century Fort Langley National Historic Site, the ‘ birthplace of British Columbia .’ This former Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading hub is located along the Fraser River. It’s a great place to enjoy live demonstrations of blacksmithing, oak barrel making and gold panning. 

From the Fort, enjoy a stroll through the lovely shops, cafes and restaurants in the small downtown of Fort Langley . Take a self-guided Circle Farm Tour of local farms, dairies, and wineries. Sample artisanal cheeses, fruit and dairy products, and visit with the family farm animals.

Food: Saba Cafe and Bistro, Wendel’s Bookstore & Café, The Bench

Distance: 48 km

table of food and drinks at fort langley restaurant

Discover the Shipyards District

The  Shipyards District is located on the North Vancouver waterfront and is accessible by car, though it’s more fun to get to by SeaBus cruise (just 12 minutes) from downtown Vancouver. 

Once dominated by the city’s shipbuilding industry, the Shipyards is now home to art galleries, shops and a bustling public market. It’s also got fabulous views of the Vancouver city skyline, especially at sunset time. 

Check out the rotating art exhibits at the Polygon Gallery with admission by donation. Stroll the more than 80 shops and stalls at Lonsdale Quay Market, including fresh food, sushi, pizza, artisanal pickles and the Market Kitchen. Take a public art walking tour of the area and stay on the lookout for astrolabs, a one-armed mariner with a trumpet and 50 miniature cows.

Still looking for north shore activities? Why not rent kayaks in Deep Cove. This small village in North Vancouver is the perfect launch point for a day on the water. You can rent single or double kayaks on site or launch your own in Panorama Park.

Paddle over to Jug Island near Belcarra Regional Park or head up Indian Arm if you’re up for a challenge. Refuel for lunch at Honey’s Doughnuts in the Cove, then tackle the popular Quarry Rock Hike for a great view of Burrard Inlet and the city skylines of Burnaby and Vancouver.

Distance: 15-20 km

north vancouver shipyards at dusk

Ride up to Grouse Mountain and explore Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Two north shore attractions offer exciting opportunities for spending the day outside, especially for families. The Capilano Suspension Bridge is a 140 metre (460 ft) long suspension bridge that’s 70 metres (230 ft) above the Capilano River. And FYI, crossing it is not for anyone who’s afraid of heights or bouncy bridges. You’ve been warned.

The Park also includes a story centre, guided history and nature tours, and a fun Treetops Adventure with seven suspended footbridges. The brave can attempt the Cliffwalk whose narrow, cantilevered bridges, stairs and platforms follow a granite precipice along the River.

Grouse Mountain , the Peak of Vancouver, is accessible via the Skyride Gondola and is a popular winter destination with skiing, riding, skating and snowshoeing.

During the summer months, visitors can enjoy zip lines, a wildlife refuge with two famous grizzly bears, Grinder and Coola, lumberjack shows, a Theatre in the Sky, and delicious nachos and stellar sunset views at the restaurant.

Distance: 12 km

capilano suspension bridge

Head to Harrison Hot Springs

The village of Harrison Hot Springs is ‘just up the road,’ that road being Highway 1, to be exact. Situated on beautiful Harrison Lake, the village was indeed made famous by its two hot springs, as well as the legendary Sasquatch. There’s even a museum dedicated to the famous mythical creature which makes for a fascinating visit.

In addition to boating, fishing, hiking, biking and sandcastle-building, the hot springs are a big draw for visitors. The public can access the hot springs at the public pool in the centre of the village. 

There’s a great lakefront walk to view the sunset, and more than two dozen restaurants and cafes to service visitors. Our favorites include Morgan’s Bistro, Black Forest Restaurant and Muddy Waters Café. 

Distance: 132 km 

harrison hot springs in summer

Ride the Hell’s Gate AirTram

An attraction that combines the history of the province’s exploration with the thrill of crossing a raging river, Hell’s Gate Airtram is one of the steepest fully suspended trams in North America. 

When you aboard the tram you are leaving the Cascade Mountain range and docking at the foot of the Coast Pacific Mountain Range. The Tram is a double reversible cable way that crosses the 110 foot wide “Hell’s Gate” gorge.

Visit during the spring runoff in May/June to get the full rush of the river flowing through what explorer Simon Fraser called an ‘awesome gorge”.

Food: Hell’s Gate has food service, but if you have time to venture slightly further north, check out JB’s Drive-In diner in Boston Bar.

Distance: 220 km

hell's canyon over the fraser river

Take a self-guided tour of Vancouver’s public art murals

As day trips from Vancouver go, this one’s a bit of a cheat as it’s in the city. But, heading to East Vancouver for the  Vancouver Mural Festival is worth it, I promise. The Festival is the city’s largest free public art celebration, having commissioned a wide variety of exterior mural paintings as part of its annual public art program.

Mural enthusiasts can download a free interactive map to plan a self-guided walking route. There are 100 murals in the city’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood alone, as well as others in the South Granville and Chinatown communities.

You can easily spend a day discovering vibrant and colourful works of art brightening up industrial buildings and around street corners.

In terms of fueling your wanders, there are loads of independent coffee shops, craft breweries, doughnuteries and restaurants along the mural route in the Mount Pleasant and Olympic Village communities.

Some of our favorites include; JJ Bean, Terra Bread, Tacofino Ocho, Purebread, BREWHALL, Brassneck Brewery, and Cartems Donuts.

Distance: In the city

mural in mt pleasant, vancouver

Tour the Othello Tunnels east of Hope

The  Othello Tunnels are located in Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park in Hope, about two hours east of Vancouver. Cut into the solid granite mountain walls of the Coast Mountain Range, the Tunnels are a series of decommissioned train tunnels and bridges that used to house a railway linking the coast with the interior. 

The tunnels are now popular pathways with minimal grade which is ideal for an easy stroll. It’s a 3.5 km round trip walk through the tunnel system. Visitors are encouraged to bring flashlights to illuminate some of the longer tunnels. 

Between the tunnels, the path crosses several bridges to reveal steep, rugged cliffs above, and the rushing Coquihalla River below. The Othello Tunnels are part of the 24,000 km Trans Canada Trail.

Food: In Hope, try Home Restaurant, Owl Street Café, Kibo Japanese Grill.

Distance: 170 km

people in the othello tunnels in hope

Visit Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary in Ladner

One of our family’s favorite places to discover where the wild things are is Reifel Bird Sanctuary. It takes about 30 minutes to leave city life behind as you get back to nature and view hundreds of bird species that flock (see what I did there?) to Reifel.

Be sure to bring binoculars for birdwatching as you wander the trails and pop into the bird blinds. Spring migration brings the spectacular and unforgettable show of snow geese on route back to northern feeding grounds. You can purchase a bag of seed at the entrance for the kids to feed the ducks and black-capped chickadees.

To make this a full and lovely day out, visit the Sanctuary on a summer Sunday to coincide with the popular Ladner Village Market.

Food: In Ladner, try Il Posto, Sharkey’s Seafood Bar & Grille, Pho Haven Restaurant.

Distance: 33 km

boy feeding ducks at reifel bird sanctuary

Get suburban in Surrey

If you think you know Surrey , guess what? The fastest-growing city in British Columbia has a lot more going on than many people think. And not just when it comes to delicious Indian cuisine, courtesy of the vibrant Indo-Canadian community that live here.

Check out the free and very kid-friendly Museum of Surrey. Enjoy tasty homemade lunch with a side of NYC at West Village Café. Or scones and honey at the Honeybee Centre. Adults will enjoy craft ales and gin at Central City Brewers and Distillers. 

Surrey is double the size of Vancouver. There is a huge amount of green space to explore, including walks in Green Timbers Urban Forest, or along the shoreline at Blackie Spit Park. 

Popular Bear Creek Park has a running track, nature trails, Arts Centre, outdoor pool, and gardens. Holland Park, the city’s “Central Park” of Surrey City Centre is 10 hectares (25 acres) of sports fields, basketball courts, a playground and lots of picnicking areas. The park is also home to the Holland Gardens, which include a large central amphitheater and water fountain.

Venture on the Surrey Spice Trail. Enjoy sizzling hot kebabs at Tasty Indian Bistro, chick-pea battered cod pakoras and paneer at Vikram Vij’s jewelbox My Shanti. Or cross the border (so to speak) for vegan kachaloo or meaty lamb dishes at Afghan Kitchen.

Distance: 34 km

Take the train to Richmond

Discover the Lower Mainland with inexpensive day trips by public transit. A 20-minute ride on the Canada Line from downtown Vancouver to Richmond delivers some of the best and most varied Asian cuisine in the region.

Stroll past Chinese BBQ food stalls at Parker Place Mall or enjoy refined dim sum at Chef Tony. Stop into one of dozens of restaurants along Alexandra, aka Food Street. You’ll find everything from laksa soup to ocean-fresh sushi to lobster sticky rice. 

Leave space to spend the evening enjoying hurricane potatoes, takoyaki, bubble tea and market trinkets at the Richmond Night Market. Conveniently located at the Bridgeport station of the Canada Line.

Distance: 15 km

wooden containers of dim sum in richmond

Wander the campus of the University of British Columbia

This may come as a surprise, but the University of British Columbia (UBC) is technically not part of the city of Vancouver. It’s also much more than just a place of higher learning. In fact, there are so many things to do, you could make a weekend out of enjoying all the activities at UBC.

Discover world-class museums like the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) and Beatty Biodiveristy Museum . Wander through peaceful public gardens like the Nitobe and the UBC Botanical Garden. (Note: This is home to the UBC Apple Festival in October) 

Get up into the trees along the Greenheart Treewalk canopy adventure and check out the veggies growing at UBC Farm. Then enjoy a walk, bike ride or forest bathing in the lush emerald green forest of the Endowment Lands. 

Pacific Spirit Park surrounds much of the UBC campus and includes some natural gems, including Camosun Bog, and the clothing-optional Wreck Beach.

Located just south of the UBC campus down a steep set of steps, Wreck Beach is open and accessible all year round. In summer, the beach features warm sand, sheltered spots near large logs, and an outstanding spot to watch the sunset. 

At nearly 8 km long, Wreck Beach is the largest naturist (nude) beach in North America. Visitors are encouraged to be clothing-optional, or to be respectful of those who choose to be naturist in their enjoyment of nature. 

Food: Jamjar Canteen, Virtuous Pie, Pacific Poke

Distance: 10 km  

wreck beach at ubc at sunset

Explore Whistler Village

The 2010 Winter Olympic Game host village of Whistler is a great day trip from Vancouver. The Sea to Sky Highway between Vancouver and Whistler is a phenomenal driving route : it’s a destination in itself.

Whistler offers something for everyone – active adventures like skiing, mountain biking, hiking and ziplining . And indoor pursuits like escape rooms, museums and First Nations centers.

During the summer months, climb aboard the Whistler Gondola for a ride up to Whistler Mountain. Enjoy an alpine hike, cross the Cloudraker Skybridge and a ride on the Peak to Peak gondola. Keep an eye out for black bears and cubs as you ascend or hike down the mountain. 

Summer mountain biking and ziplining are great family-friendly options in the great outdoors. Or walk or rent touring bikes and cruise around Lost Lake. 

For a higher-culture adventures indoors, visit the Audain Art Gallery or Lil-wat Cultural Centre. Or try Whistler’s Escape Room or Forged Axe Throwing for a serious adrenalin rush.

Our guide to the dining options in Whistler village will help you find something delicious for everyone in the family.

Distance: 120 km 

fun in whistler

Visit Victoria via BC Ferries

BC’s provincial capital of Victoria on Vancouver Island can be a day trip from Vancouver. But it’s a long one, due to the 1.5 hour ferry ride at either end. But don’t let that stop you from considering a truly grand day out across the Salish Sea.

Catch an early ferry and fill your visit to Victoria with these must do activities. Start at Butchart Gardens , which is on the way from the ferry terminal. Enjoy a stroll through the 55 acres of beautiful floral displays, water features and quarries. You can even bring your pup. The Gardens are dog-friendly.

Take a scenic drive along Dallas Road. Stop for a walk in Beacon Hill Park to enjoy nature and the Children’s Farm with its goats and peacocks.

In the downtown, enjoy an al fresco lunch at Red Fish Blue Fish in the Harbour, followed by a visit to the Royal BC Museum and stroll past the BC Legislature.  

Visit stately Craigdarroch Castle mansion, wander through Chinatown, and don’t miss narrow Fan Tan Alley, or book a food tour with Taste of Victoria to discover the wide variety of cuisine options in the city. Enjoy a formal dinner at the Courtney Room at the Magnolia Hotel, or a more casual meal at Pizza Prima Strada or Ferris’ Grill & Oyster Bar before you head back home.

Tip: Be sure to reserve your ferry departures via BC Ferries.

Distance: 114 km (car and ferry)

victoria harbour with boats in summer

PIN FOR LATER

lions gate bridge vancouver at sunset

Photo Credits: Claudia Laroye; Shutterstock

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2 thoughts on “17 fantastic day trips from Vancouver you need to take”

trips from vancouver

Fantastic post. I’ve been all over B.C., but only about half of the places you listed. Thanks for the inspiration. One of my favorites on your list is Squamish. Have you ever hiked the Chief?

trips from vancouver

Thanks so much, Mike! I have hiked the Chief, and have also hiked the longer and slightly more grueling Sea to Summit Trail up to the Sea to Sky Gondola. Both are fantastic hikes and highly recommended.

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The 8 BEST Day Trips from Vancouver (2023 Local Guide)

Get out of the city and have an epic time with this list of the best day trips from Vancouver!

Vancouver is one of the biggest cities in Canada and one of the most visited in North America.

Boasting the best of both the mountains and the ocean, Vancouver has been ranked as one of the most livable cities in the country over the last several years.

This big city is full of incredible things to do , experiences to be had, views to see and restaurants to enjoy. But what if you want a little bit more?

You’re never far from an awesome adventure when you arrive in Vancouver.

From the famous Sea to Sky Highway, to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, to the nearby hot springs and mountains around British Columbia, here are some of the best day trips from Vancouver.

Table of Contents

What to Do in Whistler

What to do on the sunshine coast, what to do in joffre lakes or garibaldi provincial parks, what to do in victoria, what to do on bowen island, what to do in chilliwack, what to do in harrison hot springs, what to do in squamish, bonus day trips close to downtown vancouver, the best day trips from vancouver.

Head out for a day of skiing in Whistler or go chasing waterfalls in Squamish. Or ride the Sea to Sky Gondola in between the two and enjoy the views over the Howe Sound.

Pack your bags and head to any number of Provincial Parks, or catch a ferry ride to the islands. Or soak in the Harrison Hot Springs and marvel at Bridal Falls.

This gorgeous city is a must-visit. But when you’re looking for a little escape from the city check out these 8 awesome day trips from Vancouver.

READ MORE: Don’t miss out on this epic 3 days in Vancouver itinerary !

1) Whistler

When it comes to Vancouver sightseeing you’ll see all the beautiful views on your way to Whistler.

The Sea to Sky highway connects Vancouver to Whistler with 120km of the most incredible scenery on offer in British Columbia.

Whether you’re driving or catching a ride on the Greyhound bus your head will be up in the mountains in no time at all.

And if you want an extra special way to get you Whistler you can book in on a floatplane and see it all from above .

Or you can ride the Sea to Sky Gondola from Squamish up to Whistler and enjoy the dramatic views of the Howe Sound along the way.

If you’re visiting in the off-season there are countless trails to be explored, mountain biking to be done and patios to be enjoyed. 

Of course, Winter is best for your skiing and snowboarding needs but also prime time for snowshoeing, skating and even winter hiking too.

One of the venues for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Whistler offers some of the most incredible terrain for winter sports.

First and foremost, Whistler and Blackcomb mountains have over 200 runs for skiing and snowboarding on over 8,100 km of skiable terrain.

The views are some of the best in the country and can also be enjoyed by those who may not be interested in skiing/snowboarding. 

The Peak 2 Peak Gondola connects Whistler’s Roundhouse Lodge to Blackcomb’s Rendezvous Lodge and is the perfect way to experience the beauty of the mountains all year round. 

After a day on the slopes, you might be on the lookout for something relaxing to do.

Scandinave Spa is the perfect place to visit to treat yourself. This Nordic Inspired Spa also has a Finnish sauna, a thermal waterfall and massage treatments on offer.

The spa’s relaxing and idyllic environment is the perfect place to soak away the potential ache of the slopes before checking out any number of amazing bars and restaurants for an apres-ski session.

There is so much more than just hitting the slopes and pampering yourself in Whistler village.

For starters, no matter the season you’ll find tons of hiking trails to take advantage of. Head to the Whistler Train Wreck trail which starts at Jane Lake Road.

You’ll follow a marked trail through the forest, past beautiful waterfalls and out to a site where train cars have been painted and left after wreckage in the 1990s. 

Cheakamus Lake is one of the best trails in Whistler boasting gorgeous views and very little elevation gain too.

Or maybe you want to check out some gorgeous waterfalls?

Definitely make a stop at Brandywine Falls which is easily accessible from the parking lot and gorgeous even in winter when the falls freeze over.

Whistler Day Trips From Vancouver

2) Sunshine Coast

Why not escape the Vancouver mainland for the islands one day?

Even in the winter months, the Sunshine Coast lives up to its name benefitting from 4-6 hours of extra sunlight a day.

Whether you’re on foot or have your own car, you can catch a ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay and in 40 minutes you’ll be stepping foot on the coast.

This recreation destination is a favourite for locals for its endless supply of things to do and views to be seen.

There is hiking, swimming, canoeing, and kayaking for all those outdoor enthusiasts.

There are farmer’s markets, distilleries, and award-winning restaurants with a West Coast flare for anyone wanting to treat themselves on this fun day trip.

One of the draws for visiting the Sunshine Coast is the amazing scenery to be found. Princess Louisa Provincial Park surrounds the picturesque Princess Louisa Inlet and a must-see spot.

This 6km long fjord is home to steep towering walls of granite growing out of the water and the equally impressive Chatterbox Falls at the end of the inlet.

These falls are even more impressive in the rain, so if you get bad weather, still add this to your list of Vancouver day trips not to be missed.

If you’re a sunset chaser then check out Half Moon Bay . This is also a great spot for anyone who is keen on diving, and a perfect picnic spot with a lovely view.

Smuggler Cove Marine Park, Ruby Lake and Soames Hill are all places perfect for hiking and swimming (when it’s warm enough) in beautiful blue waters.

The Sunshine Coast has 4 breweries and 1 cidery all of which are hugely community based and focus on small batch production.

Be sure to visit Townsite Brewing, The Bricker Cider Company, and TapWorks just to name a few.

Not only great beers and ciders on offer but also awesome food menus and all with gorgeous settings and fantastic patios to enjoy the views.

Being on the coast you’re of course in for some amazing seafood, but what’s better than the classic fish & chips lunch after a day of hiking or beaching hopping?

Head to Sharkey’s Fish Locker in Roberts Creek for locally sourced, wild and organic meals that compliment the setting perfectly.

For more foodie favourites check out some of the markets along the coast including The Coast Berry Farm, Gibson’s Public Market and The Powell River open-air market.

Don’t despair if you find yourself on the coast when the rain does hit.

This is actually the perfect time to do a little waterfall chasing. The rain adds to the beauty of the forests and gives the waterfalls that extra spray.

Blackwater Creek is great for hiking or mountain biking through incredible forests and through a stunning gorge.

Langdale Falls is a quick trail at less than 1-hour return and takes you to a stunning set of falls over 40 meters tall.

Cliff Gilker Park is a hiking-only area with over 7 km of trails to be explored. To find out about all the trails on the coast check out the Sunshine Coast website here .

The best way to get around is to rent a car and explore on your own! We recommend Rental Cars , which has the largest range of vehicles for the best value on the market.

3) Joffre Lakes or Garibaldi Provincial Parks

There’s a serious abundance of Provincial parks in British Columbia, and they are all stunning.

As you head out of Vancouver along the Sea to Sky highway past Squamish and Whistler you’ll hit the first of the beautiful parks, Garibaldi Provincial Park.

Head a bit further north and you’ll find Joffre Lakes Provincial Park. It might take an early wake up to make the drive up to either park but it will totally be worth it.

Joffre Lakes is located in Pemberton just north of Whistler and where you’ll find 3 of the most beautiful lakes in the country (and maybe even the world).

Accessible in both summer and winter, by snowshoes, and even has a campsite at the top of a glacier if you fancy coming back for a longer trip.

Garibaldi Provincial Park can be found just off the Sea to Sky highway and covers nearly 2,000 square km of land.

Both are beautiful and can each be reached in one day out of downtown Vancouver.

Driving from Vancouver Garibaldi Provincial Park is the first you’ll see. The first several km of the trail may seem like they stretch on forever through the dense forest but don’t give up.

You’ll have the option at a fork in the trail to cut through to the lake or go through Taylor Meadows to the lake which is the suggested route.

The Meadows are full of incredibly vibrant alpine wildflowers that bloom in early summer and into autumn.

All the trails are well marked and there are maps along the way to guide you to Garibaldi Lake.

Laying eyes on this turquoise coloured alpine lake will be love at first sight for most and you’ll likely snap tons of photos to show off when you get home.

While this park is perfect for a day trip from Vancouver if you have the time and the experience. This trail also intersects with 2 multi-day hikes to Black Tusk or Panorama Ridge from Garibaldi Lake.

Joffre Lakes Provincial Park has 3 insanely gorgeous glacial lakes to be explored. The first within minutes of the parking lot.

It’s best to get here early as the parking lot is relatively small and although you can park on the side of the road, after 10 km return you probably won’t want to be walking back to your car.

The hike will take you along switchbacks from the first lake as you climb up through the trees and you’ll be able to spot the second lake through the trees too.

That second lake is likely the most impressive of the 3 with its insane blue colour.

Fed from a massive glacier, swimming here is not for the faint of heart. But it’s a good way to kickstart your heart to continue onto the 3rd lake which takes you past an epic waterfall.

Past the 3rd lake is also where the campsite is if you are interested in turning your day trip into a longer one. 

Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

4) Victoria

The capital city of British Columbia and probably one of the most beautiful cities with a small-town vibe.

Victoria is the biggest city on Vancouver Island and a lovely day trip out of Vancouver and very much accessible by everyone.

While the quickest way to Victoria is by seaplane, it may not be in everyone’s budget.

Instead, you can get a ferry ride on foot or with your car from Tsawwassen (Vancouver) to Schwartz Bay (Victoria).

Public transit goes from downtown Vancouver to the ferry and from Schwartz Bay to central Victoria.

The capital city of British Columbia is full of history and you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to another time just walking around the city.

But be sure not to miss the awesome outdoor activities including Butchart Gardens and Beacon Hill Park .

Victoria is also home to some of the most colourful areas in the province so be on the lookout for all the colours of the rainbow no matter where you go. 

The Inner Harbour in Victoria is a hub of activity and a beautiful place to explore as a first stop.

Live music, arts and craft vendors, and painters displaying their art along the boardwalk create a lively atmosphere, not to mention the beautiful boats docked here.

The British Columbia City’s Parliament buildings look over the inner harbour and can be mistaken for a castle any day. Check out the Royal British Columbia Museum and Archives to learn more about the city’s history and culture.

If you’re looking for another castle worth checking out there is also Hatley Castle . Often used in TV series and movies and was once a military base and now a museum. 

Craigdarroch Castle is a national historic site and said to be one of the most haunted buildings in Canada.

Open to the public, visitors can walk through and get a sense of what life was like in the 1800s and find out all the haunted history.

Finding colour in Victoria is the opposite of finding a needle in a haystack. It’s everywhere! Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the most vibrant of all with dozens of brightly coloured houseboats and restaurants.

Pop down to Fisherman’s Wharf for a wander along the boardwalk or fish & chips and be on the lookout for playful harbour seals that come up to see what all the fuss is about.

Lower Johnson Street is full of independent shops and is not only charming but also painted in lovely pastels and vibrant colours.

Not far off you’ll find Canada’s oldest Chinatown. Victoria’s Chinatown is a National Historic Site and a beautiful part of Victoria’s history.

Lanterns line the streets leading away from giant red and gold gates and FanTan alley is mesmerizing no matter what time of day you visit. 

Butchart Gardens is one of the top things to do in Victoria and receives over 1 million visitors every year.

Beacon Hill Park is a fantastic place to go for a walk not far from downtown. Covering over 200 acres of land you’ll find walking trails, a mini-golf green, multiple gardens and even a petting zoo.

If you are hoping to escape the city parks and get out into nature in a big way head for Goldstream Provincial Park .

The trails take you through the beautiful forests and you’ll find tons of waterfalls along the way too.

Most trails lead to Goldstream Trestle which is an abandoned railway crossing above the Niagara River.

It is advised not to cross the trestle but the views from the top of this trail are incredible without setting foot on it. Also, consider taking a short drive north to explore the beauty of Hornby Island .

You could also book a whale watching tour during the ideal months of April to November.

READ MORE: Include these 7 top things to do in Victoria to your day trip!

5) Bowen Island

While Bowen Island may technically be part of the metro Vancouver area, you’ll still need to get a ferry ride over.

Regular BC ferry services from Horseshoe Bay to Bowen Island go throughout the year and is one of the quickest islands to reach from the city.

This quick Vancouver day trip is perfect for those looking to explore on a time crunch. 

At just 12km in length, Bowen Island may be small in comparison to other islands nearby but it’s full of great things to do.

The perfect place for kayaking, hiking and spotting wildlife, but also an island with great restaurants and offers an amazing yoga facility.

Looking for something special to do to celebrate or maybe just want a unique dining experience?

Why not opt for dinner and a cruise to Bowen Island . You’ll get incredible views of the Howe Sound and be treated to an incredible meal once you reach the island.

Something a little more special than just taking the ferry across on your own.

While most likely wouldn’t immediately think of Bowen Island for dining options there are some truly fantastic places here.

Branch & Butter is a tiny shack turned awesome snack bar and restaurant right on the pier as you get off the ferry.

The perfect place for gourmet ice creams or post-hike tacos, they even have an adorable boutique next door full of locally sourced goodies. 

There are a handful of hiking trails across Bowen Island all with amazing views and opportunities to spot some wildlife.

Dorman Point takes less than 2 hours round trip and is the best way to get a feel for the island.

There are some steep sections but you’ll come through the trees and at the top be gifted with stunning panoramic views across the Queen Charlotte Channel back to Vancouver.

Mt.Gardener is the island’s tallest mountain and can be quite challenging at 10 km return.

Amazing views await you at the top but it should be noted this is not for beginner hikers.

For something a bit more laidback head for the Killarney Lake Loop which is shaded by beautiful fir trees and circles around a gorgeous lake.

If yoga is something that you love, check out Nectar Yoga . While this is a yoga retreat centre / B & B they also offer community yoga classes at times and offer day treatments and tarot card readings in a tranquil and picturesque setting.

Or perhaps you’re looking to get out onto the water for the afternoon, sea kayaking is the perfect way to do just that.

Kayaks can be rented at a shop right on the pier by the ferry terminal and they even offer paddleboards as well to get a whole new perspective of the island from the water.

Bowen Island

6) Chilliwack

Less than 120km east of Vancouver is Chilliwack, an often-overlooked city but one perfect for a one day trip from Vancouver.

Driving is your quickest option and gives you more freedom once you reach the city. But Greyhound buses do operate from Vancouver to Chilliwack daily as well.

Surrounded by stunning mountain ranges and the Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park and more, there are tons of outdoor activities to enjoy.

Museums and cultural centres are at your disposal to really get an understanding of the city and how it came to be.

Not to mention the always-growing food and craft beer scene is some of the best in the province too.

One of the most iconic parts of Chilliwack to be explored is definitely Bridal Veil Provincial Park .

The most sought after destination in the park is definitely the Bridal Falls themselves, and the easiest to access too.

Just a short distance from the parking lot and there you are, close enough to feel the crazy spray on your face from Bridal Falls.

If you want to keep the adventure going there are several other hiking trails that fork off from the falls that can be enjoyed as well.

If you really want to get out into nature make your way to Lindeman Lake .

The loop trail here is less than 4km roundtrip taking you through the lush forests and has some pretty photo-worthy lake views too.

For the best views in Chilliwack be sure to check out Mount Cheam .

This relatively intermediate hike takes you up through beautiful meadows with gorgeous views of the valley below until you reach the summit.

Once at the top marvel at all you can see over the Fraser Valley and panoramic views of Chilliwack.

If your visit happens to bring you to Chilliwack in April you’ll be one of the lucky people who get to visit the Tulip Festival .

You’ll be able to see the vibrant coloured rows of tulips from the highway which should convince you pretty quickly it’s worth checking out too.

A trip to Klassen farms is a must to pick up snacks to fuel up on your day trip from Vancouver.

The farm has been a local establishment for years and offers a u-pick set up where you can go in and pick your own blueberries to take away.

Nothing fresher than that! Or maybe you fancy some locally made cheese from Smits & Co W Farm or organic and delicious honey from Chilliwack River Valley Honey .

The region is ripe with produce and the locals pride themselves on giving visitors the best of the best to take home with them.

Adrenaline junkies, don’t despair Chilliwack has got the perfect afternoon already planned out for you.

Head over to Chilliwack River Rafting for a day of amazing fun on the river. From May through July visitors can gear up and get strapped in for any number of adventures in white water rafting.

With several different trip options, whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned pro on the rapid the team here will have you loving every minute of this wet and wild experience.

Some of their trips offer hiking stops and lunch stops or if you prefer more time on the rivers that’s doable too.

No matter the weather this is the perfect way to experience Chilliwack.

READ MORE: Plan your trip to Canada with our Canada Travel Guide .

7) Harrison Hot Springs

For an unforgettable day full of hot springs, enjoying nature, and relaxing, visit Harrison Hot Springs.

Located just a 1.5 hour drive west of downtown Vancouver, this small resort town is surrounded by nature and has plenty of fun activities.

At the southern end of the beautiful Harrison Lake near Echo Island, this spot boasts all the natural beauty of the Fraser Valley in British Columbia. The hot springs are set just next to the lake, with plenty of mountains and forest in the background.

The stunning waterfall connected to Fraser River known as Bridal Falls is near Harrison Lake as well so you can combine the two into one visit.

Of course the best thing to do here is enjoying the warm, natural mineral waters of the hot springs.

The Harrison Hot Springs Public Pool is the best way to access the mineral rich waters of the spring. It is located at the cross of Hot Springs Road and the Esplanade Avenue.

The water is pumped in directly from a natural spring, and cooled to a comfortable temperature at around 100 degrees Fahrenheit/38 degrees Celsius. Currently, the Harrison Hot Springs Public Pool is closed due to COVID, but only temporarily. It will be reopening soon, so check the website for details .

Any guests staying at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort can still use the private hot springs reserved for guests. The Harrison Hot Springs Resort has five mineral springs pools as well as spa treatments.

Soaking in the hot springs isn’t the only attraction in Harrison Hot Springs, believe it or not. The hot springs are perfect for relaxing after a day exploring all the nature that surrounds the resort town.

When you visit in the summer months you can go hiking and mountain biking in the mountains of the Harrison River Valley. You can also sunbathe on the beaches of Harrison Lake or go kayaking in the water.

In the winter, the Fraser Valley fills will fresh snow and you can cross country ski or snowshoe. So although the summer months are probably ideal for visiting Harrison Hot Springs, you can come at any time and enjoy the peaceful, natural beauty of the area.

This is one of the best day trips from Vancouver for those who want to have some fun in nature and then area themselves to a soak in the healing hot springs afterward.

Bridal Falls is nearby as well. Spilling into the Fraser River, Bridal Falls is an easy stop from here or from Chilliwack. The hike to Bridal Falls is short and easy, though it may be closed during the winter months.

But if you’re visiting this area in summer, Bridal Falls is an amazing stop before or after heading to Harrison Hot Springs.

