The Best Day Trips From Vancouver
Want to make the most of your next trip to Vancouver? Fill up the tank and get ready to hit the road—these day trips are worth adding to your itinerary.
Great Day Trips From Vancouver
Vancouver is a city unlike any other in North America, boasting both urban luxury and rugged mountain adventures at its doorstep. While the city itself is best explored by bike, a tour of the surrounding areas of the Sea to Sky Corridor and Lower Mainland—an essential part of any trip to Vancouver—will require a car. Let this roundup of the best day trips from Vancouver be your guide.
Across Burrard Inlet and the picturesque Lions Gate Bridge, you’ll find the North Shore with endless opportunities for hiking and biking. While most day trippers opt for Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, Lynn Canyon Park provides an off-the-beaten-path alternative boasting waterfalls, boardwalks, a suspension bridge of its own (above), and 617 acres of forest and trails to explore.
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If your idea of the perfect day trip from Vancouver involves a paddle, look no further than Deep Cove. Rent your vessel of choice from the Deep Cove Canoe & Kayak Centre, then cruise around the calm waters of the cove while soaking up the incredible west coast mountain views. Round off your day with a hike up to Quarry Rock, then treat yourself to a decadent pastry from Honey Doughnuts & Goodies.
Find out what it’s like kayaking with humpback whales on the Johnstone Strait.
More than just a stop on the way to Whistler, Squamish is a worthy day trip from Vancouver in itself. Formerly a sleepy mining town, Squamish is now a mecca for adventurous travellers seeking the adrenaline rush from kiteboarding and other outdoor activities from the likes of Squamish Rafting Company and BeWild! Adventures & Wellness. Explore local history at the Britannia Mine Museum (above) and take in panoramic views from the Sea to Sky Gondola. For a private guided hike, recruit a professional local guide from Yervana.
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For this day trip from Vancouver, you’ll need to leave the car behind! From the mainland, hop on board either a Harbour Air seaplane (above) or Helijet luxury helicopter transfer destined for British Columbia’s capital. As with all great day trips, getting to Victoria is part of the adventure, and en route, you’ll enjoy incredible views of the Gulf Islands and the Strait of Georgia. Once there, stop in for high tea at the legendary Fairmont Empress (one of Canada’s greatest hotels), dine at the Flying Otter (a dockside floating pub in the harbour), and explore B.C.’s rich history at the Royal B.C. Museum.
Here are more Victoria attractions worth exploring.
Getting in touch with nature is a key element in any day trip from Vancouver, and Whistler offers two distinct takes on that endeavour. First, visit the Squamish Lil-wat Cultural Centre (above) to learn about the Indigenous people who have called this region home for more than 14,000 years. Then, enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the awe-inspiring landscape with an exhilarating zipline ride with The Adventure Group, followed by a relaxing treatment at the renowned Scandinave Spa.
Discover 20 more things to do in Whistler (even without snow).
Vancouver is nothing if not photogenic, and there’s no better vantage point of the city and its surrounding landscape than Grouse Mountain. The perfect day trip from Vancouver if you’re tight on time, taking the Skyride to the mountain’s summit delivers jaw-dropping views of the city skyline, and out to sea as far as Vancouver Island.
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Fort Langley National Historic Site
British Columbia’s Gold Rush Trail is a multi-day road trip circuit that’s worthy of every Canadian’s bucket list. One of the stops on the route—Fort Langley National Historic Site—makes a great day trip from Vancouver, and is an essential experience for history buffs. Learn Indigenous history on a Kwantlan First Nations Cultural Tour, as well as how British Columbia joined Canada, with the opportunity to catch live historical reenactments.
Check out 10 more historical landmarks every Canadian needs to visit.
Indigenous cultural tours
Vancouver and the Lower Mainland are home to the Squamish, Musqueam and Teleil-Waututh people, and a local Indigenous cultural experience is a fantastic way to learn their story. On a Talaysay Tours tour, you’ll discover how the flora and fauna of the region’s forests have been a source of sustenance and medicine, while the Takaya Tours Canoe and Walking Tour highlights the role of the ocean in traditional transportation and as a food source. They’re both unmissable opportunities to build a connection with the places and people who have occupied these lands for millennia.
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Kilby Historic Site
Also located on the Gold Rush Trail roughly 90 minutes east of Greater Vancouver is Kilby Historic Site. In this beautiful slice of rural B.C., you’ll travel back in time to the 1920s, when the mill town of Harrison Mills, B.C., was thriving. Explore the period general store, post office and hotel, and farm, then dine on a delicious slice of locally-baked pie at the Kilby Cafe.
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A must-visit destination for beer-lovers, Port Moody is a stop on what’s known as the B.C. Ale Trail. Here you can sample authentic B.C. craft beer on “Brewer’s Row” (make sure you buy some bottles for your designated driver to enjoy later), then take a stroll through the town’s scenic Inlet Park (above) and Shoreline Trail.
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Bitten by the hiking bug? There are few trails more stunning—or unique—than those you’ll find in Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park, a two hour drive east of Vancouver. Here, at the Othello Tunnels, you’ll hike the granite mountains along trails that traverse former railroad tunnels and bridges. The incline is gradual, making for an accessible trek through this awe-inspiring landscape that includes jagged cliffs and deep canyons.
Now that you know the best day trips from Vancouver, check out 10 Canadian road trips everyone should take at least once.