Famous for its natural beauty, sprawling urban area, and cultural diversity, it’s no surprise that Vancouver is a fan favorite among travelers and locals alike. If you’ve already visited Vancouver and think you’ve seen all there is to see, think again. Check out these great day trips from Vancouver sure to please any kind of traveler.
1. Take the Sea-to-Sky highway to Whistler
When you think of Vancouver, one of the first things you might think about is Whistler. While Whistler is well known for its ski resort, some might argue it’s even better in the summer. Take the Sea-to-Sky highway through the mountains and be prepared for an experience that will leave you breathless. The forests, waterfalls, and fjords may have you wondering whether you’re in Lord of the Rings or Canada. But that’s not all Whistler has to offer. While the adventure lover can enjoy ziplining and hiking, those of us looking for a more relaxing experience can visit the spa or check out Whistler’s unique shopping.
The Adventure Group
Address: 211 – 4293 Mountain Square Whistler, BC, Canada
Website: The Adventure Group
2. Explore Vancouver's coast
Few cities can offer such a variety of natural splendors. Just 30 minutes outside of the city is Vancouver’s most pristine coastline. With its diversity of activities, the charming beach town of Deep Cove is a favorite. Deep Cove is nestled between the beach and the forest, making for a unique landscape, where you can hike, kayak, and spot aquatic wildlife or just relax on the beach. The wide variety of activities makes Deep Cove a great choice for families.
Deep Cove Kayak
Address: 2156 Banbury Road, North Vancouver, BC, Canada
Website: Deep Cove Kayak
3. Visit BC's capital, Victoria!
Some might be surprised to learn that Vancouver is not the capital of British Colombia. This honor is actually bestowed on Victoria, BC, which is just a short ferry ride away from Vancouver. The ferry ride itself is part of the experience, if you’re lucky enough to spot whales on your way. Besides its architectural beauty, Victoria has something for everyone. The nature lover can spend hours exploring the Butchart Gardens, while the historian will love the Parliament Buildings.
Website: Tourism Victoria
4. Unleash your inner child in a treehouse
Treehouse resorts have become a growing trend for good reason. Considering the lushness of its surrounding forests, it is unsurprising that this trend has made its way to Vancouver. If exploring Vancouver’s Sunshine Coast is on your bucket list check out Secret Cove Treehouses, just two and a half hours outside of Vancouver. The resort offers modern suites and cottages nestled in the trees with views of the cove. Each cottage or suite offers either shared cooking space or a full kitchen. But you don’t have to stay the night to enjoy the surrounding beauty. Secret Cove Treehouses also hosts retreats for a more spiritual experience and is a favorite spot for weddings.
Secret Cove Treehouses
Address: 9752 Secret Road, Halfmoon Bay, BC, Canada
Website: Secret Cove Treehouses
Free Spirit Spheres
Address: 420 Horne Lake Rd, Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada
Website: Free Spirit Spheres
Because of its stellar views of the rainforest, the Capilano Suspension Bridge is a popular destination. However, many people leave the park without exploring the rich cultural heritage of the First Nations People that the park can offer. The park was actually first called Kia'palano, a word borrowed from the Squamish nation that means “beautiful river.” Its namesake was a Squamish chief who once lived in the area. A First Nations Cultural Center offers guided educational tours, but if tours aren’t your thing you can view the world’s largest totem collection by simply walking through the forest.
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
Address: 3735 Capilano Road, North Vancouver, BC, Canada
Website: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
6. Indulge at Harrison Hot Springs
For a truly relaxing experience be sure to check out Harrison Hot Springs, just an an hour and a half from Vancouver by car. Harrison Hot Springs is a small village on the edge of Harrison Lake. The springs are very hot and have a high concentration of sulphur, in fact they have one of the highest mineral concentrations of any hot spring in the world, making a trip to Harrison Hot Springs a true health tonic. The springs aren’t the only attraction in Harrison though. The town also hosts a marina, golf course, art festival, and is the entry point to Sasquatch Provincial Park.
Harrison Hot Springs
Address: Harrison Hot Springs, BC, Canada
Website: Harrison Hot Springs
Sasquatch Provincial Park
Address: Rockwell Drive, Harrison Hot Springs, BC, Canada
Website: Sasquatch Provincial Park
7. Hike a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Now designated as a World Heritage Site as a part of Canada’s Rocky Mountains, the Mount Robson Provincial Park is one of the largest protected areas in the world. While there are vehicle accessible trails, Mount Robson Park boasts valleys that are practically untouched by humans. The park centers around Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, which casts an iconic reflection against the unreal blue waters of the Fraser River. Keep in mind that there are no restaurants or stores within the park.
Mount Robson Provincial Park
Address: Fraser-Fort George H, BC, Canada
Website: Mt. Robson Provincial Park
8. Island hop along the coast
Haida Gwaii is a chain of islands off of the west coast of British Columbia, beloved by locals for its camping, hiking trails, and beaches. A particularly popular spot is Naikoon Provincial Park, accessible by seaplane or ferry. The entire archipelago itself includes 450 islands. Haida Gwaii isn’t just a great place to kayak or swim, it’s one of the best places to experience First Nations culture. To learn more about Canada’s First Nations you can check out the award winning Haida Heritage Centre in the village of Kay Llnagaay in Haida Gwaii.
Naikoon Provincial Park
Address: Skeena-Queen Charlotte D, BC, Canada
Website: Naikoon Provincial Park
Haida Heritage Centre
Address: #2 Second Beach Road, Skidegate, BC, Canada
Website: Haida Heritage Centre
9. Obtain the perfect ocean view at Lighthouse Park
Lighthouse Park is located in a residential area just 40 minutes outside of central Vancouver, making it an ideal spot for a romantic picnic overlooking the water. Lighthouse Park is especially popular among local dog owners, so bring your own pet or spend the day “dog watching.” The park offers a number of hiking trails ranging in difficulty and in the summer months a dozen rock climbing routes are available.
Address: 4902 Beacon Ln, West Vancouver, BC, Canada
Website: Lighthouse Park
Soak up the beauty
From the mountains, to the rainforest, to the beach, the area surrounding Vancouver boasts a variety of natural beauty few places on earth can beat. If you’re prepared to be absorbed in natural splendor and architectural beauty, then it’s time you headed to Vancouver.