explore vancouver, Canada

Day trips from Vancouver, Canada

Explore day trips from Vancouver, Canada to a number of nearby municipalities 

There are a number of things to see and do just outside of Vancouver’s borders. Some of the most popular are listed below. All of these places are accessible by public transit, or if you have a car, within an hour’s drive.

North Shore – Take in the views from Grouse Mountain (The Peak of Vancouver), go for a walk on a suspension bridge or enjoy one of the many outdoor recreation opportunities — hiking, mountain biking, skiing/snowboarding, kayaking — on offer. The most popular summer activity in the area is hiking the ‘Grouse Grind’, a 2.9 km, 853 m elevation gain hike up the side of Grouse mountain.

West Vancouver – A municipality north of the Lion’s Gate Bridge, enroute to Whistler. Home to many beaches, coves, parks and expensive real estate, where breathtaking views of Vancouver can be scoped by driving its higher altitudes. Also, check out Horseshoe Bay, a small community at the starting point of the Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler, where there are many small shops, and restaurants, bistros and pubs along the waterfront.

Burnaby – Shop till you drop at Metropolis at Metrotown, the largest shopping mall in British Columbia, or relax at one of the large regional parks.

Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam and Port Moody (the Tri City area) – Half hour drive down Hastings Street to the Barnet Highway will bring you to Port Moody, locally known as the City of the Arts.

Richmond – City with a large Asian influence with many options for Chinese, Japanese and Korean dining and shopping, the largest Buddhist temple in North America and the historic seaside Steveston towards the south offers a quieter, small-town type atmosphere.

Surrey/White Rock – A 45 minute drive away from Vancouver, famous for its moderate climate and sandy beaches.

Fort Langley – Village with unique shops, restaurants and the site of one of the first forts built in British Columbia.

New Westminster – Small city on the banks of the Fraser River that was once the capital of British Columbia.

Day trips

Bowen Island is a popular day trip or weekend excursion offering kayaking, hiking, shops, restaurants, and more. This authentic community is located in Howe Sound just off Vancouver, and is easily accessed via scheduled water taxis departing Granville Island in downtown Vancouver or by ferry from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver.

For those who enjoy outdoor activities, a trek up the Sea to Sky corridor is essential. Squamish has branded itself the “Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada” and with an incredible amount of quality rock climbing, mountain biking, white water rafting, hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, fishing, golf, walking trails and more, it certainly deserves the title. Squamish is about half way between Vancouver and Whistler. Whistler (1.5 hour drive from Vancouver) is mandatory. In the winter, enjoy some of the best Skiing in North America, and in the summer try some authentic mountain biking.

Another good spot for outdoor activities is Mount Baker across the border in Washington. Driving time is about three hours, but border line-ups can add anywhere from a few minutes to several hours onto your trip.

The nearby Fraser Valley has a number of parks and lakes that are nice for fishing, hiking or relaxing.

A geopolitical oddity, Point Roberts is a part of the United States that can only be reached by road from Delta, BC.

Harrison Hot Springs, a 1.5 hour drive east of Vancouver, is a village with activities around the lake and hot springs.

Further afield

Vancouver Island is a good spot to move on to from Vancouver. Victoria, British Columbia’s capital is a relaxing place. Tofino is a pretty spot on the island’s west coast, good for whale and storm watching and has some of Canada‘s best surf (if you can brave the cold water). The island is reached by ferry, seaplane and bus.

The Southern Gulf Islands are also a short ferry ride or float plane flight away. The Southern Gulf Islands are known for their artist communities, wineries and farms. These islands also boast incredible opportunities for boating, kayaking, hiking, camping and wildlife viewing.

The Okanagan is a four to five hour drive east, with a large number of wineries, water activities in the summer and skiing in the winter.

The scenery of Banff, Banff National Park and the Rocky Mountains is a long day’s drive (8-9 hours) east.

To the south, in the United States, Seattle is a two and a half hour drive and Portland is a five hour drive (excluding any border line-up).