Looking for some easy day trips from Vancouver to escape the city? Vancouver, British Columbia is nestled between the mountains and ocean and it’s a gateway to an incredible array of day trip destinations. From island escapes to thrilling outdoor adventures, British Columbia’s backyard is your playground, offering something for everyone. Ready to embark on a journey that will create lasting memories? Let’s dive into our top 21 favorite day trips from Vancouver and discover the remarkable experiences that await you!
Best Day Trips From Vancouver
Dave and I lived in Vancouver for 3 years and have been back to visit again and again. We have traveled all over the province and hope that we can inspire you once you’ve enjoyed all the best things to do in Vancouver to make your way out to see the incredible BC countryside. Whether you’re a local looking to explore more of your own backyard or a visitor seeking unique experiences outside the city, these day trips from Vancouver offer a diverse range of activities.
Planning Your Trip To Vancouver Right Now?
Below are some of the top tours for Day Trips from Vancouver. Don’t forget to plan ahead when visiting British Columbia!
Top Day Trips and Tours from Vancouver:
Getting Around Vancouver
Most day trips from Vancouver require a car. British Columbia is a drivable province so we recommend renting a car when you land at the Vancouver airport. You can compare car rental prices at RentalCars.com
To explore more of Vancouver, check out these best Toronto day tours from Vancouver.
Whistler is one of the best places in the world to ski but not only is it a winter wonderland, it is also a world-renowned four-season resort town. Located about 120 km from Vancouver, Whistler features more than 8,000 acres of terrain across Whistler and Blackcomb Resorts.
The picturesque drive to Whistler along the Sea to Sky Highway is worth the day trip unto itself. The drive is short but with so many stops from magnificent waterfalls, the outdoorsy town of Squamish, and breathtaking views of Howe Sound and the coastal mountains you could spend an entire day and still not see it all. Read more: Vancouver to Whistler – Best of the Sea to Sky Highway
121 km from Vancouver If you don’t have a car, book this Sea to Sky Highway and Whistler Day Trip from Vancouver. Details here.
Whistler in Summer
Whistler is renowned for its winter activities from skiing and snowboarding, but it also offers fantastic hiking trails and shopping opportunities during the summer months. Plus, you’ll definitely want to hike out to the Trainwreck Trail to see the graffiti-covered train cars or take a bear tour to see the wildlife of Whistler. Not to mention, the town is home to vegan-friendly cafes and restaurants, perfect for refueling after a day of outdoor fun. For a bucket list experience, book this Vancouver to Whistler float plane experience.
Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or simply seeking a scenic escape, Whistler is one of the most versatile day trips from Vancouver. Read more: 30 Awesome Things to Do in Whistler, BC
2. Squamish: The Outdoor Enthusiast’s Paradise
Located along the Sea to Sky Highway, Squamish is often overlooked for Whistler but this town is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts offering a smorgasbord of thrilling activities. Squamish has earned the nickname “the outdoor recreation capital of Canada,” and for good reason. It is a playground for rock-climbing aficionados with its world-class climbing spots including the Squamish Chief and windsurfing enthusiasts will be thrilled by the waves.
Mountain biking junkies will get their adrenaline rush. And hikers will find trails with breathtaking views of Howe Sound and the Coast Mountains. And the best part? It’s just a short drive from downtown Vancouver. Squamish is super accessible and has something for everyone. Read more: Amazing Things to Do in Squamish BC
1 hour from Vancouver Book this Gondola Tour to Squamish that takes you along the Sea to Sky Highway to explore Vancouver and sights along the most scenic drive in British Columbia.
3. Sea to Sky Gondola
You don’t need to go into Squamish to have a fun day trip from Vancouver, embark on an adventure for a day at the Sea to Sky Gondola. Also located along the scenic Sea to Sky Highway, this must-visit destination is the perfect addition to your day trip itinerary.
Hop on the gondola and ascend 800 meters above sea level, where you’ll be greeted by multiple viewing decks, a thrilling suspension bridge, and seasonal activities to suit all ages. Whether you’re an avid hiker seeking new trails to conquer or simply looking to soak in the inspiring views, the Sea to Sky Gondola delivers an unforgettable experience.
Make sure to walk across the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge to enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, trust us, you don’t want to miss this!
50 minutes from Vancouver This private Whistler Squamish day tour is a great way to not only see Whistler village, but you’ll also stop at Squamish and Shannon Falls, ride the Sea to Sky Gondola to the top of Stawamus Chief Mount.
When we lived in Vancouver, we never made it to the Othello Tunnels in Hope, British Columbia but luckily we visited again just a couple of summers ago. I can’t believe we didn’t visit sooner! Movie buffs will love this day trip as First Blood, the first installment of Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo series, was shot here.
