Residents proudly boast about our city, but I can’t not mention the best day trips from Vancouver.
Whether you label it a weekend retreat, a Vancouver escape, or a departure from city life, we have access to some of the most picturesque locations in the country, just a few hours away.
So, here’s to my Vancouver day trip guide for those seeking adventures in British Columbia.
Best Day Trips from Vancouver: Great 1 Day Trips for 2024
Victoria: Best Vancouver Island Day Trip from Vancouver
The capital city of British Columbia holds the distinction of being Canada’s warmest city, and it has also been voted the Best City for Women, Canada’s Most Bikeable City, and the 2nd Best Small City in the World.s
Also, with just one day below zero yearly, a trip to “the Garden City” is one of the best things to do in Vancouver in winter.
Over 3 billion flowers bloom here every year, making it a great stop to take in colonial architecture, have tea at the legendary Empress Hotel, and eat gourmet foods sourced from the area’s 1700+ farms.
It’s no wonder this is one of the top weekend getaways from Vancouver.
Getting to Victoria from Vancouver involves a 90-minute ferry ride to Vancouver Island.
Wanting a full tour package? Check the best Vancouver tours to Victoria.
Related: Best Things to do in Victoria
Whistler: Top Village Day Trip from Vancouver
How many major cities have a world-class ski resort just 90 minutes from Vancouver city center?
If you want an upgrade on Vancouver’s top ski mountains, this is one of those good day trips from Vancouver you’ll never forget.
Yes, Whistler has been voted Top Ski Resort in the World by various publications, and the 200+ marked runs famous for champagne powder make it a no-brainer for winter fun. But there are tons of things to do in Whistler besides skiing.
There are loads of great restaurants in Whistler, making it a gourmet foodie escape. It also offers great summer lake activities at Lost Lake, includes BC’s most beautiful hike at nearby Joffre Lakes, and is a top spa and mountain biking destination.
Looking for some culture? The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre is the best window into local First Nations culture.
Fraser Valley Winery Tour: Best Wine Day Trip from Vancouver
Did you think we’re just a one-trick pony of snowy mountains and water activities? Well, think again. To the east of Vancouver, you’ll find temperate Langley and the prime wine-making region of the Fraser Valley.
Renting a car and taking a DIY drive is a great day trip escape from Vancouver. Vista D’oro is a great place to see old-school wine-making perfected, while Backyard Vineyards is a small-volume producer that makes some of the best BC VQA sparkling whites around.
Want to take the guesswork out of it? A winery tour can even pick you up at downtown Vancouver hotels and take you straight to the action in a Mercedes Benz Sprinter van.
The small group tours include stops at up to five wineries over 6 hours.
Related: Best Vancouver Food Tours
Howe Sound: Best Vancouver Boat Day Trip
This picturesque body of water between Vancouver and the outdoor playground of Squamish is surrounded by a network of towering fjords. This makes it a great place to explore by boat. Renting one at Granville Island or Sewell’s Marina in Horseshoe Bay is a good start.
Expect to pay about $117.60 for 4 hours, so this day trip is best done in company.
Bombing around Vancouver’s waters is fun just for the ride, but strapping up with fishing gear and trying to land a big spring salmon (they can reach over 80 pounds) is one way to experience the Sound.
Looking to explore as part of a package? Then click the link below:
Grouse Mountain: Best Mountain Day Trip from Vancouver
Those towering North Shore Mountains that frame our city skyline aren’t just for show.
In fact, a 2800 metre gondola ride up from North Vancouver will transport you to a mountain paradise – complete with lumberjacks, bears, and beaver tails – but enough of the Canadian stereotypes.
Of course, the Wildlife Refuge and its star grizzlies, 30-minute lumberjack shows, and massive tail-shaped donuts are just the beginning. Some of my favourite things to do at Grouse Mountain are:
- Having a cold beer at Altitudes Bistro overlooking the city
- Going up to the highest point of the city at the Eye of the Wind
- Swinging through the Mountain Ropes Adventure
In winter, this is the area’s most accessible ski mountain, and in Vancouver in summer, you can hike up the mountain on the legendary Grouse Grind.
Squamish: Best of the Day Road Trips from Vancouver
When thinking of cool day trips from Vancouver, a trip up the legendary Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler (one of the world’s top-rated road trips) is in order.
About halfway up, you’ll come across this picturesque, sporty mountain town just 70 minutes from downtown Vancouver.
The name of the game here is outdoor adventure. Just look up at the imposing granite monolith that dwarfs the city. The Stawamus Chief offers a 4-hour intermediate hike with one of the best panoramic view rewards in the entire province.
Some other top things to do in Squamish include Via Ferrata climbing adventures (optimal for first-timers), some of the greatest white water rafting in the Lower Mainland, and a 2-hour Ropes Course Adventure.
You’ll also find Shannon Falls, British Columbia’s third-highest waterfall. Don’t forget too that there’s some amazing craft beer made in the area, the optimal nightcap for all that adventure.
