6 easy must-do weekend trips from Vancouver

Published by: BouncePosted
Weekend trips from Vancouver

The best thing about Vancouver is, as any extremely wealthy local realtor will tell you, location, location, location. This is a cosmopolitan city with lots to offer, including an excellent food scene and a laid-back West Coast vibe combined with Canadian friendliness and hospitality. But it's what surrounds the city that makes Vancouver one of the most popular and most livable cities in the world.

Downtown Vancouver sits right against the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by towering mountains. That means there are so many opportunities for weekend getaways from Vancouver. Without even leaving the city itself, you can sail the glittering sea or ski the snowcapped mountains. And the best weekend getaways from Vancouver allow you to experience some truly amazing West Coast locations without going far from the city at all.

Whether you want to enjoy world-class mountain biking trails, hike in pristine forests, or dive below the waves of one of the world's most productive marine environments, you can do it all on a weekend getaway from Vancouver. With both Vancouver Island and the mainland of southern BC to explore, there are almost limitless options for weekend getaways here.

Just remember to drop off your unneeded bags at a luggage storage in Vancouver before you head out to explore. Your weekend trip will be a lot easier if you don't carry more than you need to.

Weekend trip to Indian Arm from Vancouver

Deep Cove & Indian Arm

Located in North Vancouver, this destination is technically part of the greater Vancouver area. However, this coastal inlet surrounded by forested mountains feels a very long way away. The charming town of Deep Cove has a laid-back vibe and some great places to eat and drink, and opportunities for outdoor activities abound. If you want to stay in the area, this is one of the best weekend getaways from Vancouver you could possibly take. But it's also close enough that you could stay in the city and head out for the day.

Distance from Vancouver

It's just a 25-minute drive over the Second Narrows Bridge from downtown Vancouver to Deep Cove. That means this is also one of the few weekend getaways from Vancouver that's accessible by public transit. You'll have to change buses a couple of times, but it is still a great option if you don't have access to a car.

Our activity recommendations

Hiking: Deep Cove is home to one of the best-loved hiking trails in the Vancouver area - and given all the hiking options here, that's saying quite a lot. The trail to Quarry Rock covers 3.8 km with an elevation gain of 100 m that brings you to the top of Quarry Rock, a granite outcrop that gives you truly spectacular views over the mountain fjord of Indian Arm. Visit at sunset for extra grandeur, but don't expect to have the place to yourself.

Kayaking: Deep Cove sits on an inlet of the ocean that reaches far inland. Surrounded by mountains, the water here is so calm, it's hard to believe it's actually seawater. That makes it a great place to go kayaking, especially for inexperienced kayakers. You can rent single or double kayaks in Deep Cove and paddle out to explore the calm waters of Indian Arm. Keep your eyes peeled for seals and other wildlife like bald eagles as you explore this urban wilderness.

Shopping: Deep Cove may feel like a weekend getaway in the BC wilderness, but it also has some great retail opportunities. The charming village is home to boutique stores like La La's and Room 6, which offer great places to shop for clothing, gifts, and souvenirs of your weekend getaway. And don't miss Honey Donuts, a local favorite donut shop as popular with Hollywood celebrities as it is with locals. It's the perfect place to try on one of the best weekend getaways from the city.

Best season to visit

Warm weather is more conducive to outdoor activities, so summer is often the best time for a weekend getaway in Deep Cove. However, Vancouver's temperate climate means you might get lucky in the spring and fall and have some warm days when you can explore without the crowds.

Sunshine Coast weekend trips from Vancouver

The Sunshine Coast

Although it's located on the mainland of BC rather than Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast can only be reached with a short ferry ride from Vancouver. That makes this weekend getaway feel like a real adventure.

Distance from Vancouver

It takes around an hour and 40 minutes to reach Langdale, the closest town on the sunshine coast to Vancouver. It's only 45 km away, but you'll spend 40 minutes on the ferry after leaving the dramatic fjord of Horseshoe Bay just to the west of Vancouver itself.

Our activity recommendations

Hike the Sunshine Coast Trail: This 180 km long trail runs through many of the towns on the Sunshine Coast, and while you won't want to explore it all in one day, you can explore any sections you choose. Wherever you go, you'll encounter incredible views of the ocean and surrounding mountains and wander through pristine old-growth forests teeming with wildlife. That alone makes this one of the best weekend trips from Vancouver a nature lover could take.

Enjoy local beer and cider: The Sunshine Coast gets its name from the fact that the mountains cast a rain shadow on this part of BC, making it less rainy than Vancouver. That means it's a great place to grow fruit, and many breweries have set up in the area, offering beer and cider you won't find anywhere else. Take a tour of the local businesses and enjoy the produce of the area on your weekend getaway.

Best season to visit

This is a great place to visit in summer, and while it's not exactly a hidden gem, it doesn't get the tourist crowds of some better-known places in the region. However, because it's less rainy than most other parts of southern BC, it's also a good option in spring and fall.

Weekend trips from Vancouver to Victoria


Vancouver Island lies over the Salish Sea to the west of Vancouver itself. Around the size of Belgium, this vast island is probably home to more bears than people. The charming historic town of Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, is a great place to explore in its own right. But it's also a gateway to memorable weekend getaways on Vancouver Island.

