Vancouver is an ethnically and linguistically diverse city, but it is also one of the most densely populated cities in Canada. Wouldn’t it be lovely to get away from city life for a day? And, you wouldn’t even need to go too far! Head out to other parts of British Columbia for a great day out. In case you just want to pop out of Canada , there is also one place over the border you could consider …
Here are some of the best day trips from Vancouver:
Only a 25-minute drive from Vancouver if you take Granville Street and No.2 Road. Other Routes are via Knights road and BC 99 highway. A small town in Richmond, near Vancouver, Steveston is a historic salmon-canning center located at the mouth of the Fraser River. As an active fishing community, you can find a number of pubs, museums, and, not to mention, fish markets. The village has a unique population of Japanese-Canadians who were pioneers in this fishing community. Steveston still holds Canada’s largest fleet of fishing boats (nearly 600) thanks to it being a well-maintained and quaint fishing village. On a sunny day you can see people flocking to the boardwalks, eating ice cream, admiring the scenery, and enjoying the food. Don’t mistake this for a boring dull fishing town like the one in ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’!
Culture and festivals
The Steveston Salmon Festival: Canada's little birthday party
The annual Steveston Salmon Festival adds a flair to the town. Every year, on Canada’s birthday, the annual Steveston Salmon Festival takes place.The food here is authentic and just delicious.The day starts of with a pancake breakfast, where you can get a plate for 8 CAD (6.20 USD). The must-not-miss item is the barbecued salmon, where over 1,200 pounds (nearly 544 kilos) of salmon fillets are grilled (each plate sold at 15 CAD / 11.70 USD). The main stage hosts a variety of dances, talk-shows, and other events. There is a specific stage with light-entertainment shows like puppet shows for the young ones.
And a little sightseeing ...
Sail from Steveston to see whales and do eco-tours (you might spot sea lions, orcas, or even humpback whales!). The heritage sites enlighten you on the birth of this small fishing town. The Gulf of Georgia Cannery was one of the leading producers of salmon in British Columbia and is now a historic site and interactive museum. The interactive exhibits and self-guided system present the history of the village in a wonderful manner.
Address: 12551 No 1 Road, Richmond, BC V7E 1T7
Price: from 130 USD
Duration: around 4 hours required
Contact: (888) 272 7203
Website: Seabreeze Adventures
Gulf of Georgia Cannery
Address: 2138 Fourth Ave, Richmond, BC V7E 3J1, Canada
Price: 10.20 USD (for adults); 6.30 USD (for children); 8.25 USD (for senior citizens)
Opening Hours: 10 am - 5 pm
Duration: around 2 hours required
Contact: (604) 664 9009
Website: Gulf of Georgia Cannery
2. Deep Cove (AKA The Cove)
Deep Cove is a district in the eastern part of North Vancouver. The cove faces east, fronting the Indian Arm. The cove’s close proximity to forests, lakes, and hills makes it a great spot for spending a day full of outdoor activities. Only half an hour’s drive from Vancouver, the cove is easily accessible via the BC 99 N and Trans-Canada Highway.
Into the blue ...
A variety of water equipment, such as kayaks, stand-up paddle boats, canoes, and surf skis, is available for rent. Paddling through the Indian Arm is a lovely experience as you see the pretty vistas of the mountains. Deep Cove Kayak is a rental service that rents kayaks, dragon boats, and other equipment.
Deep Cove Kayak Rental Service
Address: 2156 Banbury Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7G 2T1, Canada
Opening Hours: 9 am - 8 pm
Duration: around 3 hours required
Contact: (604) 929 2268
Website: Deep Cove Kayak
Hike it out at one of the trails
The Quarry Rock Hike is a popular and easy hiking trail, offering breathtaking views of the Indian Arm. There are plenty of options for food at the cove; pizza, Japanese, or quick bites, you won’t run out of options. The Arms Reach Bistro is an award-winning restaurant, perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Get your hands dirty at Maplewood Farms with the hands-on farm experience and take a peek behind the scenes of a working farm.
