5 Best Day Trips from Vancouver, Canada

5 Best Day Trips from Vancouver, BC, Canada

5 Best Day Trips from Vancouver BC, Canada

Day Trips from Vancouver

5 Best Day Trips from Vancouver

Vancouver is a magnificent city, it is simply undeniable.  The backdrop of mountains combined with the coastal shores of the Pacific Ocean plus the attractive downtown core means that Vancouver is the kind of city where people actually want to be. That said, spending any trip to Vancouver BC entirely in the city would be a mistake since there are so many excellent day trips from Vancouver that are worth making the extra effort for.

Here is a curated list of some of the best Vancouver day trips:

Day trips from Vancouver – Visit the Mountains for a Day Trip to Whistler

Day Trips from Vancouver

A day trip to Whistler and its surrounding mountains is a no-brainer for anybody visiting Vancouver.  An easy 90-minute drive north of the city follows the spectacular Sea to Sky Highway along the Howe Sound until Squamish.  Leaving the Sea for the Sky, the road climbs until the mountains are everywhere and the air even smells fresh.

Whistler Mountain provides great skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing opportunities for all levels, but even in the summer, Whistler is a lovely place to spend a day is one of the best day trips from Vancouver.  Hiking, white water rafting, mountain biking, off-roading, and kayaking are all fun ways to take in the mountain scenery and escape from the city rush.  Whistler has also become a haven for those seeking unique galleries, local Indigenous art and heritage, and cultural history museums.  The Audain Gallery and the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre are fascinating venues for appreciating the unique and rich cultures of the Pacific Northwest.

Day trips from Vancouver – Sail on the Ferry to Victoria on Vancouver Island

Day Trips from Vancouver

Victoria is the provincial capital of British Columbia, but it also reigns as Vancouver’s smaller, though classier, island sister.  Victoria is a town that holds onto its English roots, and the pace of life is just a bit slower and more relaxed. Beautiful coastal walks, sailing trips, and whale watching are the best ways to appreciate Victoria, though visits to the Royal BC Museum and Butchart Gardens are high on my lists too.

Despite its size, Victoria is well known locally for a fantastic arts scene and excellent dining options, featuring of course fresh seafood as well as many vegetarian options. Walk along the Inner Harbour area to take in the musical buskers and check out local artisans. If you arrive in the summer, kayaking trips leave from the Inner Harbour regularly to explore the varied sea life of the shoreline. And if you’re really into the ocean drama, great though chilly, scuba diving can be found in many spots in and around Victoria.

A trip to Victoria from Vancouver is a big day, so leave early to catch a morning BC Ferry and you can manage to have a good portion of your day to explore the city. Another option is to fly from Downtown Vancouver to the Inner Harbour on the seaplanes operated by Harbour Air.  The 35-minute flight will save you loads of time and headache, freeing you up to spend more of your day wandering this enchanting town.

Day trips from Vancouver – Tour the Fraser Valley Wineries

Day Trips from Vancouver

In recent years, the Fraser Valley, long known as the suburbs of Vancouver, has exploded as a winery powerhouse, home to over 30 vineyards and 15 wineries. Many of these wineries have tasting rooms or fine dining establishments, all located in beautiful rural settings.

Talk to a local Vancouverite, and they may say the Fraser Valley is very far away.  In reality, and speaking as someone who grew up in the Valley, the Fraser Valley is an easy hour drive from downtown Vancouver. Most of the wineries are located in the South Langley and Aldergrove areas, regions well known for country living, horse barns, and great views of the mountains.

Most of the wineries I have visited are completely family friendly, with picnic areas and some even with small play areas for the little ones.

Day trips from Vancouver – Explore the Island Life on Galiano Island

Day Trips from Vancouver

Looking again towards the ocean, Galiano Island is one of the dozens of Gulf Islands, the small islands wedged between Vancouver Island and the mainland.  Galiano is a special place though, as it is easy to reach by ferry from Vancouver, but upon arrival, you feel so far away from the city you may forget to return.

A pristine sample of the West Coast, Galiano has beautiful hiking trails, scenic coastal lookouts and parks, beautiful beaches, and the lovely old-growth forest full of the wild rainforest. Folks who live on Galiano are generally pretty laid back, appreciating the natural beauty of their surroundings and often contributing to the very strong local arts and music scene.  There are excellent, though few, dining spots, so it is best to pack a picnic and just eat alfresco on the beach or atop Mount Galiano, one of the best views on the island.