The Othello Tunnels are a series of tunnels and trestle bridges cutting through the mountains following a deep gorge. This was a feat of engineering as the 5 tunnels were blasted and built-in 1914. It is just a 3.5 km round trip, but completely worth stopping to see. Read more: Best British Columbia Road Trip
2 hours and 30 minutes from Vancouver
5. Harrison Hot Springs: A Soothing Retreat
If you’re seeking relaxation, Harrison Hot Springs is a tranquil oasis in the heart of British Columbia’s Fraser Valley. Located just a 90-minute drive from Vancouver, Harrison Hot Springs boasts rejuvenating hot springs, a picturesque lake, and stunning mountain landscapes.
When you visit this tranquil destination, you’ll be spoiled for choice with a variety of outdoor activities. You can tee off on a lush golf course, explore the scenic trails on a hiking adventure, or get your adrenaline pumping with some mountain biking. If you’re a fan of the water, why not embark on a boat tour or even try your hand at fishing? There’s something for everyone at Harrison Hot Springs.
After a day of adventure on Salt Spring Island, unwind at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa, where you can soak in the spring-fed waters and melt your stress away. It’s the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure, Harrison Hot Springs is an ideal day trip from Vancouver.
6. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park: A Thrilling Experience
Venture to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park located in North Vancouver close to Grouse Mountain’s base, for a fun high adventure. This thrilling attraction offers a unique experience, including a bouncing suspension bridge, a Cliffwalk, and a Treetops Adventure, all set amidst the lush forest landscape.
You’ll traverse across a 450-foot suspension bridge across the Capilano River Canyon where you’ll have the chance to truly connect with nature and enjoy the outdoors. It’s a memorable experience that will leave a lasting impression on you.
7. Fort Langley: Step Back in Time
Travel through time by visiting Fort Langley, a National Historic Site of Canada, where you can delve into the history of Canada’s Fur Trading history. This old fur trading post of the Hudson Bay Company takes you back in time as you stroll through the old fur trading buildings, and blacksmith demonstrations and you can even pan for gold.
Located along the banks of the Fraser River, in the township of Fort Langly, Fort Langley offers a fascinating glimpse into the past and a truly unforgettable day trip experience.
As you stroll through the historic site, immerse yourself in the stories of the Hudson’s Bay Company fur traders and the early pioneers who called this place home.
8. Bowen Island: A Relaxing Island Getaway
Escape the city’s chaos and embark on a journey to Bowen Island, a peaceful retreat just a quick ferry ride away from Horseshoe Bay. Known for its laid-back atmosphere, Bowen Island is the perfect destination to unwind and recharge amidst nature’s beauty.
On Bowen Island, you have a variety of options to choose from. You can hike through lush forests, bike along picturesque trails, kayak in crystal-clear waters, or simply enjoy a leisurely picnic on the beach.
On Bowen Island, you’re spoiled for choice with a ton of cool, nature-focused activities. It’s like a green playground just waiting for you to jump in and have a blast! Soak up the island’s serene surroundings and let your worries sail away on one of our favorite fun day trip options.
9. Steveston: A Historic Fishing Village
Let me tell you about Steveston, a quaint fishing village tucked away in Richmond, BC along the Fraser River. This charming spot is steeped in a rich maritime history that’s palpable as you stroll its streets. It’s home to some of the freshest seafood restaurants you’ll ever come across. And the waterfront strolls? Simply divine. A lively commercial dock area also adds to its appeal, and if you’re lucky, you can even purchase fresh seafood straight from the fishing boats themselves.
Take a leisurely walk along the picturesque boardwalk, explore the historic streets lined with colorful buildings, and indulge in the delicious flavors of the local seafood offerings. Steveston’s unique blend of history and natural beauty makes it a delightful day trip destination, just a short drive from Vancouver.
40 minutes from Vancouver
10. Explore the Sunshine Coast
Set off on a scenic coastal journey through the Sunshine Coast, a captivating stretch of coastline from Langdale to Lund, peppered with delightful towns and marinas. Accessible by ferry from Horseshoe Bay, the Sunshine Coast is on the mainland but feels like you have left for an island escape.
Whether you prefer to meander through the quaint towns of Gibsons and see the setting for Canada’s most enduring TV show “The Beachcombers” or to venture to Langdale and explore the marinas and marine parks along the coast, the Sunshine Coast promises a memorable day trip experience.
So pack your bags, hop on a ferry and enjoy the beauty of the Sunshine Coast for a day or two. Read more: Ultimate Things to do on A Sunshine Coast Road Trip
2 1/2 hours from Vancouver including ferry ride.