8) Squamish

Surrounded by some of BC’s most breathtaking mountains, Squamish is a must-do day trip from Vancouver. 

 Located just 65km from Vancouver on the Sea to Sky Highway, Squamish is often overlooked by travellers who head straight for Whistler.

However, the gems to be discovered here are incredible.

This side trip from Vancouver can be done by car along the Sea to Sky Highway, or by Greyhound Bus.

Tackle the infamous Chief, taste some locals brews and definitely chase some waterfalls while you’re here.

The best day trip from Vancouver to Squamish will definitely include a trip to the Sea to Sky Gondola .

A 10-minute ride in a cable car known as the Sea to Sky Gondola takes you nearly 900 meters above sea level with views out over the Howe Sound that will blow your mind.

Multiple viewing platforms make this a photographer’s dream. The Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge also boasts one of the best views in the area, and you can even hike up to the suspension bridge from the parking lot if you’re feeling ambitious.

While there are tons of hikes in Squamish, the most iconic is definitely The Chief . This intermediate hike will take you an 11 km round trip and all 3 peaks can be done in a day.

The trail is pretty intense with even a ladder section. But the views from the top are like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

For something less intense checkout Alice Lake and The Lions Bay Loop .

There is lots of amazing eating and drinking in the area as well which you can enjoy after hiking and enjoying the views on the Sea to Sky Gondola or the suspension bridge.

Pop into The Howe Sound Brewery for a post-hike pint or two after tackling the trails.

This homegrown brewery opened in 1996 and offers some really fantastic craft brews and a great food menu too.

Every Saturday you’ll find the Squamish Farmers Market set up, bringing you over 60 vendors of local produce and crafts and a great place to stock up on snacks for an adventure.

Match Eatery & Public House is a great spot for lunch and has an epic view of The Chief too.

Squamish is also a great place if you want to try out some adrenaline-inducing activities. Check out mountain biking, rock climbing, white water rafting and even kiteboarding.

The Squamish Adventure Center is the best place to find out more about any of these activities and figure out just how many epic things you can do in a day.

And for waterfall enthusiasts, you’ll want to be sure to get to Shannon Falls .

A part of the Provincial Park you’ll be able to get a glimpse of the falls as you drive into the parking lot from the highway.

Within minutes you’ll hear the spray and on an especially rainy day, you’ll even be able to feel it too.

Great picnic areas are at the base of the falls too and a trail exists to hike up to the top of the falls but it is quite intermediate if you want to attempt it.

Squamish

An amazing thing about Vancouver is all the nature that lies close to the city centre. If you check out our list of things to do in Vancouver , you’ll notice there are lots of day trips into nature that are super close to downtown Vancouver.

Some of these attractions are technically part of Vancouver, but you could dedicate a whole day to enjoying them. So here are some quick day trips from downtown Vancouver that you can reach by public transport or just by driving a short distance from the city centre.

Grouse Mountain : Just a 20-minute drive from downtown Vancouver, Grouse Mountain is one of the best day trip ideas in the area because it is fun during all seasons. Ski, snowboard, hike, visit the local wildlife refuge, ride the sky gondola, and more in the North Shore Mountains near North Vancouver.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park : The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is just over a 10 minute drive from north Vancouver. It’s one of the top attractions in this area of British Columbia. Walk across the iconic, 140-meter-long Capilano Suspension Bridge over the river, and enjoy the nearby forest hiking trails.

Deep Cove : Referred to by locals as The Cove , this postcard looking part of Vancouver is truly a great escape from the big city life without even really leaving the city. Spend your day in Deep Cove hiking, kayaking, wandering or indulging in great food and drink, this part of the quaint seaside city has it all.

Deep Cove

About the Author - Laura Oxley

Hi, I'm Laura Oxley, a Canadian content creator who is the resident Canada travel expert at NOMADasaurus, along with tonnes of incredible experience from exploring Australia. My travel experiences have taken me to the volcanoes of Central America, the waterfalls of Hawaii, the castles of England, the beaches of Australia and Middle Earth to name a few. In addition to writing for NOMADasaurus, my work can be found published on Contiki, Women Who Explore, Penguin & Pia and Buzzfeed.

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3 Best Day Trips From Vancouver

By Liz Humphreys

3 Best Day Trips From Vancouver

Vancouver tops many a list of the world's most livable cities —but it might owe its popularity, at least in part, to what's around it. There are plenty of worthy destinations that are just within striking distance of the city, either by car or, because it’s surrounded by water to the west, by ferry or seaplane. These three day trips will take you to explore one of North America’s top mountain resort towns, Whistler; to the lovely, laid-back provincial capital of Victoria ; and to the home of many artists and producers of organic goods, fun and funky Salt Spring Island . Each has its own charms—and may have you pondering a move to the West Coast city so you can experience them again and again.

Click the link to read our complete Vancouver guide .

All listings featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. If you book something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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WHISTLER, B.C.

Just a two-hour drive north of Vancouver, the stunning mountain scenery of Whistler won’t disappoint. Of course, you can’t come without trying your hand at outdoor activities, from hiking in the warmer months to skiing or snowboarding (or snowshoeing or tobogganing) in the colder ones. But there are also fantastic places to eat, drink, and stay, and even a fascinating museum of Northwest Canadian art where you can slip in some culture. Still, the vistas are the thing, and no one should miss the amazing Peak 2 Peak gondola ride—though if you don't have a head for heights, you may think twice about crossing the new 360-degree-view suspension bridge. (We think the thrill is well worth it.)

British Columbia Vancouver Attraction Peak 2 Peak Gondola

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Riding the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, the cable car linking Whistler and Blackcomb mountains (the highest lift in the world, at an elevation of 1,430 feet), is a can’t-miss experience with phenomenal views. In the warmer months, there are plenty of stops for hiking. New for 2018, the Peak 2 Peak includes the Cloudraker Skybridge, a 427-foot suspension bridge with heart-pounding 360-degree views. When you reach Whistler Peak, you can stop on the Raven’s Eye Cliff Walk viewing platform for even more amazing (and terrifying) vistas.

British Columbia Vancouver Bar Il Caminetto

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After coming under new ownership, Il Caminetto, a classic Italian restaurant, underwent a renovation and reopened in December 2017. Not only is the look airier and more contemporary than it was before, but the new celebrity chef James Walt, formerly of Whistler’s Araxi, the renowned Sooke Harbour House, and Vancouver’s Blue Water Café, has shifted the focus to a lighter-style cuisine. Standouts include warm olives served with almonds, citrus, chilies, and herbs, and wild mushroom risotto with parm and truffle. You can’t go wrong with any of the pastas, which are made in-house every day. Desserts tend toward the unfussy.

trips from vancouver

Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler Arrow

When in Whistler, you either stay in the hubbub of the village itself or a bit away, where it’s more peaceful and quieter. The Four Seasons, firmly in the second camp, is slightly removed from the action—and proud of it. This is a classic Whistler hotel: sophisticated yet also rooted in the outdoors, with lots of wood and stone, and cozy chairs where you can laze in front of the fireplace. This is Whistler’s top luxury property, and it's worth the splurge whether it’s your first stay or your fortieth.

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British Columbia Vancouver Museum Audain Museum

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Whistler’s not just about the outdoors. The Audain, which opened in March 2016, has one of the best collections of Northwest Canadian art in the country, all housed in a stunning, dark, metal-and-wood building. The permanent collection offers a fascinating look at British Columbian art from the 18th century through the present day. You’ll find a stunning collection of Northwest Coast First Nations masks, and one of the country’s largest collections of work from renowned Canadian painter Emily Carr. There’s also a fine selection of post-war and contemporary art, including photographs from Vancouver-based artist Jeff Wall.

British Columbia Vancouver Bar Araxi Restaurant  Oyster Bar

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Yes, Araxi Restaurant & Oyster Bar is hard to get into, the tables are too close together, and the service can be hit-or-miss. But this long-time farm-to-table favorite (with a brand-new executive chef, Quang Dang, since October 2017) sources ingredients from local farmers, fisheries, and ranchers—including, naturally, a wonderful selection of West Coast oysters—and features one of the best wine selections in British Columbia. Come for splurge-worthy seafood and drinks in a lively locale.

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VICTORIA, B.C.

British Columbia’s capital city sits pretty on the southern end of Vancouver Island—and getting there from Vancouver is half the fun. Though you could hop on a seaplane to save time, the 90-minute ferry ride from Tsawwassen (about a 45-minute drive from downtown Vancouver) to Vancouver Island’s Swartz Bay is one of the world’s most scenic ferry rides. After that, it’s another 45-minute drive or bus ride into Victoria itself. All the travel is worth it when you sample Victoria’s wonderful wealth of organic, local cuisine; take tea at one of Canada’s most iconic hotels; and explore all the outdoorsy activities this lovely harborside city has to offer, from a leisurely scenic stroll to a more adventurous whale-watching excursion.

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A $60 million renovation, completed in June 2017, has restored the Fairmont, Victoria’s grande dame, to her former glory by freshening up the 464 guestrooms and modernizing the spa, pool, and gym. Rooms are what you’d expect from one of Canada’s classiest hotels: sophisticated and subdued, in neutral colors but with pops of jewel tones on the pillows and curtains. Many offer wonderful views of Victoria’s Inner Harbour. It’s worth splurging on the Fairmont Gold rooms, which include access to a private waterfront lounge with a fire pit—perfect for soaking up harbor views in style.

British Columbia Vancouver Restaurant Red Fish Blue Fish

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Red Fish Blue Fish, a casual harborside institution built out of shipping containers, serves up superlative fish and chips, chowder, and fish tacos using only sustainable seafood. It’s always busy, always noisy, and always worth the (always lengthy) wait. Though there are three kinds of fish and chips (plus tempura-battered oysters and chips), go for the classic halibut—you won’t regret it. The wild salmon tacone, stuffed inside a flour tortilla with coleslaw, pea shoots, and lemon-pickled onions, is also fabulous. And the chowder, chock full of Pacific white fish, comes with a chipotle-coconut kick.

British Columbia Vancouver Restaurant Agrius

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Agrius' menu of seasonal small plates, all made with local, organic ingredients, attracts a young and buzzy crowd that also comes for the unique cocktails and natural wines, the latter sourced from both British Columbia and Europe. Since the restaurant is attached to a bakery (Fol Epi), the entire place smells like freshly baked bread—and eating said bread is also a delight. Meat-eaters should start with the daily selection of house-made charcuterie. The wild lingcod with mussels, and the duck breast with cilantro and ginger also garner rave reviews, though vegetarians will also find a few tempting options to keep them satisfied—we're partial to the chickpea tempeh dish, served with mushroom and potato.

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Eagle Wing Whale & Wildlife Tours - Whale Watching Arrow

Eagle Wing Whale & Wildlife Tours last several hours—a worthy commitment in the quest to spot all types of whales (orca, humpback, grey, and minke), with near-guaranteed whale sightings in season and plenty of other wildlife to behold in winter. Boats hold between 12 people (on the smallest vessels) and 50 people (on the largest catamaran), and reservations are required, either by phone or online. Guides are extremely knowledgeable—some staff members are marine biologists and/or naturalists—and they love offering up stories about the abundant marine life.

British Columbia Vancouver Park Beacon Hill Park

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Beacon Hill Park is a lovely park that leads down to a beach. Pretty gardens and well-maintained footpaths are perfect for a stroll (or a horse-and-buggy ride) to see the roaming peacocks. How long you’ll want to spend here depends upon the season: Spring brings beautiful wildflowers and roses, while summer is the perfect time to enjoy the water parks, especially if you have kids in tow, and concerts on the bandshell. Any time of year, wander the footpaths to enjoy the lovely and peaceful vistas.

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SALT SPRING ISLAND, B.C.

To reach Salt Spring, take a ferry from Tsawwassen (about a 90-minute ride, though sometimes longer if the ferry makes other island stops along the way), or hop on a 35-minute seaplane from Vancouver Harbour. The largest of the Southern Gulf Islands, Salt Spring is best known for its artsy inhabitants, gorgeous nature, and earthy charm. To see the best of it all, come on a Saturday between April and October for the famous Salt Spring Saturday Market , followed by an invigorating hike and a stop to taste some of its renowned foodstuffs, from mussels to cheese and wine.

British Columbia Vancouver Park Mount Maxwell Provincial Park

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At Mount Maxwell Provincial Park, you can drive—or, if you’re uber-fit, walk—up a rustic, potholed road and twisty hills for stupendous views of Vancouver Island and the start of some wonderful hiking trails. If you’re driving up and down the mountain, allow about 20 minutes each way. Then, depending on how much hiking you want to do at the top, budget another one to three hours. Don't miss the viewpoint at the top of Mount Maxwell—Baynes Peak, Salt Spring's highest point—for amazing vistas, not only of Vancouver Island, but also south to the San Juan Islands.

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Located less than a ten-minute walk from Main Street, the wood-shingled Harbour House feels like a cozy coastal home, inside and out. The hotel is decorated in a tastefully modern, unpretentious residential style—think, a modern take on coastal chic—and guests will feel perfectly at home borrowing a board game from the front desk or playing in front of the fire in the lounge. While the atmosphere is decidedly relaxed, it’s still an upscale hotel, and the real treat is the service. Don’t miss the free wine-and-cheese hour each evening.

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Located across from the pier in Fernwood, about a five-minute drive north of Salt Spring’s main town of Ganges, Twig & Buoy has pared-down, rustic décor that belies its seriously good food. Many diners are here for the thin-crust wood-fired pizza—a classic Margherita, maybe, or one topped with local ingredients like lamb and figs. But the grilled Caesar salad, served warm, is a more-than-worthy way to start, and the signature crème brûlée, finished tableside, a fabulous way to end. Oh, and never say no to a side—or a main, for that matter—of tender Salt Spring mussels.

British Columbia Vancouver Market Salt Spring Islands Saturday Market

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One of the most popular outdoor markets in Canada, held in Ganges every Saturday from April through October, Salt Spring Saturday Market features all things homespun. All vendors must “make it, bake it, or grow it” themselves, so you won't find any mass-produced tchotchkes here. Instead, you’ll find goods from more than 140 artisans, including pottery, jewelry, woodwork, fine art, and skincare products. The market started out as a showcase for organic produce, and you’ll still see fruits and veggies, as well as local cheese, chocolate, kombucha—but of course—and prepared foods like tarts, falafel, and potstickers.

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Salt Spring Island Cheese Company Arrow

Come to Salt Spring Island Cheese Company, an artisanal producer of goat (and a bit of sheep's) cheese, to see the product being made, meet some adorable goats, and—most importantly—sample the addictive fresh chèvre, which comes with a variety of toppings: basil, chili, flowers (which impart good looks but no flavor), lemon, pepper, olives, truffle, and garlic. And don't miss the delightful goat's milk ice cream, especially when the weather calls for a refreshing treat.

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West Coast Wayfarers

14 Best Day Trips from Vancouver, BC: Complete Planning Guide

Vancouver, BC is ideally situated close to jaw-dropping mountains, beautiful stretches of coastline, and a myriad of quirky towns and cities to suit all interests. There are many places you can scramble up a peak in the morning then beachcomb and kayak all afternoon before treating yourself to a well-deserved dinner and drinks in the evening.

You don’t have to drive far to have some seriously epic day trips from Vancouver – in fact, all of the locations listed in this guide involve under three hours driving, round-trip.

I’ve spent the last few years exploring the west coast of Canada, largely in search of great trails and tasty ales (I’m European so we take beer very, very seriously) and I have found some absolute gems that I’m excited to share with you!

trips from vancouver

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you click on one and purchase something, we make a small portion of the sale at no additional cost to you. It goes without saying that we would never recommend something we wouldn’t use or do ourselves.

The 14 Best Day Trips from Vancouver, B.C. (Outdoor Adventures + Charming Towns)

Here are 14 day trips to help you discover and plan your next day out from Vancouver.

Day Trips for Outdoor Adventures

If you’re looking to escape the city for a day and get into the beautiful mountains in British Columbia, here are a couple of options for you to choose from .

trips from vancouver

Distance from Vancouver: 1 hour / 40 miles

Getting There: From Downtown Vancouver : head north on Highway 99 to Squamish, following the Sea-to-Sky Highway up to Squamish.

In all honesty, I could write this entire article about Squamish – there is so much to do. It is a historic First Nations town laden with history, and is the staging-post for the best outdoor adventures close to Vancouver.

Hiking, skiing, biking, boating: you won’t be disappointed with a day trip here! The drive is also breathtaking, as the Coast Mountains loom over the highway with their snowy peaks and sheer cliff faces.

Hiking in Shannon Falls Provincial Park

Shannon Falls is BC’s third highest waterfall and tumbles an impressive 1,000 feet down the cliff-side. This is a great place to stop en route to Squamish, just one mile south of the town. Get there early to avoid the masses!

trips from vancouver

The hike to the base of the waterfall is an easy half-mile out-and-back just off the highway, if you just want to see the falls and surrounding forest. For the more adventurous folk who want a full day’s hiking, then test your strength with the Upper Shannon Falls Trail .

A challenging 10-mile out-and-back with over 3,000 feet of elevation gain is not everyone’s cup of tea; but the views of the mountains and ocean around you are so worth the effort!

Psst: Read the next section about Garibaldi Provincial Park for some more great hikes super close to Squamish!

Rock Climbing

trips from vancouver

Squamish is a world-renowned hub for climbing, attracting thousands of would-be Alex Honnolds to the slabs, cracks and crevices which surround the town. The Chief is probably the most popular spot, offering a myriad of routes for every level of climber.

The Smoke Bluffs are another favorite, and a great way to test your skills on some fearsome granite walls.

If you’ve never climbed before, check out the Via Ferrata which is a guided tour up one of Squamish’s impressive slabs via a series of iron rungs (with a special harness, don’t worry!). This is great for kids and adults alike who want to experience the thrill of climbing in a world-class location.

Mountain Biking

Rent a bike in town and head out to some of the area’s legendary cross-country and downhill trails. Brackendale is well-suited to beginners with a variety of relatively flat trails; Diamond Head is the best place to find a variety of trails for those wanting to test their skills, and is located just north of Quest University outside of Squamish.

You’ve possibly even heard of the area’s Half Nelson which attracts novice and expert alike, surrounded by some pretty insane views of the mountains and Howe Sound !

Eating and Drinking in Squamish

Downtown Squamish has a host of excellent places to eat and hangout after a full day adventuring. With the town’s outdoorsy demographic, it is perfectly acceptable to turn up for dinner in your Arcteryx and hiking boots!

Howe Sound Brew Pub – This local gem has been around since the 90s, and offers a delicious affair of appies, good ole’ pub grub, and even handmade pizza with their signature beer-infused dough. Oh, and a whole bunch of on-site beers, naturally.

Zephyr Cafe – I came here on a roadtrip with a vegan friend, and was sincerely impressed with their range of healthy vegan foods (quinoa cereal, anyone!?) and the most vibrant green smoothie I’d ever laid eyes on. The space is cozy and funky – perfect for fueling up before the afternoon ahead.

The Salted Vine – Amidst a sea of brewpubs and cafes, this upscale addition to the Squamish food scene has not gone unnoticed. They serve regional, seasonal foods and a range of wines for pairing. Try the twice-baked cheese soufflé. I insist.

Garibaldi Provincial Park

trips from vancouver

Distance from Vancouver: 90 minutes / 60 miles

Getting There : Take Highway 99 north from Vancouver. There are several access points to the park along the highway which are linked in each section below.

Garibaldi Provincial Park is a huge swath of alpine wonderland between Squamish and Pemberton . Impressive volcanic peaks tower 8,000 feet over the trails, and the park plays host to over 150 glaciers and a myriad of azure lakes. This place is truly a mountain-lover’s paradise, and is popular with hikers, trail-runners, and snow-shoers all year round. 

Tip : July to September are the best months for hiking near Vancouver , as the higher latitudes are prone to a lot of snow. I use Mountain Forecast for hiking in this region between October to June because it offers real-time weather updates at several elevations – it’s highly accurate and so useful for planning!

Top Trails Near Garibaldi Provincial Park

Hiking is a big draw for Garibaldi Provincial Park – here are three great hikes to add to your day trip.

Garibaldi Lake Trail

trips from vancouver

Trailhead: Rubble Creek

Parking: Small parking lot at trailhead.

This iconic trail is one of the best day trips from Vancouver for hikers. It is rated as a moderate out-and-back, but with 3,000 feet of elevation gain it will still get your heart pumping! We did it in just over six hours and clocked 11.2 miles.

The lake is surrounded by snow-capped peaks and glaciers, most notably the Black Tusk which looks like it might crumble under its own weight at any moment. Well worth the effort!

Note: If you start to tire then skip the extra few miles to the main lake, and turn back at Barrier Lake or Lesser Garibaldi Lake, which both offer some stunning views.

Elfin Lakes

trips from vancouver

Trailhead: Elfin Lake / Diamond Head

Parking: Parking lot at trailhead.

This is another great out-and-back which is totally doable in a day at 12.5 miles, with 2700ft of elevation gain. After the first few miles uphill, the trail opens out onto a spectacular ridge, with open views of the park’s namesake and highest peak: Mount Garibaldi at 8700ft.

The rest of the trail to Elfin Lakes is fairly steady, although there can still be snow into early July so do check local weather conditions before hiking.

Brandywine Falls and Cal-Cheak Suspension Bridge

trips from vancouver

Trailhead: Brandywine Falls Provincial Park

Parking: Parking lot at the trailhead.

This more modest hike is a great choice if you want to keep the stress off your knees, or just fancy a shorter hike.

At just over five miles and under 500 feet elevation gain, this loop will lead you to the iconic Brandywine Falls , which tumbles 230 feet to the river below; over the Cal-Cheak Suspension Bridge; and through some beautiful forested trails. 

trips from vancouver

Eating and Drinking Near Garibaldi Provincial Park

There are no places to eat in the park itself so I’d definitely recommend packing your own food if hitting the trails. Stop off in Squamish on the way home for a well-deserved pub dinner – see above section for tasty recommendations.

Want to explore Vancouver? We’ve got plenty of detailed Vancouver travel guides to help you explore!

  • How to Spend a Perfect Weekend in Vancouver, B.C.
  • Where to Stay in Vancouver, B.C.: A Complete Neighborhood Guide
  • 12 Great Weekend Getaways from Vancouver B.C. to Plan Now
  • 15 Unbelievable Hikes Near Vancouver, B.C.

Bowen Island

trips from vancouver

Distance from Vancouver: 70 minutes / 18.5 miles

Getting There: Take Highway 99 north to Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal, then ride the 30-minute ferry from Horseshoe Bay – Bowen Island.

Despite its proximity to Vancouver, Bowen Island is a haven of calm. This small island is totally doable in a day, and has a wonderful community feel in its many boutiques and locally-owned eateries. It is the perfect place to lie on a beach all day, explore the waters of Howe Sound via kayak, or meander through one of the many forested trails.

Explore the Coastline By Kayak

trips from vancouver

Wave hello to the seals and seabirds of the coast! Bowen Island Sea Kayaking offers single and double kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards to rent.

They are located just a hop away from the ferry, and even offer guided tours if you want to explore the area with a knowledgeable naturalist. Head north along the shoreline to have incredible views of the Coast Mountains as you paddle!

Climb Mount Gardner

Mount Gardner is the highest point on Bowen Island and is a respectable 2,400 feet above sea-level! There are several routes to the top where you can enjoy unobstructed views of the Coast Mountains, Sunshine Coast , and wave hello to your hotel back in downtown Vancouver!

There are actually over 13 miles of trails for you to choose from to get to the top, and I wholeheartedly recommend downloading the very thorough and free Complete Guide to Hiking Mount Gardner .

Go Beach-Hopping

There are a number of beautiful beaches on Bowen Island. They are mostly pebbly rather than sandy, but the smooth stones are very pleasant to take a snooze on.

My favorite beach for swimming is Tunstall Bay on the west side of the island. It’s small, sloped, and is famous for great sunsets! Cates Bay Beach on the north side of the island has the most dramatic views down Howe Sound and to the Coast Mountains beyond.

The beaches around Cape Roger Curtis on the west side are the best for walking, as there’s a network of trails between the beaches and out to the lighthouse on the Cape.

Eating and Drinking on Bowen Island

Snug Cove is the best spot to grab something to eat and is right off the ferry terminal. The Snug Cafe is a favorite of mine and indeed many others for its quaint, charming atmosphere and selection  of delicious bites – scones with cream and jam, anyone?!

The Rustique Bistro and bar serves primarily French cuisine and the seafood is to die for; they also have several vegan options. It’s an ideal place for a waterfront dinner before the ferry back to the big city.

Golden Ears Provincial Park

trips from vancouver

Distance from Vancouver : 80 minutes / 37 miles

Getting There: Ride Highway 1 east out of Vancouver for about 23 miles, until you see signs for Maple Ridge. Turn left down 192 Street/ Golden Ears Way, across the Fraser River and past Maple Ridge until you reach the park. I would recommend driving further into the park and parking at either West Canyon or Gold Creek , for access to the best trails and amenities.

Golden Ears Provincial Park is one of the lower mainland’s best and most accessible parks. The peaks here are lower than the alpine range of the Coast Mountains, making it much easier to summit and return in just a day. Giant Douglas Firs, Hemlocks and Western Red Cedars adorn the valleys and rivers, giving that quintessential BC hiking experience.

Bring a picnic or stop in nearby Maple Ridge for food. The park has several toilets along popular trails and the campsites.

Top Hiking Trails in Golden Ears Provincial Park

There are so many great trails in the park to suit all abilities. Here are my favorite two:

trips from vancouver

Trailhead and Parking: West Canyon Parking

Not for the faint-hearted! Evans Peak really put me through my paces but I can’t recommend it enough to anyone who loves a challenge. It’s only five miles of out-and-back, but the 3,000 foot ascent and descent is a real leg-burner.

Steep, muddy, and scramble-y with a few rope-assisted sections – come prepared! The view from the peak is astounding, even better if you catch it on a clear day. I would recommend this only in summer when all of the snow has melted, but if you’re hardcore then bring crampons. Good luck!

East Canyon Trail

Trailhead and Parking: Gold Creek Parking

trips from vancouver

Follow the meandering Gold Creek for as long as you like, on the gentle but beautiful East Canyon Trail . The trail stretches over nine miles up to Hector Ferguson Lake, but you can choose your own adventure , as they say.

Don’t miss Viewpoint Beach and the Gold Creek Falls for some of the park’s most charming views!

Enjoy the Water at Alouette Lake

trips from vancouver

Alouette Lake is the perfect spot to take a refreshing dip, laze on the beach, or hop into a canoe and explore. North Beach is my favorite for a swim, as the mountain backdrop is really quite spectacular (Yes, it’s cold. You’re in Canada.)!

Alouette Lake Canoe Rentals operate daily throughout summer and you can hire per hour or for a full day.

If you’re angling towards a fishing trip (get it?), then stop at the Hatch Match’r in Maple Ridge and pick up fishing supplies – this lake is hugely popular among angling enthusiasts – just make sure you get the necessary permit in advance.

Day Trips to Charming Cities and Towns Nearby

If you’re looking for a more laid back day trip, look at these charming cities and towns near Vancouver.

Gibsons, Sunshine Coast

trips from vancouver

Distance from Vancouver: 110 minutes / 28.5 miles

Getting There: Take Highway 99 north to Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal, then board the ferry to Langdale . Drive southwest on Marine Drive for another few miles until you reach Gibsons.

Gibsons Landing is a historic marine town in Squamish First Nations Territory, and was a hub of logging, fishing, and agricultural activity in the late 1800s.

Today, it still retains its small-town charm despite being one of the most popular spots on BC’s famous Sunshine Coast. Beautiful waterfront, cafes and local markets, museums, galleries and many more treasures are tucked into this small corner of the coast.

Sample the Local Art and History

Gibsons Public Art Gallery is a small but vibrant gallery in the heart of the community. With a different feature each month, it plays host to Indigenous Arts, youth-led projects, environmental and abstract pieces – among many others.

The town is also home to the Sunshine Coast Museum & Archives , which is a fantastic resource for diving into the rich and diverse history of the area, from First Nations to the early settlers, and up to the present day.

Peruse the Public Market

Gibsons Public Market is a phenomenal community project, bringing together food-makers, artists, craftspeople, and educators under one roof. It has a farm-to-table grocery and bulk store, butchers, burger stalls, bakeries, and a fishmongers – to name but a few.

Naturally, my favorite stall is Fromagerie De Baie who serve some incredible cheeses and charcuterie from around the world.

There are regular yoga classes and pop-up art galleries; and the market is home to the Nicholas Sontag Marine Education Center , which features incredible aquariums and marine displays – the fish of BC are way more colorful than most people imagine!

Stroll Along the Seafront

The impressive waterfront in Gibsons is well worth a wander. The public wharf and attached boardwalks are lined with boats of all sizes, float planes, kayaks and more.

There are remnants of the town’s commercial past with old logging barges and fishing boats tied up to the docks. The impressive mountain backdrop lights up in red with the sunset, and the many beaches are perfect for a romantic evening stroll. 

Eating and Drinking in Gibsons

Molly’s Reach – Arguably the most famous restaurant on this stretch of the coast. If you remember the 70s hit show The Beachcombers , then you’ll enjoy a jaunt around Gibsons and a seat at Molly’s Reach – the center point of the show! The restaurant is packed full of tasty treats (I recommend the fish n’ chips), delicious drinks, and is plastered with Beachcombers memorabilia.

101 Brewhouse and Distillery – This fairly new addition to Gibsons has become a firm favorite. They serve their own beers, vodka, and gin and have a fantastic selection of edible accompaniments. Tuck in to some tacos or zingy burgers in this refreshingly trendy spot. 

Smitty’s Oyster House – if you want a real coastal dining experience, then head to Smitty’s. Located right on the waterfront boardwalk, this modern, stylish restaurant serves fresh seafood in all sorts of creative ways. They have a fresh selection of oysters daily, and I can’t recommend the chili lime prawns enough!

Note: The last ferry back to Vancouver is at 8.55pm, giving you plenty of time for dinner in Gibsons. Just don’t miss it!

Salt Spring Island

trips from vancouver

Distance from Vancouver : 130 minutes / 46 miles

Getting There: Take Highway 99 south out of the city, then follow Highway 17 to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal. Board the ferry to Long Harbor , Salt Spring Island and enjoy the beautiful views and wildlife on this 80-minute ride.

Salt Spring Island is the largest of the Gulf Islands off eastern Vancouver Island , the traditional territory of the Coast Salish Peoples.

It is jam-packed with local artistry, wellness outfits, and quirky cafes. You can drive across the island in just 40 minutes and it has such a community atmosphere that it feels like one big town, which is why I’ve included it here!

With a direct ferry from Vancouver, this relaxing slice of the coast is easily accessible and is consistently one of my favorite Vancouver day trips. Plus, the ferry ride is beautiful!

Explore Local Galleries and Studios

Salt Spring Island is famous for its many artists. There are more galleries and studios than you can count, and there is something for all tastes: pottery and ceramics, glass-blowing, ciders and wines, sculpture parks, farm shops, wood-working studios… the list really is endless.

Check out the amazing, interactive list by Salt Spring Studio Tour to help guide your visit. I particularly loved the Seven Ravens Farm Shop for their gorgeous live-edge cutting boards and organic produce, and Quail Run Pottery and Glass for some of the most intricate glass jewelry I’ve ever seen – they offer workshops, too!

Take a Little “You Time”

This is an unofficial statistic, but I’m pretty sure that Salt Spring has the highest density of spas, wellness centers, and spiritual retreats in North America. Head to Solace Organic Spa for a few hours of hydrotherapy, acupressure, or massages – surrounded by a peaceful forest and natural pools.

If you need to persuade your other half then send them straight to the photo gallery – it will 100% work.

The Salt Spring Center of Yoga is a non-profit community and is dedicated to true yoga practice, as opposed to just tight leggings and gratuitous down-dog.