Distance from Vancouver

It's 115 km from Vancouver to Victoria. You'll need to drive to Tsawwassen, then take a ferry ride of around two hours to reach Victoria.

Our activity recommendations

Whale watching tours: Victoria is rightly famous for its whale watching. Pods of orcas patrol the productive waters of the BC coast, and seeing these majestic creatures in the wild is an experience not to be forgotten.

Victoria Inner Harbor: One of the most historic places in all of BC, Victoria's picturesque Inner Harbor is packed with great restaurants, quaint stores, and historic buildings that make it perfect for weekend getaways on Vancouver Island.

Best season to visit

There's really no bad time to visit Victoria. As the gateway to Vancouver Island, it's a year-round destination no matter how you like to spend your time.

Weekend getaways to Harrison Hot Springs

Harrison Hot Springs

The resort town of Harrison Hot Springs welcomes visitors with a grinning Bigfoot statue at the entrance to the town. Famous for the Harrison Hot Springs Resort which takes advantage of the natural geothermal springs in the area, this is the perfect place to unwind on one of the most popular weekend getaways from Vancouver.

Distance from Vancouver

Add 131 km from Vancouver, it takes an hour and a half to reach Harrison Hot Springs along Highway one.

Our activity recommendations

Harrison Hot Springs Resort: The town of Harrison owes its existence in large part to the resort established here. The natural hot springs pools are now within the resort itself, and soaking in the warm and mineral-rich waters is one of the most popular activities in town. Additionally, the resort offers a wide range of spa treatments, and you don't have to be a guest of the hotel to take advantage of them.

Jet boat tour: The town of Harrison sits on the shores of Harrison Lake, a huge freshwater lake surrounded by mountains with a rich history and ecology. In the summer, jet boat tours will take you to some of the best spots along the lake, including isolated beaches and hidden waterfalls. Along the way, you're almost guaranteed to run into some incredible wildlife, including seals, bald eagles, and bears.

Harrison Festival: Taking place in July, the Harrison Festival sees this small town of 1500 people really come alive. This West Coast art festival is the biggest event on the Harrison Hot Springs annual calendar and includes an artisan market, musical concerts, and artistic workshops.

Best season to visit

Summer in Harrison Hot Springs can get extremely busy, but the cold waters of the lake are the perfect place to cool down on one of the best weekend trips from Vancouver. Alternatively, visit in spring or fall to avoid the crowds and get cooler weather for hiking and other outdoor activities.

Weekend trips from Vancouver to Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island

One in the chain of Gulf Islands that lie between Vancouver Island and the city of Vancouver itself, Salt Spring Island provides a legendary destination for weekend getaways from Vancouver. The laid-back island lifestyle here is the main attraction, and this island is home to artists, environmentalists, and countercultural types that make it a fascinating place to explore.

Distance from Vancouver

It's around 84 km from the city to Salt Spring Island. First, you'll need to drive south to the ferry terminal at Tsawwassen, then take the boat to Long Harbor. It's a fantastic ride and the perfect beginning to your weekend trip.

Our activity recommendations

The Market: Salt Spring Island may only have a population of around 11,000 people, but it is home to the biggest summer market in British Columbia. You'll find everything here, from food to local handicrafts to art. The people of Salt Spring Island are a creative bunch, and shopping here is the best way to support this unique community.

Swimming: Salt Spring Island has many lakes and rivers where you can take a dip to cool off from the heat of summer. Plus, as an island, it's ringed with beautiful beaches. The ocean water is never exactly warm, but it does make an invigorating way to refresh yourself on weekend getaways.

Best season to visit

Summer is the best time to visit Salt Spring Island since you can take advantage of the market along with all the outdoor activities the island offers.

Whistler weekend getaways from Vancouver


Easily one of the most classic weekend getaways from Vancouver, the ski resort of Whistler is one of the best in North America, if not the entire world. There are seemingly endless outdoor activities on offer here, and it's easily reached from downtown Vancouver, making it perfect for a weekend trip.

Distance from Vancouver

Whistler lies 120 km north of Vancouver, requiring an hour and 30 minutes of highway driving to get there. The drive is almost an attraction in its own right, with the Sea to Sky Highway winding along the mountains and providing breathtaking views of the ocean.

Our activity recommendations

Skiing: One of the major host cities of the 2010 Winter Olympics, Whistler is a ski resort above all else. With both Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain to explore, skiers and snowboarders will be in heaven here.

Mountain biking: When the snow melts, the cross-country ski trails of Whistler become excellent mountain biking trails. Whistler Village also has a specialized bike park at the base of the mountain where you can practice your skills and tricks, but the endless trails of the mountains beyond make this one of the best weekend getaways for outdoor sports enthusiasts.

Best season to visit

Whistler is a year-round destination, so when to visit depends on what you want to do. Obviously, if skiing is your thing, you'll want to go in the winter, which is the busiest time in this Alpine resort. But summer in Whistler also has plenty of activities to engage in, including mountain biking, wildlife viewing, and hiking.


If you only have three days to spend in Vancouver, you'll want to focus on all the amazing things to do the city itself offers. But if you have a little longer to spend, you should definitely take the chance to explore the surrounding area. Whether on the best day trips from Vancouver or these longer weekend adventures, you'll get to see some incredible places not far from the city itself.

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