Arms Reach Bistro, Deep Cove
Address: 4390 Gallant Ave #107C, North Vancouver, BC V7G 1L2, Canada
Opening Hours: 11 am - 10 pm
Contact: (604) 929 7442
Website: Arms Reach Bistro
Whistler is a Canadian resort town in the Southern Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountain. It’s around 1 hour and 30 minutes away from Vancouver, driving via the BC-99 N Highway. You can definitely expect to capture a few Insta-worthy pictures on the way. Whistler is mainly visited for its winter activities, such as skiing, snowboarding, walking with snowshoes and tobogganing. Be sure to pack warm clothes if you’re heading there during the winter.
Peak 2 Peak Gondola
The Peak 2 Peak Gondola is a must-visit attraction when you’re in Whistler. With a transparent glass floor, you can see Whistler in its white coat from above. A quicker way to cover Whistler is to take the zipline tour across town, though this is only available during the summer.
Whistler Blackcomb is a great place to spend your day. With premium snowboarding and skiing experiences, don’t leave without trying them out. If you’re a beginner, it is recommended to sign up for lessons. Tubing at the Blackcomb’s Coca-Cola Tube park is an activity not to be missed, and you don’t need any experience, just a sense of adventure! The highest accessible chairlift point is the 7th Heaven Summit, a beautiful towering peak that offers great views. It’s a perfect place to spend your day in the snow. If you feel like you don’t know where you want to go in Whistler, just book a day trip tour.
Mailing Address: Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, 4545 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, B.C. V0N 1B4, Canada
Website: Whistler Blackcomb
Whistler Small-Group Day Trip from Vancouver
Duration: 10 hours 30 minutes
A bit further away, Victoria is a 3-hour drive from Vancouver via Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen, BC. Whether you choose to spend your time in the city or explore the area’s natural delights, Victoria is awash with things to do and see.
Don’t miss out visiting the heart of British Colombia, its capital of Victoria. It is one of the more British-like cities in North America. The city has a variety of popular bars, and authentic and premium coffee shops. The city boasts some really good museums and historical buildings. Enjoy a visual delight as you see the miniature versions of historical times and fictional beings at Miniature World Museum. Stroll through one of the 5 mainstream gardens in this ‘City of Gardens’ and enjoy nature and tranquility.
Try out the challenging courses and zipline adventures, watch a movie on the largest screen in BC, or head to the bug zoo. If you feel outdoorsy, then go on a hiking tour or a whale and dolphin watching tour. Step back in time at Craigdarroch Castle and climb to the top of the tower for a splendid view of the Olympic Mountains. Victoria is a city where you can experience the best of both worlds. If you want the convenience of having someone else plan out your trip, just hop on one of the full-day Landsea Tours. They offer a variety of trips to spend your day in Victoria.
Address: 680 Industrial Ave, Vancouver, VA 2P3
Price: From 156 USD for adults, 78 USD for children
Contact: 604 255 7272
Website: LandSea Tours
5. Bowen Island
A small island north of Vancouver, Bowen Island is a pristine land that is anything but modern. People don’t visit this island for an adventurous time, but rather, they visit it for a peaceful and relaxing stay. But this does not stop the island from having a few interesting and adventurous things to do. Experience the authentic west coast culture on this island through one of the special island tours. Explore the island through a series of ecological, cultural, historical, and eating adventures. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a few hidden gems along the tour. It is a 1-hour drive via the Trans-Canada Highway and you can then take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Bowen Island.
Hike the Dorman Trail (1.5 miles / 2.4 kilometers) and you’ll end up at the Dorman Point lookout. It is a great way to get a lay of the land. Crippen Park and Mount Gardener are also common trails .If that is too mainstream, get funky and explore the island on a Vespa with Zoom Zoom Bowen. Imagine whizzing along the roads on a nippy Italian scooter! Bowen Island is filled with animals, including deer in the forest and fish in the hatchery, so be on the lookout. There is a hatchery located in Crippen Park on the way to Killarney Lake.