If you’re looking to deepen your connection with the self and attain a little more peace, their knowledgeable yoga leaders offer several different classes and workshops throughout the week which are open to the general public.

Explore the Island

trips from vancouver

Like most places in BC, Salt Spring has a great expanse of outdoors to explore!

There are a huge number of beautiful beaches and connected trails, and several lakes dotted around which are great for swimming. They actually get quite warm in summer, too! I loved small Cusheon Lake for swimming because it has a great dock for diving off and it’s not too busy.

There are also a good number of trails for you to check out whether you want an easy stroll or something a little more strenuous. For the latter, check out Mount Erskine – Salt Spring’s highest peak – for incredible views of the Gulf Islands, their connected waterways, and the Olympic Mountains in the distance!

Eating and Drinking on Salt Spring Island

The island is a hub of artisan cafes, local breweries, and fine sea-front dining.

Beachside Cafe – Hands down the best place to sit by the ocean! I loved tucking into a smoothie bowl on a covered picnic bench, watching the boats roll by. You can also rent kayaks here if you want to work up an appetite beforehand!

Salt Spring Island Cheese – If you love cheese, look no further. Their farm store offers an incredible selection of crafted goat cheeses, and the on-site cafe serves delicious pizzas, soups and salads topped with – you guessed it – cheese.

Salt Spring Island Ales – I had such a great afternoon sampling these locally-brewed ales. The outdoor patio is gorgeous and the staff are super friendly and knowledgeable. Definitely head here for a drink or two!

trips from vancouver

Distance from Vancouver : 70 minutes / 63 miles

Getting There: Take Highway 1 east all the way to Chilliwack.

Chilliwack attracts thousands of visitors each year for its idyllic surroundings, agricultural farmsteads, and multitude of cultural activities. It has all of the benefits of a big city yet is seated in the beautiful wetlands of the Fraser River Valley. It is so accessible from Vancouver and has something to suit outdoor enthusiasts, families, and culture-lovers alike.

Farms and Flowers, Everywhere!

trips from vancouver

There are a huge number of farms offering tours, stores, tasting sessions, on-site breweries… this region is quite famous for farm-hopping! I’d recommend reading up on the self-guided Circle Farm Tour in advance of your trip. 

If you travel in spring or summer, you must stop in at the world-famous flower festivals. In spring, the Chilliwack Tulip Festival lines over 6.5 million tulip bulbs in the most ornate, colorful rows you’ve likely ever laid eyes on.

In late summer, the same farm hosts the Chilliwack Sunflower Festival where fields of golden sunflowers dance in the summer breeze. The festivals promote harmonious living with the natural world and have welcomed thousands of visitors from all around the globe. 

Discover First Nations Art and Culture

Chilliwack lies on the historic territory of the Stó:lō First Nation, and there are so many places in the city to explore this timeless past. There are a number of guided tours via bus, water, and on foot offered by Stó:lō Cultural Tours , and countless murals around the city depicting Stó:lō stories and artwork.

In fact, the city’s tourism board has put together this neat interactive map , showing the locations of the many downtown murals, for a self-guided walking tour.

Cultus Lake Provincial Park

trips from vancouver

The large district of Chilliwack encompasses many awesome outdoor spots. The Cultus Lake area is a fantastic day out, with many opportunities for awesome hikes, relaxing rambles, and plenty of activities for kids.

The Cultus Lake Water Park & Theme Park is a must-do for families (and for big kids, too) with state-of-the-art attractions, a huge splash zone, and loads of great places to eat. Teapot Hill is a fantastic, short hike and is famous for the various teapots that people leave at different parts of the trail – bizarre, but it has become a real hit, especially with the little ones. 

Stop off at Beethoven’s Pizza or Frosty’s Ice Cream before you head back – you’ve earned an indulgence!

Eating and Drinking in Chilliwack

Downtown Chilliwack is home to so many great places to grab some food and drink. I can’t possibly list them all but here are some personal favorites:

Bricklayer Brewing – One of the many excellent breweries in Chilliwack. I loved this place for its friendly hosts, Kris and Megan, who love what they do, and the great selection of refreshing IPAs, sours, and lagers. I also opted for a soft-baked pretzel as an accompaniment and oh my, it did not disappoint.

Anita’s Bread and Coffee – I came back to Anita’s twice more after my first visit, her fresh bread is so freaking delicious! She uses organic grains and has recently opened up the space as a little cafe, with excellent coffee and pastries to sample.

Pho Galaxy – Some of the best Vietnamese food I’ve ever had! This is a cozy, humble spot for lunch or dinner and, in my opinion, is one of Chilliwack’s best-kept secrets. The menu is surprisingly affordable given how delicious the food is.

Bellingham, WA

trips from vancouver

Distance from Vancouver : 90 minutes (depending on border crossing times) / 55 miles

Getting There : Take Highway 99 all the way south to the CAN – US border at the Peace Arch. From there, take the I5 south until you reach Bellingham. Don’t forget your passports!

Bellingham, Washington is a beautiful city and rated as one of the best places to live on the west coast. There are hundreds of cafes, restaurants, bars, bookstores, and shopping streets to service its student and young adult population.

It is also nestled in between the coast and North Cascades National Park , meaning that the great outdoors is never far away! It’s a fun day trip from Vancouver and easily accessible by car.

Explore Historic Fairhaven

Fairhaven is my favorite place in Bellingham, right on the southern limits of the city. It borders the ocean and is home to many Victorian Era red-brick houses, old phone booths, vintage lamp posts, and cobbled streets.

It’s a joy to wander around, perusing the local art galleries and chintzy cafes. Don’t miss the independent Eclipse Bookstore for shelves (and stairs) lined with an insurmountable selection of books. You could spend all day perusing in there!

Visit Whatcom Falls Park and Lake

trips from vancouver

Just east of downtown lies a gorgeous 240-acre stretch of green: Whatcom Falls Park . There is a network of easy trails which lead you past the park’s four waterfalls over five miles, and a 100-year old railway trestle bridge deep in the park. The iconic stone bridge over the main falls is a must-see: a fairytale sandstone bridge draped in moss and ferns, as the waters of Whatcom Creek rush beneath your feet.

Road Trip Down Chuckanut Drive

Wind down the windows, crank up the tunes and head south out of Bellingham down famous Chuckanut Drive (Highway 11). This stretch of the coast is often referred to as Washington State’s Big Sur , and makes for a truly stunning and scenic drive. Look out over the San Juan Islands or stop in for a walk at Larrabee State Park .

trips from vancouver

Eating and Drinking in Bellingham

Woods Coffee – I love this particular coffee shop mainly for its location. It sits in the heart of Boulevard Park, which spans the length of downtown Bellingham along the waterfront. A mid-morning hit of caffeine from Woods is the perfect accompaniment to a delightful stroll by the ocean!

Bellingham Farmers Market – If you’re in town on a Saturday, then don’t miss the Farmers Market at Depot Market Square for a chance to sample some of the best organic produce and ready-to-go meals, while supporting local agriculture and artists.

The Black Cat – Located in Fairhaven District on the third floor of a beautiful old building, this is a light, modern American bistro with a mouth-watering range of food and a full bar. Best crab cakes I’ve ever eaten!

Other Great Day Trips in British Columbia

As if that’s not enough, here are six other day trips that would make for an exceptional day outside of the city. 

Lynn Canyon Park

trips from vancouver

Lynn Canyon Park is a great day trip for outdoor lovers, with many forested trails and a teetering suspension bridge which hangs 160 feet over the river below. There is an on-site ecology center which is a great learning resource for kids and adults alike.

The trails and bridge are typically less busier than the famous Capilano Suspension Bridge Park (info here ), and is still only nine miles / 25 minutes from Vancouver.

trips from vancouver

Victoria is BC’s capital city and my personal favorite city in Canada. Home to the world-famous Butchart Gardens ; countless city parks and waterfront walkways; and a host of boutiques, cafes and restaurants along its charming streets.

It is a little far for a day trip by car and ferry , but why not take a floatplane and travel in style, for something a little different? See the impressive coastline and mountains from the air! Harbor Air offers special day-trip prices and you can be in Victoria in just over 30 minutes.

Point Roberts

trips from vancouver

If you take a look at the western 49 th parallel you’ll notice something a little odd just south of Vancouver.

Point Roberts – affectionately named “Point Bob” – is a little chunk of land belonging to Washington State, US, but it can only be accessed through Canada – oops! It’s a hugely popular spot for boating and fishing in the summertime, and the Lighthouse Marine Park is a gorgeous spot for a stroll or bike along the seafront, looking out to the Gulf Islands and San Juan Islands beyond.

If nothing else, it’s fun to be able to point at a map and say “I’ve been there!”. It is a short 60 minutes /  23 miles from Vancouver.

Grouse Mountain

trips from vancouver

Grouse Mountain is Vancouver’s neighborhood mountaintop and is a great destination for skiing in the wintertime or hiking in the summer and shoulder seasons. It is only 30 minutes / eight miles from downtown Vancouver and has all the amenities you need for a day out.

The famous Grouse Grind trail leads you 2,800 feet up 2,830 stairs to the peak – phew! Or you can take the Skyride to the top if you don’t feel like attempting the grind. There is also a wildlife sanctuary and the knowledgeable park rangers give regular talks, and you’ll have the chance to meet the resident grizzly bears and other rescued wildlife.

Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park

trips from vancouver

Bridal Veil Falls is another of BC’s stunning waterfalls and the park offers some beautiful forested trails and babbling creeks. The trails are flat, smooth, and gently sloping – perfect for an easy afternoon stroll.

The walk to the falls is only 15 minutes, and the sound of the water cascading down the rock-face is spectacular! This makes an excellent stopping point if you are already out east visiting Chilliwack or Cultus Lake, and is only 80 minutes / 72 miles from downtown Vancouver.

Harrison Hot Springs

trips from vancouver

This resort town is famous for its natural hot springs, and the whole of the Harrison Valley is an outdoor paradise to explore. Take a dip at the lakeside Harrison Lagoon, or stroll along the sandy shores of Harrison Lake.

Golf, hiking, fishing, boating – this little town is the gateway to it all! At a little over 90 minutes / 81 miles from downtown Vancouver, it is perfectly doable from the big city in a day.

More to Explore in British Columbia

Want to explore the best that British Columbia has to offer? We’ve got plenty of detailed travel guides to help you explore!

Vancouver BC Travel Guides:

  • 14 Incredible Day Trips from Vancouver, B.C.
  • 15 Unbelievable Hikes near Vancouver, B.C. (Hiking Guide)

Vancouver Island Travel Guides

  • Exactly How to Plan an Incredible Vancouver Island Road Trip

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Suzie is an avid hiker, backpacker, and self-confessed outdoor nerd. Her love of whales and trails brought her to BC four years ago and, since then, she's been exploring the wild west coast for all the splendor it has to offer.

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Fraser Canyon Route with Thompson River, British Colombia, Canada

17 Best Road Trips From Vancouver

If you live in Vancouver and want to get out of the city or if you're just visiting and want to see some of the amazing nature around British Columbia, there are a number of amazing road trips you can take.

Sat right at the southwestern corner of Canada, Vancouver is close to some of the country's prettiest islands and you can drive further into Canada along picturesque roads twisting and winding through deep mountain valleys. The United States is right nearby as well with some great places you can drive to from Vancouver.

Featuring whale watching, mountain towns and Canada's finest hospitality, here is our list of the 17 best road trips from Vancouver.

Best road trips from Vancouver from city breaks and scenic drives to National Parks, mountain trips and amazing scenery

1. Bowen Island, BC

30 km from Vancouver (1 hour 20 minutes)

When to go: June to September for the warm sunny days

Bowen Island Pacific North West Landscape and Waterscape

Vancouver has amazing parks dotted throughout the city with few cities boasting something like Stanley Park overlooking the Lions Gate Bridge. For those that want to get out a little further from the city and get more into nature, there's Bowen Island - the closest of the major islands in the area and only just over an hour away.

It will take you about half an hour, traffic permitting, to get from Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay. From there, you need to get onboard a ferry and once it sets off, it takes around 20 minutes to get to Bowen Island.

You can take your car or walk onto the ferry. The car costs an extra $30 but it will mean you can get about the island more easily.

Sure - the whole point of going is the hiking, sightseeing and generally exploring the outdoors, but it's around 9 km from the ferry to Bowen Bay on the opposite side of the island and 11 km to Seymour Landing if you want to get everywhere in a day.

There are two places you can hike up to get great views - Dorman Point is in Critten Park, right by the ferry terminal and Mount Gardner in the middle of the island. The trek up Mount Gardner will take several hours depending on where you start (around 5 hours ferry to ferry) so make sure you allow plenty of time to go up and down. From the top, you get great views north over Howe Sound and the Sunshine Coast and a 360 view from the top that lets you see as far as Vancouver.

Killarney Lake on the way up to Mount Gardner is a great stop and if you don't want to climb to the top, you can hike around the lake instead. Also make sure you visit some of the beaches around the island - the Cape on the opposite end of the island is amazing.

There is the small Cape Roger Curtis Lighthouse sitting on rocks stretching out into the sea and Pebbly beach is great for sitting around, throwing pebbles into the water as the sun sets - there are a lot of pebbles!

2. Squamish, BC

64 km from Vancouver (1 hour)

When to go: Summer for the outdoors activities or winter for skiing and the bald eagles

Green forest during a sunny summer evening in Squamish, Vancouver

The residents of Squamish have called their town the Adventure Capital of Canada to make it pretty clear what you may encounter when you get there.

Getting to Squamish is easy - get onto Highway 99 heading north (same route as for Bowen Island above) and follow Howe Sound up until you hit the city of Squamish at the Squamish River's mouth. Highway 99 is the route that connects Vancouver with a lot of amazing road trip destinations on our list including Whistler although the Trans-Canada Highway is the faster route for destinations further than Pavilion.

Once you get there, the outdoors is the main attraction and there is a huge number of different things to do be it summer or winter. There's hiking, mountain biking, dirt biking, horseback riding and climbing. Then you can try kayaking, kite boarding, windsurfing and swimming - the Squamish Spit in the River Squamish's estuary is a perfect place for water sports.

In the winter, you can do everything from going on a snowmobile to skiing, cross-country skiing or exploring the area on snowshoes!

And that's not all!

One thing Squamish is well known for its huge population of resident bald eagles. The bald eagles come to the area between November and February because of its unique climate and the large number of salmon making its way up the river to spawn. If you come around Christmas time, you can easily see dozens of these birds in an hour with thousands coming from across North America to the small area.

Don't miss out on the Sea to Sky Gondola offering unbelievable views from the top and the opportunity to walk over a suspension bridge above the treetops. It's only open from spring to fall, so you won't be able to go up during the winter months.

3. Pemberton, BC

153 km from Vancouver (2 hours 20 minutes)

When to go: Great all year round - late summer for the u-pick farms

Lumpy's trail, Pemberton, British Columbia, Canada

The sleepy village of Pemberton sits at the intersection of three valleys in the Coast Mountains range, north of Vancouver. Surrounded by snowy peaks throughout the year, Pemberton will make you feel relaxed and in tune with your younger self as you unwind here.

We've got Pemberton down as a day road trip, but you can certainly come and spend a weekend or longer if you have the time. Further along Highway 99 than Whistler, it is the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of Vancouver.

The town oozes charm with many of the buildings dating back to the 19th century. Set between Pemberton Creek and Lillooet River, there are waterways all around Pemberton adding to the picture-perfect look.

The town sits in the heart of the Lil'wat First Nation that predates the settlement by thousands of years. The next town down the valley is Mount Currie and the Mount Currie Indian Reserve. You will see the peak of the mountain from everywhere in the valley and the Lil'wat consider it a holy site.

The valleys surrounding Pemberton are perfect for spending time outdoors in a relaxed way. In the summer, you can pick berries at local farms, go rafting along the river and explore the mountains on foot, mountain bike or horseback. In the winter, you can try out cross country skiing or taking out a snowmobile. Plus Whistler's ski slopes are only half an hour away.

4. Golden Ears Provincial Park, BC

64 km from Vancouver (1 hour 10 minutes)

When to go: Summer to enjoy the lake and make the most of the hiking

Forest at Golden Ears Provincial Park, British Columbia

The Golden Ears Provincial Park sits along both banks of Alouette Lake. At only an hour's drive from Vancouver, it is very popular as a weekend getaway for those who live in the city.

If you're only going for a day, try to get there early to make sure you can find parking easily. If you're wanting to come for the weekend and camp, make sure you book in advance - the more popular weekends can get booked up very early so plan ahead.

Alongside the hiking, horse riding trails and mountain biking, you should check out the WildPlay Elements Park - there's zip lines and a series of treetop adventure routes where you can climb with a view. It's family friendly and there is a lot to keep the kids entertained.

Despite being so close to Vancouver, you won't have any cell reception and will feel in complete wilderness almost as soon as you enter the park. If you're feeling adventurous, the hike up to the Golden Ears summit is worth it for the amazing views all around. You'll need to make sure you bring the right gear - snow can be heavy at the top even in the summer!

Some say that swimming in Alouette Lake is a good way to spend the day. If that's what you want to do, you better like swimming in cold water, but it certainly will feel refreshing. If you want to spend time on the lake without freezing, you can do everything from canoeing to fishing, but make sure you get your BC fishing licence first.

5. Highway 7 to Hope and Fraser Valley

156 km from Vancouver (2 hours 20 minutes)

When to go: May to September for the weather and when attractions are open

Fraser Valley at foggy sunrise, British Columbia, Canada

You might be seeing a bit of a trend here and that is no accident - road trips out of Vancouver tend to involve the outdoors as this is what British Columbia is all about and the trip up Fraser Valley to hope is no different.

When setting off for Hope, don't follow the faster route taking you along Highway 1 that runs south of Fraser River. Instead pick the incredibly scenic Lougheed Highway, also known as Scenic 7 that runs along the north bank the entire way.

Although the route to Hope won't take you long, there are still great places to stop along the way - Maple Ridge and Mission are two beautiful towns in the first half of the drive or you can stop in Harrison Hot Springs or Agassiz in the District of Kent further along. I live in the original Kent, back in the UK and this one certainly has a more scenic mountain top backdrop!

Hope itself is a town where a few canyons and valleys meet. As a result, there is a lot to do here - plenty for a weekend or even longer if you have more time on your hands.

The Othello Tunnels are one of the best attractions in Hope - these old railway tunnels cut into the mountain rock used to form part of a longer railway network, but were closed in 1959. Today you can walk 4 of these tunnels leading you through the Coquihalla Canyon and the Provincial Park. Bring a picnic with you to have for lunch!

Other canyons offer more hiking opportunities from short walks through the Fraser Canyon to the 74 km trail across the Cascade Mountains to Otter Lake if you are up for a challenge.

6. Whistler, BC

121 km from Vancouver (1 hour 40 minutes)

When to go: All year round but January and February will offer the best snow for skiing

Whistler village in British Columbia

Most people know Whistler as one of North America's best ski resorts. The Whistler Blackcomb resort is hugely popular with the locals and across Canada and the United States.

The two mountains of Whistler and Blackcomb are connected by one of the most stunning gondola lifts in the world - it holds the record for being the highest above ground at 436 metres and until recently held the record for the longest span between supports at over 3 km!

The ski resort was taken over by Vail Resorts in 2016 to add to their huge portfolio that includes Heavenly on Lake Tahoe, Beaver Creek and Vail in Colorado. This has pushed the prices up and you may notice the resort is more commercial than it once used to be, but the beautiful scenery and large ski area is still worth it.

Be wary that as the resort is at low altitude and so close to the Pacific, wet snow and rain are commonplace and peak season is not as long as other ski areas.

Summer is also a good time to visit Whistler - you can enjoy the fresh mountain air and try out everything from white water rafting to rock climbing and zip lining.

As you drive up from Vancouver to Whistler, remember that the village is pedestrian only so you'll have to park your car and continue on foot. That is actually a great thing as the après ski is as good in the summer as it is in the winter and there are a lot of places to stop for a drink or a snack.

7. Fraser Canyon from Hope to Lytton

260 km from Vancouver (3 hours 20 minutes)

When to go: Fall is particularly beautiful with the different shades of leaves

Fraser Canyon Route with Thompson River, British Colombia, Canada

If you're limited for time, a road trip from Vancouver to Hope is a good place to start (see #5 above). If you keep going past Hope, however, the Fraser Canyon that stretches 84 km all the way up to Lytton is a perfect way to extend your drive.

The actual drive through the canyon is around 109 km, following Highway 1 which used to be the main route from Vancouver into inland British Columbia. Now traffic tends to follow the Coquihalla in the next valley to the east, so this scenic road is considerably less busy.

As you make your way up, the road will begin twisting and turning through the canyon as it gets narrower. As you go through the tunnels, make sure you find places to stop to admire the views and the towns you pass through. There are some amazing iron railway bridges that are no longer in use and a unique aerial ferry in Boston Bar.

The aerial ferry used to transport one car at a time between Boston Bar and North Bend on opposite sides of the Fraser River until a bridge was built in 1986. You can still see the original gondola construction in Frances Harrington Park.

Thompson River north of Lytton

Every now and then there are roads that veer off Highway 1 and climb up the mountains either side of the valley. You can get some really great views and see the mountains up close, but take care to read the warning signs - the locals are not in the habit of exaggerating and a lot of the roads are only accessible by serious off-road vehicles.

8. Seattle, Washington

231 km from Vancouver (2 hours 30 minutes)

When to go: All year round

The futuristic Space Needle dominates the Seattle skyline on a cloudy day

Seattle is the first of a few options on our list that involve crossing the border south to the United States. If you're renting a car, double check the terms and conditions allow you to drive across the border - most will be fine with that but be prepared to wait at the border depending on the time you're turning up.

The biggest city in the Pacific Northwest is only around two and a half hours' drive from Vancouver and it's well worth it to spend the weekend seeing the sights.

Make sure you plan your trip well in advance - Seattle can get very busy, especially during the summer and hotel rooms that are already very expensive may also become hard to find.

Stay somewhere central as getting into the city can take a lot of time - you can get about the city easily from your hotel and many of the major sights are only a walk away.

The key things to see are the infamous Space Needle tower and the Pink Place Market. After those, there are amazing museums, parks, galleries and coffee shops you can go see (Seattle loves its coffee and is where the Starbucks chain was famously founded).

If you're visiting a few of the museums in the city, get the Seattle City Pass which will save a lot of money on admissions. Also check out the monorail that runs between the Space Needle and the Westlake Center. It takes about 2 minutes and costs $3 but it's absolutely worth it for the experience and the views of the city!

9. San Juan Islands, Washington

187 km from Vancouver (4 hours)

When to go: June to September to make the most of the warmer months

Mount Baker from the San Juan Islands, British Columbia, Canada

The San Juan Islands are an archipelago of islands in the Salish Sea that connects Vancouver and Seattle.

Just south of the border, the islands are part of Washington State. There are 128 named islands, 44 named reefs and rocks and another 250 or so rocks in the area. Only four of the islands are accessible - if you try looking up directions to the islands, Google might well suggest swimming as the best option.

The four islands you can get to are San Juan Island, Orcas Island, Lopez Island and Shaw Island and the ferries take people and cars - the price for a car with a single passenger currently ranges between $35.90 and $70.90 for a return trip depending on the season and which of the islands you're going to. Each additional person in the car will add $14 (discounts available for youth and seniors).

Note that if your vehicle is over 22 feet (6.7 m) long, the prices go up a lot - I don't know any generally available cars that would be longer including the largest pickup trucks money can buy, but you'll pay the price if you bring an RV!

The San Juan Island Scenic Byway is a 20-mile route that runs from Friday Harbor and passes through the pretty hills and valleys in the north of the island including vineyards, the 19th century Roche Harbor Resort and the English Camp National Historic Park where you can learn about the island's history during the joint occupation by British and U.S. forces from 1859 to 1872.

Orca whale breaches from the water in San Juan Islands, Washington State

San Juan islands are also known as the best place in the world to see Orca whales in the wild. The orcas live here all year round and while sightings can never be guaranteed, you have a pretty decent chance if you go on one of the specialist boat tours.

Alongside the orcas, you could see the larger humpback, minke or even gray whales depending on the season and your luck.

10. Explore Vancouver Island

650 km round trip from Vancouver (14 hours)

When to go: Weather is great all year round - spring and fall are mild and less busy

Killer whales at Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

To get to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island from Vancouver, you have two options - the ferry from Horseshoe Bay, north of the city or one from Tsawwassen to the south.

The Horseshoe Bay option is faster, taking around 90 minutes rather than 2 hours and is a more scenic route. Plus you arrive straight into Nanaimo rather than the much more industrial Duke Point.

Horseshoe Bay is closer, but you have to navigate Highway 1 and Lions Gate Bridge traffic so the choice really depends on where you're driving from and what time of day you're going.

One alternative route is to go from Tsawassen straight to Swartz Bay - if you're visiting Victoria this is the most direct route and you can come back from Nanaimo after doing a round trip.

Vancouver Island is huge. Given the ferry will easily take you 4 hours including getting to it and waiting time, the more time you have, the more you will enjoy your trip.

The one must stop is Victoria on the southern tip of the island. The capital of British Columbia is a historic city with a beautiful Old Town and some stunning buildings.

You can go on a free tour of the British Columbia Parliament buildings, see inside the grandiose Fairmont Empress Hotel and visit the quirky floating shops in Fisherman's Wharf.

If you follow the road around the island, you'll come to the Sheringham Point Lighthouse and a series of different National, Provincial and Regional Parks.

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve might just be the pick of the bunch - make sure you stop by Fairy Lake on your way. The West Coast Trail that runs along the coast offers some really spectacular views.

The northern part of the island is more wild with parks and mountains throughout, split up by sounds (narrow inlets of water from the Pacific Ocean). It's certainly beautiful, but we'd leave it out of the itinerary unless you're going for more than 10 days.

Cape Scott Provincial Park at the northern tip of the island is 450 km north of Nanaimo and will take you the best part of 6 hours to drive one way!

11. Kelowna on the Okanagan Lake

390 km from Vancouver (4 hours)

When to go: June to September for the warm summers

Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, on the Okanagan lake

The town of Kelowna sits on the Okanagan Lake and is surrounded by some of Canada's prettiest scenery. The foothills of the Cascade mountains are on one bank and the Rockies on the other give an amazing backdrop to a really pretty town where you can really get away from it all.

The best reason to go to Kelowna is for Okanagan Valley wines. Not well known outside Canada, the wide valley is sometimes called the Napa of the North.

There are dozens of wineries up and down the valley and in surrounding areas and many will offer tours and wine tasting if you want to try the local produce (and try you must - you may well find yourself pleasantly surprised by the quality).

With the climate being in some ways similar to Piedmont and other north Italian or Alpine French regions, the local wine industry has used some of those learnings, but virtually every grape variety is grown here. We'd recommend trying a Cabernet Franc or Merlot - these varieties have done well over centuries in the Italian Dolomites and work very well with the local climate.

Other than wine, there is a whole range of outdoor activities for the whole family to enjoy. You can go out on a canoe on Okanagan Lake - time it well and you can see the sun rise or fall behind the mountains from the water.

A 45 minute drive south of Kelowna is the Kettle Valley Railway - this rail track was finally abandoned in the 1980s and runs all the way from Hope to Castlegar (that is a seriously long way). The disused rail track has been converted into a trail that you can explore on foot or, even better, on bike.

The Okanagan Valley is a perfect way to relax and take time out of your busy schedule. If you want a few days to yourself, a road trip from Vancouver to Kelowna should be on your radar!

12. Cascade Mountains and Leavenworth, Washington

345 km from Vancouver (4 hours)

When to go: Plenty to do whenever you choose to go

Snow lake, Enchantment lakes, Leavenworth. Seattle, Washington

The Cascade Mountains run from northern California all the way to Fraser Valley just outside Vancouver.

One of the best parts of the mountain range is the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in the U.S. Washington State.

Getting here is relatively straight forward - cross into the U.S. through the Peace Arch crossing and head south along the I-5 until you get to Everett. From there, take Route 2 towards the National Forest and you'll eventually make it to Leavenworth.

The terrain is great for hiking - there are forested valleys, lakes and caves and trails that can be explored on foot in the summer or snowmobile in the winter months.

Christmas lights decorate the Bavarian village of Leavenworth in Washington State

The town of Leavenworth is worth spending some time in. Everything here from the buildings to the buses and horse carriages (yes - horse carriages) look distinctly Bavarian.

There is a museum dedicated to the Nutcracker and festivals almost all year round, some of which are not dedicated to beer.

If you stay in Leavenworth, you can easily venture out for the various outdoor activities. In the winter, the fantastic ski resorts of Stevens Pass and Mission Ridge are 45 minutes away (in opposite directions).

13. Cannon Beach, Oregon

560 km from Vancouver (7 hours)

When to go: July to September to avoid the cool fog that comes in early summer

Haystack Rock and its reflection on the water in Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach on Oregon's Pacific Coast is one of the most iconic in the United States - the giant boulders and rock formations sitting just off the coast make for amazing views with very few places in the world being able to match this unique landscape.

Haystack Rocks is the biggest and most famous of the lot - according to the locals it is the third biggest monolith in the world. It sits alongside the Needles just off the beach and is home to a lot of wildlife including different crab and mollusk varieties.

Cannon Beach is the most famous, but not the only place in the local area you have to explore. The rock formations continue as you head further north to the Ecola State Park - you can drive but it's not far to walk along the two trails that run along the coastline.

You will pass the Sea Lion Rocks and Bird Rocks - you may be able to guess what you might find there! Crescent Beach and Indian Beach are home to a number of lagoons and some secret beaches which only reveal themselves at low tide.

Towards the end of the Cannon Beach Trail, at Hikers Camp, you will be rewarded with views over the Pacific Ocean and the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse which has been abandoned since 1951 due to the difficulty of getting to the rock to maintain it.

The town of Cannon Beach has a relaxed vibe and a well known arts scene - there are a few different art galleries and shops you can stop by to see the best of local artists' work.

With more seaside towns nearby and parks along the coast (Oswald West State Park a few minutes south of Cannon Beach) or inland (the climb up Saddle Mountain is worth it), if you have a week to spare and want to relax to the sound of ocean waves, a road trip from Vancouver down to Cannon Beach is highly recommended.

Please check our comprehensive guide out to learn more:

READ MORE - Our Guide to Cannon Beach

14. Portland, Oregon

510 km from Vancouver (6 hours)

When to go: Portland is great to visit all year round

The skyline of Portland, Oregon, at sunrise with Mt Hood on the horizon

80 miles inland from Cannon Beach is the city of Portland. If you have time on your hands, combining the two into one trip can be a great idea to mix the seaside relaxation with a vibrant city break.

After the long drive to Portland from Vancouver, the best thing to do is find a place to park your car for the duration of your stay. Getting around the city is far easier, quicker and more enjoyable using public transport of on one of the Biketown bikes. There are bike lanes everywhere you look and the public transport system is one of the best in the states making driving around a pretty pointless exercise.

Over the last 20 years Portland has built a bit of a reputation for being a foodie town. There are amazing local restaurants with everything from Vietnamese chicken wings (you have to try them!) to the doughnuts that Portland is so famous for.

You probably have heard about the reputation of Portland's breweries. There are over 100 of them within the city limits, so a brewery tour is a perfect way to spend an evening. Try some of the smaller local breweries instead of heading for the big names - the beers are crafted with more love and you can find some real gems.

One of the best things to do in the City of Roses is to visit the amazing parks you can find throughout the city. There is a Japanese Garden and the Lan Su Chinese Garden as well as the world's smallest park according to the Guinness Book of Records - Mill Ends Park that measures 2 feet in diameter and can be found in the middle of Naito Parkway.

15. Nelson, British Columbia

660 km from Vancouver (7 hours 30 minutes)

When to go: June to September to make the most of the outdoors

Nelson Island, Sunshine Coast, British Colombia, Canada

As we get into the realm of some longer road trips from Vancouver, there will be a popular question along the lines of "Why don't you just fly?".

