There are so many things to do in Squamish, especially if exploring nature is your calling.
British Columbia’s outdoor playground is just an hour from downtown Vancouver, even if it feels in the middle of nowhere.
Surrounded by glacial peaks, sparkling waters, and tons of hiking trails – this is a place for laidback views, heart pumping adventure, and killer craft beer.
Let’s break down all the fun things to do in Squamish BC.
Best Things to Do in Squamish BC
Sea to Sky Gondola
The Sea to Sky Gondola is a 885 metre ride (or 2,950 feet) up the mountain in a Swiss-style gondola.
Here you get stunning views of Howe Sound, the majestic coastal rainforest and surrounding mountains.
Up top, you’ll have access to three separate viewing platforms, including the 9000 sq ft summit viewing deck – which offers two separate dining options.
The 100-metre-long Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge is arguably better than Vancouver’s famous Capilano Suspension Bridge.
Other activities include: interpretive trails, rock climbing, backcountry hiking, backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, and tubing.
View North America’s Largest Concentration of Eagles at Brackendale
Fancy yourself a birdwatcher? Then every fall the Squamish area will become your Graceland.
Brackendale Provincial Park is home to North America’s largest concentration of wintering Bald Eagles. These graceful creatures can be spotted in large numbers between October and January.
The best spot to view them is the Eagle Run Vista Point. The park also contains an interesting interpretive display about Bald Eagles.
You can opt to view the eagles on your own or book a half-day wildlife excursion and scenic float along the Squamish River accompanied by a local guide.
Fly Through the Air at Rope Runner Aerial Adventure Park
In short, Squamish’s new Rope Runner Aerial Adventure Park lets you play Tarzan.
The facility is a unique rope tower that includes over 50 different elements so visitors of all ages can enjoy a fun and safe high wire aerial adventure.
You’ll encounter suspended bridges, monkey bars, cargo nets, climbing walls, slacklines, a free fall jump and even a suspended kayak and snowmobile!
Even better, it was designed with the area’s beautiful mountain backdrop in mind. So you’ll be get stunning views of the Stawamus Chief, Coast Mountains and Smoke Bluffs at every turn.
Hike to the Top of the Stawamus Chief
The Stawamus Chief is the defining landmark of the Squamish area.
This 2000 foot tall granite monolith is one of the largest in North America and lurks in the background of every viewpoint in town – but we’re not complaining!
“The Chief” is also one of the most popular hiking and rock climbing destinations on the continent – and it’s one of the most popular day trips from Vancouver.
The hiking trails are accessible from the day-use parking lot below and from Shannon Falls Provincial Park.
Visit the Britannia Mine Museum
The Britannia Mine Museum offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into the area’s industrial past during the early 20th century mining boom.
The museum is located on the site of the largest copper mine in the British Empire – about 10 minutes south of Squamish.
At this National Historic Site, you’ll learn about the history of this once vital industry through a variety of interactive exhibits accompanied by your knowledgeable tour guide.
Highlights include gold panning, rides on a deep underground mining train, and the new multi-sensory, immersive live-action experience entitled “BOOM!”.
Visit a Local Brewery or Distillery
No visit to Squamish is complete without a trip to one of the area’s amazing local breweries or distilleries.
There are currently three craft breweries, three cideries and one spirit distillery in Squamish.
Beyond this, local pubs like The Backyard (check out that patio view!) offer menus showcasing these award-winning local beers, ciders and spirits.
Take a Whitewater Rafting Adventure
Most of the best things to do in Squamish take advantage of the breathtaking alpine beauty and numerous glacial-fed rivers – so it’s no wonder whitewater rafting is the perfect activity here.
There area offers rapids of varying levels of difficulty. The Cheakamus River contains class 1 and 2 rapids, making it the superior choice for family whitewater rafting adventures.
The Elaho-Squamish River has more fast-flowing class 3 and 4 rapids are perfect for adrenaline junkies.
You can find a list of rafting tours (including guide and safety gear) clicking the button below.
Enjoy Squamish’s Trails on Foot or Bike
In Squamish you’ll find over 200 km of trails that meander throughout the area’s waterfront, rivers, lakes, forests and mountainous terrain.
This makes Squamish an absolute paradise for hikers and mountain bikers alike.
Alice Lake Provincial Park is the top hiking spot and known for four beautiful mountain lakes. You’ll also find an extensive trail system around nearby Brohm Lake, which is known for its lush old-growth rainforest.
More advanced hikers and bikers will prefer the Squamish Valley, which is more rugged and remote.
Go Rock Climbing (Even if You Don’t Know How)
The Via Ferrata vertical adventure is a safe rock climbing experience that allows you to scale the Sea to Sky corridor’s famous granite monoliths – with no experience required.
