There’s so much to see and do in Vancouver that you might forget to explore the surrounding area. Day trips from Vancouver are ideal for foodies, history aficionados, outdoor adventurers, and others. Here are our top 10 best day trips from Vancouver.
Why Should You Have Day Trips From Vancouver?
Some of British Columbia’s most interesting and picturesque places are easily accessible from Vancouver.
A ferry journey away is charming island communities and Victoria, the provincial capital. Additionally, a trip up the iconic Sea-to-Sky Highway takes you past Squamish and up to Whistler, one of the locations for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Bridal Veil Falls, Fort Langley National Historic Site, and Harrison Hot Springs, famed for their hot pools, beach, and small-town ambiance, are located inland, towards the Fraser Valley. Besides, for those who desire to cross the border into the United States, Mount Baker is a short drive away, providing hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter.
10 Best Day Trips From Vancouver
Take the ferry to Victoria: Wonderful day trips from Vancouver
The boat voyage to Victoria takes you via some of British Columbia’s most breathtaking coastal landscapes. This charming seaside city, with its tight city center, is ideal for exploring on foot.
The Empress Hotel, famous for its afternoon tea service, graces the riverfront. You can take a walk around the Inner Harbour and witness street entertainers, sit on a park seat, or see the city’s parliament buildings.
The magnificent Butchart Gardens are one of the best things to do outside the city. This year-round attraction is set in what was formerly an ancient quarry, with particularly spectacular displays from early spring through late October. The Royal British Columbia Museum, one of Canada’s best natural and cultural heritage museums, is also located in Victoria.
You can also walk or drive to Victoria on the ferry. The ferries fill up during peak periods, especially during holidays. Plan ahead of time by booking your sailing online.
Hiking paths in Victoria welcome you with cascading waterfalls, breathtaking views, and historical landmarks. The majority are less than 30 minutes from downtown Victoria.
Besides, consider a seaplane and ferry excursion from Vancouver to Victoria for a more stunning journey. On the way back, you’ll enjoy a birds-eye perspective of the magnificent Gulf Islands and a sea-level experience on the boat.
Don’t miss Squamish!
Squamish is a simple and entertaining day excursion from Vancouver that is sometimes ignored by vacationers on the drive from Vancouver to Whistler via the Sea-to-Sky Highway.
This village is about an hour’s drive from Vancouver and is located at the far end of Howe Sound. It was previously a forestry and mining village, but it has become a major tourist attraction.
The picturesque Sea-to-Sky Gondola is one of the area’s most popular new attractions. The breathtaking views from the Summit Lodge down Howe Sound and up towards Mount Habrich, Sky Pilot, and Goat Ridge are breathtaking. Also, don’t miss the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge at the summit of the trip.
Outdoor recreation is the order of the day in this town, with rock climbers flocking here to scale the high cliffs. The massive granite monolith known as Stawamus Chief Mountain is a magnificent sight and one of the region’s primary climbing areas. Besides, great hiking routes, mountain bike trails, and campgrounds offer many possibilities to go out in nature. Eight provincial parks are within easy driving distance of Squamish.
Shannon Falls is also worth a visit, located just two kilometers south of Squamish. This is the third-highest waterfall in British Columbia, tumbling 335 meters, and it is particularly popular due to its ease of access. Short hiking routes stretch through the forest to the base of the falls in the region. Bring a rain jacket; due to the spray, this is a moist area. The Sea-to-Sky Gondola will also provide views of the falls.
Harrison Hot Springs: is a great escape from Vancouver
The small village of Harrison Hot Springs, located about 90 minutes from Vancouver, is a nice place to get away from the city. This resort town, noted for its hot springs and nestled between forest-covered mountains on the shores of lovely Harrison Lake, has a lot to offer day-trippers. Golf, hiking, mountain biking, boat cruises, fishing, and other activities are also provided.
Visit during the summer months. The lovely beach that covers the length of the town’s shoreline offers a breathtaking view of the islands and mountains across Harrison Lake.
Salt Spring Island: a perfect getaway from Vancouver
On a beautiful day, a journey to Salt Spring Island is an ideal day trip from Vancouver. Ferries depart from Tsawwassen in Vancouver and arrive at Long Harbour on Salt Spring Island 1.5 hours later.
The journey through the Straight of Georgia and Active Pass is breathtaking. If possible, the best-day visit option is to take a nonstop ship, and bookings are strongly advised.
Salt Spring is also a quaint island with modest farms and artist workshops. You can visit some of these family-run farms to sample and purchase cheese and other specialty foods, or you can visit an artist’s studio to watch them at work.
Besides, renting a bicycle is a popular way to move around the island. Spend the extra money on an e-bike because Salt Spring Island is mountainous!
Ganges is the major town, a beautiful beachfront hamlet with restaurants, shopping, and galleries. During the summer, Ganges conducts a popular Saturday market where people sell their crafts and other things.