Spending 8 hours on the road is not for everyone and there are daily flights from Vancouver to Castlegar which is only 30 minutes' drive from Nelson. But flying always misses out on the one thing that makes these trips so memorable and unique - the getting there is sometimes as important as the place you're visiting.

The road trip to Nelson from Vancouver takes you along Crowsnest Highway (Highway 3) as it snakes its way near the border with the United States. The road follows rivers running through valleys, conifer forests and has some amazing views as you climb into the mountains.

Be careful if you're attempting to make this drive in the middle of winter - although Canadian roads are amazingly looked after, snow and ice can make the drive more treacherous and add hours onto your journey. Roads including major routes can be closed with no warning with limited alternative routes available.

There are dozens of places to stop along the route if you want to break up the journey. Although you should easily do it in a day, you can explore nature at EC Manning and Bromley Provincial Parks where, if you're lucky you can meet a local marmot (a type of prairie dog).

The towns of Hedley and Keremeos are about halfway and are good overnight stop points with a rich mining history to explore in the former and endless fruit stands in the latter.

Once you're in Nelson it's all about the outdoors and exploring things to do up and down Kootenay Lake. One of the best known attractions is the Ainsworth Hot Springs. The naturally hot water attracts a lot of visitors, so if you can, try to get here early or stay at the resort for morning access before it opens to the public.

To make it easier getting around, there is a free ferry that goes between Balfour and Kootenay Bay that takes half an hour, but makes the east side of the lake very accessible.

16. Canadian Rockies Tour

2,400 km round trip from Vancouver (You'll want at least 2 weeks)

When to go: Go in the summer when roads are accessible and the driving is easier (although we've driven around in February!)

Trail in the Canadian Rockies, British Colombia, Canada

This is a definite joker in our pack of the best road trips from Vancouver - exploring the Rockies starting and finishing in Vancouver is a mighty road trip through the mountains, but it might just be one of the best road trips you will ever take.

If you're renting a car, you always have the option of going one way and then dropping it off in Calgary before flying back to Vancouver. The route here is a little more flexible and while we have driven large parts of this route, I've never done the entire thing in one go!

There are 4 major National Parks that you must travel through as you make your way around the Rockies: Banff, Yoho, Kootenay and Jasper. The first three are all relatively close together with Jasper National Park being further north.

Whether you're going in the summer or winter, start with the central part of the Rockies - Kicking Horse, Banff and Canmore are all great towns to explore for different reasons. Plus there's the famous Lake Louise in the middle which is striking - you can walk on it in the winter too!

Driving up to Jasper follows the most scenic driving road on this list - the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93). It runs all the way from Lake Louise to Jasper, passing through valleys and the impossibly blue Peyto Lake. There are loads of places to stop for a drink, a quick photo opportunity or to take a detour to a fast flowing river flowing through a canyon.

The quickest way back is to follow Highway 5 all the way into Vancouver although if you don't want to come back the same way, you can head west along Highway 99, making your way past Pemberton and Whistler instead.

17. Drive up to Barkerville, British Columbia

800 km from Vancouver (9 hours)

When to go: Summer is better to explore the town, but you can visit all year round if the roads are passable!

Horses in historic town of Barkerville, British Columbia, Canada

Barkerville is a long drive north from Vancouver and while it is an amazing place to visit, you should definitely make it part of a wider trip instead of heading for Barkerville and then trekking right back.

You can add stops in Whistler, Pemberton or one of the Provincial Parks in the lakes that surround Highway 97. Alternatively, add in Jasper and as much of the Rockies as you can to your itinerary if time allows.

Barkerville became a prominent Gold Rush mining town in 1862 and as the rush moved on was declared a National Historic Site as early as 1924.

Today Barkerville is the largest authentic heritage town in North America where everything has been left as it was in the 19th century mining town. The buildings, shops and even the people will make you feel immersed into the historic town and even the food is themed in the restaurants.

You can get a ride on one of the stagecoaches, see different professions in action in over 130 historic buildings and even have a go at mining your own gold - there is plenty to do for all ages making it a great family experience.

With the Cariboo Mountains forming a backdrop to Barkerville and other sights up and down the Okanagan valley, this is a quirky choice for your road trip from Vancouver - make sure you bring snacks and think of games to play along the way - distances become larger the further north you go in British Columbia and it can easily take an hour to hop to the next town up the road!

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21 Best Day Trips from Vancouver, British Columbia in 2024

Written By: ThePlanetD Team

Updated On: January 5, 2024

Looking for some easy day trips from Vancouver to escape the city? Vancouver, British Columbia is nestled between the mountains and ocean and it’s a gateway to an incredible array of day trip destinations. From island escapes to thrilling outdoor adventures, British Columbia’s backyard is your playground, offering something for everyone. Ready to embark on a journey that will create lasting memories? Let’s dive into our top 21 favorite day trips from Vancouver and discover the remarkable experiences that await you!

Table of Contents

Best Day Trips From Vancouver

best day trips from Vancouver Canada

Dave and I lived in Vancouver for 3 years and have been back to visit again and again. We have traveled all over the province and hope that we can inspire you once you’ve enjoyed all the best things to do in Vancouver to make your way out to see the incredible BC countryside. Whether you’re a local looking to explore more of your own backyard or a visitor seeking unique experiences outside the city, these day trips from Vancouver offer a diverse range of activities.

Getting Around Vancouver

best vancouver day trips getting around

Most day trips from Vancouver require a car. British Columbia is a drivable province so we recommend renting a car when you land at the Vancouver airport. You can compare car rental prices at RentalCars.com

To explore more of Vancouver,  check out these best Toronto day tours  from Vancouver.

1. Whistler Adventure: Skiing, Hiking, and Shopping

best day trips from vancouver whistler in winter

Whistler is one of the best places in the world to ski but not only is it a winter wonderland, it is also a world-renowned four-season resort town. Located about 120 km from Vancouver, Whistler features more than 8,000 acres of terrain across Whistler and Blackcomb Resorts.

The picturesque drive to Whistler along the Sea to Sky Highway is worth the day trip unto itself. The drive is short but with so many stops from magnificent waterfalls, the outdoorsy town of Squamish, and breathtaking views of Howe Sound and the coastal mountains you could spend an entire day and still not see it all. Read more: Vancouver to Whistler – Best of the Sea to Sky Highway

  • 121 km from Vancouver
  • If you don’t have a car, book this Sea to Sky Highway and Whistler Day Trip from Vancouver. Details here.

Whistler in Summer

best day trips from vancouver sea to sky highway video

Whistler is renowned for its winter activities from skiing and snowboarding, but it also offers fantastic hiking trails and shopping opportunities during the summer months. Plus, you’ll definitely want to hike out to the Trainwreck Trail to see the graffiti-covered train cars or take a bear tour to see the wildlife of Whistler. Not to mention, the town is home to vegan-friendly cafes and restaurants, perfect for refueling after a day of outdoor fun. For a bucket list experience, book this Vancouver to Whistler float plane experience.

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or simply seeking a scenic escape, Whistler is one of the most versatile day trips from Vancouver. Read more: 30 Awesome Things to Do in Whistler, BC

2. Squamish: The Outdoor Enthusiast’s Paradise

best day trips from Vancouver squamish

Located along the Sea to Sky Highway, Squamish is often overlooked for Whistler but this town is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts offering a smorgasbord of thrilling activities. Squamish has earned the nickname “the outdoor recreation capital of Canada,” and for good reason. It is a playground for rock-climbing aficionados with its world-class climbing spots including the Squamish Chief and windsurfing enthusiasts will be thrilled by the waves.

Mountain biking junkies will get their adrenaline rush. And hikers will find trails with breathtaking views of Howe Sound and the Coast Mountains. And the best part? It’s just a short drive from downtown Vancouver. Squamish is super accessible and has something for everyone. Read more: Amazing Things to Do in Squamish BC

  • 1 hour from Vancouver
  • Book this Gondola Tour to Squamish that takes you along the Sea to Sky Highway to explore Vancouver and sights along the most scenic drive in British Columbia.

3. Sea to Sky Gondola

Best Day Trips From Vancouver Sea to Sky Gondola

You don’t need to go into Squamish to have a fun day trip from Vancouver, embark on an adventure for a day at the Sea to Sky Gondola. Also located along the scenic Sea to Sky Highway, this must-visit destination is the perfect addition to your day trip itinerary.

Hop on the gondola and ascend 800 meters above sea level, where you’ll be greeted by multiple viewing decks, a thrilling suspension bridge, and seasonal activities to suit all ages. Whether you’re an avid hiker seeking new trails to conquer or simply looking to soak in the inspiring views, the Sea to Sky Gondola delivers an unforgettable experience.

Make sure to walk across the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge to enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, trust us, you don’t want to miss this!

  • 50 minutes from Vancouver
  • This private Whistler Squamish day tour is a great way to not only see Whistler village, but you’ll also stop at Squamish and Shannon Falls, ride the Sea to Sky Gondola to the top of Stawamus Chief Mount.

Best Day trips from Vancouver Hope Tunnels

When we lived in Vancouver, we never made it to the Othello Tunnels in Hope, British Columbia but luckily we visited again just a couple of summers ago. I can’t believe we didn’t visit sooner! Movie buffs will love this day trip as First Blood, the first installment of Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo series, was shot here.

The Othello Tunnels are a series of tunnels and trestle bridges cutting through the mountains following a deep gorge. This was a feat of engineering as the 5 tunnels were blasted and built-in 1914. It is just a 3.5 km round trip, but completely worth stopping to see. Read more: Best British Columbia Road Trip

  • 2 hours and 30 minutes from Vancouver

5. Harrison Hot Springs: A Soothing Retreat

Best Day Trips From Vancouver Harrison Hot Springs

If you’re seeking relaxation, Harrison Hot Springs is a tranquil oasis in the heart of British Columbia’s Fraser Valley. Located just a 90-minute drive from Vancouver, Harrison Hot Springs boasts rejuvenating hot springs, a picturesque lake, and stunning mountain landscapes.

When you visit this tranquil destination, you’ll be spoiled for choice with a variety of outdoor activities. You can tee off on a lush golf course, explore the scenic trails on a hiking adventure, or get your adrenaline pumping with some mountain biking. If you’re a fan of the water, why not embark on a boat tour or even try your hand at fishing? There’s something for everyone at Harrison Hot Springs.

After a day of adventure on Salt Spring Island, unwind at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa, where you can soak in the spring-fed waters and melt your stress away. It’s the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure, Harrison Hot Springs is an ideal day trip from Vancouver.

  • 2 hours and 15 minutes

6. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park: A Thrilling Experience

day trips from vancouver capilano bridge

Venture to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park located in North Vancouver close to Grouse Mountain’s base, for a fun high adventure. This thrilling attraction offers a unique experience, including a bouncing suspension bridge, a Cliffwalk, and a Treetops Adventure, all set amidst the lush forest landscape.

You’ll traverse across a 450-foot suspension bridge across the Capilano River Canyon where you’ll have the chance to truly connect with nature and enjoy the outdoors. It’s a memorable experience that will leave a lasting impression on you.

  • 15 Minutes from Vancouver
  • This bucket list experience from Vancouver includes a float plane ride and stop at Capilano Bridge.

7. Fort Langley: Step Back in Time

Best Day Trips From Vancouver Fort Langley

Travel through time by visiting Fort Langley, a National Historic Site of Canada, where you can delve into the history of Canada’s Fur Trading history. This old fur trading post of the Hudson Bay Company takes you back in time as you stroll through the old fur trading buildings, and blacksmith demonstrations and you can even pan for gold.

Located along the banks of the Fraser River, in the township of Fort Langly, Fort Langley offers a fascinating glimpse into the past and a truly unforgettable day trip experience.

As you stroll through the historic site, immerse yourself in the stories of the Hudson’s Bay Company fur traders and the early pioneers who called this place home.

8. Bowen Island: A Relaxing Island Getaway

Best Day Trips From Vancouver Bowen Island

Escape the city’s chaos and embark on a journey to Bowen Island, a peaceful retreat just a quick ferry ride away from Horseshoe Bay. Known for its laid-back atmosphere, Bowen Island is the perfect destination to unwind and recharge amidst nature’s beauty.

On Bowen Island, you have a variety of options to choose from. You can hike through lush forests, bike along picturesque trails, kayak in crystal-clear waters, or simply enjoy a leisurely picnic on the beach.

On Bowen Island, you’re spoiled for choice with a ton of cool, nature-focused activities. It’s like a green playground just waiting for you to jump in and have a blast! Soak up the island’s serene surroundings and let your worries sail away on one of our favorite fun day trip options.

  • 1 Hour from Vancouver
  • Book this Vancouver to Bowen Island boat cruise that includes dinner at one of the island’s top restaurants.

9. Steveston: A Historic Fishing Village

Best Day Trips From Vancouver Steveston

Let me tell you about Steveston, a quaint fishing village tucked away in Richmond, BC along the Fraser River. This charming spot is steeped in a rich maritime history that’s palpable as you stroll its streets. It’s home to some of the freshest seafood restaurants you’ll ever come across. And the waterfront strolls? Simply divine. A lively commercial dock area also adds to its appeal, and if you’re lucky, you can even purchase fresh seafood straight from the fishing boats themselves.

Take a leisurely walk along the picturesque boardwalk, explore the historic streets lined with colorful buildings, and indulge in the delicious flavors of the local seafood offerings. Steveston’s unique blend of history and natural beauty makes it a delightful day trip destination, just a short drive from Vancouver.

  • 40 minutes from Vancouver

10. Explore the Sunshine Coast

day trips from vancouver bc sunshine coast

Set off on a scenic coastal journey through the Sunshine Coast, a captivating stretch of coastline from Langdale to Lund, peppered with delightful towns and marinas. Accessible by ferry from Horseshoe Bay, the Sunshine Coast is on the mainland but feels like you have left for an island escape.

Whether you prefer to meander through the quaint towns of Gibsons and see the setting for Canada’s most enduring TV show “The Beachcombers” or to venture to Langdale and explore the marinas and marine parks along the coast, the Sunshine Coast promises a memorable day trip experience.

So pack your bags, hop on a ferry and enjoy the beauty of the Sunshine Coast for a day or two. Read more: Ultimate Things to do on A Sunshine Coast Road Trip

  • 2 1/2 hours from Vancouver including ferry ride.

11. Horseshoe Bay

Best Day Trips From Vancouver Horseshoe Bay

You have most likely heard of Horseshoe Bay. It almost feels like a part of Vancouver. Located just a short drive from Vancouver, this coastal village is located in West Vancouver. Horseshoe Bay is well-known for its ferry terminal, which is always bustling with activity. And let’s not forget about the delightful restaurants that serve some of the most mouth-watering dishes you’ll ever taste.

If you’re a nature lover like us, you’ll appreciate the rocky beach that offers a sense of tranquility and peace. Plus, the closeness to surrounding parks makes it an ideal spot for those who enjoy outdoor activities.

This picturesque destination offers a relaxed atmosphere with views of Howe Sound and the surrounding mountains, making it an ideal day trip destination.

Stroll along the waterfront, enjoy a meal at one of the local restaurants, or simply relax on the rocky beach and soak in the serene surroundings. Horseshoe Bay is a delightful escape from the city, perfect for a leisurely day trip along the coast.

  • 20 minutes from Vancouver

12. Britannia Mine Museum

day trips from Vancouver Britannia mine

Enter the fascinating realm of mining at the Britannia Mine Museum, a restored National Historic Site of Canadalocated just outside of Squamish near Britannia Beach. Just a mere 55 km north of Vancouver off the Sea-to-Sky Highway on Howe Sound this is a fantastic site to visit.

During your visit, explore the underground mine on a train tour and marvel at the massive equipment used in mining operations. The guides are fun and informative taking you on an interactive tour through time.

It’s a mix between a historic train ride and a visit to the science fair and it is so much fun for all ages. The Britannia Mine Museum takes you back to the  British Colombia  of yesteryear when it was home to the largest copper mine in Canada. The Britannia Mines in Howe Sound is a national historic site. The Britannia Mines Concentrator processed copper ore starting in 1905 up until 1974.

Don’t miss BOOM! This interactive experience was a fantastic show and a great combination with our mine tour where we explored the museum, panned for gold, and walked through the historic buildings.  Book refundable tickets here. 

Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply curious about the world of mining, the Britannia Mine Museum offers an engaging and educational day trip experience.

13. Hiking at Garibaldi Provincial Park

Best Day Trips From Vancouver Black Tusk Mountain Garibaldi Provincial Park

Garibaldi Provincial Park is an unmissable destination for those passionate about nature and hiking. Located just 80 km north of Vancouver, this stunning park features impressive summer hiking trails, turquoise lakes, and awe-inspiring scenery.

Conquer popular trails such as the Garibaldi Lake Trail, the Black Tusk Trail, and the Panorama Ridge Trail, each offering breathtaking views and a rewarding hiking experience. Garibaldi Provincial Park provides a challenging and unforgettable day trip for those seeking to explore the great outdoors.

  • 1.25 hours from Vancouver

14. Play in the North Shore Mountains

Best Day Trips From Vancouver North Shore Mountains

Flee to the North Shore Mountains, comprising Grouse Mountain, Mount Seymour, and Cypress Mountain, for a day filled with skiing, hiking, dining, and awe-inspiring views. These mountains offer a range of activities for all skill levels, from leisurely strolls to challenging hikes, as well as world-class ski resorts during the winter months.

Whether you choose to explore the serene forests of Mount Seymour, take in the stunning views from the summit of Grouse Mountain, or hit the slopes at Cypress Mountain, the North Shore Mountains offer a perfect day trip destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

15. Point Roberts in Washington State

Best Day Trips From Vancouver Point Roberts in Washington State

Cross the border to Point Roberts in Washington State for a distinct day trip experience. This relaxed destination offers a laid-back atmosphere, beautiful beaches, and a charming community perfect for a leisurely day trip.

Stroll along the picturesque shoreline, explore the small town, and enjoy the serene atmosphere as you soak in the coastal beauty of Point Roberts. Don’t forget to bring your passport, as this charming destination is just a short drive from Vancouver but requires crossing the US border.

16. Cruise around Howe Sound

Best Day Trips From Vancouver Howe Sound

Embark on a remarkable journey by cruising around Howe Sound on a hired boat. Discover the beauty of this fjord in southwestern British Columbia, visiting the lazy seals on Pam Rocks and exploring marine parks and picturesque islands along the way.

Whether you prefer to navigate the waters on a guided tour or captain your own vessel, cruising around Howe Sound offers a unique day trip experience with stunning views and unforgettable wildlife encounters. So grab your life jacket and embark on a nautical adventure like no other!

  • 30 minutes from Vancouver

17. Kayaking in Deep Cove

Best Day Trips From Vancouver Deep Cove North Vancouver

Submerge in the wonders of nature by paddling through the tranquil waters of Deep Cove, a quaint community situated in the eastern part of North Vancouver. When I think of kayaking in Deep Cove, a few things come to mind. First, it’s such a peaceful escape from the city. It’s like you’re in a different world. Second, you never know what wildlife you might see. It’s always a surprise! Plus, you don’t have to worry if you don’t have your own kayak, there are plenty of rental options available. And if you’re new to kayaking or just want to learn more about the area, there are guided tours available. It’s a fantastic experience!

After a day of paddling, explore the quaint town, enjoy a coffee at a local café, or hike to Quarry Rock for stunning views of the surrounding area. With its serene waters and picturesque setting, kayaking in Deep Cove is the perfect way to unwind and reconnect with nature.

18. Seattle, Washington

best day trips from vanacouver seattle washington

Why not expand your horizons and delve into the lively city of Seattle, Washington? Just a few hours south of Vancouver, Seattle offers a diverse range of attractions, including the iconic Pike Place Market, the futuristic Space Needle, and the breathtaking views from Kerry Park.

Whether you prefer to meander through bustling markets, marvel at innovative architecture, or simply soak in the coastal city atmosphere, Seattle offers a memorable day trip experience with something for everyone. With its lively culture and unique attractions, Seattle is well worth the journey from Vancouver.

  • 2.5 hours from Vancouver

19. Lynn Canyon Park

Best Day Trips From Vancouver Lynn Canyon Park

For those of you who prefer less crowded spots, let me tell you about Lynn Canyon Park in North Vancouver. It’s a fantastic alternative to the often congested Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. This place has it all! There’s a suspension bridge that’ll give you a bit of a thrill, plenty of hiking paths for you to explore, and if you’re a fan of swimming, you’ll find some great spots here. If you’re planning to spend the day, they’ve got picnic areas perfect for a lunch break in the great outdoors. And if you’re curious about the local ecosystem, you’ll definitely want to check out their ecology center. The best part? It’s all easily reachable by public transport.

All are easily reachable by public transport. This beautiful park provides a peaceful escape from the city, with lush forests and serene waters to explore.

Venture across the suspension bridge, hike the scenic trails or take a refreshing dip in one of the park’s swimming holes. Afterwards, visit the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre to learn more about the park’s diverse ecosystem.

With its captivating natural beauty and convenient location, Lynn Canyon Park is an ideal day trip destination for nature lovers.

  • 25 minutes from Vancouver

20. Cascade Falls

best day trips from Vancouver cascade falls

Unearth the mesmerizing beauty of Cascade Falls, a striking waterfall situated near Mission, BC. A short hike leads you to the falls, where you’ll be greeted by the powerful cascade of water surrounded by lush forest. With its picturesque setting and accessible trail, Cascade Falls offers a perfect day trip for families and nature enthusiasts alike.

Spend the day exploring the area, enjoying a picnic near the falls, or simply marveling at the beauty of this natural wonder. Cascade Falls is a hidden gem just waiting to be discovered, providing a memorable day trip experience for anyone seeking to connect with nature.

  • 1 hour and 20 minutes from Vancouver

21. Victoria: The Charming Capital City

Best Day Trips From Vancouver Victoria

Picture yourself meandering through the quaint streets of Victoria, the charming capital of British Columbia, enveloped by mesmerizing coastal views and beautiful architecture. Located on Vancouver Island, Victoria is an idyllic day trip destination, easily accessible by a scenic ferry ride from Vancouver.

While in Victoria, don’t miss the chance to visit iconic attractions like Butchart Gardens, the Royal British Columbia Museum, and Beacon Hill Park. Wander the historic downtown area, explore the bustling Inner Harbor, and indulge in the city’s vibrant culinary scene.

From stunning coastal views to fascinating history, Victoria offers a captivating day trip experience just a short journey from Vancouver.

  • 3.5 hours from Vancouver
  • You can book this full-day tou r from Vancouver to Victoria to see Butchart Gardens.

FAQ’s About The Best Day Trips From Vancouver

Best Day Trips From Vancouver Port Vancouver city skyline

Where can I go for a day trip in Vancouver?

Discover the beauty of Vancouver with a day trip! Explore Whistler and Victoria, go birding on Iona Beach, sample suds on the Port Moody beer train or cruise in the Vancouver Harbour. With so many options available, you’re sure to find an exciting adventure!

Can you make a day trip to Vancouver Island?

Yes, you can make a day trip to Vancouver Island – the ferry takes around 90 minutes, or you could fly there by seaplane in just 35 minutes for amazing views.

What is the best time of year to go hiking in the North Cascades?

The best time to go hiking in the North Cascades is from July to early October, so plan your trip accordingly for an amazing experience.

How long is the ferry ride from Vancouver to Victoria?

The ferry ride from Vancouver to Victoria takes around 4 hours.

What are some popular hiking trails in Garibaldi Provincial Park?

Garibaldi Provincial Park has several popular hiking trails, such as the Garibaldi Lake Trail, Black Tusk Trail, and Panorama Ridge Trail.

Best Day Trips From Vancouver Totem Pole Mountain Background

From the serene shores of Bowen Island to the adrenaline-pumping activities in Squamish, these 20 day trips from Vancouver showcase the incredible diversity of experiences waiting to be discovered in British Columbia’s backyard. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or a blend of both, there’s a day trip destination perfect for you.

So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, hit the road, and embark on an unforgettable journey through the breathtaking landscapes and charming cities that surround Vancouver. Your next adventure awaits just a short drive away!

From skiing on pristine mountain slopes to wandering through charming coastal towns, your next adventure awaits just a short drive from Vancouver’s bustling city center.

Plan Your Next Trip To Vancouver With These Resources

  • 36 Best Things to do in Vancouver, Canada
  • Where to Stay in Vancouver – Best Areas to Stay
  • Vancouver to Whistler – Best of the Sea to Sky Highway
  • 14 Best Hikes in Vancouver to Enjoy the Great Outdoors
  • Best British Columbia Road Trip – Vancouver – Kelowna – Revelstoke

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO . 

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • Allianz - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

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1 thought on “21 Best Day Trips from Vancouver, British Columbia in 2024”

Such a awesome blog and Vancouver is so amazing also I like all images in this blog.

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Canada Tours & Trips from Vancouver

Find your perfect adventure! We have 165 tours of Canada that start in Vancouver, Canada. The most popular month is August, and tour lengths range between 1 and 26 days.

165 Canada tour packages from Vancouver with 790 reviews

Canadian Rockies: National Parks Eastbound Tour

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Canada and the Rockies (11 Days)

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VIA Railway Experience|5-Day VANCOUVER TO ROCKIES RAILWAY FULL EXPERIENCE TOUR Tour

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  • Canada Travel Guide | All You Need to Know
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Veggies Abroad | Vegan Travel

12 Scenic Day Trips from Vancouver for Adventure Seekers

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If you’ve thoroughly covered all the highlights on your Vancouver itinerary and are curious about what’s outside the city limits, you’ve come to the right place! 

From short jaunts to longer road trips, there are plenty of scenic options you will want to check out. Whether you’re a nature lover or an adventure seeker, these 12 day trips from Vancouver offer a variety of activities, from hiking and kayaking to exploring charming small towns and scenic drives. 

Get ready to spend a whole day exploring!

This article contains affiliate links (paid links) and Veggies Abroad is a member of Amazon Services LLC Associated Program. A t no cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase — this helps keep Veggies Abroad churning out free content! For an explanation of our advertising partnerships, please review our privacy policy.

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Table of Contents

Vancouver Day Trips You’ve Got to Add to Your Itinerary

#1 ski, hike, & shop in the ritzy ski town whistler, bc.

This swanky little town is home to one of the largest ski resorts in North America and is one of the most popular day trips from Vancouver! It beckons visitors in the winter to come and ski (you can snowboard, tube, and snowshoe, too) on the slopes that once hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics. In the summer, it becomes a lush playground for mountain biking and hiking (over 300 km of trails).

Even if you’re only coming for the day from Vancouver, a visit to Whistler is still worth it! 

If you want to hit the slopes (you have options on two mountains — Whistler and Blackcomb), arrive early to make the most of your day and enjoy the Après-ski atmosphere afterward. The charming village surrounding the mountains is filled with cafes, shops, and restaurants — if you’re vegan, no worries, there are vegan and vegan-friendly spots in Whistler too. 

Now if you don’t have any interest in taking part in Whistlers’ vast array of outdoor activities, that’s ok; there’s still more to check out! For epic views of the area (no matter the season), hop in the Peak 2 Peak Gondola — the record-breaking gondola is the longest lift system in the world! On top of that, there are multiple museums worth checking out — The Whistler Museum, Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, and Audain Art Museum.

Getting to Whistler from Vancouver is under two hours by car and takes you along the gorgeous Sea to Sky Highway. Multiple tour and bus companies visit the area if you’d prefer not to drive. 

If you want to stay longer than one day, check out the eco-friendly Nita Lake Lodge in Creekside.

trips from vancouver

#2 Enjoy gorgeous views from the Sea to Sky Gondola

Looking for epic mountain views only 45 minutes from Vancouver? Look no further! After a scenic drive along the Sea to Sky Highway (Highway 99 offers stunning coastal scenery), you’ll arrive at the Sea to Sky Gondola, which takes you up over 800m above sea level for dramatic views of Howe Sound and the surrounding mountain ranges. No matter the time of the year, the views are picture-perfect!

Once you get to the top, the beauty doesn’t end there! The summit has multiple viewing decks and a suspension bridge for more dramatic views. After you’ve filled your camera roll, you can head into the lodge for a bite to eat or check out the various seasonal activities.

The mountain turns into a gorgeous wonderland in the winter and offers backcountry skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, and tubing, but the fun doesn’t end when winter is over. During the summer, this area has some of the best hiking trails. 

Just behind the lodge, you’ll find the Spirit Trail, only .4 km, and the slightly longer (a little more scenic) Panorama trail, which is a 1.3 km loop. In addition to those two, if you’re feeling really adventurous, you could always hike up the Sea to Summit trail , but be prepared; it is strenuous and will take approximately 3-5 hours. It is 6.5 km one-way with a 918 m elevation gain. 

Getting to the Sea to Sky Gondola from Vancouver is easy by car, or you can check out multiple tours that visit this area along with Whistler Village. 

views of the howe sound from the sea to sky summit during the winter in british columbia on a vancouver day trip

#3 Explore Vancouver Island 

Just a few hours away from the city via ferry,  Vancouver Island is a charming place to explore   on a day trip from Vancouver. 

The best way to experience Vancouver Island is by driving your car on the  BC Ferry   from Vancouver to Swartz Bay near Victoria. The ferry runs frequently and costs $18.50 for walk-on passengers and $63.95 for vehicles one way. 

The hour-and-a-half ferry ride takes you through the Georgia Strait and the Gulf Islands, which is part of the adventure. If you are lucky, you might spot whales or other marine life along the way. Driving on the ferry allows you the maximum freedom to explore Victoria and the surrounding areas, but you can also book a guided day trip from Vancouver .  

You can drive from the Swartz Bay ferry dock or take a taxi into Victoria, BC’s charming capital city. Victoria is a thriving international city with a small-town feel. Enjoy Middle Eastern street food or grab a drink at an Irish pub before wandering through the oldest Chinatown in Canada. And don’t miss high tea at the famous Empress Hotel (they might be able to accommodate vegans if you call ahead), which has been serving English tea in a Victorian-style tea room for over a hundred years. After tea, check out Victoria’s Parliament Buildings or stroll through Beacon Hill Park.

If you have extra time, journey outside Victoria to immerse yourself in nature. There is no shortage of incredible things to do nearby, from taking a dip in the beautiful blue swimming holes at Sooke Potholes Provincial Park to hiking through verdant forests at Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. 

sunset on a rocky beach on vancouver island on a vancouver day trip

#4 Hike in one of the most beautiful places, Garibaldi Provincial Park

One of the best day trips north of Vancouver is visiting Garibaldi Provincial Park. Located just 70 km north of Vancouver in the beautiful Coastal Mountains, this BC Park is home to the very popular Mount Garibaldi and its stunning glacial lakes. 

While Garibaldi Provincial Park is one of the most popular natural sites close to Vancouver, making it to the top to see Lake Garibaldi isn’t for the faint of heart. You’ll be in for at least an 18km (approximately 11 miles) roundtrip hike, and you can expect to spend at least 6.5 hours hiking up and down. You don’t have to be an avid hiker, but you do have to be fit and ready for the challenge.

Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with stunning mountaintop views of green meadows, rock peaks, and bright blue glacial waters. The sights you’ll see here look like they’ve been plucked straight off a postcard you’d find as a Canadian souvenir .

When planning your trip to Garibaldi, make sure you plan to arrive at the park early in the morning. With a long trek ahead, you’ll need all the sunlight you can get so that you can take your time at the top before needing to head back down. There are also many excellent campsites in the park, and many visitors spend multiple days exploring the trails that meander through the surrounding mountaintops. 

