The Top 9 Summer Day Trips from Vancouver
If you have an unexpected day off or a free weekend coming up, try a day trip and have an adventure! No more same old, same old patio hanging or Netflix and chilling. Get out there! Vancouver and the Lower Mainland are ideal for quick getaways that are affordable and easily doable in one day. From the Capilano Suspension Bridge to Hearts on Noses Sanctuary, here are 9 totally terrific ways to lose yourself for the day.
For those with an adventuresome spirit and definitely no fear of heights, the Capilano Suspension Bridge experience was expanded to include 3 additional ways to enjoy the West Coast Rainforest – the dizzying the Treetops Adventure, the Cliff Walk and the Canyon Lights (restricted to Fall/Winter months only).
Image via @shanemichaelblack
Drive away from the hectic pace of life. Let your body and mind indulge in a diverse range of activities which should start with a long hot soak in the natural springs followed by a filthy dirty mudding. For the more sedate, there are sporting activities, wildlife viewing, hiking and golfing.
Image via Bearcountrytours.com
In the television series ‘Once Upon a Time,’ starring Vancouver resident Robert Carlyle (infamously introduced to the world as Begbie in Trainspotting), the quaint streets of Steveston are portrayed as a magical world. In reality, it is a quaint touristy fishing village with a Cannery as a museum. Steveston is also the starting point for whale watching tours, boardwalk snacking, and home to the best bread ever from Country Bread Co. on Moncton Street.
Image via tourismrichmond.com
Getting to Tofino and back in a day may require access to a Lamborghini, a speedboat and a helicopter, but if you have a love of the surf, you could definitely make it happen. Plan a ‘sick day’ call the next morning around 6am to HR’s voicemail, hitchhike your way to the ferry and enjoy a bumpy ride back.
Image via @tourismtofino
Feel like Alice in Wonderland in this National Historic Site of Canada. The Butchart Gardens has grown to become a world renowned floral display garden filled with groomed beauty. Order a gourmet picnic basket (filled with so many delights that a Parisian would be impressed), a box of antihistamines and your camera because the beauty of this location cannot be described in a few sentences. Even if it happens to rain on your day away, this classy garden provides guests with umbrellas.
Image via @thebutchartgardens
Just 15 minutes from downtown, this is the closest place to have a day trip but feel like you are in another world. Vancouver’s premier attraction offers everything from Breakfast with the Bears (named Grinder and Coola) at the Grizzly Lookout Cafe, zip lines, gondolas, wind machines and lumberjack contests! WTH?!
Image via @koyotegirl
Have you ever wondered what happened to the pot-bellied pigs that became the ‘pet du jour’ in the 90s, subsequently revived when Honey Boo Boo acquired the teacup, Glitzy? Many were loved but many were abandoned and that is where Hearts on Noses Sanctuary steps in. Visit and have your mind blown by the size, heft and intellect of these beasts, make a donation and if you are feeling particularly altruistic grab a shovel and make a difference in the life of a gigantic pig for the day. Must be seen to be believed.
Image via Facebook
The gondola ride may only be 10 minutes, but it will be a very intense when it drops you 885 metres above sea level. Be prepared for an energetic day of hiking or sightseeing. Unique to the Sea to Sky Gondola is the ‘Buster the Dog Pass’ that allows pet owners with dogs to hike up the mountain and then ride down in style with proceeds to the Squamish SPCA.
Image via @bodhi_zapha
The Sunshine Coast is 180 kms in length and has such a great adventure reputation that celebrity cats Bolt and Keel (@boltandkeel) are adventuring on the trail right now, with their loyal humans Kayleen and Danielle. Hitchhike or cycle from town-to-town with a backpack full of local grown organic treats and enjoy the quiet and the local characters.
Image via @sunshinecoastbc
From Vancouver, you can travel 15 minutes or 3 hours to experience many natural and breathtaking locations where you can unplug, rent some wheels and just cruise. Whether your ideal day trip is having the wind in your hair, fish and chips in your belly or a stiff drink in hand, we hope this list gets you thinking about local travel, supporting local business, and partaking in a jaunt or two that doesn’t require a passport.
Did we miss any of the best day trips from Vancouver? Share them with us in the comment section below.
Featured image via @tofinotravel
Helen Siwak is the driving force behind lifestyle blog EcoLuxLuv and Editor-in-Chief of BLUSH Vancouver Magazine. She is also freelance contributor numerous publications including DailyHive (formerly VancityBuzz) and Vancouver correspondent for Retail-Insider. Follow her on IG: @HelenSiwak.