All you have to do is clip in and ascend the peak using the attraction’s unique metal rungs and specialized cable system – with the assistance of a skilled guide of course.
Once you manage to catch your bearings you’ll be stunned by the fantastic views of Howe Sound.
This is perfect for children, families or budding adventurers who’re looking for a great introduction to rock climbing.
Roll the Dice at Chances Squamish
Spending the night in a local hotel and looking for something to do? Luckily, Squamish is home to the only casino in the Sea to Sky Corridor.
Match Eatery and Public House is also available for a great meal – while there’s also an additional upstairs lounge and patio. Live music is also available most weekends.
Related: The best Vancouver Casino Hotels
Fish the Local Rivers
Squamish is surrounded by bountiful fishing grounds that are guaranteed to have you hooked. Here, you can enjoy the area’s walk and wade river systems or embark on a single-person floatation device (vboat).
The Elaho, Squamish, Mamquam and Cheakamus rivers contain four varieties of Pacific Salmon, Bull Trout and Cutthroat Trout – depending on the season.
If you don’t know where to start there are some great half or full-day fishing adventures available with knowledgeable guides”
Visit Squamish’s Vibrant Downtown Core
Squamish’s picturesque downtown core has been featured in numerous Hollywood productions due to its beauty and charm.
The main drag can be found along Cleveland Street. Here you’ll find a great selection of independent restaurants, cafes and boutique shops.
I’d first grab coffee and sample the delightful artisan baking at Sunflower Bakery, then slowly wander the streets checking out a local store or two.
Take a Sidetrip to Whistler Village
North America’s largest ski resort needs very little introduction, and it’s just 40 minutes up the road from Squamish.
Skiers and snowboarders know that here you’ve got two world-class mountains connected by the Peak to Peak Gondola. Foodies and parties also rave of Whistler’s best bars and Whistler’s finest restaurants.
If you’ve got no wheels the Skylynx bus provides transport from Squamish to Whistler Village – and services both locations from Vancouver and YVR.
The City of Squamish BC
The scenic mountain-side city is much more than just a stopover between Vancouver and Whistler.
In fact, this small community of 19,893 has quickly become BC’s year-round outdoor adventure playground.
Visiting in summer? You can go hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, white water rafting, fishing, golfing, mountain biking, camping and so much more.
It doesn’t slow down in winter, either. This winter wonderland provides all of the backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, tubing and snowmobiling anyone could want.
Toss in world-class attractions like the Sea to Sky Gondola, Britannia Mine Museum, and Rope Runner Aerial Adventure Park and you have all the makings of a fantastic day trip – just an hour from Vancouver.
How to Get to Squamish From Vancouver
Squamish is located 66 km north of Vancouver and the route between the two cities is along the famous Sea to Sky Highway.
This places it at the halfway point between Vancouver and Whistler.
For detailed instructions on navigating the Sea to Sky Corridor, including driving tips and shuttle options from Vancouver I suggest visiting our Whistler transport guide.
You can also purchase Skylynx tickets from Vancouver to Squamish using the button below.
Top Squamish Activities FAQ
How far is Squamish from Vancouver?
Squamish is located 66km North of Vancouver along the Sea to Sky Highway 99. The drive should take around 50 minutes to an hour. However, the traffic leaving downtown Vancouver can add time to your trip – so avoid leaving during rush hour if possible.
How far is Squamish from Whistler?
Squamish is located 59 km South of Whistler along the Sea to Sky Highway 99. This places it roughly halfway between Vancouver and Whistler. The drive between Squamish and Whistler should take about 40 minutes.
How do you get to Squamish from Vancouver?
The easiest way to get from Vancouver to Squamish is to drive. Alternatively, the Skylynx bus which travels between Vancouver and Whistler provides service to Squamish as well.
What is there to do in Squamish?
There are over 200 km of trails meandering throughout the region’s coastal mountainous terrain. So hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, kayaking, rafting and fishing are popular summertime activities.
In winter there’s also backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, tobogganing and tubing.
Squamish’s downtown is quickly becoming a hotspot for foodies and craft beer lovers. Finally, popular attractions like the Britannia Mining Museum, Sea to Sky Gondola and the Rope Runner Aerial Adventure Park attract visitors from the world over.
Still Need More Things to Do in Squamish?
I’ve given you thirteen reasons not to sleep on Squamish as a day trip destination from Vancouver.
The number of outdoor activities on offer is almost endless, but maybe you feel I missed something?
If that’s the case hit me up in the comments below for custom travel advice whether it’s Squamish, Vancouver, or anywhere else in the Lower Mainland!
Enjoy Squamish ?