Getting to Garibaldi Provincial Park is easy, as it’s located just off Highway 99, heading north from Vancouver to Whistler. If you’re heading back to Vancouver after your hike, try to set out before it gets too dark; you’ll be tired after all that exercise. There is also an opportunity to take a guided small group hike with a photographer.

gorgeous turqois lake on a hike through the garibaldi park on a vancouver day trip

#5 Go kayaking in Deep Cove

Kayaking in Deep Cove is a perfect day trip from Vancouver. Located in the District of North Vancouver, it’s about a 20–30-minute drive and offers many activities to do while you’re there.

Deep Cove is home to stunning scenery where you can kayak through calm waters surrounded by lush forests and majestic mountains. The water in the bay is incredibly calm, so even inexperienced kayakers can confidently explore.

You’ll likely spot some wildlife, including seals, bald eagles, and sea lions. 

There’s a free kayak launch at the Deep Cove Kayak Centre. 

If you don’t have your own kayak or paddleboard, plenty of rental options are available at local shops in the area. Some even offer guided tours where you can learn about the history and geography of Deep Cove while paddling along.

You can even take a night kayaking tour to paddle beneath the stars!

After kayaking, stop into the town for a coffee from the doughnut shop Kate Winslet is obsessed with (the donuts aren’t vegan, but they do have vegan options), or pack a picnic and hike to Quarry Rock for a higher viewpoint.

The best way to get to Deep Cove from Vancouver is by car. Rent a car and drive north through Stanley Park, across the bridge, then west through North Vancouver. You’ll likely spot deer early in the morning.

the still lake in the morning before kayaking in deep sea cover in vancouver

#6 Spend a day in Seattle, Washington

If you love cities, head down to the Emerald City for a great day trip from Vancouver.

Seattle is a fun town that anyone could appreciate. There’s something for everyone to enjoy between its relaxed vibes, waterfront views, coffee culture, and interesting things to see and do.  

No trip to Seattle is complete without a visit to Pike Place Market. Walk through the market and browse the fresh flowers and food stalls (if you’re looking for vegan options in Seattle , no worries, there are many). While you’re there, enjoy Mexican eats at El Borracho and swing by the Gum Wall. It’s a quintessential Seattle experience!

After exploring Pike Place, stop by the Space Needle to see the view of Seattle from above. And for a great view of the Seattle skyline and Space Needle, head to Kerry Park.  

If you’d like to spend time at a museum, The Museum of Flight is highly recommended. This private air and space museum rivals the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC!

Seattle is best reached from Vancouver by car and has a good public transportation system. So, you could always find parking when you arrive and then take public transportation for the rest of your visit.  

Recommended by Chelsea from Adventures of Chels .

the seattle skyline including the space needle on a sunny day in seattle

#7 Enjoy the dramatic scenery of the North Cascades

If you’re looking for epic hiking around Vancouver, the North Cascades in Washington provide some of the most dramatic mountainscapes on the planet — glaciers, rugged peaks, and mountain goats galore.

You can explore various trails in this area, including Yellow Aster Butte , which provides jaw-dropping views of Mount Baker, the third tallest mountain in Washington, and the surrounding Cascade mountains. This trail is especially spectacular in autumn when the alpine shrubbery that carpets the surrounding mountains bursts into vibrant shades of scarlet, burnt orange, and gold. Other nearby hikes worth exploring include Heliotrope Ridge and the Park Butte Lookout, with a historic fire lookout from 1932 perched on a rocky outcropping that overlooks Mount Baker.

You’ll need to drive to the trailhead of your choosing, which will require you to cross the U.S./Canada border — don’t forget your passport! You’ll also need a valid Northwest Forest or America the Beautiful Pass, given these trailheads are located on U.S. National Forest land. Beyond these passes (and the gas to get there), you can enjoy the spectacular scenery for free!

It’s worth mentioning that this area can be one of the snowiest spots in the contiguous United States, so the peak hiking season is generally between July through early October. Outside this window, you should expect the possibility of running into snow or ice. 

beautiful view of mount baker in the sun on a hiking trail in the north cascades

#8 Explore the budget-friendly suspension bridge at Lynn Canyon Park

Discover a lush oasis just a short distance from downtown Vancouver at Lynn Canyon Park & Suspension Bridge . This 617-acre park offers a fun day trip from Vancouver for those looking to immerse themselves in nature.

The Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is definitely more of a hidden gem compared to its neighbor, the Capilano Suspension Bridge. The Capilano Bridge is one of the most recommended day trips from Vancouver, but at over 60 CAD per person, that can take a big bite out of your budget, especially for a family. You can have an incredible experience at Lynn Canyon for a more budget-friendly price.

You’ll enjoy an absolutely stunning walk through the woods, a spine-tingling suspension bridge, and cascading rivers for the cost of a suggested $2 donation; that’s a pretty good deal. Plus, it has the major bonus of being a regional park, so your leashed dog can join you on the trails!

One of the park’s main attractions is the 50-meter-high suspension bridge, which provides thrilling views of the canyon and the rushing waters of Lynn Creek. One of the other huge benefits is that it’s less crowded compared to the more famous Capilano Suspension Bridge, making it the perfect spot for a serene day trip.

While visiting, explore the park’s vast network of hiking trails, ranging from leisurely walks to more challenging treks. Stop by the beautiful 30 Foot Pool, a popular swimming hole, and take a moment to appreciate the impressive Twin Falls. The Ecology Centre offers educational exhibits, making this a great family-friendly destination.

Getting to Lynn Canyon Park is relatively easy, and you can even use public transportation (bus 227 from Phibbs Exchange) to get from downtown Vancouver to the park in about an hour. If you have your own car, you can drive. It is also possible to join an organized tour. Many tours also include other North Vancouver attractions so that you can check out more of the area.

the lynn canyon suspension bridge with one person in the middle at dusk on a vancouver day trip

#9 Check out BC’s newest suspension bridge and Cascade Falls 

The newest suspension bridge, Cascade Falls, in Mission, BC, is a great day trip from Vancouver. It is one of the easiest family-friendly Vancouver area hikes and is accessible year-round. Nestled within the lush greenery of the Fraser Valley, this hidden gem is a 1.5-hour drive from Vancouver. 

The hike is short but steep, making it a moderate-level hike suitable for most fitness levels. The sight and sound of the rushing waters are beautiful, making it a perfect spot for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike. To enhance the experience, in addition to a large viewing platform, there is a suspension bridge that spans across the falls, providing another vantage point to take in the panoramic views of the surrounding forest and canyon.  

While in the area, you should visit the Powerhouse at Stave Falls, which includes interactive exhibits on hydroelectric power generation and a guided tour of the power generating station and dam. The mission is surrounded by natural beauty, with numerous parks, lakes, and trails to explore. Rolley Lake Provincial Park, Hayward Lake, and the Devil’s Lake area all have trails of varying difficulty and great views. 

The Blackberry Kitchen in Fraser River Heritage Park is known for its farm-to-table cuisine, featuring locally sourced ingredients and creative, seasonal dishes. The cozy ambiance and scenic views of the Fraser River make it a popular spot for lunch or dinner.

the beautiful cascade waterfall and suspension bridge in vancouver

#10 Scale Vancouver’s local mountain, Grouse

Just a few minutes from Downtown Vancouver is the imposing Grouse Mountain . A short gondola ride offers visitors stunning views of Greater Vancouver, the lakes, and the mountains surrounding the city. Once you’re there, you’ll have a range of outdoor activities to check out, no matter your level of athleticism.

In the winter, Grouse Mountain turns into a winter wonderland. Some of the best activities include snowshoeing through the light path and skiing or snowboarding at night — it’s one of the few mountains that offer night activities. Of course, Grouse Mountain is also open during the day. When the summer season sets in, Grouse is the perfect place for walking, hiking, and enjoying the outdoors at your own pace.

If you’re looking for a fun, outdoorsy date night, Grouse is one of the   best places for couples to visit in Greater Vancouver since it’s only a short 20-minute drive until you can be immersed in the beauty of nature.

There are tours that combine Grouse with the Capilano Suspension bridge , just incase you’re interested in doing both!  

view of vancouver and the surrounding lakes from the peak of grouse mountain during the summer

#11 Hike Stawamus Chief in Squamish

Just one hour from Vancouver is the perfect day trip for the adventurous, hiking the famous Stawamus Chief . The Chief stands 702 meters tall and is one of North America’s largest granite monoliths.

Before you go, expect to climb many stairs, maneuver along chains, and climb ladders to reach the top. Remember that the trail can be wet and slippery after rainfall, and don’t forget spikes during winter. The hike to the top of the Stawamus Chief is challenging, but it is equally as rewarding as hiking the  Crypt Lake Trail in Waterton National Park .  

There are three peaks to climb, each offering unique views over the area. The hike takes at least 4-5 hours, depending on your fitness level and the route you choose. If you’re unsure which peak to climb, go for peak two. From there, you can see peaks one and three.

Another great thing about hiking the Stawamus Chief is it is absolutely free!

Getting to Squamish is simple from Vancouver. Just follow the Sea to Sky Highway northbound from Vancouver, and you can’t miss the Stawamus Chief, as it’s well-marked along the highway. Another option is taking the bus or a guided tour.

view of the gorgeous blue howe sound from the peak of stawamus chief on a vancouver day hike trip

#12 Check Out The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Located just 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver, this stunning park offers breathtaking views, thrilling adventures, and much more. From walking across a 450-foot suspension bridge to exploring a lush rainforest canopy, there’s something here for everyone. It’s truly one of the best day trips from Vancouver and worth adding to your  Vancouver itinerary ! 

One of the highlights of visiting Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is crossing its iconic suspension bridge, which stretches 450 feet across the Capilano River Canyon below. As you walk across the swaying bridge, take in the spectacular views of lush rainforest canopies and sparkling river waters. It’s a truly exhilarating experience!

If adventure is what you’re after, then there are plenty of opportunities to get your adrenaline pumping. The Cliffwalk is a thrilling walkway that takes you along the canyon walls with nothing but a glass-bottomed walkway between you and the valley below. If heights aren’t your thing, you can opt for a leisurely stroll through the tranquil rainforest trails. 

The best way to get to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is by taking advantage of their free shuttle service at Canada Place. This shuttle runs every 30 minutes and will bring you to the park entrance. Alternatively, you could rent a car or take public transportation, but be aware taking public transit will take much longer.

Exploring the park takes 2.5–3 hours, depending on how many activities you choose. 

capliano suspension bridge between two lush green pine forests in vancouver

When is The Best Time to Visit Vancouver?

This depends on what kind of experience you want to have. Are you interested in taking to the slopes or snowshoeing through the mountains? If yes, it’s best to visit the area between December – March, but keep in mind that the City of Vancouver doesn’t get much snow — to enjoy the white power, you’ll have to head to Grouse (very close to downtown Vancouver) or further north.

If you’re like me and want to avoid the snow at all costs, plan your Vancouver adventure for any time between May – September. The spring, summer, and fall are great times of the year to explore the city, get out on the water, or take a hiking day trip.

Don’t Miss These Other Helpful Vancouver Articles

The Perfect Vegan Travel Guide to Vancouver 10 Indulgent Vancouver Vegan Ice Cream Spots The Best Vegan Bakeries in Vancouver The Best Spots for Vegan Brunch or Breakfast in Vancouver How to Spend Two Days in Vancouver from a Local Where to Stay in Vancouver: Best Neighborhoods & Hotels

How Many Days Should I Spend in Vancouver?

There is a lot to do and see in Vancouver; I suggest you plan for at least four days, especially if you’d like to do a day trip to one of these fantastic spots. This gives you three full days to explore the city and then one day to head outside of it.

Where to Stay in Vancouver

This unique boutique hotel is filled with gorgeous limited edition and original artwork and is in the perfect location to explore the city. It was also awarded the highest eco-rating – 5 Green Keys – by The Hotel Association of Canada — you can rest easy knowing they are working to protect Mother Nature.

The Listel Hotel Vancouver

1300 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6E 1C5, Canada

vancouver harbor in the morning with the orange reflection of the sun over the water

Rebecca is the founder of the vegan travel company Veggies Abroad. In 2021, she bid her 15-year career goodbye and ventured into the world of ethical business with the launch of a vegan travel blog (the one you’re reading!). As the blog flourished, Rebecca expanded her vision to encompass personalized travel planning services and launched Veggies Abroad's inaugural vegan tour to Thailand, marking the beginning of many more eco-conscious, plant-powered adventures to come. Follow her adventures on Instagram or Facebook @veggiesabroad

Further Reading...

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Where to Stay in Vancouver: Best Hotels, Resorts, & More

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8 Must Try Vancouver Vegan Ice Cream Spots

16 must-try vegan restaurants in tampa & st. pete, 8 best spots for vegan tacos & mexican eats in austin.

15 Best Day trips from Vancouver BC

Last Updated on July 13, 2023

Vancouver, British Columbia is one of the most beautiful and fun cities to visit in the world. In addition to the delights of the city just outside the city and endless adventures to experience and explore. As a near neighbor to the south in Seattle, I’ve had the opportunity to spend lots of time in Vancouver and all over British Columbia. These are my absolute favorite day trips from Vancouver , almost all of them are great year round options.

This list is organized by day trips from Vancouver that you can easily get to on public transit and ones that are better with a car. There are plenty of options for both!

I’ve only included places that are within two hours of Vancouver, although depending on the ferry schedule it may take a bit longer to get to Victoria from Vancouver. I haven’t included Salt Spring Island here, while it is a wonderful place to go near Vancouver, I think it’s better for a weekend getaway .

  • North Vancouver (Public Transit or Drive)
  • West Vancouver (Public Transit or Drive)
  • Bowen Island (Public Transit or Drive)
  • Victoria on Vancouver Island (Public Transit or Drive)
  • Whistler (Public Transit or Drive)
  • Richmond (Public Transit or Drive)
  • Steveston (Drive)
  • Boundary Bay (Drive)
  • Squamish (Drive)
  • Fort Langley National Historic Site (Drive)
  • Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park (Drive)
  • Golden Ears Provincial Park (Drive)
  • Harrison Hot Springs (Drive)
  • Bellingham, WA (Drive)

Best Day trips from Vancouver in Winter

Best day trips from vancouver on public transport, north vancouver.

A close up of a rushing waterfall between two rocks in a green and mossy forest

Why it’s a great day trip from Vancouver : North Vancouver has wonderful shops and restaurants for an urban experience as well as more nature and outdoors attractions such as Grouse Mountain and Capilano Suspension Bridge Park . Mt Seymour Provincial Park and Lynn Canyon are excellent options for hiking in summer, though you need a car for those. You can get to North Vancouver, Grouse Mountain and Capilano Bridge Park on public transit.

Travel time from Vancouver : The Seabus from Canada Place to Lonsdale Quay takes less than 15 minutes, add about 45 minutes for the bus ride to Grouse Mountain and about 30 minutes to bus to Capilano Bridge Park. If you’re driving, plan on a 30-60 minute drive depending on traffic.

Highlights:

  • Food in North Vancouver – from Gastropubs to breweries to many other options, this is a great place to eat!
  • Riding the Seabus is an excellent very short tour of the Vancouver Harbour
  • Grouse Mountain – if it’s a clear day, don’t miss this amazing view of the entire area from above
  • Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is a highlight of any trip to Vancouver.
  • To get the fun bridge feel and the epic forests, rivers and waterfalls without the crowds, try one of the many other trails in Lynn Canyon .

Best time of year : All year is good for this trip. A clear day is good for Grouse Mountain any time of year. If it’s raining enjoy the forests and suspension bridges in Capilano or Lynn Canyon instead.

West Vancouver

A white lighthouse with a red light housing on a rocky outcropping at dusk near Vancouver

Why it’s a great day trip from Vancouver : Very close to downtown Vancouver, Dundarave has cute shops and places to eat (as seen on the Netflix series Virgin River ) and beautiful trails, including Point Atkinson Lighthouse.

Travel time from Vancouver : 40-45 minutes on bus or driving.

  • Point Atkinson Lighthouse – short trail to a beautiful lighthouse and view of the Salish Sea.
  • Ambleside Park – beautiful walk along the water looking back towards downtown Vancouver
  • Check out a few shops in Dundarave , grab a meal with a view and explore Dundarave Beach.
  • Cypress Mountain Provincial Park – great place for a hike or for skiing in winter with amazing views

Best time of year : Excellent year round

Bowen Island

The calm waters of a small cove on Bowen Island surrounded by forest. The photo is taken from the deck of a ferry and you can see distant forested mountains across the water

Why it’s a great day trip from Vancouver : A peaceful getaway a world away from the bustle of Vancouver and yet so close to it, let Bowen Island transport you to relaxation, from the ferry ride to the shops and restaurants to the hiking trails.

Travel time from Vancouver : About two hours, depends slightly on ferry times. You can explore the island by bus, or you can bring a car on the ferry (if you bring a car you need a reservation).

  • The ferry ride – getting there is seriously one of the best parts
  • Exploring tiny Snug Cove near the ferry landing – Doc Morgan’s Pub has a super cozy vibe
  • Hike to Mt Gardner for amazing views
  • Take a mellow walk to Killarney Lake
  • Have a picnic at Sandy Beach Park near the ferry landing

Best time of year : Excellent year round, summer is ideal for outdoor activities, though winter is much less crowded.

A colorful Orca sculpture near a harbor, with boats and the parliament building in the background on a sunny summer day

Why it’s a great day trip from Vancouver :  Victoria is a wonderful town and an excellent getaway from Vancouver. A smaller city with excellent food, beautiful parks and home to the British Columbia parliament, Victoria is unforgettable. This definitely makes a better weekend getaway, but if all you have is a day it’s still worth it! Read more here about all your day trip options for Victoria .

Travel time from Vancouver : 3-4 hours depending on traffic, ferry timing, etc.

  • The ferry ride to Vancouver Island
  • Exploring the Inner Harbour on foot
  • Butchart Gardens – one of the most beautiful gardens in North America
  • Afternoon Tea – a Victoria tradition!
  • Shopping on Government Street
  • Royal BC Museum
  • Beacon Hill Park or walking along Dallas Road by the Strait of Juan de Fuca

Best time of year : Excellent all year. Summer is very crowded in Victoria, spring has a nice combination of less crowds and beautiful spring flowers.

Electric Vehicle Charging : Plenty of EV charging in Victoria as well as in Sidney near the ferry terminal.

A high metal suspension bridge between two rocky mountains with many distant snow capped mountains in the background on a sunny day

Why it’s a great day trip from Vancouver : Whistler’s epic mountain views, wonderful hiking and lake beaches in summer and skiing in winter make it a year round playground and ideal getaway from Vancouver any time of year.

Travel time from Vancouver : An hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on traffic and road conditions in winter.

  • The drive on the Sea to Sky Highway along Howe Sound
  • The unique Whistler Train Wreck – a short hike you can get to year round
  • Peak 2 Peak Whistler Gondola – amazing views year round (even if you’re not skiing!)
  • Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre – beautiful art and exhibits about Squamish and Lil’wat Culture as well as a delicious cafe and wonderful gift shop
  • Hikes like the Half Note trail in summer
  • Beautiful alpine lakes like Alta Lake for summer beach days
  • Skiing in winter
  • The food and drink scene in Whistler Village

Best time of year : Excellent all year. Ski season is the busiest and most expensive (late November through late March or early April). The snow free summer season is July through September. Much less crowds (but also more limited hours for businesses) in the spring and fall.

Electric Vehicle Charging : There is fast charging available in Squamish and Whistler.

Several bowls of Korean food and place settings seen from directly above

Why it’s a great day trip from Vancouver :  Richmond is a suburb of Vancouver and deserves it’s own outing! The food here from all over Asia is incredible, along with the Fraser River. You can combine this with a visit to Steveston right next door, though it’s a bit easier to get to Steveston with a car (see below).

Travel time from Vancouver : About 30 minutes on the SkyTrain Canada Line.

  • Walk along the Fraser River from the Olympic Riverside Plaza
  • Eating is the primary highlight here! You’ll find food from all over Asia from the food court at the Aberdeen Mall to the many fine dining and hole in the wall restaurants all over town.

Best time of year : Eating is an excellent year round activity! The Richmond Night Market is an especially epic eating experience on weekend nights from spring through fall.

Best Day trips from Vancouver with a car

Several historic wooden buildings from the late 19th century with boardwalks over the water to get to them surrounded by trees. Three buildings are visible, one red, one blue, one brown

Why it’s a great day trip from Vancouver : Located right next to Richmond, a visit to the waterfront in Steveston pairs great with eating in Richmond before or after.

Travel time from Vancouver : 30-45 minutes depending on traffic.

  • Brittania Shipyards Historic Site – explore the historic shipyard buildings and learn about boat building and fishing in the 19th century in British Columbia.
  • Gulf of Georgia Cannery Historic site – learn about the history of commercial fishing in British Columbia
  • Enjoy a walk along the mouth of the Fraser River

Best time of year : Excellent all year.

Boundary Bay

A grassy meadow with some driftwood at the edge of a saltwater bay with distant forested hills on a sunny day.

Why it’s a great day trip from Vancouver : This is the ideal place for those who like mellow walks with water views and especially for birdwatchers. The bird watching along the trail at Boundary Bay is excellent.

Travel time from Vancouver : 30 minutes to an hour depending on traffic

Highlights: The highlight here is to walk along the dyke path and check out the scenery while looking for birds. You can park at many places along the trail, I like to park at the Delta Heritage Airpark or just beyond it where the road ends.

Best time of year : The bird watching is excellent here all year.

A high waterfall coming down over a black rock face in an evergreen forest

Why it’s a great day trip from Vancouver : Squamish is a fun town with a great brewery, lots of amazing hiking trails, views and a gorgeous waterfall a beautiful drive from Vancouver. This is an ideal day trip for outdoor adventurers.

Travel time from Vancouver : About an hour

  • The drive on the Sea to Sky highway along Howe Sound
  • Try one of Squamish’s several excellent breweries
  • Feel the mist of Shannon Falls
  • Ride the Sea to Sky gondola for incredible views of the mountains and Howe Sound with plenty of hiking opportunities
  • Walk along the Squamish River and look for Eagles

Best time of year : This is a great year round destination and ideal on a sunny day when you can see the incredible views.

Electric Vehicle Charging : There are several fast chargers in Squamish.

Fort Langley National Historic Site

A historic wooden building painted white with red rim. A few people are standing outside the front of the building.

Why it’s a great day trip from Vancouver : A must do for history buffs, Fort Langley brings visitors to the life of a 19th century Hudson’s Bay Company fort. This fort was one of a network of many around the Pacific Northwest during colonial times.

Travel time from Vancouver : 45 minutes -1 hour

  • Explore the historic buildings of an early 18th century trading fort
  • See the Métis canoe exhibit
  • Check out the view from the fort’s towers
  • Learn about crafts and trade in Canadian history

Best time of year : Excellent all year

Electric Vehicle Charging : Plenty of chargers in Langley and Surrey nearby.

Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park

Why it’s a great day trip from Vancouver : A great stop on the way to Harrison Lake near Harrison Hot Springs,

Travel time from Vancouver : 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours

Highlights: The highlight here is gorgeous Bridal Veil Falls, which crashes down 60 metres (200 feet) on a sheer rock face. Get to the viewing platform on a loop trail that is just under 1km (half a mile) from the parking area. There are also picnic tables near the parking area.

Best time of year : The park is closed in winter and opens sometime in April, closing in late October or early November. This is an ideal place to go in spring (April through June) when the water in the waterfall is especially impressive.

Electric Vehicle Charging : Plenty of fast charging in Abbotsford and Chilliwack.

Golden Ears Provincial Park

Why it’s a great day trip from Vancouver : An excellent location for hiking, picnics and swimming near the city.

Travel time from Vancouver : 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes, depending on exactly where you go and traffic

  • Go for a hike – there are plenty of amazing hikes in Golden Ears Provincial Park
  • Go swimming at Alouette Lake
  • Rent a canoe or kayak at South Beach on Alouette Lake for even more summer fun

Best time of year : Summer – especially July and August for hiking and lake fun

Electric Vehicle Charging : Plenty of fast chargers in Langley and Surrey.

Harrison Hot Springs

A lake at sunset surrounded by forested hills with a dock with many kayaks in the foreground

Why it’s a great day trip from Vancouver : This is a wonderful summer lake getaway from Vancouver. An important note is that you can only access the hot spring pools if you’re staying at Harrison Hot Springs Resort. If you want to experience them, you’ll need to stay the night here.

Travel time from Vancouver : 2 hours

  • All kinds of summer lake fun – swimming, kayaking, etc
  • Hiking is excellent near Harrison Hot Springs
  • Take a boat tour of the lake

Best time of year : Summer – especially July and August

Electric Vehicle Charging : Multiple fast chargers in Abbotsford and Chilliwack

Bellingham, WA

A wooden pedestrian walkway over the edge of the water near a rocky and forested shore on an overcast day

Why it’s a great day trip from Vancouver : If you’re ready to head to a fun, outdoorsy town beside the bay in the US with great food, shopping, hikes, walks and breweries, Bellingham is for you!

Travel time from Vancouver : 1-2 hours depending on traffic and the border wait.

  • Drive Chuckanut Drive – this drive south of Bellingham to Mt Vernon has stunning island and water views on sunny days. Excellent sunset location
  • Food and drink – Bellingham has amazing restaurants of every kind and a vibrant craft beer scene
  • Walk the walkway between Fairhaven and downtown over Bellingham Bay
  • Explore historic Fairhaven – shops and food when you need to rest your feet. Don’t miss the epic Village Books. A must do for bookstore fans!
  • Whatcom Falls Park – a beautiful waterfall in a forested city park with many miles of trails and a dog park
  • Sehome Arborteum – forested trails on the campus of Western Washington University
  • There are lots of wonderful hikes near Bellingham, including Oyster Dome off Chuckanut Drive and lots of hikes near Mt Baker.

Electric Vehicle Charging : There is fast charging for EVs in Surrey near the US border and several options in Bellingham.

Snowy trees under a chairlift with forested and snowy mountains below. Clouds cover the valley below and it's sunny above

All of the day trips from Vancouver on this list are excellent year round destinations, with the exception of Golden Ears Provincial Park and Harrison Hot Springs. In my opinion these are better places to go during the summer (or late spring or early fall).

Whistler is of course an epic winter destination for skiing, but if you’re not a skier don’t let that stop you from going to check out delightful Whistler Village. Grouse Mountain is a great place for snowshoeing or checking out the view, not just for downhill skiing either!

Victoria and Bowen Island are both wonderful winter destinations if you like to stay away from crowds. Fort Langley National Historic Site is also a good option for winter.

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Wild About BC

17 AMAZING WEEKEND GETAWAYS FROM VANCOUVER, BC

by Wild About BC | Vancouver

16 AMAZING WEEKEND GETAWAYS FROM VANCOUVER

Living in Vancouver is amazing, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t love planning some weekend getaways from Vancouver. While city life is a lot of fun, it is still nice to plan weekend getaways in BC and discover all of the cool places to visit near Vancouver.

Whether you are just planning weekend trips from Vancouver, or you have a few extra days to plan longer Vancouver getaways, our guide will list all of the best getaways in BC that can be easily accessed from the city. All of the places we suggest for a Vancouver weekend trip can be enjoyed year-round. Whether you want a beach retreat in the summer or a ski holiday in the winter, our list of short trips from Vancouver will have you covered.

While we enjoy a lot of adventure on our getaways near Vancouver (think hiking, camping, snowboarding, and snowshoeing), we are confident you can enjoy each of these trips from Vancouver at a much more relaxed pace, if you prefer. There are also plenty of places to go near Vancouver that are perfect for spa retreats, great food, wildlife watching, storm watching, and an altogether much more relaxed time.

Choosing the best weekend trips from Vancouver is such a fun activity and we are spoiled with an abundance of fantastic choices. Having grown up in British Columbia, we have been on countless Vancouver weekend getaways and are always adding more to our list. Below are all of our favourite quick getaways from Vancouver!

Disclaimer – This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we receive a small commission if you make a purchase at NO extra cost to you. This will never impact our reviews and we only recommend products and services we firmly believe in. Thanks for your support!

Jump ahead to:

The Best Weekend Getaways From Vancouver

1. Whistler – 1.5 Hours

Whistler - Weekend Getaways From Vancouver

Let’s jump straight into one of the most popular places to spend a couple of nights, which is Whistler . As it is only 1.5 hours drive from downtown Vancouver this is one of our favourite short trips from Vancouver and it is one of the best year-round destinations.

For obvious reasons, it is one of our favourite winter getaways from Vancouver. It is the largest ski resort in North America so you can enjoy world-class skiing and there is a huge area of terrain to explore. In the summer months, you can explore the endless hikes in and around Whistler or get the adrenaline pumping with some mountain biking.

Whistler’s Scandinave Spa is a fantastic retreat if you want to enjoy one of the more romantic getaways from Vancouver and there are so many amazing restaurants to choose from in the evenings. Even the shoulder season is an awesome time to visit as prices tend to be much lower, but you can still get out and explore the surrounding area.

Top Activity in Whistler

Asides from the obvious skiing and hiking, one of the best things to do in Whistler is to zipline through the untouched wilderness. Get an aerial view of the forest and flowing rapids as you fly through the trees and get your adrenaline pumping.

>>Book your Whistler Zipline here

Where to Stay in Whistler

The Crystal Lodge – Stay in the heart of Whistler Village, only a few steps away from the lifts that will take you up either Whistler or Blackcomb mountains. Location is so important when staying in Whistler and it doesn’t get much better than this. We also think the value is excellent for a room here compared to many other accommodations in Whistler.

>>See prices and availability for The Crystal Lodge

2. Tofino – 5.5 Hours

6 HIDDEN GEMS OF TOFINO

Whistler may be the most popular for vacations from Vancouver but our personal favourite has to be Tofino . This little surf town is tucked away on the west coast of Vancouver Island and is unlike anywhere else. There are countless beaches, many of which you can surf at, spectacular coastlines, numerous adventure tours, lots of wildlife, and some of the best food we have ever eaten.

In fact, we love Tofino so much that we have written a completely separate guide of things to do in Tofino . If you plan on visiting Tofino, our favourite of the Vancouver Island getaways, then you should check it out to help plan your trip.

Tofino is also the best of the beach vacations from Vancouver as there are so many beautiful beaches to choose from. Our personal favourites are Tonquin Beach and Mackenzie Beach and you should definitely check out Cox Bay if you want to surf or explore the Cox Bay lookout hike for unparalleled views over Tofino.

You’ll enjoy beautiful scenery, amazing food and cocktails, shop at the cute boutique shops, catch some waves in the Pacific Ocean, explore the many trails, and keep your eyes peeled for all of the wildlife. Check out our guide on how to get to Tofino from Vancouver as there are several different options.

Top Activity in Tofino

Surfing! Dip your toes in the Pacific and enjoy a couple of hours catching waves surrounded by the natural beauty of the west coast.

>>Book your surf lesson here

Where to Stay in Tofino

Tofino Resort and Marina – Stay on the edge of Tofino town centre so you can walk to all of the great restaurants and shopping that Tofino has to offer. Tofino Resort and Marina also has incredible views of the Tofino waterways, and the onsite pub, the Hatch, has the best patio in Tofino for sunset drinks.

>>See prices and availability for Tofino Resort and Marina

3. Gibsons and Sechelt, The Sunshine Coast – 2 Hours

Gibsons - Best weekend trips from Vancouver

A short ferry ride across Howe Sound from Horseshoe Bay will take you to the Sunshine Coast. This is still part of the mainland but is only accessible from Vancouver by ferry or by taking a short flight for the weekend. The towns of Gibsons and Sechelt are very quaint and they have lots of good restaurants, shopping and beautiful scenery making it an ideal choice for our list of quick trips from Vancouver.

One of our favourite things to do in this part of the Sunshine Coast is to try out the different breweries and cider houses, and there are plenty to choose from. Our favourite brewery is Persephone Brewing Company in Gibsons but you should also check out Tapworks, The 101 Brewhouse, and Batch 44. For those with a sweeter tooth try the Bricker Cider Company and Sunday Cider.