Come to America: Washington’s Mount Baker
On clear days in Vancouver, the gleaming snowcapped top of Washington State’s Mount Baker can be seen in the distance. Despite its evident presence, few people consider making the day excursion to examine the mountain up and personal. Those that do will discover charming towns on the way, neighboring hiking trails in the summer, and excellent skiing in the winter.
Numerous walks in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, which surrounds Mt. Baker, provide access to breathtaking mountain vistas. Hiking trails mainly follow the ridge lines beneath the dormant volcano. The views up to the summit and the glaciers are breathtaking.
Mt. Baker receives massive amounts of snow in the winter, often ranging from 50 to 65 feet. The mountain set the record for the greatest snowfall in a single season in the United States, with 1,140 inches, or about 95 feet. It’s one of Washington’s greatest ski resorts.
The travel from Vancouver takes approximately 2.5 hours. However, drive times can vary based on border wait periods; check border wait times online before leaving.
Hell’s Gate Airtram transports
From spring through fall, the Hell’s Gate Airtram transports you across the Fraser River in a tram that connects both sides of the canyon.
Hell’s Gate is a bottleneck in the Fraser River where fast-flowing water. It is driven into a 33-meter-wide segment, creating a churning scene of white water. The aerial tram travels 152 meters and drops you on the other side of the river. There is a restaurant, souvenir shop, gold panning area, and information center on this side.
If you’re feeling adventurous, stroll across the swinging suspension bridge that spans the raging river below. The picturesque drive from Vancouver to Hell’s Gate is part of the appeal of this day trip, which takes between 2.5 and three hours each way.
Stop at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
The Capilano Suspension Bridge was completed in 1889 and has since evolved into the thrilling tourist attraction that it is today. A swaying platform 70 meters above the river allows you to walk 137 meters.
Millions of people have made the somewhat perilous crossing to the other side, keeping a steady pace and a firm grasp on the rope. There is also a tree top walk among 1,300-year-old trees, a cliff walk with a glass floor, and a large collection of totem poles in the park.
If you have your own car, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is a short drive from downtown Vancouver. A tour is a fantastic alternative if you don’t have a car or don’t want to deal with traffic.
Take your family to Lake Cultus: one of the best lakes in British Columbia
Cultus Lake, one of the nicest lakes in British Columbia, is ideal for a day on the water with the family. The lake is only 1.5 hours from Vancouver, making it a convenient destination to explore before the famous backseat chorus of “Are we there yet?” gets into high gear.
Cooling down is made simple by wide beaches with shallow water and dedicated swimming places. Bring your stand-up paddleboard, canoe, or kayak if you want to get out on the water. If you want something a little more exciting, trailer the boat or Jet Ski and launch from one of the public boat ramps. This big lake provides plenty of space for racing.
Cultus Lake Adventure Park, an action-packed location full of waterslides and thrill rides, provides an alternative to the beach.
After a day at the lake, stop through the charming city of Chilliwack for a bite to eat on your way home.
Whistler is the best day trip from Vancouver
The picturesque journey down the Sea-to-Sky Highway (Highway 99) alone is worth a day trip to Whistler. The vistas of Howe Sound and the alpine scenery are spectacular along this section of the route. Along the route, make a stop at the spectacular 355-meter-high Shannon Falls.
The famed ski resort town of Whistler is at the conclusion of the drive, a year-round attraction with golf, skiing, hiking, shopping, and dining. Summer is a great time to roam the streets, go for a hike, mountain bike, or play a game of golf. Travel to the summit of the Alps and ride over the Peak-2-Peak gondola for breathtaking views. You might be able to ride in the glass-bottomed automobile if you’re lucky.
In the winter, the town takes on a whole new vibe, with snow-covered streets packed with skiers eager to hit the slopes of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. This is one of the best ski resorts in Canada.
Without traffic, the drive to Whistler takes around an hour and a half, but heavy traffic, particularly around Vancouver’s bridges, can lengthen the journey. Take the Whistler Small-Group Day Trip from Vancouver tour for an easy and pleasant day. You’ll see all the highlights along the way and have the afternoon (four hours) to enjoy Whistler.
Visit the Village of Steveston
This little community is an excellent location for viewing the huge Fraser River and the Pacific Ocean. Steveston is a popular Richmond destination and an easy day excursion from Vancouver if you don’t have a car. The outstanding riverfront location is ideal for strolling, shopping, and socializing.
Foodies flock here to feast on the delicious seafood served at the local restaurants, many of which have nice patios where you can people-watch.
Are you throwing a dinner party? Steveston boasts a vibrant commercial port area where you can get fresh fish directly off the boats that will not disappoint.
The region is incredibly lovely, with historic buildings painted in vibrant hues, and it makes for excellent photography, especially when the light shines.
Here are the 10 best day trips from Vancouver that are really worth a visit. Please give your feedback by leaving a comment below!