There are plenty of choices when it comes to day trips from Vancouver…
Van-City is consistently high on the list of the world’s best places to live and it is easy to see why. Gorgeous scenery, great food, mild climate (for Canada) and laid-back locals are often cited as the reasons. What’s often over looked is the easy escapes from the city. Head an hour in any direction and you will find something wonderful. With that here are 5 great day trips from Vancouver.
The North Shore
Across the Burrard Inlet lies Vancouver’s playground. Endless hiking trails, downhill skiing, snowshoe trails, mountain biking, fly-fishing, kayaking, golf courses and even beaches await you. Take a short drive over the Lions Gate Bridge and your day can be filled with outdoor fun. Feel like a challenge? Take the Grouse Grind to the top of Grouse Mountain. This staircase straight up is no stroll in the park however there is a bar at the top if you need motivation. If you are looking for the view without the sweat take the gondola to the top. For a more leisurely outdoors experience head to Lynn Canyon. This park has easy and challenging hiking trails as well as a suspension bridge that is free and less crowded than the touristy Capilano suspension bridge. If you’re not the outdoors type take the seabus from the Vancouver waterfront station to the Lonsdale Quay market for great shopping and entertainment.
Sea to Sky
One of the most scenic drives in the world, this highway has a ton to offer those looking for day trips from Vancouver. Thanks to the 2010 Winter Olympics the highway has been significantly improved and now has several scenic pull offs that offer post card worthy photo opportunities. Tons of lakes and hikes can be found along the way including the amazing and popular “Chief” in Squamish. This mammoth granite rock face offers some of the best rock climbing and hiking around. To beat the crowds on the trail take a right a quarter of the way up and head to Shannon Falls. There you will find comparable views with the added bonus of waterfall pools and less tourists climbing in jeans. Continue north on the Highway to Whistler where you will find some of the best skiing in the world. Not a skier? Whistler has you covered. Take the Peak 2 Peak gondola, the worlds longest and highest of its kind, for a trip to the top of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. Mountain bike, zip line, snowmobile, golf, hike or just stroll the village. Muscles tired from outdoor fun? Hit the Scandinave spa for soothing hot pools, rejuvenating cold pools, and various types of saunas.
The Sunshine Coast
A short ferry ride north west of Vancouver brings you to the Sunshine Coast. Stop in picturesque Gibsons for a glimpse into the life of The Beachcombers. Stop for lunch at Molly’s Reach or enjoy fresh oysters right on the marina docks at Smitty’s Oyster house. Head up the coast to Seaschelt for rocky beaches, hiking, and excellent kayaking. For a full day of outdoor fun make your way to the Skookumchuck Narrows. Tidal waters making their way in and out of the Seachelt Inlet create some of the fastest rapids in the world. This creates a natural wonder and a whitewater playground for experienced kayakers. The narrows are accessible by hiking in on foot or by boat tours. Be sure to check the tide times for best viewing.
The Fraser Valley
Heading west on the Trans-Canada highway offers several great Vancouver Day trips. Fish for giant prehistoric Sturgeon in the Fraser River or try for the elusive Steelhead trout in the Vedder. Enjoy a day at the spa at Harrison Hot Springs or a day at the beach at Harrison Lake. If you are looking for more mountain fresh water or want a day at the water park with the kids head to Cultus Lake. Enjoy the rugged Fraser Canyon with a trip to Hells Gate. Take the Air tram down the canyon to the river below for some amazing scenery. On your way back to town don’t forget to stop at one of the many roadside vendors or farmers markets for fresh local produce
Less than two hours south of Vancouver lies this sleepy port town. Anacortes is the gateway to the Strait of Juan de Fuca islands which offers great whale watching and quiet getaways. Stick around town and check out the local antique shops or head to Washington Park for excellent hiking and bike trails. A short drive south will take you to the Deception Pass State Park where more hiking trails can be found. Be sure to snap a shot of the Deception Pass Bridge, which looks eerie and intriguing in any weather condition you may encounter in the Pacific Northwest, grey and wet or wet and grey.
Weather you are an outdoor enthusiasts or day spa type of person, there are endless day trips from Vancouver at your disposal — head out of town in any direction and you will find beauty and adventure, to relaxation and peace.