There are also several beaches, hikes, and walks to enjoy. The S kookumchuck Narrows is a really cool natural phenomenon that is worth visiting . As the tide rushes through the narrows it creates whirlpools and even large waves. The waves are often ridden by kayakers and it is a wicked experience to sit on the rocks and watch them riding this unique wave just a few metres away.

Top Activity in Gibsons and Sechelt

Explore the beautiful coastline from the water on a kayak tour. Departing from Gibsons, you will get the chance to spot coastal wildlife, witness the stunning landscapes and get out on the water.

>>Book your kayak tour here

Where to Stay in Gibsons and Sechelt

Davis Bay Bed & Breakfast – Stay in the Sechelt area and enjoy breathtaking views over the water and the mountains. This is a great location to explore the rest of the island and you can do so with a full belly after enjoying a full English or Irish breakfast.

>>See prices and availability for Davis Bay Bed & Breakfast

4. Cultus Lake – 1 Hour 20 Minutes

Cultus Lake - Place to go near Vancouver

If you are searching for short getaways from Vancouver or even just overnight trips from Vancouver, then Cultus Lake is an excellent choice. It is less than 1.5 hours drive from downtown Vancouver and when you arrive you get to enjoy the beautiful lake and surrounding mountains.

What’s really great about Cultus Lake is that most of the accommodation is a stone’s throw from the lake itself. This means you’ll probably get great views over the lake and it will only be a few seconds from your door to reach the edge of the lake for a swim. The accommodation is also very reasonably priced, making this one of the better cheap weekend getaways from Vancouver.

You’ll also find a small waterpark here that is open in the summer months which is a lot of fun for both the kids and the grown-ups. There is an excellent trail that circles the entire lake which is best tackled on a bike. You can easily spend a whole weekend here but this is one of our top choices for a one-night getaway from Vancouver.

Top Activity in Cultus Lake

Take a swim in the lake and bask in the sun on the beach.

Where to Stay in Cultus Lake

Cultus Lakehaus – We recently rented this house on Cultus Lake with some friends and it was perfect. The house is beautiful, has a rooftop patio, and a front patio that is covered with heaters.

5. Victoria – 3 Hours

Victoria Inner Harbour

The capital city of British Columbia is a really great place to spend the weekend exploring and another one of the epic getaways on Vancouver Island. We lived here for a while and loved the city centre which is situated around the inner harbour.

There are few cities that can boast such a spectacular setting right in the heart of downtown. The waterways here are buzzing with activity and you’ll be able to see water taxies, seaplanes, and boats constantly moving through the water.

There are plenty of fun things to do here ( read our full guide on things to do in Victoria here ), starting with exploring the city’s Inner Harbour and Fisherman’s Wharf. Walk along the water and soak in the fantastic views and make your way to the floating village of Fisherman’s Wharf where you may spot some friendly seals who seem to spend their day swimming underneath the wooden walkways.

You can also search for Fan Tan Alley, Canada’s narrowest street, visit the Butchart Gardens, go whale watching, look for the best brunch in Victoria , visit all of the craft breweries, hang out at the beach, and so much more. There will be no shortage of things for you to do here and you can easily extend this trip to be a long weekend. This is also one of our favourite romantic getaways near Vancouver and is one of the best getaways in BC for couples.

Top Activity in Victoria

Enjoy a half-day whale watching tour spotting orcas, humpbacks, and minke whales in one of the most spectacular settings anywhere in the world.

>>Book your whale watching tour here

Where to Stay in Victoria

Helm’s Inn –  Situated right on the corner of Beacon Hill Park and just minutes away from the inner harbour, this is an amazing location. The rooms are fantastic and select rooms also come with a kitchenette so you can cook your own meals.

>>See prices and availability for Helm’s Inn here

6. Squamish – 1 Hour

Murrin Loop and Quercus Viewpoint in Squamish

If you are after a weekend full of adventure then make the short trip up the road to Squamish. Whether you want to hike, mountain bike, kiteboard, or ride your dirt bike, this is the place to go. Squamish has endless hiking trails and some of our favourites are the Chief, Crooked Falls , Cheakamus Canyon , Slhanay trail , and Murrin Loop .

This is also an excellent choice for weekend trips from Vancouver in the winter. There are lots of good snowshoe trails and lots of world-class backcountry skiing to be enjoyed in the surrounding mountains. You’re also just a short drive to Whistler if you want to ski there but avoid the crowds and the high prices for accommodation.

Top Activity in Squamish

Ride the Sea to Sky Gondola – If you don’t fancy having to hike for hours to enjoy incredible views then take the Sea to Sky Gondola up the mountain instead. You’ll get jaw-dropping views over Howe Sound and there is a cool suspension bridge at the top too.

>>Book your Sea to Sky Gondola Tickets here

Where to Stay in Squamish

Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company –  Is there any better place to stay than at a craft brewery? The Inn is in a fantastic location and has awesome rustic rooms. You can also hang out in the sauna or grab a massage after a full day of hiking.

>>See prices and availability for Howe Sound Inn here

7. Bowen Island – 1 Hour

Bowen Island - Short Trips From Vancouver

Bowen Island is such a quaint and pretty part of BC and even though it is only an hour from downtown Vancouver it feels like you are a million miles away. You can enjoy a much more laid-back and relaxed pace of life as you explore this wonderful island in Howe Sound.

Once you are on the island you can hike, cycle, and walk around or you can enjoy some great food and explore the boutique shops in Snug Cove. One of our favourite things to do on Bowen Island is to hike Mt Gardner . It is a challenging enough hike as you start right at sea level but the views from the top are worth all of the effort.

Top Activity on Bowen Island

Bowen Island Dinner and Zodiac Tour – Take in the sights of Vancouver and Bowen Island as you rush by them on a zodiac that will take you to Bowen Island. Once there enjoy a delicious dinner at Doc Morgan’s.

>>Book your Zodiac tour here

Where to Stay on Bowen Island

Artisan Suites on Bowen – Stay within walking distance of Snug Cove and enjoy easy access to the rest of the Island as well. You’ll also enjoy the beautiful views and tasty food from the cafe downstairs.

>>See prices and availability for Artisan Suites here

8. Pemberton – 2 Hours 10 Minutes

Joffre Lakes in Pemberton - Weekend trips from Vancouver

A short drive north of Whistler is the town of Pemberton, which is a small town surrounded by epic mountains. Like Whistler, this is a great place to come for some outdoor adventures in the mountains and it can be enjoyed year-round. The incredible backcountry skiing and backcountry lodges located nearby make this one of the best weekend getaways from Vancouver in winter.

While not in Pemberton itself, one of the highlights of any trip to this part of British Columbia is a visit to Joffre Lakes . This set of three glacial blue lakes is absolutely breathtaking and it isn’t too difficult of a hike. If you want to avoid the crowds at Joffre then head a few minutes up the road to Rohr Lake , another alpine lake that is a sensational blue colour.

There are also some hot springs that can be visited from Pemberton, although they are a bit of a journey to get to. This is an excellent place to spend the weekend, especially for adventure lovers.

Top Activity in Pemberton

Horseback Ride in Pemberton – Explore the Pemberton Valley on horseback and take in all of the beautiful surroundings with your expert guide.

>>Book your horseback ride here

Where to Stay in Pemberton

Pemberton Valley Lodge – Relax in the outdoor pool and hot tub or enjoy the mountain views while sitting by the fireplace in your room.

>>See prices and availability for Pemberton Valley Lodge here

9. Kelowna and Big White – 4 Hours

Big White - Winter Getaways From Vancouver

Explore slightly further afield and head into the interior to visit Kelowna. The city is located in the Okanagan which is renowned for producing some of the best wines in Canada. The wineries are scattered throughout the region and trying all of the local wineries is a brilliant way to spend a weekend.

Kelowna is perched on the shores of Okanagan Lake and you can enjoy swimming in the lake, or take your boat with you and spend some time out on the water. With the hot summers the Okanagan experiences every year, a dip in the lake is a great way to cool down.

Kelowna is also situated near Big White Ski Resort which is home to some of the best snow anywhere in the world. We were fortunate enough to do a winter season here and we can confirm that the champagne powder that they advertize lives up to its name. With excellent snow and little to no lift lines, this is a great alternative to the likes of Whistler when you are considering winter getaways near Vancouver.

Top Activity in Kelowna

Wine Tour – It’s one of the main reasons people love to visit the Okanagan and it should be top of your list of things to do. Plus, you can take plenty of wine home with you to enjoy for the rest of the year.

>>Book your Kelowna wine tour here

Where to Stay in Kelowna

Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort – Stay in the heart of downtown and just a few steps from the beach in this beautiful resort. Take your choice of swimming in the lake or the swimming pool.

>>See prices and availability for the Grand Okanagan Resort here

10. Pender Island – 3 Hours

Pender Island - Vancouver Getaways

While we recommend visiting as many of the Gulf Islands as possible, we wanted to pick out a couple that we favour above the others. Pender Island is an awesome island getaway and a couple of days here is plenty of time to explore.

One of the best things to do here is to play disc golf in Golf Island Disc Park in North Pender Island. There are several routes you can follow through the forest and it is a really fun course to play on for beginners and experts alike.

Mount Norman is a relatively short hike with incredible views from the top over the surrounding islands. There is a really cool wooden viewing platform at the top which is a great place to watch the sunset. You can also check out Twin Island Cidery and Sea Star Vineyards. Twin Island Cidery is particularly cool as they have a tiny tasting room where you can try their delicious ciders before you buy (we are huge fans of their Forage Fine Perry pear cider).

Top Activity on Pender Island

Disc Golf – It’s fun and free, plus if you don’t have your own discs there are some available at the information board for you to borrow.

Where to Stay on Pender Island

Woods on Pender – Make this one of the more romantic getaways in BC by staying at the Woods on Pender . You can stay in airstreams or a small cabin and each unit has its own private hot tub making this an ideal couples getaway from Vancouver.

>> Check out our full blog post on the Best Things to Do On Pender Island .

11. Salt Spring Island – 2.5 Hours

Salt Spring Island - Vancouver weekend trip

Another of the Gulf Islands that you should definitely consider visiting is Salt Spring Island. This offers a similar experience to Pender Island but is also unique in its own way. Kick-off your weekend by sampling wines from local wineries , Garry Oaks Winery and Salt Spring Vineyards, which are all made with locally produced grapes.

Then head over to Salt Spring Wild Cider House to taste their delicious range of ciders. Chances are you have tried some of it before as it is widely available across BC. But there’s nothing like a flight of ciders from where it is actually made and the tasting room is situated on a hillside with beautiful views over the surrounding countryside.

Ruckle Provincial Park is a great spot for easy to moderate hikes and many of the trails are right along the impressive shoreline. Keep an eye out for any whales swimming close by and look up to try and spot eagles which are commonly spotted here.

There are quite a few cute cabins tucked away in the woods so this is a great spot if you are looking for cabin getaways from Vancouver.

Top Activity on Salt Spring Island

Visit Salt Spring Wild Ciders – Ice cold drinks with a view, do we need to say any more?

Where to Stay on Salt Spring Island

The Cottages on Salt Spring Island – Stay in these cute cabins on the edge of Bullocks Lake and enjoy the peaceful surroundings while still having easy access to the rest of the island.

>>See prices and availability for the Cottages here

12. Powell River, the Sunshine Coast – 4.5 Hours

Powell River - Weekend getaways in BC

Head further north on the Sunshine Coast and you will find the town of Powell River. This is a long journey and we would recommend taking an extra day or two to make this a long weekend unless you choose to fly up here. But once you arrive you will find plenty of cool things to do in Powell River .

The main reason that we visited Powell River was to check out the Tin Hat Hut , one of the huts along the Sunshine Coast Trail. The hike up here is moderate, even with a backpack, but it is 100% worth it. This is one of our favourite hikes in BC as the wooden hut perched on the rocks, overlooking the lakes, forest, and the ocean is phenomenal.

This hike can be done as a day trip, a quick overnight trip or as a multi-day trip to explore more of the trail. The Sunshine Coast Trail is a 180-kilometre backcountry trail so there is plenty to explore here.

We also highly recommend visiting Savary Island when you are up this direction as it is quite close by. It is home to a unique community, connected by one main gravel road. You’ll find lots of cool cabins, forest trails, and beautiful beaches on Savary Island and you may be lucky enough to spot some whales on the ferry ride over like we did.

In Powell River itself, you can head to Townsite Brewing Inc, check out the Hulks, visit Inland Lake Provincial Park, or hang out at Willingdon Beach.

Top Activity in Powell River

Hike to Tin Hat Hut – Take your overnight gear up and spend a night in the Tin Hat Hut. The sunsets up here are ridiculous and you won’t regret spending a night up here. Keep an eye out for black bears on your drive in and out from the trailhead.

Where to Stay in Powell River

Beach Gardens Resort Powell River  – There aren’t too many options to choose from in terms of hotels in Powell River, but the Beach Gardens Resort and Marina is probably the best choice. It is in a great location, just a short drive from the town centre and it is right on the water so you’ll get nice views out over the water. Like most accommodation in Powell River, it is also very reasonably priced so it is a good option for cheap getaways from Vancouver, BC.

>>See prices and availability for Beach Gardens Resort here

13. Seattle – 2 Hours 45 Minutes

Head south of the border into the United States and spend a weekend in the funky city of Seattle. Sitting right on the edge of the water and with mountains in the background, Seattle is a pretty city to visit and not unlike Vancouver in this regard. But it is the culture that seems to attract people to visit Seattle.

There is a vibrant food, arts, and music scene here, and city explorers will love wandering around this quirky city with so many hidden gems. You can visit the original Starbucks location, shop around at Pike Place Market and watch fishmongers toss the fish to each other, visit the Space Needle, or catch a baseball or football game.

Many Vancouverites love a visit to Seattle when the Toronto Blue Jays are playing the Seattle Mariners. It is much easier to watch Canada’s only Major League Baseball team by making the short trip to Seattle, rather than flying over to Toronto.

Wandering around the city is so interesting and you’ll stumble across some cool places like the Fremont Troll and the Post Alley gum wall. This is a great trip for those that want more of a city escape and even though it is across the border it is an easy drive or a short flight.

Top Activity in Seattle

Pike Place Market Food Tour – Explore this iconic public market on a walking/food tour. Learn all about the history of this market while sampling some delicious food along the way.

>>Book your Pike Place Market Food Tour here

Where to Stay in Seattle

Hotel Theodore – When you come to Seattle you want to stay in the heart of Seattle so you have easy access to all of the cool sites. Hotel Theodore puts you right in amongst the action and you will be a few minutes’ walk from most of the top attractions, including Pike Place Market.

>>Click here to see prices and availability for Hotel Theodore

14. Parksville and Qualicum Beach – 3 Hours 10 Minutes

Parksville & Qualicum Beach - Vancouver Weekend Trip

Having grown up in Qualicum Beach, I love sharing my love for this small town. The Parksville and Qualicum Beach area is another beautiful part of Vancouver Island. If you are after somewhere with a bit more to do on your doorstep then I would recommend heading to Parksville, the busier big-brother to Qualicum’s sleepy style.

Parksville is much larger and has lots of shops, restaurants, and other fun things to do. Parksville Beach is an awesome spot to spend the day soaking up some sun and swimming in the water to keep cool. This side of the Island has calm and relatively warm water compared to the west side of the Island. You can also explore Rathtrevor Provincial Park and explore some of the cool trails or hang out at the beach here.

Qualicum Beach is a much smaller town and is ideal if you are looking for a more peaceful getaway. The beach here is beautiful and is rarely that busy. In town, you’ll find boutique shops to peruse and a few good places to eat. One of the best additions to Qualicum in recent times is Fern + Cedar Brewing Company. Here you can grab some delicious beers and the food is excellent too.

The surrounding area for both these places is amazing and you’ll find plenty of hikes, waterfalls, and viewpoints to enjoy. A couple of our favourites are Little Qualicum Falls and Englishman River Falls. While you’re in the area keep an eye out for whales swimming by in the ocean. We’ve been lucky enough to spot orcas swimming right past Qualicum Beach.

Top Activity in Parksville and Qualicum Beach

Spend the day lazing on the beach at either Parksville or Qualicum Beach. If the beach isn’t your thing, there are tons of golf courses to check out!

Where to Stay in Parksville and Qualicum Beach

The Beach Club Resort – If you are going to come to a beachfront town you may as well stay right on the beach. Walk out of the front door of your hotel and right onto Parksville Beach. You can also get stunning views out over the water from your room.

>>See prices and availability for the Beach Club Resort

15. Port Renfrew – 4.5 Hours

Mystic Beach Vancouver Island Camping

Another of our favourite spots on Vancouver Island is the southwest coast. We have it listed as Port Renfrew but we really mean this whole stretch of the coast down to Jordan River. This is a rugged and beautiful part of the island and there is so much to explore here.

The Juan de Fuca Trail and all of the beaches along it are the main highlights of any trip here. Plus, you can camp on many of the beaches along the trail which makes for an epic adventure. You can check out Mystic Beach , surf and discover the hidden waterfall at Sombrio Beach , relax at Sandcut Beach , and check out the tide pools at Botanical Beach.

If you head a short drive inland from Port Renfrew you can check out the Fairy Lake Bonsai Tree , which is an unusual natural phenomenon. Exploring this section of Vancouver Island is mostly about enjoying the outdoors and seeing nature at its finest. Make sure to drop in at the Renfrew Pub for unbeatable views and one of the best burgers in BC.

Top Activity in Port Renfrew

Surf – Catch some waves at Jordan River or head to Sombrio Beach. There are plenty of waves to go around and far fewer people surfing here than the likes of Tofino.

Where to Stay in Port Renfrew

This is one place we highly recommend camping, especially at Mystic Beach. If you don’t fancy camping check out our top accommodation recommendation below.

Wild Renfrew Seaside Cottages – Stay right on the water, wake up to amazing views every morning and relax on their private beach.

>>See prices and availability for Wild Renfrew Seaside Cottages here

16. Kamloops and Sun Peaks – 4 Hours 30 Minutes

Kamloops is another good place in the interior to spend a long weekend. As it is a bit further out we recommend taking an extra day or two to make the most of your trip out here. You’ll find a wealth of hiking and mountain bike trails close to the city and there are plenty of breweries to explore in town.

While a summer trip here is worth taking, we recommend this as one of the best winter getaways near Vancouver as you have access to Sun Peaks Ski Resort. This is the second-largest ski resort in Canada, with Whistler being the only bigger ski resort. With lots of terrain to explore and the light, fluffy snow interior BC is known for, you’ll have an amazing time riding here.

Top Activity in Kamloops and Sun Peaks

Skiing and snowboarding – Visit in the winter months to experience world-class skiing and snowboarding on the second biggest ski hill in Canada .

Where to Stay in Kamloops and Sun Peaks

Sun Peaks Grand Hotel & Conference Centre – If you are coming in the winter then you have to stay in Sun Peaks village so you can enjoy ski-in ski-out riding. Staying at the Grand Hotel puts you just 100 metres from the lifts so you have the best access on the mountain.

>>See prices and availability for Sun Peaks Grand Hotel & Conference Centre

17. Harrison Hot Springs – 1 Hour 50 Minutes

Harrison Hot Springs - Quick Getaways From Vancouver

Looking for romantic getaways from Vancouver? Then why not head to Harrison Hot Springs and enjoy a weekend by Harrison Lake. This is a great couples getaway as you can spend some time relaxing in Harrison Hot Springs Spa. Soak in the naturally heated pool and get a massage for the ultimate day of relaxation.

This is also a great getaway for families, especially in the summer as there are lots of activities you can enjoy on the lake. The best of these is the inflatable water park on the lake . Spend a couple of hours playing on this giant, inflatable water park that is fun no matter what age you are. You can also relax on the beach, rent jet skis and tour the lake, or play golf at one of the two local courses.

Top Activity in Harrison Hot Springs

Relax in some hot springs – Whether it is at the spa, the local pool, or you explore deeper into the wilderness to find some hidden hot springs, this is the best way to relax and enjoy your weekend.

Where to Stay in Harrison Hot Springs

The Lodge on Harrison Lake – Relax on your private beach and enjoy the views in this waterfront location just outside the town centre.

>>See prices and availability for the Lodge on Harrison Lake here

Final Thoughts

We are incredibly lucky to live in such a magnificent part of the world and have easy access to so many other amazing places to spend the weekend. Whether you are searching for outdoor adventures or you prefer to spend your weekend eating and drinking, there are plenty of options for everyone.

Personally, we think you should start at the top of your list and work your way down as all of the locations we listed are worth visiting at least once, while others should be visited every single year (this is Tofino for us)!

Planning a weekend getaway? Check out some of our more in-depth destination guides here:

  • 17 BEST THINGS TO DO IN TOFINO
  • THINGS TO DO ON VANCOUVER ISLAND
  • 15 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN VICTORIA, BC
  • VANCOUVER ISLAND ROAD TRIP ITINERARY
  • BEST THINGS TO DO IN POWELL RIVER
  • TIN HAT HUT HIKE | Sunshine Coast Trail

Best Weekend Getaways from Vancouver

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Wild About BC About Us

Hi, we’re Luke and Roxy, a couple of adventurers that are head over heels in love with British Columbia, Canada.

We share our activities and outdoor adventures with the hope of inspiring others to get out and enjoy beautiful BC!

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Walk a While with Me

18 Spectacular Weekend Getaways from Vancouver

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Table of Contents

Tofino British Columbia - One of the best weekend getaways from Vancouver

Vancouver, British Columbia. Settled perfectly between the soaring North Shore mountains and the vast Pacific Ocean, Vancouver is filled with breathtaking scenery. And with so much natural beauty surrounding the city, it isn’t a surprise that there are many incredible weekend getaways from Vancouver .

Of course, BC has plenty of nature that can satisfy anyone’s appetite for adventure. From leisurely strolls to arduous climbs, the mountains, forests, and waterways of BC offer it all. You can spice it up a bit more with seasonal activities that will get your heart pumping.

The San Juan Islands, one of the best weekend trips from Vancouver

Then sit down for a delicious meal complemented by local craft beer or fine wine . And of course, we can’t forget about admiring the stunning indigenous art!  

Whether you travel by car, bus, train, or ferry, you’re sure to end up somewhere amazing. So today, I’ve put together 18 fabulous weekend getaways from Vancouver. We’ll start out with the BC Interior , then look at the BC Islands , and finish off with the road trips from Vancouver to the USA . So without further ado, let’s get to it!

Distant light blue British Columbia mountains and the deep blue Harrison Lake at dusk

Looking for other things to do in Vancouver? If so, check out my other Vancouver articles!

  • The Ultimate Self-Guided Vancouver Walking Tour
  • The 15 Best Hikes in Vancouver
  • 22 Incredible Hikes near Vancouver

The Best Weekend Getaways from Vancouver to the BC Interior

Before we start exploring the leafy nooks and crannies of BC and beyond, let’s have a look at what the immediate vicinity has to offer (hint: it’s way more than you think!). Here are the best weekend getaways from Vancouver to the interior of British Columbia.

1) Whistler

Whistler is one of the most popular weekend getaways from Vancouver — and for excellent reason! Located 121 kilometers north of Vancouver, Whistler offers a plethora of outdoor activities for every season.

A few skiers on the roaming snow-covered hills and mountains of Blackcomb Whistler Skiing Resort, one of the best things to do in Whistler in winter

In the winter, you can enjoy the thrill of skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling. For a calmer winter activity, you can go snowshoeing in the forest or admire the scenery from up high on a gondola tour.

Summer also offers plenty of outdoor opportunities, from nature walks to camping in Whistler. And to add a pinch of adventure, you can add one of these activities to your itinerary:

  • Bungee jumping
  • Hiking – there are many epic hikes in Whistler to choose from!
  • and plenty more.!

The mountains on the Elfin Lakes trail, one of the top Whistler hiking spots in the summer, with glaciers seen in the distant mountains

At night, you can have your pick of concerts, festivals, and fun events.

If you’re short on time, you can always opt for the day trips to Whistler from Vancouver. But trust me, the more time you spend in Whistler, the better!

  • Driving Time from Vancouver to Whistler : Approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes.
  • Bus from Vancouver to Whistler : You can book a 2-hour bus through companies like SkyLynx that stop at both the Vancouver airport and downtown Vancouver – tickets start at $15 . If you’re planning to go skiing in Whistler, Snowbus is also a great option, as it offers bus and lift ticket packages.

2) Squamish

Another haven for outdoor enthusiasts, Squamish is one of the best short trips from Vancouver. Located 64 kilometers north of Vancouver and 59 kilometers south of Whistler, it is filled with mountains, rivers, trails, and the ocean , all at your disposal. 

A man in a red and blue jacket at the turquoise Wedgemount Lake, one of the top hiking Squamish spots

You can enjoy the charming small town atmosphere, then go out for some hikes in Squamish (they offer some of the best hikes near Vancouver !). A popular choice for hiking in Squamish includes the challenging Stawamus Chief , with 3 peaks totaling an 8-kilometer round trip trail. If you’d like a more beginner-friendly hiking trail , there are tons of other options, including: 

  • The 6-kilometer Four Lakes Trail in Alice Lake Provincial Park.
  • The 350-meter walking trail to Shannon Falls.

A view of the deep green grass of a swamp, the Chief, Shannon Falls, the Pacific Ocean, and a large ship in Squamish BC, one of the best weekend getaways from Vancouver

If your legs need a break, you can give your arms a good workout with whitewater rafting, canoeing, or kayaking. Or go all in and try your hand at rock climbing, another popular activity in Squamish. 

Of course, this isn’t anywhere near everything Squamish has to offer. From the Sea to Sky Gondola to eagle watching, scuba diving, or playing golf, there is truly something for everyone in Squamish. If the weather isn’t on your side, you can also spend an afternoon in the Britannia Mine Museum. 

  • Driving Time from Vancouver to Squamish : Approximately 1 hour.
  • Bus from Vancouver to Squamish : Fortunately, there are many bus routes available. A great option is the Squamish Connector , which can cost as little as $12 per ride if you take multiple trips. Skylynx also operates this route for around $15 one way.

3) Harrison Hot Springs

Located 130 kilometers east of Vancouver, Harrison Hot Springs is another fabulous choice for weekend trips from Vancouver.

A man in a white speed boat beside a long wooden empty dock on Harrison Lake at sunset, the sky pink, purple, and orange

A favorite for family trips, romantic getaways from Vancouver, and even some well-deserved alone time, Harrison is a delightful small community in the Fraser Valley.

It’s no surprise that the most popular reason to visit Harrison is for the hot springs themselves. But once you’ve soaked and relaxed in the springs for long enough, try hiking Harrison Hot Springs as well! The Spirit Trail Walk is a great and easy choice, boasting local art along the way. Alternatively, you can walk around the peaceful Hicks Lake or meander down Miami Bridges Walk .

A man with hiking poles and a dog walking by the Sasquatch art piece on one of the flat and easy Harrison Hot Springs hikes

And don’t forget to keep an eye out for the Sasquatch ! Legendary in the Harrison River Valley, there have been many reported sightings of the Sasquatch near Harrison Hot Springs, with the Sts’ailes First Nations community believing it to be a spiritual being that can move back and forth into the spirit realm. To learn more, drop by the Sasquatch Museum .

If you like camping, the campsites in Sasquatch Provincial Park are utterly enchanting, offering parks, beaches, and a beautiful lake. 

  • Driving Time from Vancouver to Harrison Hot Springs : Approximately 2 hours.
  • Bus from Vancouver to Harrison Hot Springs : There is no direct bus from Vancouver to Harrison Hot Springs. However, if you can’t go by car, you can take an Ebus or Rider Express to Chilliwack then transfer to the local Chilliwack/Agassiz-Harrison Transit System. The first part of the journey takes anywhere between 1.25 to 2.5 hours and costs around $45 one way.

If you’re looking for fun road trips from Vancouver, you have to drive to Hope! Located 150 kilometers east of Vancouver, there is an amazing repository of things to do in Hope BC.

A tall mountain, numerous bushy green trees, and some recently cut grass at a camping site in Hope BC

Of course, like most other trips from Vancouver, there are tons of hiking trails, walks, and climbs . So whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or an arduous full-day challenge, Hope will surely not disappoint. 

In the winter, you can go skiing, and in the summer, swoosh down the water-slides at Bridal Falls Waterpark . Art lovers can also let their eyes feast on the masterpieces at:

  • Hope Arts Gallery
  • Heaven N Earth Native Art Gallery
  • Lillooet Miyazaki House
  • Hope Chainsaw Carvings (town center)
  • and many more!

A chainsaw wooden carving of an eagle standing on top of a beam over a wolf, one of the best things to do in Hope BC

Don’t forget to drop by the Japanese Friendship Garden , offering a peaceful recluse for the body and mind. 

  • Driving Time from Vancouver to Hope : Just under 2 hours.
  • Bus from Vancouver to Hope : Bus options include the Ebus and Rider Express , with the ride taking anywhere between 2 hours and 3 hours and 15 minutes, and costing about $60 one-way. 

5) E.C. Manning Provincial Park

For one of the most beautiful weekend trips from Vancouver, visit E.C. Manning Provincial Park! Located 220 kilometers east of Vancouver, Manning Park is a well-known camping retreat for locals.

Views of distant mountains, lush forest, and a steep hill in EC Manning Park on a cloudy day, one of the best weekend getaways from Vancouver

But there are plenty of things to do here in every season. In the winter, go skiing, tobogganing, snow shoeing, or check out the Polar Coaster Tube Park!

There are even more things to do in Manning Park in the summer, including:

  • Manning Park hikes
  • Horseback riding
  • Mountain biking
  • Canoeing or kayaking

A group of seven friends surrounding a sparking campfire in the late evening

This rich selection is complemented by year-round events , from ski courses and fondue tours to lantern making workshops . And of course, let’s not forget about stargazing !

For a true immersion into the wild outdoors, take advantage of one of the many Manning Park campsites . And if you need a short break from nature, the Loon Lagoon Indoor Pool Complex will do the trick. 

  • Driving Time from Vancouver to E.C. Manning Provincial Park : Approximately 2.5 hours.
  • Bus from Vancouver to E.C. Manning Provincial Park : Mountain Man Mike’s Bus Service operates a route from Vancouver to Kaslo, stopping at Manning Park. The trip takes about 3 hours and costs $60 one way. It’s best to plan your trip in advance as this service only runs twice a week . The route from Vancouver to Manning Park only runs on Thursdays and Sundays, and the route from Manning Park to Vancouver only runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Another option is to book a private shuttle service with Vancouver Shuttle Hire . 

Another prime spot for overnight trips from Vancouver, Kelowna is well-known to locals as the ultimate wine retreat destination. Located 445 km east of Vancouver, it is a bit time-consuming to get to Kelowna, but its dazzling array of activities will guarantee that the trip will be well worth-it. 

A stunning view of the fall foliage, brown shrubbery, and crystal blue lake in Kelowna BC on a slightly cloudy day

Of course, there are dozens of outdoor seasonal activities to enjoy, from hiking to skiing. But the real crown jewel of Kelowna is its wine. There are over 40 wineries in Kelowna, all within a 20-minute drive of one another. And these aren’t only basic wineries; Kelowna goes above and beyond, offering guided wine tours, wine trails, and even dog-friendly wineries.

trips from vancouver

Interested in the road trips from Vancouver to Banff? If so, read my 7-day drive from Calgary to Vancouver , with stops in Kelowna, Yoho National Park, and Moraine Lake!

And make sure to check out some Kelowna breweries, cideries, and distilleries as well! Popular options include the Tree Brewing Company, Kettle River Brewing Co., SOMA Craft Cidery, and BNA Brewing.

If you need to walk off some of that alcohol, explore Kelowna’s wild side with some Kelowna hikes, bird watching, or even an urban adventure. 