Related: Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge
Salt Spring Island: Top Island Day Trip from Vancouver
This tiny island in the Salish Sea, which is just 80 minutes by ferry from Vancouver, has a huge amount of character. This is one of the best places to visit from Vancouver if you’re seeking peace and quiet.
‘Canada’s Island of the Arts’ is a place to buy things that are fresh or made by hand. There are over 200 organic farms here, forming the base of British Columbia’s best little Artisan Market – some local farmers even provide their grass-fed lamb to the Queen.
Other highlights include small-batch smoked salmon, artisan gin, and apple pie moonshine. The 120 artisans here also sell jewellery, woodwork, pottery, fine art, body care, clothing, and more.
Don’t forget camping at Ruckle Park, tastings at Salt Spring Wild Cider, and visiting Salt Spring Island Cheese Company. Grabbing an Airbnb overnight and coming back with the trunk full of goodies is a Vancouver tradition.
Related: Best Time to Visit Vancouver
Steveston Village: Best of the Cheap Day trips from Vancouver
This is one of the best day trips from Vancouver without a car. Yes, in just 40 minutes by Vancouver public transit, you can be whisked away to this tiny fishing village along the Fraser River.
On the fringes of the suburb of Richmond, this place has yet to be corrupted by big chain shops and six-lane highways.
Visiting Steveston gives great insight into the early economies of the area, in particular through the Gulf of Georgia Cannery Museum – a retrospect on the salmon industry of British Columbia and the many immigrant communities (primarily Japanese) that helped build the province.
Beyond this, a trip through Steveston is about artisan gift shops, fresh-off-the-boat seafood stands, and the obligatory load-up of fish and chips at the legendary Pajo’s. Not to mention, it’s a great place to take a Steveston whale watching tour.
Related: Best Vancouver City Tours
Seattle: Best City Day Trip from Vancouver
It’s hard to put this American supercity on the list because, let’s face it, you need way more than just a day.
It’s a little cumbersome, but it’s one of the best places to visit from Vancouver for locals due to:
- Major league American sports like the NFL, NHL and MLB
- A much more diverse concert and live music scene
- American brand-name shopping and discount outlet centres
- Unique tourist attractions like the Space Needle and Museum of Pop Culture
- Pike Place Market
Driving from Vancouver to Seattle for day trips takes just over two hours, more than doable with an early start. If you’ve got a bit of extra time on your Vancouver itinerary and want a little piece of Americana, this is the best cultural day trip you can make.
Harrison Hot Springs: Best Winter Day Trip from Vancouver BC
This small Fraser Valley resort community is just 90 minutes from Vancouver. It has been one of the most fun day trips near Vancouver since 1886 when the Canadian Pacific Railway brought its lakeside springs within reach.
The two relaxing, rejuvenating springs heat up to 65 °C (149 °F). Harrison Hot Springs Resort is the star of the show here, creating five different pools of different temperatures for the ultimate spa getaway experience. With two restaurants on-site, this is the ultimate ‘not lift a finger’ Vancouver day trip.
You can rent a cottage out here to soak in the hot springs. But you can also take a lovely forest hike alongside numerous waterfalls along the Miami Bridges Walk. And, of course, taking part in any number of fishing or boating activities on Harrison Lake is also a fine option.
If you’re looking to avoid the crowds of Vancouver’s best beaches in the summer, taking day trips to the lakeside beach here is a much better swimming option.
Sea to Sky Gondola: Top Day Trip for Views
An hour from Vancouver, this Swiss-style ski gondola whisks passengers 885 meters up Mount Habrich, providing amazing views of crystal blue Howe Sound and our Coast Mountain paradise.
The Sea to Sky Gondola is a mountain adventure wonderland that can be as hardcore as you want. Taking in the three panoramic view platforms and walking the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge is included in every ticket.
Of course, if you’re willing to get a little more advanced on your day trips from Vancouver, you can go off on backcountry hiking tours, snowshoeing and tubing (winter), and even rock climbing (summer).
Throw in interpretive tours on the ecology of the area and the rich history of the local Skwxwu7mesh Nation, and this outdoor escape gets educational.
There’s also a licensed bar, and the Sky Pilot Restaurant offers live music, wine tastings, and all sorts of events. So, this Vancouver day tour has it all.
Looking to get off the beaten path? Check out our guide to the top Vancouver Hidden Gems.
Sunshine Coast: Best Coastal Day Trip from Vancouver
A quick hour ferry hop across Howe Sound from Horseshoe Bay brings Vancouverites to the Sunshine Coast, famous for low annual rainfall and long, sunny summers. If you need a beach here, then Savary Island is Canada’s answer to Bermuda (don’t laugh).
This 180 km stretch of coast is famous for its laid-back attitude, unspoiled beaches, arts and crafts, and sneaky good culinary scene that rivals some of Vancouver’s best restaurants.
Most folks head to Sechelt for the galleries and boutiques along Cowrie Street, which also offers all sorts of vintage shops, tap houses, and gourmet restaurants.