11. Horseshoe Bay
You have most likely heard of Horseshoe Bay. It almost feels like a part of Vancouver. Located just a short drive from Vancouver, this coastal village is located in West Vancouver. Horseshoe Bay is well-known for its ferry terminal, which is always bustling with activity. And let’s not forget about the delightful restaurants that serve some of the most mouth-watering dishes you’ll ever taste.
If you’re a nature lover like us, you’ll appreciate the rocky beach that offers a sense of tranquility and peace. Plus, the closeness to surrounding parks makes it an ideal spot for those who enjoy outdoor activities.
This picturesque destination offers a relaxed atmosphere with views of Howe Sound and the surrounding mountains, making it an ideal day trip destination.
Stroll along the waterfront, enjoy a meal at one of the local restaurants, or simply relax on the rocky beach and soak in the serene surroundings. Horseshoe Bay is a delightful escape from the city, perfect for a leisurely day trip along the coast.
20 minutes from Vancouver
12. Britannia Mine Museum
Enter the fascinating realm of mining at the Britannia Mine Museum, a restored National Historic Site of Canadalocated just outside of Squamish near Britannia Beach. Just a mere 55 km north of Vancouver off the Sea-to-Sky Highway on Howe Sound this is a fantastic site to visit.
During your visit, explore the underground mine on a train tour and marvel at the massive equipment used in mining operations. The guides are fun and informative taking you on an interactive tour through time.
It’s a mix between a historic train ride and a visit to the science fair and it is so much fun for all ages. The Britannia Mine Museum takes you back to the British Colombia of yesteryear when it was home to the largest copper mine in Canada. The Britannia Mines in Howe Sound is a national historic site. The Britannia Mines Concentrator processed copper ore starting in 1905 up until 1974.
Don’t miss BOOM! This interactive experience was a fantastic show and a great combination with our mine tour where we explored the museum, panned for gold, and walked through the historic buildings. Book refundable tickets here.
Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply curious about the world of mining, the Britannia Mine Museum offers an engaging and educational day trip experience.
40 minutes from Vancouver
13. Hiking at Garibaldi Provincial Park
Garibaldi Provincial Park is an unmissable destination for those passionate about nature and hiking. Located just 80 km north of Vancouver, this stunning park features impressive summer hiking trails, turquoise lakes, and awe-inspiring scenery.
Conquer popular trails such as the Garibaldi Lake Trail, the Black Tusk Trail, and the Panorama Ridge Trail, each offering breathtaking views and a rewarding hiking experience. Garibaldi Provincial Park provides a challenging and unforgettable day trip for those seeking to explore the great outdoors.
1.25 hours from Vancouver
14. Play in the North Shore Mountains
Flee to the North Shore Mountains, comprising Grouse Mountain, Mount Seymour, and Cypress Mountain, for a day filled with skiing, hiking, dining, and awe-inspiring views. These mountains offer a range of activities for all skill levels, from leisurely strolls to challenging hikes, as well as world-class ski resorts during the winter months.
Whether you choose to explore the serene forests of Mount Seymour, take in the stunning views from the summit of Grouse Mountain, or hit the slopes at Cypress Mountain, the North Shore Mountains offer a perfect day trip destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.
20 minutes from Vancouver
15. Point Roberts in Washington State
Cross the border to Point Roberts in Washington State for a distinct day trip experience. This relaxed destination offers a laid-back atmosphere, beautiful beaches, and a charming community perfect for a leisurely day trip.
Stroll along the picturesque shoreline, explore the small town, and enjoy the serene atmosphere as you soak in the coastal beauty of Point Roberts. Don’t forget to bring your passport, as this charming destination is just a short drive from Vancouver but requires crossing the US border.
40 minutes from Vancouver
16. Cruise around Howe Sound
Embark on a remarkable journey by cruising around Howe Sound on a hired boat. Discover the beauty of this fjord in southwestern British Columbia, visiting the lazy seals on Pam Rocks and exploring marine parks and picturesque islands along the way.
Whether you prefer to navigate the waters on a guided tour or captain your own vessel, cruising around Howe Sound offers a unique day trip experience with stunning views and unforgettable wildlife encounters. So grab your life jacket and embark on a nautical adventure like no other!
30 minutes from Vancouver
17. Kayaking in Deep Cove
Submerge in the wonders of nature by paddling through the tranquil waters of Deep Cove, a quaint community situated in the eastern part of North Vancouver. When I think of kayaking in Deep Cove, a few things come to mind. First, it’s such a peaceful escape from the city. It’s like you’re in a different world. Second, you never know what wildlife you might see. It’s always a surprise! Plus, you don’t have to worry if you don’t have your own kayak, there are plenty of rental options available. And if you’re new to kayaking or just want to learn more about the area, there are guided tours available. It’s a fantastic experience!