  • Driving Time from Vancouver to Kelowna : Approximately 4 hours.
  • Bus/Plane from Vancouver to Kelowna : Ebus can take you from Vancouver to Kelowna in 6-7 hours , costing around $85 one-way. A more expensive but faster option is to take the 1-hour plane ride . 

If you liked Kelowna, then you have to visit Osoyoos as well! Located 400 km east of Vancouver, Osoyoos is another local-favorite escape.

The barren, light brown hills dotted with cedar trees and rows of grape plants at one of the Osoyoos wineries

Despite its small size of about 5,000 inhabitants, there are a handful of great wineries in Osoyoos , each with their own unique vibe and story to tell. You should especially consider a visit to:

  • Nk’Mip Cellars
  • Moon Curser Vineyards
  • La Stella Winery 
  • Adega Estate Winery

A couple glasses of white wine in front of its bottle on a wooden table outside one of the wineries in west Kelowna

Despite it being a small town, there is a surprisingly rich selection of things to do in Osoyoos (other than checking out the wineries). Cool off at Osoyoos Lake and gaze at the colorful spots at Spotted Lake . If you’d like to take it indoors, admire the art at the Okanagan Art Gallery , relax at Solterra Desert Spa , or or be inspired by the Osoyoos Desert Model Railroad . 

To top it off, events are held year round, from street dances to concerts and artisan markets!

  • Driving Time from Vancouver to Osoyoos : Approximately 4.5 hours.
  • Bus/Plane from Vancouver to Osoyoos : Mountain Man Mike’s Bus Service operates a route from Vancouver to Kaslo, stopping at Osoyoos. This takes 6 hours and costs $95 one-way. It’s best to plan in advance as this service only runs twice a week . The route from Vancouver to Osoyoos only runs on Thursdays and Sundays, and the route from Osoyoos to Vancouver only runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Another option is to fly from Vancouver to Osoyoos, but you would have to fly to Penticton and then take a 1-hour bus. If you factor in the airport wait-times, it’s not much faster than the bus. 

The Best Weekend Getaways from Vancouver to the Islands

So far, we’ve explored some great weekend getaways from Vancouver on land. But a whole new world of opportunities open up to you if you take the ferry to Vancouver Island from Vancouver. So let’s have a look at 7 more excellent weekend getaways!

8) Victoria

Of course, we can’t talk about the best places to visit on Vancouver Island without mentioning Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. A charming city located to the south of Vancouver Island, Victoria is filled with beauty, from the lovely beaches to the European-inspired architecture.

A white horse-drawn carriage in front of the long green lawn in front of the provincial Parliament Buildings of British Columbia, one of the best places to visit in Victoria BC

While you can easily take a day trip from Vancouver to Victoria, it’s best to make it a weekend trip, as there are so many fabulous things to do in Victoria BC. These are my top 10 recommendations for things to do in Victoria:

  • Visit the British Columbia Parliament Buildings.
  • Explore Victoria’s Chinatown.
  • Walk around Victoria Inner Harbor and Fisherman’s Wharf.
  • Admire Craigdarroch Castle.
  • Tour the Royal BC Museum.
  • Shop around Lower Johnson Street and Market Square.
  • Visit the Butchart Gardens.
  • Relax on Willows Beach, one of the best beaches on Vancouver Island.
  • Embark on the Thetis Lake Trails or Mount Douglas, some of the best Victoria hiking trails.
  • Explore the Horne Lake Caves.

A white boat docked at a blue and purple boutique store in Victoria's Fisherman's Wharf next to some colorful houseboats

Needless to say, Victoria is one of the most popular and best overnight trips from Vancouver!

  • Transport Time from Vancouver to Victoria : Expect the entire journey to take around 4 to 4.5 hours, including the 90-minute ferry ride. 
  • How to Ferry from Vancouver to Victoria : First, you’ll have to drive or take the bus to Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal. From there, BC Ferries can take you to Victoria’s Swartz Bay Terminal. Ferries run every two hours and start at $18.00 per passenger, one-way (and $62.00 with a vehicle). From May to September, you can also make an adventure out of the commute and book a 4-hour whale watching ferry from Vancouver to Victoria with the company Prince of Whales . 

9) Salt Spring Island

If you want to visit an island with a bohemian reputation, then you have to check out Salt Spring Island! One of the best weekend trips from Vancouver, it offers a thriving art scene, many incredible wineries and breweries, and stunning natural scenery.

A large, white BC ferry cutting through the calm Pacific Ocean surrounded by dark islands at dusk

In fact, I already wrote an article on the 11 best things to do in Salt Spring Island ! But as a summary, there are many ways to spend your Salt Spring Island itinerary.

For all the outdoor enthusiasts with itchy feet, the Salt Spring Island hikes will surely not disappoint. You can choose from provincial parks, forest trails, and lake tours. The length and difficulty level varies, with family-friendly options as well as steep climbs that will drench you with sweat. Three popular options to consider include the hikes in:

  • Ruckle Provincial Park
  • Mount Maxwell Provincial Park
  • Mount Erskine Provincial Park

My fluffy white dog at the summit of Mount Erskine, showing views of the Pacific Ocean and distant islands - one of the top Salt Spring Island hikes

Afterwards, rest your feet in one of the island’s many great pubs, restaurants, and farms , including:

  • Salt Spring Island Cheese Company
  • Salt Spring Wild Cider
  • Salt Spring Vineyards
  • Salt Spring Island Ales

Alternatively, you can relax on a Salt Spring Island beach .

Be sure to save some time (and space in your stomach!) for the Saturday market as well. More than just food, you can find lots of beautiful handicrafts and souvenirs to take home with you.

  • Transport Time from Vancouver to Salt Spring Island : The ferry to Salt Spring Island from Vancouver takes anywhere between 2 hours and 15 minutes to 2 hours and 55 minutes, with stops at 1-3 islands en route.
  • How to Ferry from Vancouver to Salt Spring Island : First, you’ll have to drive or take the bus to Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal. From there, BC Ferries can take you to Salt Spring Island, with the Salt Spring Island ferry tickets starting at $18.10 one-way (not including a vehicle). Use the BC Ferries website to find the route and price for your travel dates.

10) Bowen Island

For a closer weekend trip and one of the best day trips from Vancouver, visit Bowen Island! Though very small (with only 4,000 inhabitants), this island offers a full range of awesome activities for every taste.

A dark small boat surrounded by calm ocean water near a rocky island, a sight on a hiking trail, one of the best things to do in Bowen Island

Relax on a pristine beach , drop in on a yoga class , go golfing , or admire some art in a gallery. Explore new tastes at the Copper Spirit Distillery or admire the enchanting island scenery with a Zoom Zoom scooter rental . But whatever you do, don’t miss out on the beautiful Bowen Island hikes !

Crippen Regional Park is an obvious choice for hiking on Bowen island. Surrounding Snug Cove, it offers several trails, including Killarney Lake and Dorman Point . For a hike with a higher altitude, you can also climb Mount Garner , the island’s tallest mountain. Without a doubt, one of the best things to do on Bowen Island is checking out its trails!

  • Transport Time from Vancouver to Bowen Island : The ferry only takes 20 minutes to sail from Vancouver to Bowen Island.
  • How to Ferry from Vancouver to Bowen Island : First, you’ll have to drive or take the bus to Horseshoe Bay. From there, BC Ferries can take you to Snug Cove on Bowen Island. However, please note that tickets can’t be booked online! Round-trip, tickets cost $10.95 per passenger, plus $31.00 for a vehicle.

11) The Sunshine Coast

The Sunshine Coast is one of those weekend getaways from Vancouver you’ll want to do again and again. Each time you visit, you can do a whole new set of thrilling activities; you’ll never run out of things to do on the Sunshine Coast! From horse riding to hiking and checking out the beaches on the Sunshine Coast , there are endless ways to spend your time.

Late sunset from one of the beaches on the Sunshine Coast, the small waves in the water dark and most of the sky a deep violet shade

Like the whole province of British Columbia, the Sunshine Coast doesn’t disappoint with its stunning natural sights. Consider checking out the Sunshine Coast hikes in:

  • Porpoise Bay Provincial Park
  • Inland Lake Provincial Park
  • Soames Hill & Knob Hill
  • Willingdon Beach Trail
  • Sechelt Heritage Hidden Groves

A bright orange ring buoy with "Coastal Celebration" written on it on the white rails of a BC ferry, surrounded by blue water

Or relax on Davis Bay Beach! Additionally, one of the best ways to soak up the area’s beauty is to stay at one of the Sunshine Coast campsites. There are three major campgrounds, including:

  • Roberts Creek Provincial Park
  • Saltery Bay Provincial Park

While the nature in the Sunshine Coast is utterly stunning, so is its art scene ! The area boasts the densest population of artists and craftspeople in all of Canada , with over 100 galleries to show for it. Follow the purple banner tour to discover the art at your own pace. 

  • Transport Time from Vancouver to the Sunshine Coast : The ferry ride takes around 40 minutes.
  • How to Ferry from Vancouver to the Sunshine Coast : First, you’ll have to drive or take the bus to Horseshoe Bay. From there, BC Ferries can take you to Langdale on the Sunshine Coast, with tickets costing $14.30 per passenger round-trip, plus $49.00 for a vehicle. Unfortunately, tickets must be booked directly at the ferry terminal.

It’s extremely hard to choose favorites with so many wonderful overnight trips from Vancouver, but for many (especially locals!), Tofino steals the show. 

Some mossy rocks, flat amber sand, and calm ocean with gentle waves on one of the best Tofino beaches

Popular with its stunning beaches, camping sites, and surfing spots, Tofino is the perfect summer getaway from Vancouver. But there are so many other things to do in Tofino, regardless of the season!

Tofino’s star is the aptly named 16-kilometer Long Beach . It’s the perfect place for walking, with sand packed so flat that you can even push strollers on it. There are several other Tofino beaches worth visiting, including:

  • Chesterman Beach
  • Cox Bay Beach
  • Mackenzie Beach
  • Wickaninnish Beach
  • Florencia Bay Beach

Several barnacle-covered rocks, calm sea water, and tree-covered islands on a beach in Tofino BC during low tide

If you’d like to do more than relax and gaze at the beautiful scenery, try your luck with surfing !

To dry off, check out some Tofino hiking trails , including:

  • Rainforest Trail
  • South Beach Trail
  • The Big Tree Trail
  • Schooner Cove
  • Tonquin Park

Several people standing on a wooden dock next to the Pacific Ocean at sunset in Tofino British Columbia

And if you’re wondering what to do in Tofino in other seasons, add even more variety to your itinerary with the Naa’Waya’Sum Gardens . Or, combine nature with culture on the Nuu-chah-nulth trail . It has plaques along the hike offering insight into the First Nations people of the area.

Overall, from camping Tofino to the Tofino hikes, Tofino definitely earns its adventurous rep!

  • Transport Time from Vancouver to Tofino : Expect the entire journey to take around 5.5 to 6 hours, including the 1 hour and 40 minute-to-2 hour ferry ride. 
  • How to Ferry from Vancouver to Tofino : First, you’ll have to drive or take the bus to one of Vancouver’s ferry terminals. There is no direct ferry to Tofino as it’s on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, but you can take one of the BC Ferries to get there. Either take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay (Nanaimo) or from Tsawwassen to Duke Point (Nanaimo). After that, you can drive or take a bus via the Vancouver Island Connector to Tofino. Ferry tickets cost around $18.00 one-way, plus $62.00 for a vehicle.

13) Ucluelet

For a more obscure weekend getaway from Vancouver, visit Ucluelet! Often overlooked for Tofino up north, there are tons of incredible things to do in Ucluelet; with its rocky coastline, lush temperate rainforests, and summer festivals and markets, Ucluelet is a gem just waiting for you to explore it.

A red and grey lighthouse by the calm blue Pacific Ocean on the Wild Pacific Trail, one of the best things to do in Ucluelet

The Wild Pacific Trail offers a beautiful one-hour walk complete with ocean views, towering trees, and vivid green colors every way you look. Two other trails you shouldn’t miss out on are:

  • The Ancient Cedars Loop
  • The Lighthouse Loop

trips from vancouver

Still a beginner hiker? If so, read my article on how to start hiking safely !

If you can’t decide which trail to embark on, don’t worry! These hikes are stunning yet short, so you can do all three of them over the course of two days.

And if you’re wondering what to do in Ucluelet other than hiking, pair that with camping Ucluelet ! Add a kayaking adventure to the mix or some whale-watching , and you’re all set to have your fill of nature (if that’s even possible).

A few people in kayaks off the coast of Ucluelet BC, paddling by some brown docks and colorful buildings

But there are, of course, other things to do in Ucluelet for those wanting to take it easy, including:

  • The Ucluelet Aquarium
  • Pacific Rim Distilling
  • Mark Penney Gallery

  • Transport Time from Vancouver to Ucluelet : Expect the entire journey to take around 5.5 to 6 hours, including the 1 hour and 30 minute-to-2 hour ferry ride. 
  • How to Ferry from Vancouver to Ucluelet : First, you’ll have to drive or take the bus to one of Vancouver’s ferry terminals. There is no direct ferry to Ucluelet as it’s on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, but you can take one of the BC Ferries to get there. Either take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay (Nanaimo) or from Tsawwassen to Schwartz Bay (Victoria). After that, you can drive or take a bus via the Vancouver Island Connector to Ucluelet. Ferry tickets cost $18.00 one-way, plus $62.00 for a vehicle.

14) Campbell River

Last but not least, the final weekend trip needing a BC ferry is the stunning Campbell River. Filled with gorgeous scenery, Campbell River is a prime summer destination!

A girl leaning on a white rail on the second story of a BC ferry heading to Campbell River British Columbia

Elk Falls Provincial Park is perhaps the most popular attraction in Campbell River. Its trails snake throughout the park, passing waterfalls, lush forests, and gorgeous views. Other great natural sights (other than the Campbell River camping sites !) includes:

  • The Ripple Rock Trail
  • Lower Myra Falls
  • McIvor Lake
  • The trails in Beaver Lodge Forest Lands

Stacks of light rose and dark red wine in wooden shelves in one of the Campbell River wineries

There are also many fabulous Campbell River shopping spots . From food to art and even pure salt, you’ll find it all. Places to visit include:

  • Cortes Natural Food Co-op
  • Coastal Black Estate Winery
  • The Urbanary Home and Garden
  • Island Clayworks
  • Mussels and More Pottery

Two other unique experiences to have in Campbell River include visiting Holly Hill Farm , a vast interactive petting farm, and the Museum at Campbell River . The latter will teach you all about the history of northern Vancouver Island. 

  • Transport Time from Vancouver to Campbell River : Overall, the trip should take around 6 hours by ferry and car , including the drive from Vancouver to the ferry terminal (30 minutes), the ferry to Vancouver Island from Vancouver (1 hour 40 minutes), the drive from Departure Bay to Campbell River (1 hour 30 minutes), and all the waiting in-between. Alternatively, you can get there in 40 minutes by airplane .
  • How to Ferry from Vancouver to Campbell River : First, you’ll have to drive or take the bus to Horseshoe Bay. From there, BC Ferries can take you to Departure Bay in Nanaimo, where you’ll then drive or take the Island Link Bus to Campbell River. One-way, ferry tickets cost $18.00 per passenger, plus $62.00 for a vehicle.

The Best Weekend Getaways from Vancouver to the USA

This brings us to our last section: the best weekend getaways from Vancouver to the USA ! Though Canada has a lot to offer, it would be silly not to check out these gems over the border. 

15) Seattle, Washington

First, let’s talk about Seattle! The biggest city in Washington State, Seattle is a city celebrated for grunge music and Starbucks coffee. A bustling and diverse city, Seattle has an overwhelming choice of things to do (so much so, it’s kind-of hard to know where to start).

A view from the bottom of the towering Seattle Space Needle on a sunny day

If you’d like a break from Canada’s booming nature, duck into one of Seattle’s many museums , including:

  • Chihuly Garden and Glass (my personal favorite)
  • The Museum of Flight
  • Museum of Pop Culture
  • Pacific Science Center
  • Seattle Aquarium

The "Public Market" and "Farmers Market" signs at Pike Place Market in Seattle WA on an overcast day

Other popular sights include the Pike Place Market , Pier 57, the first Starbucks, and the Seattle Space Needle . And you can see all of these sights on my self-guided walking tour of Seattle !

However, you can also get around via the Seattle Center Monorail , offering a unique way to travel between many of Seattle’s notable attractions, weaving between skyscrapers high above the bustling streets.

A view of the Space Needle and Seattle skyline from Kerry Park on a bright sunny day, one of the best weekend getaways from Vancouver

But the real magic happens outside, where you can marvel at the stunning sunsets in Seattle . You can do this from a park or a beach, but for the most memorable experience, head up to an observation deck. Options include:

  • Sky View Observatory
  • Space Needle
  • Smith Tower

And if you’re interested in the sights surrounding Seattle, check out my article on the 15 best day trips from Seattle !

  • Driving Time from Vancouver to Seattle : Approximately 3 hours , with light traffic and short lines at the border. While it’s most convenient to go to Seattle by car, keep in mind that there may be long wait times at the border or brutal traffic during rush hour. Parking in downtown Seattle also isn’t the cheapest.
  • Bus from Vancouver to Seattle : The bus is the cheapest way to travel to Seattle. Options include Quick Coach , which costs as little as $11 and takes about 4 hours and 40 minutes .
  • Train from Vancouver to Seattle : For a more scenic route, consider taking the train from Pacific Central Station in Vancouver to downtown Seattle with Amtrak . The trip takes 4.5 hours , and tickets cost around $45 one-way.

16) Leavenworth, Washington

If you’re looking for a Bavarian-styled village huddled in the mountains of Washington state, check out Leavenworth! One of the best road trips from Vancouver and a popular Seattle day trip , Leavenworth is a picturesque alpine town surrounded by enchanting scenery and adorable shops.

A small clear pond surrounded by colorful trees and tall mountains near Leavenworth WA on a sunny day

Things to do include visiting Waterfront Park , a spot offering an oasis of serenity so beautiful, it’ll make the entire weekend trip worth it. Front Street Park is another peaceful spot that warrants a visit. 

For a winter holiday off-the-beaten path, plan to spend Christmas in Leavenworth Washington! There are tons of places to do your holiday shopping, and the lights that decorate the entire village are nothing short of magical. 

The lights-covered trees and snow-covered ground in a park at night during Christmas in Leavenworth Washington

Leavenworth is a city worth-visiting regardless of the season, but Leavenworth in winter is simply spectacular. Admire the breathtaking views, then check out some of the shops in Leavenworth WA to escape the cold! And if you’re a fan of ballet, The Nutcracker Museum will tell you all about the predecessors of the iconic bearded character.

Things to do in the summer include embarking on the Icicle Ridge Trail , white-water rafting down the Wenatchee River, and visiting the local wineries.

  • Driving Time from Vancouver to Leavenworth : Approximately 5 hours.
  • Bus from Vancouver to Leavenworth : While there are also ways to get to Leavenworth by bus, train, and plane , they all take over 6 hours of travel time. In general, driving is the most convenient way to get to Leavenworth.

17) San Juan Islands, Washington

While the journey to get to the San Juan Islands can be arduous, the wait is definitely worth it. Another fun-filled weekend getaway from Vancouver, the San Juan Islands offers stunning coastal views, serene forest trails, and thrilling outdoors activities.

The long green grass, vast light blue sky, Puget Sound, and lone white lighthouse on one of the San Juan Islands hikes

An archipelago located close to Victoria, BC, the San Juan Islands consist of 172 named islands and reefs. The three most popular islands include San Juan Island , Orcas Island , and Lopez Island . While you can choose any of these three islands to visit, San Juan Island is one of the most popular and lively spots.

So what are the best things to do on the San Juan Islands? The first thing to mention is of course its nature . You’ll have the chance to get close and personal with it through whale watching or observing the crabs in the beach-side tide pools .

A green and white Washington State ferry in the Puget Sound, docked on one of the San Juan Islands on a slightly cloudy day

If you’ve wanted to try glamping , the San Juan Islands may be the place to cross it off your list! You’ll have a ready-made campsite including a real bed, while still conserving the comforting camping atmosphere. For a more authentic experience, there are many San Juan Islands camping sites . You can read more about campsite locations, reservations, rules, and booking here .  

If you’re planning to visit San Juan Island, drop by the charming coastal village of Friday Harbor , then go killer-whale watching at Lime Kilm Point State Park . And if you’re looking forward to hiking San Juan Islands, check out the following San Juan Islands hikes :

  • English Camp (San Juan Island)
  • Cattle Point Lighthouse (San Juan Island)
  • Moran State Park (Orcas Island)
  • Turtleback Mountain (Orcas Island)
  • Lopez Hill (Lopez Island)
  • Hummel Lake (Lopez Island)

How to Get from Vancouver to the San Juan Islands : While it is bit of a journey to get to the San Juans, the San Juan Islands tourism site lists a couple different options , including:

  • Via Victoria : Drive from Vancouver to Tsawwassen, then take a BC ferry to the Swartz Bay Terminal in Victoria. Proceed to drive to Sidney (30 minutes north of Victoria), and take the ferry to Friday Harbor on the San Juan Islands. The ferry schedule can be found here .
  • Via Anacortes : First, drive from Vancouver to the Anacortes Ferry Terminal in the US. This drive should take around 2.5 hours, not including border wait times. From Anacortes, take one of the Washington State Ferries to the San Juan Islands.

18) Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Have you ever visited an active volcano ? Well, if you take this weekend trip from Vancouver to Mount Rainier, then you can say that you have!

Mount Rainier in the summer, the snow-covered rocks surrounded by white misty clouds, one of the best weekend getaways from Vancouver

Another incredible day trip from Seattle and one of the best national parks to visit in the fall , Mount Rainier is a stunning national park filled with breathtaking sights and adventurous activities, from skiing and snowboarding to trekking. Things to do include:

  • Visiting Myrtle Falls (one of the most beautiful Mount Rainier waterfalls!)
  • Admiring the wildlife through the wild walk or wild drive at Northwest Trek
  • Taking a gondola ride up Crystal Mountain
  • Going on a hot air balloon ride

A couple of people on a narrow hiking path surrounded by green grass on a steep hill on Mount Rainier WA on a bright, sunny day

And of course, you have to go hiking! The best hikes of Mount Rainier include:

  • The Skyline Trail
  • The Silver Falls Trail at Ohanapecosh
  • Nisqually Vista Trail
  • Bench and Snow Lakes Trail
  • Frozen Lake via Sourdough Ridge Trail
  • Mount Fremont Lookout Trail

All of these activities, from the gondola rides to the hikes, will take you all around Mount Rainier, giving you a powerful taste of everything nature has to offer. Needless to say, Mount Rainier is one of the best spots in the USA , and possibly all of North America !

  • Driving Time from Vancouver to Mount Rainier National Park : Approximately 5.5 hours.
  • Bus from Vancouver to Mount Rainier National Park : Unfortunately, there is no direct bus from Vancouver to Mount Rainier. If driving is not an option, you can take a bus or train down to Seattle, then bus from Seattle to Enumclaw, and then grab a taxi or rideshare to Mount Rainier. 

Enjoy your weekend getaways from Vancouver!

Overall, while each one of these weekend getaways from Vancouver is unique in its own right, they all share one thing in common — endless opportunities for fun! You’ll be surprised how even the smallest towns are packed with things to explore, climb, and eat. And remember, a lot of these weekend trips can serve as Vancouver day trips as well!

Thanks for reading the article! If you have any questions, feel free to comment down below, and if you want to see more travel and hike-related content, make sure to check out my other articles.

Mia

Photos by Mia and Pixabay.

The 18 Best Weekend Trips from Vancouver

Want to travel the world but still in school? If so, read my guide on how to travel as a student !

About to embark on a trip around British Columbia? Here are some awesome BC destinations to check out:

  • 11 Fabulous Things to Do in Salt Spring Island
  • 6 Epic Whistler Hikes
  • The Perfect 7-Day Canadian Rockies Road Trip: How to Drive from Calgary to Vancouver
  • 15 Incredible Day Trips from Seattle

And here are some helpful articles and additional links to make your trip as awesome and stress-free as possible:

  • How to Travel Without Breaking the Bank
  • 15 Things to Do Before a Trip
  • How to Start Hiking: 15 Beginner Hiking Tips
  • Click here for my walking tours
  • Click here for my hiking guides
  • Click here for more posts on North America
  • Click here for more posts on Canada
  • Click here for more resources

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Mia is the founder of Walk a While with Me, a travel blog dedicated to sharing the best self-guided walking tours, travel itineraries, and hikes for destinations around the world. A keen traveler, she has visited more than 20 countries in the past six years. She is excited for you to follow along on her adventures!

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16 Epic Day Trips From Vancouver For Your Bucket-list

16 Epic Day Trips From Vancouver For Your Bucket-list

Quick navigation, sea to sky gondola, callaghan valley, cypress mountain, capilano suspension bridge park, bowen island, harrison hot springs, sunshine coast, bridal falls, garibaldi provincial park, lighthouse park, grouse mountain, north shore, wine tasting in langley, fort langley national historic site.

  • Canada's West Coast Article Series

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Feeling confined in the city? Then, it might be time to get out and explore some surrounding areas! This article will highlight some of the most incredible day trips from Vancouver to add to your bucket list. Whether you’re seeking adventure, quirky destinations, and family-friendly activities, you’ll find one or two or more activities on this list worth trying! Side note: most activities sit within a couple of hours from Vancouver.

Canada's West Coast

Get lost in a sea of adventures in Squamish ! Less than an hour from Vancouver and nestled along the Sea to Sky Highway, this quirky town is morphing into a boomtown for adventure. People often stop here for some snacks on their way to Whistler, but Squamish is evolving into an ideal getaway for hikers, climbers, kayakers, and mountain bikers. Its proximity to Vancouver and soaring mountains flanking the town (such as Stawamus Chief) and location on Howe Sound puts Squamish as the ultimate place to escape to the hush of the mountains for a day.

For water adventures, head to Howe Sound for a soothing kayaking or paddle boarding excursion, where stunning teal fjords mesmerize. If you want to work your legs instead of your arms, you’ll find a 100.0 km network of singletrack trails in and around Squamish. The biking scene is popular here! For a family-friendly route, try out the Wonderland Trail or increase the intensity and technicalities along Entrails . Climbers will have a blast in Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, where you can find great routes around “The Chief.”

But that’s not all! Lace-up your hiking boots and spend a few hours immersed in nature. One of the more famous hikes in Squamish also centres around “The Chief”: the Stawamus Chief Hike . This moderate route is 6.3 km and takes between 2.5-4 hours. Those wanting a challenging day hike will fall in love with the mystical views cloaking the 17.1 km Watersprite Lake Hike . It’s a little outside of Squamish, but the drive from Vancouver is totally worth it. You can find more amazing hikes in Squamish here !

When it comes to adventure, Squamish doesn’t take shortcuts! What better way to escape city horns and skyscrapers than to go to the mountains and experience the vibes of another town. After navigating mountainous paths, fuel up with some food at one of the restaurants dotting Squamish, such as The Salted Vine , Zephyr Cafe , or The Copper Coil Still & Grill .

How to Get to Squamish from Vancouver

Squamish is usually a one-stop-shop for adventurers escaping Vancouver and heading to Whistler. Situated along the Sea to Sky Highway, Squamish is around a one-hour drive from Vancouver and 45 minutes from Whistler. Most people drive their cars, but you can also take public transportation. Just head to Horseshoe Bay and take the BC Connector for $24. You can reach Horseshoe Bay by taking the Line 250 or Line 257 bus from Westbound W Georgia Street. This costs $3 and takes 40 minutes to get to Horseshoe Bay.

Squamish pacific ocean shoreline

Squamish pacific ocean shoreline

Just outside of Squamish sits the famous Sea to Sky Gondola , which attracts crowds of tourists and visitors! But don’t let the label of “tourist attraction” stop you from coming here. It attracts people for a reason! The Sea to Sky Gondola is a family-friendly activity that has you sitting in gondola cabins and winding high above Howe Sound, Shannon Falls, and Squamish’s renowned Stawamus Chief.

Once you’re at the top, you can check out the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge, go on a walking loop, or you can find some more intense adventures.

How to Get to the Sea to Sky Gondola from Vancouver

You’ll follow the same route to reach the Sea to Sky Gondola as you would to get to Squamish. The quirky adventure town is only a few minutes past the stop for the Sea to Sky Gondola. Hop in your car and drive along the Sea to Sky Highway or take the Squamish Connector shuttle . Watch the views cloaking the Sea to Sky Highway roll by as you relax on your round trip to and from Vancouver. The shuttle allows you to stay at the Sea to Sky Gondola for 4 hours and usually has you back by 4 pm. Round-trip transport costs $40.

Sea to Sky Gondola viewing deck

Sea to Sky Gondola viewing deck

A day trip to Whistler from Vancouver is one of the most epic, rewarding options on this list! Whistler pleases all visitors with year-round activities, such as snowboarding, skiing, snowshoeing , cross country skiing, hiking , biking (check out Whistler Mountain Bike Park ), and more. This ski resort is renowned worldwide for its cozy accommodation, welcoming bars and restaurants, and enchanting scenery.

A trip to Whistler makes for the perfect family-friendly day trip, where all ages can dapple in activities that suit their size, fitness levels, and abilities. While most people flock here to ski or snowboard, you can also do other adventures. For example, experienced hikers will fall in love with the layers of mountain views on the 9.7 km Blackcomb Meadows Hike or a bright blue lake on the 16.6 km Cheakamus Lake Hike . And those seeking an easy excursion (or families) will enjoy the breathtaking views on the 5.1 km Lost Lake Hike . At the same time, cross country skiers and snowshoers will get a chance to bask in nature’s wonder in the myriad of trails carving through Lost Lake Park .

How to Get to Whistler from Vancouver

To get to Whistler from Vancouver, you’ll continue driving for 45 minutes past Squamish! One public transport option includes Skylynx , an express bus that travels from Vancouver for just $20 one-way. Or you can look at Snowbus.com for a detailed schedule for all the different buses and routes going to and from Vancouver to Whistler.

Whistler Blackcombe skiing snowboarding

Whistler Blackcombe skiing snowboarding

Discover a snowy paradise in Callaghan Valley, situated just 25-30 minutes away from Whistler. Pack your cross country skis or snowshoes and head to Whistler Olympic Park or Callaghan Country !

Whistler Olympic Park acted as the Nordic grounds for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, so you know the cross country skiing or snowshoeing here will be phenomenal! There are even dog-friendly trails here, so your pup can get some much-needed fresh air and exercise, too.

Callaghan Country offers a similar experience to Whistler Olympic Park! Both give you the chance to immerse in a snowy winter wonderland and get some exercise (with your pup, too). You can rent equipment at both locations if needed.

How to Get to Callaghan Valley from Vancouver

Callaghan Valley isn’t too far from Whistler. For some perspective: Callaghan Valley is 110.0 km from Vancouver, 14.0 km from Whistler Village, and 44.0 km from Squamish! Callaghan Country is the first access gate along Callaghan Valley Road, and Whistler Olympic Park is the second access gate.

Whistler Olympic Park in Callaghan Valley

Whistler Olympic Park in Callaghan Valley

Not in the mood to drive to Whistler to get your skiing or snowboarding fix? No problem. Cypress Mountain is only a 50-minute drive from Vancouver. This is a great ski hill for more experienced riders and skiers, especially compared to the other resorts near Vancouver (Mount Seymour Resort and Grouse Mountain). You can also go cross country skiing, snowshoeing, or tubing here!

We also wrote a blog post detailing more daytime adventures to do in winter around Vancouver . Check it out for a lengthy list of exciting activities to do when the weather dips.

How to Get to Cypress Mountain from Vancouver

It only takes 30 minutes to drive from Vancouver to Cypress Mountain! No vehicle? No problem. Take the bus or Skytrain to Waterfront Station, where you’ll take the Seabus to the Cypress Mountain Express Bus at Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver! A round trip costs $25.