Bowen Island Full Day Tour
Address: The coast of Bowen Island
Contact: (604) 200-2399
Zoom Zoom Bowen
Address: 439 Bowen Island Trunk Rd, Bowen Island, BC V0N 1G0
Contact: 604 725 9207
Website: Zoom Zoom Bowen .
6. Seattle, USA
A 2-hour-20-minute drive from Vancouver, Seattle is the closest hub city in the USA to Vancouver. Cross the border and head over to one of the most popular cities in North America, The Emerald City of Seattle. Spend a day at Seattle sightseeing from the top of a 184-meter (604-foot) observation tower, food touring, shopping, and even more.
Seattle has a lot of places where you can just stare in awe. For example, the Seattle Art Museum is a delight to your visual senses, with its abstract collections of art. Public tours, in gallery talks, sessions of highly respected critics giving their opinions on their favorite articles, and special exhibitions are held here.
Olympic Sculpture Park is one of the most active spots in Seattle. With nearly 9 acres (3.6 hectares) of art, grass, and bridges, time flies when you’re in the Olympic Sculpture Park.
Don’t go to Seattle and not go to the Space Needle observation tower. At 184 meters (604 feet) above ground, take all the pics you want for Snapchat, or Instagram, or Facebook, or all!
The observation deck at Smith Tower, a pioneer building, is somewhere you cannot miss when sightseeing in Seattle. Though it is not as tall as the Space Needle, the Smith Tower takes you on a cultural trip to the past. The Chinese room in the building adds an Asian flair to this cultural piece of architecture.
You have seen Seattle from the top of the Space Needle and the top of the Smith Tower. Wouldn’t you love to see these works of architecture in one stunning vista? Kerry Park has one of the best views of the city skyline, with the Space Needle and Mount Rainer all in one view.
Aside from all the sightseeing attractions, Seattle has tons of outlets for all kinds of people. Whether you’re an average shopper, a shopping addict, or an art collector, you can find the shop to suit your needs. Despite the millions of outlets, malls, and markets, a few places are definitely noteworthy. Pike Place Market is one of those. It’s been around since 1907 and is one of the greatest places to go street shopping. Visit the original Starbucks in the market and the artisan tables at the northwest end that have vast collections of art and toys. Find the outlet for your budget further as you go further east, home to the ever-affordable store H&M, the one stop outdoor outfitter Columbia Sportswear, and Butch Blum for your fashionista needs. Visit Monster Art and Clothing in Ballard Avenue for a zany collection of hippie fashions. If you have a young one waiting at home for your return or a child with you, stop by Schmancy (in Belltown) for a wide selection of toys. Head over to Chinatown for a more Asian collection, and to Momo clothing store and Fuji bakery to fulfill your fashion and food needs. If you’re an avid book reader, stop by Kinokuniya for a wide range of manga and other books.
A true Seattle food experience
Join one of the food tours and get taken through neighborhoods like Capitol Hill, Belltown, and Pioneer Square on a taste-testing trip. Mention your preferred taste to your guide and experience Seattle food at its best. Go off course:
- in Capitol Hill, visit the Annapurna cafe for an Indian taste and Manmoon for Middle Eastern cuisine.
- in Belltown, Macrina cafe is one of the best places to get French toast, and Bel+Whete is great for European cuisine with a modern flair.
- in Pioneer Square, check out the Good Bar for original cocktails, and Pizzeria Gabbiano for a Roman flair to the-all time favorite pizzas.
Why leave Vancouver?
Despite all the recreational activities in Vancouver, city life can get tiring after a while. It would be lovely to get away to other towns for a change of routine and culture. So grab your backpack (and maybe your passport too!) and head out for a day.
Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present. Jim Rohn, American Entreprenur
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