After a day of paddling, explore the quaint town, enjoy a coffee at a local café, or hike to Quarry Rock for stunning views of the surrounding area. With its serene waters and picturesque setting, kayaking in Deep Cove is the perfect way to unwind and reconnect with nature.
20 minutes from Vancouver
18. Seattle, Washington
Why not expand your horizons and delve into the lively city of Seattle, Washington? Just a few hours south of Vancouver, Seattle offers a diverse range of attractions, including the iconic Pike Place Market, the futuristic Space Needle, and the breathtaking views from Kerry Park.
Whether you prefer to meander through bustling markets, marvel at innovative architecture, or simply soak in the coastal city atmosphere, Seattle offers a memorable day trip experience with something for everyone. With its lively culture and unique attractions, Seattle is well worth the journey from Vancouver.
19. Lynn Canyon Park
For those of you who prefer less crowded spots, let me tell you about Lynn Canyon Park in North Vancouver. It’s a fantastic alternative to the often congested Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. This place has it all! There’s a suspension bridge that’ll give you a bit of a thrill, plenty of hiking paths for you to explore, and if you’re a fan of swimming, you’ll find some great spots here. If you’re planning to spend the day, they’ve got picnic areas perfect for a lunch break in the great outdoors. And if you’re curious about the local ecosystem, you’ll definitely want to check out their ecology center. The best part? It’s all easily reachable by public transport.
All are easily reachable by public transport. This beautiful park provides a peaceful escape from the city, with lush forests and serene waters to explore.
Venture across the suspension bridge, hike the scenic trails or take a refreshing dip in one of the park’s swimming holes. Afterwards, visit the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre to learn more about the park’s diverse ecosystem.
With its captivating natural beauty and convenient location, Lynn Canyon Park is an ideal day trip destination for nature lovers.
25 minutes from Vancouver
20. Cascade Falls
Unearth the mesmerizing beauty of Cascade Falls, a striking waterfall situated near Mission, BC. A short hike leads you to the falls, where you’ll be greeted by the powerful cascade of water surrounded by lush forest. With its picturesque setting and accessible trail, Cascade Falls offers a perfect day trip for families and nature enthusiasts alike.
Spend the day exploring the area, enjoying a picnic near the falls, or simply marveling at the beauty of this natural wonder. Cascade Falls is a hidden gem just waiting to be discovered, providing a memorable day trip experience for anyone seeking to connect with nature.
1 hour and 20 minutes from Vancouver
21. Victoria: The Charming Capital City
Picture yourself meandering through the quaint streets of Victoria, the charming capital of British Columbia, enveloped by mesmerizing coastal views and beautiful architecture. Located on Vancouver Island, Victoria is an idyllic day trip destination, easily accessible by a scenic ferry ride from Vancouver.
While in Victoria, don’t miss the chance to visit iconic attractions like Butchart Gardens, the Royal British Columbia Museum, and Beacon Hill Park. Wander the historic downtown area, explore the bustling Inner Harbor, and indulge in the city’s vibrant culinary scene.
From stunning coastal views to fascinating history, Victoria offers a captivating day trip experience just a short journey from Vancouver.
FAQ’s About The Best Day Trips From Vancouver
Where can I go for a day trip in Vancouver?
Discover the beauty of Vancouver with a day trip! Explore Whistler and Victoria, go birding on Iona Beach, sample suds on the Port Moody beer train or cruise in the Vancouver Harbour. With so many options available, you’re sure to find an exciting adventure!
Can you make a day trip to Vancouver Island?
Yes, you can make a day trip to Vancouver Island – the ferry takes around 90 minutes, or you could fly there by seaplane in just 35 minutes for amazing views.
What is the best time of year to go hiking in the North Cascades?
The best time to go hiking in the North Cascades is from July to early October, so plan your trip accordingly for an amazing experience.
How long is the ferry ride from Vancouver to Victoria?
The ferry ride from Vancouver to Victoria takes around 4 hours.
What are some popular hiking trails in Garibaldi Provincial Park?
Garibaldi Provincial Park has several popular hiking trails, such as the Garibaldi Lake Trail, Black Tusk Trail, and Panorama Ridge Trail.
From the serene shores of Bowen Island to the adrenaline-pumping activities in Squamish, these 20 day trips from Vancouver showcase the incredible diversity of experiences waiting to be discovered in British Columbia’s backyard. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or a blend of both, there’s a day trip destination perfect for you.
So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, hit the road, and embark on an unforgettable journey through the breathtaking landscapes and charming cities that surround Vancouver. Your next adventure awaits just a short drive away!
From skiing on pristine mountain slopes to wandering through charming coastal towns, your next adventure awaits just a short drive from Vancouver’s bustling city center.