Cypress Mountain ski resort lodge

Cypress Mountain ski resort lodge

Enjoy the fresh smells swirling around the rainforest and catch glimpses of the culture of the First Nations People. Walking around the network of trails spanning Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is a great way to get outside and discover more about Indigenous peoples. Head to the First Nations Cultural Center to gain some knowledge and walk to the stunning suspension bridge, snapping a montage of photos en route.

How to Get to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park from Vancouver

You don’t have to set aside much time to travel to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park as it’s only 15 minutes from Vancouver. People without a car can take the free shuttle from select locations or hop on the SeaBus and go to Lonsdale Quay. And here, you’ll take the #236 bus!

Capilano suspension bridge

Capilano suspension bridge

Just 25.0 km northwest of Vancouver sits the chilled-out, relaxing Bowen Island . It doesn’t take too much effort to get away from it all and reach this island. Despite its small size, which spans just 6.0 km in width and 12.0 km in length, Bowen Island is jam-packed with outdoor ventures: kayaking, hiking, boating, and mountain biking. Or, you can laze on the beach, soaking in the natural scenery and sounds of the ocean. People tend to flock to Tunstall Beach, Sandy Beach, or Bowen Bay. And some popular hiking routes are the 9.0 km Killarney Lake Trail or the 17.0 km Mount Gardner.

How to Get to Bowen Island from Vancouver

To get here, just hop on a ferry at Horseshoe Bay, travel for 20 minutes (or take a water taxi from Granville Island), and boom: you are away from city sounds. You can reach Horseshoe Bay from Downtown Vancouver by taking either the 250 Horseshoe Bay and 257 Horseshoe Bay Express bus. Check TransLink for the schedule.

Bowen Island off pacific coast of vancouver

Bowen Island off pacific coast of vancouver

Go for a therapeutic dip in the mineral-pumped hot springs in the charming village of Harrison Hot Springs . But you don’t even need to spend all your time at the hot springs (your body may overheat…), get out and meander the nearby Sasquatch Provincial Park or stroll around the marina.

How to Get to Harrison Hot Springs from Vancouver

Follow the Trans-Canada Highway to reach Harrison Hot Springs! Expect to drive for around 1 hour and 45 minutes by car from Vancouver. You’ll also find public transport options from Waterfront Station but be warned that this option may take you just under 4 hours.

View from Harrison hot springs sailboats on Pacific ocean

View from Harrison hot springs sailboats on Pacific ocean

Suppose you’re stopping by Vancouver and don’t have time to spend a few days on Vancouver Island. In that case, we highly recommend taking the Vancouver (Tsawwassen) to Victoria (Swartz Bay) ferry route to Victoria. It takes 1 hour and 35 minutes to traverse the ocean, but it’s worth the journey and the hassle of getting to the ferry. Victoria’s attractive Victorian-era architecture fused with sea-salted air makes for an epic day getaway. Some great activities you can do are walking along the Inner Harbour, checking out the Parliament Buildings, shopping at Market Square, and more.

How to Get to Victoria from Vancouver

Head to the Tsawwassen terminal, located 36.0 km from downtown Vancouver, and then take the ferry to Swartz Bay in Victoria. Get off from there and take a bus (or another form of transportation) to downtown Victoria. It takes just over 30.0 km to get there. This entire journey can take around 2.5-3 hours, which might be a bit much for a day trip from Vancouver, but it’s worth the time! You can always look into staying overnight if you need to!

Victoria

The Sunshine Coast may not be the sunniest in the world, but it exudes sunny vibes (and if we have to say sunny enough times in one sentence, maybe you’ll believe us when we say: it’s worth the day trip). A day trip here would likely include exploring either Langdale or Hopkins Landing. Soak in scenic West Coast views from Hopkins Landing, where a beach, vistas of the North Shore mountains, and kayaking and swimming will keep you entertained.

How to Get to Sunshine Coast from Vancouver

Although Sunshine Coast is located on the mainland, you can’t reach this area by car! You can only get there via water, which adds to the adventure, doesn’t it? You can take the Langdale Ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Sunshine Coast. There’s a new ferry departing here every 2 hours, and it takes around 40 minutes to travel by water.

Sunshine coast dock and ferry

Sunshine coast dock and ferry

Pack a picnic lunch and get ready to fall in love with the roaring Bridal Veil Falls , backed by dreamy forest scenery. Spend some time relishing in this natural wonder in summer or winter! In winter, the falls freeze, providing the perfect image of a snowy wonderland.

How to Get to Bridal Falls from Vancouver

Hop in your car and travel east along the Trans-Canada Highway to reach Bridal Veil Provincial Park. Expect to drive for 1.5 hours. It’s best to drive here!

Garibaldi Provincial Park is where staggering scenery, bright blue mountain-tucked lakes, and soaring peaks embroider the rugged wild with surreal beauty. Those craving hours and hours below a canopy of trees will get what they want in Garibaldi Provincial Park. You’ll find a lot of long but incredible day hikes here, including the super challenging 26.1 km Black Tusk Hike (near Whistler). You can turn this hike into a short backpacking trip! Other day hike options are the 15.6 km Wedgemount Lake Hike or the 10.7 km High Note Trail Hike.

Turn your day trip into a 2-night wilderness exploration and try out the Panorama Ridge Hike, which may be one of Canada's most unreal hikes. You can spend a night at Taylor Meadows. Be sure to book before you go. Some people dare to attempt this 30.9 km hike in a day—talk about a rewarding endeavour!

How to Get to Garibaldi Provincial Park from Vancouver

The Black Tusk/Garibaldi Lake entrance sits almost smack-dab between Squamish and Whistler. If you don’t have a car, you can always look into public transport. Parkbus is a great public transport option!

Garibaldi Provincial Park Lake in winter

Garibaldi Provincial Park Lake in winter

Lighthouse Park is the epitome of a postcard-painted spot. Admire the lighthouse overlooking waves crashing rocks and visitors exploring the area. Try to time a trip here during sunset when the purple sky contrasts perfectly with the white and red lighthouse! It’s an excellent place for a romantic picnic or a family trip outside of the city.

How to Get to Lighthouse Park from Vancouver

Lighthouse Park is around 35 minutes from Vancouver. For public transportation, take bus #250, and you’ll get dropped off along Marine Drive, and you’ll have to walk a super short distance to the entrance.

Lighthouse Park on the Pacific coast Vancouver

Lighthouse Park on the Pacific coast Vancouver

Adventurous locals flock from Vancouver to Grouse Mountain for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing adventures, as well as for the Grouse Grind, a challenging hike that spikes in 853 m elevation over just 2.9 km . Grouse Grind is nature’s answer to the Stairmaster—if you choose the hiking route. Or, you can watch people struggle below as you ride up the mountain on the gondola!

How to Get to Grouse Mountain from Vancouver

Grouse Mountain is only 22 minutes from Vancouver by car. For public transportation, take the SeaBus to Lonsdale Quay before hopping on the #236 bus, which winds to Grouse Mountain. Expect to arrive at Grouse Mountain just 25 minutes after getting on the bus at Lonsdale Quay.

Grouse Mountain gondola

Grouse Mountain gondola

You don’t have to travel far to reach a throng of hikes carved into the mountains in Vancouver’s North Shore. While we’ve talked about two mountains on this list already—Grouse and Cypress— and some other locations and parks—Lighthouse Park, Horseshoe Bay, Capilano Suspension Bridge, we also want to give North Shore a section on this list. The massive area boasts of a compilation of epic, bucket-list-worthy hikes spanning the area.

The 30.1 km Howe Sound Crest Trail is a legendary trail tailored for experienced hikers seeking phenomenal views. You can turn this long, challenging adventure into a 2-day trip by staying at one of the many backcountry camping options: Plateau above Enchantment Lake, Magnesia Meadows, Brunswick Lake, or Deeks Lake.

A more moderate hiking route may look like the 14km Norvan Falls ( 391 m elevation gain) in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park or the popular, local-favourite 4.9 km Dog Mountain Hike in Mount Seymour Provincial Park.

How to Get to the North Shore from Vancouver

The North Shore covers a large area and includes various jagged peaks and provincial parks, such as Cypress Provincial Park, Grouse Mountain, Seymour Provincial Park, Mount Seymour, Cypress Mountain, Horseshoe Bay, Lighthouse Park, Capilano Suspension Bridge. Therefore, it’s best to look into directions for these specific places before you go. If you want to reach Howe Sound Crest Trail, you’ll head towards Cypress Mountain Ski Area. For Norvan Falls, you’ll drive along Lillooet Rd, and for Dog Mountain, you’ll follow Mount Seymour Road until you reach the ski hill area. Thankfully, we’ve attached directions on how to get to all of the North Shore hikes listed on our website!

Vancouvers North Shore sunset

Vancouvers North Shore sunset

Let your taste buds explore a range of wine! Langley is home to various vineyards, such as Backyard Vineyards , Chaberton Estate , and more. This may not be a super adventurous activity, but it’s a great way to pass the time when you want to escape the city, admire lovely views, and you aren’t in the mood for a heart-pumping exercise.

How to Get to Langley from Vancouver

It takes around an hour to reach Langley by car! You can also find several buses leaving from the Waterfront Station. On average, a ride to Langley via public transport amounts to around 1.5 hours. Backyard Vineyards is 12 minutes from Langley City by car, and Chaberton Estate Winery is around 15 minutes from Langley City.

Langley Wine Tasting vineyard grapes

Langley Wine Tasting vineyard grapes

Explore the soaring fjords jetting high around Howe Sound via boat! You can rent a boat from Sewell’s Marina and cruise to secret gems sprawled around Howe Sound. The best part is that you don’t need a boat license—you can use your driver’s license instead. It’s also not too expensive to rent one. To rent a boat (big enough for five adults) for four hours, it costs $312, adding up to $62.4 per person!

Howe Sound rocky pacific shoreline

Howe Sound rocky pacific shoreline

How to Get to Howe Sound from Vancouver

By car, it takes just over 30 minutes from Vancouver to reach Howe Sound. And around 25 minutes to get to Sewell’s Marina! Head to Waterfront Station for public transport options. You’ll probably travel for about an hour by bus to get to Sewell’s Marina.

While Vancouver is a hustling and bustling city with a range of activities and things to do, it’s always fun to change the scenery and explore new places and try new adventures! If you’re looking for fantastic hikes to do around the city (which make for great day trips), check out our article on the 24 Greatest Hikes Around Vancouver !

Travel back a couple of centuries when you visit the Fort Langley National Historic Site . This Hudson Bay Company fur trade post came into fruition in 1827. Back in the 1800s, this post attracted a lot of foot traffic, thanks to the Fraser River gold rush and the fur traders. Nowadays, interpreters recreate the 1800s, giving visitors a real feel for what it felt like to come to the Fort Langley National Historic Site a couple of hundred years ago. This is a great family-friendly day trip from Vancouver.

Fort Langley National Historic Site

Grounds of Fort Langley by -JvL- , CC-BY 2.0

How to Get to the Fort Langley National Historic Site

To get to the Fort Langley National Historic Site from Vancouver, take Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 E before taking exit 61 for 216 street. Stay on 216 street and then take a right onto 88 Ave, which becomes Hudson Bay Street. Then, go right on Royal Street, followed by a slight right onto Fort-to-Fort Trail/Mavis Ave.

Which day trip from Vancouver do you want to try first?

Articles about Trip Planning to the Canada's West Coast

If you have a big task on your hands to plan a trip to the West Coast of Canada, look no further! Check out the list below to find all the information that you might need.

Planning your West Coast Trip

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If you want to hand over your trip planning to professionals, look no further. Below you'll find the listicles of well-crafted itineraries.

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Itinerary: Three Days in Vancouver

Day Trips From Vancouver

The Best Vancouver Day Trips

Vancouver day trips range from adventurous to purely scenic and relaxing. If you have some extra time, why not explore the Vancouver region by taking one of these 12 Vancouver day trips.

Part of the beauty of this Vancouver day trip is getting there. The Sea to Sky Highway that connects Vancouver and Whistler is one of Canada's most beautiful drives . This stunning piece of highway offers views of lakes, mountains, fjords, inlets, a waterfall, all in under two hours by car or try the day-long Rocky Mountaineer train trip.

Once in the year-round resort of Whistler, enjoy skiing, hiking, ​zip lining or wandering the shops and boutiques of Whistler Village.

Personalized, private tours of Whistler from Vancouver are available and last about 8 hrs.

Harrison Hot Springs

Located among southwestern BC's magnificent mountains and the sandy beaches of Harrison Lake, the village of Harrison Hot Springs draws visitors not only for its warm natural spring waters but also for golf, water sports and more.

There are several places to stay in town, but the Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa has the sole water rights to the hot springs, piping them to its five mineral pools directly from ​the source almost a quarter of a mile away.

This quaint fishing village sits at the mouth of the South Arm of the Fraser River in Richmond - still officially part of greater Vancouver. Since the 1870s, Steveston has been home to salmon canneries, attracting Japanese, Chinese and European immigrant workers there. Today, the town retains a heritage charm due to the preservation of many historic buildings but has also grown to accommodate an increasing population and tourism industry.

Steveston is also known for its annual Canada Day Salmon Festival and as a whale watching destination.

Bowen Island

Bowen Island is the most accessible island getaway from Vancouver. Just a 20-minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver or half an hour by water taxi, Bowen Island offers respite from the big city of Vancouver by way of kayaking, sandy beaches, inlets, hiking and mountain biking. The 52sq km/20sq mi island, like many of BC's island communities, is residence to many painters, jewelers and other artisans willing to sell their wares.

Sunshine Coast

TripSavvy / Alisha McDarris

The Sunshine Coast comprises a number of communities along a 180 km stretch of land north of Vancouver. Though not an island, the Sunshine Coast has no road access, so visitors need either take the 40 min BC Ferries ride from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver, a sea taxi from Granville Island or seaplane. En route, enjoy views of the Vancouver skyline and surrounding mountains. Once on the coast, you'll notice the temperate climate and laid-back feel. Activities include browsing artists shops and boutiques, fine-dining, hiking, kayaking.

Cypress Mountain

For skiers, Cypress Mountain is one of the most accessible mountains to get to from downtown Vancouver, only 30 minutes away. Aside from downhill skiing, Cypress offers a snow tube park, snowshoe tours, and cross-country trails.

The stunning views atop Cypress Mountain are available year-round. In summer, hike or cycle the trails of the three mountains that comprise Cypress Provincial Park .

It's almost a shame to list this capital of BC city as a mere day trip. Victoria and Vancouver Island have so much to offer that several days or more is ideal. Something else to consider when planning a Victoria day trip is that the BC Ferries ride alone is just over an hour and a half, not including the travel time to and from the ferry terminals. Another option is to travel by helicopter , a quick, comfortable, convenient but more expensive way to go.

Some ideas for visiting Victoria include

  • Victoria by Seaplane and Ferry (Book this tour with Viator)
  • Seaplane Flight to Victoria & Whale-Watching Cruise (Book this tour with Viator)
  • Vancouver to Victoria and Butchart Gardens Tour by Bus (Book this tour with Viator)

Like Victoria, Nanaimo is located on Vancouver Island  and is a ferry ride away from Vancouver - possibly stretching the definition of a "day trip" as you're looking at four hours travel time. More time on the island is ideal, nevertheless, the ferry ride itself is scenic and comfortable, so it's not wasted time. Nanaimo offers plenty in the way of swimming, scuba diving, hiking and more. Be sure to try the Nanaimo bars, for which the town is famous!

Golden Ears Provincial Park

This year-round park - one of the largest in the province - offers many recreational activities, typical of a provincial park: hiking, camping, horseback riding. The freshwater lake is popular for canoeing, fishing, windsurfing, etc.

Capilano Suspension Bridge

The Capilano Suspension Bridge is more than just a bridge; there's actually a whole park with activities, history, and culture. The park is a 20-minute drive outside of downtown Vancouver.

Built in 1889, the Capilano Suspension Bridge stretches 450 feet (137m) across and 230 feet (70m) above Capilano River. The park offers guided nature tours, the Kids' Rainforest Explorer program, and Living Forest exhibit.

Combine a day trip to Capilano Suspension Bridge with a visit to Grouse Mountain; they are close to one another in North Vancouver.

An organized tour may be a good way to go if you don't want to figure out public transit or rent a car.

Grouse Mountain

Though Grouse doesn't measure up to Cypress in terms of a ski experience (Cypress has more lifts and slopes), it is still a popular spot for reasonably priced skiing. Many people visit Grouse Mountain just to go up the gondola and get the best view of Vancouver. Grouse Mountain is also famous for the Grouse Grind, a 2.9-kilometre trail up the mountain face. Other activities include zip-lining, a visit to the Grizzly bear refuge and dining.

Cross-Border Shopping

Canadians love their cross-border shopping, and between Vancouver and Seattle off of Highway 5, you'll find plenty of it. The closest spot to hit is Bellingham - about a half hour south of the Canada/U.S. border - where Bellis Fair Mall features Target, Kohl's, Abercrombie & Fitch and more. Continue south another half hour and you come to Burlington/Mt. Vernon, where outlet stores include GAP, Coach, and J.Crew among others.

Be sure to consult the allowances for cross-border shopping .

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Top 16 Things to Do with Kids in Vancouver

Guide to Snowshoeing Near Vancouver

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Complete Guide to Grouse Mountain in Vancouver, BC

Whale Watching in Vancouver: The Complete Guide

Your Trip to Vancouver: The Complete Guide

Getting Around Vancouver: Guide to Public Transportation

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Guide to Lynn Canyon Park & Suspension Bridge in Vancouver, BC

The Top 10 Things to Do in Coal Harbour, Vancouver

Guide to Beautiful and Historic Victoria, British Columbia

12 Top Things to Do in Vancouver in Spring

Salt Spring Island Gay Guide - Weekend on Salt Spring Island

Skiing and Snowboarding Near Vancouver

Planning the Ultimate British Columbia Road Trip

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Travel + Leisure

Travel + Leisure

20 Best Things to Do in Vancouver — From Stunning Hikes to Incredible Cultural Experiences

Posted: July 25, 2023 | Last updated: July 25, 2023

Here are 20 of the top things to do in Vancouver.

Vancouver’s beauty is notable, with its majestic mountains, stunning skyline, and sparkling sea luring visitors from around the world. But the city is more than just good looks — it has personality too. Culture and cuisine shine here, the people are friendly, and it’s a safe and welcoming city. Whether you take a trek through the trees, meander through the metropolitan streets, cycle the seawall, or stroll through the shops, one thing’s for certain: you’re sure to get in your steps in this city. With the help of Candace Campo (ancestral name Xets’emits’a, Shíshálh Nation), artist and owner/operator of Talaysay Tours ; Rodolfo Parra, chief concierge of JW Marriott Parq Vancouver and the Douglas Autograph Collection Hotel ; and Alex Chen, executive chef, Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar , we’re sharing the best things to do in Vancouver.

Related: T+L’s Guide to Vancouver

Take an Indigenous-led Talking Totems tour.

The best way to start a visit to Vancouver is to learn about the area’s beginnings. Located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, the city that is now known as Vancouver has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. Towering totem poles have stood erect in Stanley Park since 1920, and the Talking Totems tour offered by Talaysay Tours provides an eye-opening journey from past to present through the stories shared by an engaging Indigenous guide.

Grab goodies at the Granville Island Public Market.

Vancouver’s most celebrated chefs shop at the Granville Island Public Market , like Chef Chen, who picks up fresh sausages from Oyama Sausage Co and warm loaves of bread from Terra Breads when he wants to make a standout charcuterie on his days off. Campo loves it here too, sharing, “My dad and I ate everything here, from Chinese and Greek to Ukrainian and West Coast seafood. Then we’d explore the art studios, walk the boardwalk, and listen to live music.”

Take a tranquil stroll through the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.

The first Chinese “scholar’s garden” to be built outside of Asia, the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is one of the city’s most ornamental green spaces — and it’s right in the heart of clamorous Chinatown. A mirror-calm pond houses colorful carp, and twisted trees and quiet covered walkways provide a tranquil space to stroll. Make time for a free guided tour, and be sure to conclude your visit with a complimentary cup of traditional Chinese tea.

Shop the Lonsdale Quay.

“The Seabus ferry ride to the Lonsdale Quay from downtown Vancouver is a fun must-do experience on its own,” shares Parra. “Once you’re there, walk through the local artisan shops, explore the pier that overlooks a picturesque view of the Vancouver skyline, and then grab a table at Tap & Barrel Shipyards and enjoy the views.”

Admire art at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

As Western Canada’s largest public art museum, the Vancouver Art Gallery is a top attraction for art enthusiasts. Browse the works of Emily Carr, British Columbia’s beloved painter, and explore the blockbuster international shows and contemporary collections found throughout the three-story historic space. 

Related: The Best Times to Visit Vancouver for Lower Prices, Beautiful Weather, and Outdoor Adventures

Take a day trip to Bowen Island.

“I highly recommend taking a day trip to Bowen Island , located in the middle of Howe Sound, just a short flight or ferry ride away. While there, experience the purest form of the West Coast. Explore the local farmers market, hike up to Dorman Point Lookout, or kayak along the shoreline and experience the stunning beauty BC has to offer,” shares Parra of his top-recommended day trip from the city.

See sea creatures at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Set in Stanley Park, the Vancouver Aquarium is Canada’s largest. Get up-close (and in some cases, hands-on) with the over 65,000 aquatic animals that are housed here, including charming sea otters and swimming sea lions (one weighing in at nearly 1,900 pounds). Not only is this a top tourist spot, but the site is also a center for marine research, ocean literacy, and climate activism.

Walk around the Capilano River Hatchery.

Built to save the declining salmon stocks in the area, the Capilano River Hatchery is a popular place for a hike. “We like to take our dogs for a walk around the hatchery,” shares Chen. “We hike around the canyon and see schools of salmon spawning there, then have a late picnic lunch by the water, with treats from nearby Thomas Haas .”

Meander through the Vancouver Mural Festival.

A self-guided walking tour of the Vancouver Mural Festival (Aug. 4-13 this year) will give you a great perspective of the city through an artistic lens. Over 300 murals and public art displays can be spotted in neighborhoods throughout Vancouver, featuring the works of both local and international artists.

Visit Olympic Village by boat.

First created as a housing hub for athletes during the 2010 Winter Olympics, Olympic Village has now become a popular spot for pub hops and patio dining. “Take the Aquabus — just steps from the Douglas — to Olympic Village where you can explore the local microbreweries such as 33 Acres Brewing and enjoy a day of brewery hopping, a big part of Vancouver culture. While you’re there, enjoy a bite to eat at Argo Café , a hidden gem located in Olympic Village,” shares Parra on how to enjoy the experience.

Browse the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art.

Located up the street from the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art honors hailed Haida artist Bill Reid, who was known for building bridges between Indigenous and settler people through his work as an artist, broadcaster, and community activist. The space showcases some of his artwork, as well as works of art by contemporary Indigenous artists.

Entertain the family at Science World.

Vancouver’s oceanfront orb is a sight to see, but inside the geodesic dome is a multi-level space for science exploration that the kids (and parents!) are sure to enjoy. At Science World , you can get hands-on with learning galleries, watch engaging science showcases, and catch a show on the largest domed screen on the planet, the Omnimax Theatre, which puts you in the center of the action.

Eat seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf in Steveston.

Chef Chen lives in Steveston — a 30-minute drive from Vancouver — and enjoys riding his bike around the dyke towards Gary Point Park with his family. “I would ride down to the dock to check out the catch of the day. I love the side stripe prawns, and will often pick up a fresh Dungeness crab for dinner,” he shares of the city’s seafood capital. Don’t feel like cooking it yourself? The area is full of seaside seafood spots serving everything from casual fish and chips to upscale fine dining.

Dine around the world at the Richmond Night Market.

During the summer months, a visit to Richmond Night Market — the largest outdoor market of its kind in North America — is a must for foodies. There are over 110 food stalls here, serving 600+ dishes and drinks from all around the world. You’ll find Pan-Asian snacks, along with food offerings from Indonesia, Turkey, Mexico, and other parts of the world. Live entertainment and endless snacking make for a fun-filled evening here.

Snowshoe the Howe Sound Crest Trail.

Found 30 minutes by car from Vancouver, the Howe Sound Crest Trail in West Vancouver is a quiet alternative to the more popular local mountains, and it’s a preferred spot by Campo for winter snowshoeing. “While snowshoeing is something I often do for winter work, I love when I can bring friends and family on an adventure to check out the Howe Sound Crest Trail, overlooking Átl'ka7tsem (Howe Sound). Our peoples have traveled these mountains for generations and I like to think I am a part of this legacy and tradition,” shares Campo of her personal connection to the experience.

Find alpine adventures on Grouse Mountain.

See Howe Sound from a bird’s-eye view with a ride in an enclosed gondola up to the peak of Grouse Mountain . At the top, hike around weaving trails, and meet Coola and Grinder, a pair of orphaned grizzly bears who call the mountaintop habitat home. Kids can climb their way through the Kids Tree Canopy Adventure, and thrill-seekers can try the zipline.

Visit the Chinatown Storytelling Centre.

Vancouver has a rich Chinese-Canadian history, with one of the oldest Chinatowns in the country. The Chinatown Storytelling Centre is a new addition to the area and the first exhibit of its kind in Canada. Inside, you’ll find a showcase of the stories and people who have shaped the city’s past, present, and future through interactive exhibits.

SUP the Salish Sea.

Campo loves stand-up paddleboarding on the water, especially on Vancouver’s North Shore in the early hours of the morning. “I have on many occasions sat in my car and waited for daylight to launch my paddleboard and paddle from Ch’tl’am (Ambleside) to Dundarave,” she shares. Once she’s far from shore, Campo sings traditional Salish songs and watches as cormorants, loons, harbor seals, and even salmon swim past her board. “They don't see you as a threat and on occasion will swim right up to you,” she explains of one of her favorite pastimes.

Teeter across the Capilano Suspension Bridge.

Since 1883, the Capilano Suspension Bridge has been a top tourist spot. Visit to teeter across the bridge that hangs 230 feet above the forest floor and reaches a distance of 450 feet long. While you’re there, creep along the Cliffwalk, a cantilevered walkway that dangles over the canyon, and take a trek through Treetop Adventures, a series of seven smaller suspension bridges connected to treehouses and towering viewing platforms.

Play at Creekside Park.

Adjacent to Science World, Creekside Park is home to Vancouver’s largest playground (which cost nearly $1 million to build), featuring nature-inspired climbing structures, a massive tube slide, and a zippy zipline. Water and sand play areas keep little ones busy, and a rubberized surface makes the playground more accessible for people with mobility challenges. Water views of False Creek and tree-shaded sitting areas make for the perfect picnic spot.

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Read the original article on Travel & Leisure .

Naimul Alam/Travel + Leisure

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Zipair's budget Vancouver-Tokyo flights are nearly sold out for March

Zipair flight from yvr to narita airport costs around half as much as larger carriers like air canada.

trips from vancouver

Social Sharing

A low-cost carrier offering new cheap flights from Vancouver to Tokyo is turning heads among B.C. travellers, with tickets for its first month of operations nearly sold out. 

Zipair announced the budget flight  from Vancouver-Tokyo Narita airport on Dec. 26, offering a round trip at around $700 US ($942 Cdn) for an economy seat where larger carriers like Japan Airlines — of which Zipair is a subsidiary — and Air Canada typically charge more than double that price.

Passengers are expected to pay for other services, including food and check-in luggage. Economy seats make up most of the flight; with a few hundred dollars more, passengers can access to "full flat seats" that allow them to recline.

"Having a low-cost alternative, I think it's going to really drum up interest for inbound tourism into Japan," said David Tikkanen, head of the tourism marketing program at the B.C. Institute of Technology. 

"Hopefully, [the] Japanese market, they are going to want to come and check out Vancouver as well."

  • Budget flights to Calgary, Vancouver coming to Ottawa airport

Statistics from the Japan Tourism Agency show that the country's tourism sector saw a major rebound in 2023 after three years of pandemic-induced slowdown.

Around 25 million people visited Japan last year, according to preliminary figures — not far from the 31.8 million people who visited in 2019, the year the country saw the most tourists on record.

An East Asian man points to a logo reading 'Zipair Tokyo'.

In a December statement, Zipair president Shingo Nishida said there was a "growing travel demand" among those seeking to travel between Vancouver and Tokyo.

"We sincerely look forward to welcoming customers in Canada to take advantage of our service, as this route will provide a valuable link for commercial and cultural exchange between the two countries," Nishida said.

The 'secret sauce'?

Zipair's Vancouver-Tokyo flight has generated a lot of buzz on social media since its announcement, with flights set to run three days a week starting March 13.

A look at their website shows demand for the flight is already high, with nearly all of the outbound flights from Vancouver in March booked out as of Jan. 20.

  • New WestJet route to Vancouver will fly out of Detroit, not Windsor

Tikkanen thinks Zipair's "secret sauce" may be its seat upgrade for the  full-flat bed .

He says a comfortable, bed-like seat on a 10-hour flight, even without food or other services, would be quite a competitive offering against other carriers.

Upgrading to a full-flat bed on Zipair's Vancouver-Tokyo flight costs around a few hundred dollars more than an economy ticket on a carrier like Air Canada, according to Tikkanen.

  • Flair Airlines adding flights to Vancouver from Windsor

He says he thinks other carriers could dip their toes into the budget long-haul flight space given the overwhelming interest in Zipair's offering.

"Zip has kind of stripped out everything and you're just getting the seat, which is probably what a lot of us just want," he said.

'Travel moment'

Tikkanen says Vancouver has historically had a strong tourism link with Japan since the 1980s.

"Japan's kind of having a bit of a travel moment right now," Tikkanen said, referring to the rise in visitors to Japan from Canada following the easing of pandemic restrictions. "A lot of younger people are really interested in travelling to Japan."

A man walks past a giant East Asian gate located in a water body, with a skyline off in the distance.

He adds that Zipair's low-cost Vancouver-Tokyo route will also get a lot of interest from the Japanese diaspora in the province.

B.C. historically has a  large Japanese Canadian population , with the 2021 census showing there are around 44,000 people of Japanese origin in the province.

CBC News has reached out to the Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens' Association for this story.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

trips from vancouver

Akshay Kulkarni is a journalist who has worked at CBC British Columbia since 2021. Based in Vancouver, he has covered breaking news, and written features about the pandemic and toxic drug crisis. He is most interested in data-driven stories. You can email him at [email protected].

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trips from vancouver

Airport asks travellers to check flight status before heading to the airport

Officials at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) say crews are working to clear more than seven centimetres of snow that has fallen since Tuesday night, while many flights have been delayed or cancelled.

Airport officials are asking travellers to check with carriers about the status of their flights before heading to the airport.

A winter storm is expected to drop up to 20 centimetres of snow across southwest B.C. from Tuesday night into Thursday.

Baron - BC snow totals as of 8 am PST, Jan. 17, 2024

(Snowfall totals as of 8 a.m. PST)

RELATED: Latest forecast information on B.C.'s snowstorm

It has already resulted in school closures and commuting delays in places like Vancouver and Victoria.

"Our teams are working hard to ensure your safety and run operations as smoothly as possible," said Air Canada on X, formerly Twitter.

YVR spokesperson Alyssa Smith said crews were busy clearing runways and de-icing planes to keep departures running as smoothly as possible. However, given the conditions, she said extra time is needed to have planes safely arrive and depart.

"So, what we're seeing is some impacts to flight schedules so we can manage the number of arriving and departing flights to the weather," she said.

Other flights at airports around the province, such Kelowna International Airport and Kamloops Airport in B.C.'s Interior and at Victoria International Airport , were also facing delays and flight cancellations due to the conditions.

WATCH | Roads are tricky to navigate in parts of Southwestern BC. A bus jackknifed on a street in Pitt Meadows:

This article was originally published for CBC News .

Header image: Stock photo/Pixabay

trips from vancouver

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