Lovers of paddle sports also find plenty to do here. The Powell River Canoe Route is a solid way to spend a day on the water, but kayaking along the fjords of Desolation Sound is probably the best bet.
Britannia Mining Museum: Best Day Trip with Kids from Vancouver
This historic mine near Squamish makes for a fun day trip from Vancouver for those visiting town with children. The Britannia Mining Museum was once one of the largest copper ore mines in the British Empire.
Since closing up shop, this imposing 20-storey building has transformed into a fully interactive museum that’ll put you in the boots of a turn-of-the-century miner.
The train ride through the historic haulage tunnel is the highlight. But any of the over 7000 artifacts (some brought to life by in-person demonstrations) really kick things up a notch.
This is one of the best things to do in Vancouver with kids.
Visiting here also puts you on the Sea to Sky Highway, a scenic attraction in itself.
Garibaldi Provincial Park: Best of the Hiking Day Trips from Vancouver
The enormous Garibaldi Park is situated about halfway between Squamish and Whistler along the Sea to Sky Highway. While it takes about an hour to reach, it’ll feel like you’re days from civilization.
The area’s rugged mountains are covered in over 150 glaciers, contrasting with the dense Douglas fir and red cedar forests. It’s simply a paradise for those seeking a quick Vancouver hiking tour.
Some must-do hikes include Garibaldi Lake Trail (18 km, about 5 hours) and Black Tusk Trail (28 km, about 10 hours). Both are packed full of full of strata volcanos, turquoise blue lakes, and viewpoints galore.
Other local highlights include nearby Elfin Lakes, Cheakamus Lake, and Wedgemount Lake.
Related: Your Guide to Vancouver Hiking
Port Moody Beer Train: Best Day Trip from Vancouver BC for Beer Lovers
This is a perfect place for all beer lovers. Simply head to Port Moody near Vancouver for a comfy tour. This Port Moody Beer Trail Explorer Private Tour includes four craft beer places on Brewers Row; try over 50 kinds of beer, like ale and cider, and learn how they make it.
Meet other beer fans, relax, and maybe chat. Check out cool places like Moody Ales, Parkside Brewery, Yellow Dog, and Twin Sails Brewing.
Between trying different beers, take a break to visit a museum, stroll through Rocky Point’s garden and jetty along the lovely waterfront, and keep an eye out for harbour seals and ospreys.
Bowen Island: Most Peaceful Day Trip from Vancouver
Escape city life with a short 20-minute ferry ride to Bowen Island in Howe Sound from Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver. This tranquil destination offers a peaceful retreat just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of Vancouver.
Bowen Island is also a peaceful getaway with lots to do. You can go on nature walks, and bike rides, or try kayaking, paddleboarding, swimming, and fishing. Plus, enjoy outdoor concerts and events.
Great day Trips from Vancouver FAQs
Where can I go for a day trip near Vancouver?
You can do a day trip near Vancouver to places like Whistler or Bowen Island. Here, you’ll enjoy beautiful scenery and fun outdoor activities.
Where do locals go for a weekend getaway from Vancouver?
Locals go for a weekend getaway from Vancouver to places like Whistler, the Sunshine Coast, or Vancouver Island.
These destinations offer diverse activities and scenic retreats within a short drive or ferry ride.
What are the best day trips from Vancouver?
The best day trips from Vancouver are discovering Whistler’s mountains, the charm of Victoria, or the tranquillity of Bowen Island. Each offers a unique escape, just a short journey from the city.
What are some day trips from Vancouver by car?
Day trips from Vancouver by car include Whistler, Victoria (via ferry), Squamish, the Fraser Valley wineries, and Harrison Hot Springs.
What are some day trips from Vancouver by bus?
Day trips from Vancouver by bus include Whistler, Victoria, Seattle, and local sightseeing tours.
Can you do a day trip to Whistler from Vancouver?
Yes, you can do a day trip to Whistler from Vancouver. The average drive from Vancouver to Whistler is 90 minutes, which is more than doable.
Can you do day trips from Vancouver to Seattle?
Yes, you can do day trips from Vancouver to Seattle, which is extremely common. The average drive time (not considering border waits) to Seattle from downtown Vancouver is 2.5 hours.
What is the best way to take a day trip to Victoria from Vancouver?
The best way to take a day trip to Victoria from Vancouver is via BC Ferries. Enjoy a scenic ferry ride through the picturesque Strait of Georgia, then explore Victoria’s charm, from the historic Inner Harbour to the Royal BC Museum.
Are there day trips from Vancouver to Vancouver Island?
Yes, there are day trips from Vancouver to Vancouver Island. Hop on a ferry to explore the island’s beauty, from Butchart Gardens to the charming city of Victoria, offering a perfect blend of nature and history.
Any Questions on a 1 day trip from Vancouver?
I’ve highlighted a few of my favourite places to visit from Vancouver, but perhaps you’re looking for something more tailored.
Feel free to drop your questions in the comments section below; I’m here to provide answers about exploring our stunning city or planning on a day trip from Vancouver.
Enjoy your one day trips from Vancouver! 🙂