Galiano Island is a 45-minute ferry ride from Vancouver’s Tsawwassen ferry terminal, making it the closest of the Gulf Islands. Many folks bring their bikes to Galiano, though be warned the island is rarely flat and the roads have very little in the way of shoulders or sidewalks.

Day trips from Vancouver – See Seattle, our Sister city to the South

Day Trips from Vancouver

Much like Vancouver, Seattle is a lovely city skirted by the active Pacific Ocean and lovely urban character.  A 3-hour drive from Vancouver, Seattle may seem to be a way off, but the city is easily sampled in a day and the Bolt Bus is an excellent and frugal connector of these two West Coast gems.

Day Trips from Vancouver

Seattle’s city ethos is heavy on music, style, nature, and coffee.  Hit up Pike Place Market for excellent people watching, fresh flowers, and organic treats, especially in terms of locally produced cheese, seafood, and chocolate. The Flying Fishmarket is a landmark in the market itself, and if you’re lucky enough to see a fish being thrown through the air, you’ll know you’re really in Seattle.

The original Starbucks is just down the street from the Market, as is the renowned Gum Wall.  A massive Ferris wheel is located down on the waterfront and is a fun way to view more of the city and see out towards West Seattle on a clear day.

The Experience Music Exhibit is an absolute must for any music fan or aficionado. With both revolving exhibits and the permanent Jimmy Hendrix expo, the EMP is fun for all ages.  Combine a visit to the EMP with a trip up the 158-meter tall Space Needle, Seattle iconic landmark since the World’s Fair in 1962. Any skyline shot of Seattle is incomplete without the Space Needle, and while it attracts over 20,000 people a day, there is very good reason to visit, especially on a sunny day.

Visiting Vancouver, British Columbia

Day Trips from Vancouver

Growing up in the Vancouver area, I absolutely love this part of the world and I am very proud to call it home.  Vancouver is a city of style, charm, natural beauty, and laidback friendliness.

How to get to Vancouver

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Where to stay  

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Tours/Activities available from Vancouver

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Things to do in Vancouver Canada: Tours & Sightseeing | GetYourGuide.com

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Truly an outdoors person’s paradise, Vancouver has so much to offer every month of the year.  But do make sure to find your way outside of Vancouver proper and explore more of the breathtaking Pacific Northwest!

How many of these day trips from Vancouver have you done? Which one is your favorite?

This is a guest post by Emily. Emily Kydd is a Canadian solo female nomad and editor of the blog See Her Travel.  Exploring this world in diverse countries such as Kyrgyzstan, Iceland, St. Lucia, Nepal, Myanmar, Jamaica, and Fiji, Emily loves discovering new cultures, meeting wonderful people and having a laugh while on the latest crazy adventure.  Emily is currently based in Vancouver.

5 Best Day Trips from Vancouver, Canada    5 Best Day Trips from Vancouver, Canada

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31 thoughts on “5 Best Day Trips from Vancouver, Canada

  1. Neha Reply

    No doubt, Canada is one of the most beautiful country in the world and most of the travelers want to cover it one day. I assume most of the people will know about Vancouver but I think very few will be aware of these lovely nearby places which can be covered from Vancouver. This post is very insightful in this way. All these places are awesome. Especially Whistler and Fraser Valley Wineries looks amazing and I will definitely like to cover these.

  2. Faith Coates Reply

    Love, Love Vancouver and it is true it is a truly awesome city to do daytrips from. The views, the fresh mountain air and the chance to pop down to Seattle to the market and see the fish throwing awesome.

  3. Abhinav Singh Reply

    Most big cities like Vancouver have exciting excursions if we care to find them. I am excited to see that you get vegetarian food in Canada. Fraser valley wineries look good. My favourite pick is the Galiano Island though. Looks like a gorgeous place.

  4. T.J. Reply

    Loved your photo’s. Vancouver and Victoria are great destinations. The walk along the sea wall in both cities are worth the time.

  5. Dada Reply

    Gorgeous places for a daytrip! Especially to the Whistler mountains! I hope to do a roadtrip in Canada in near future!

  6. Oursweetadventures Reply

    Vancouver is a city high on our bucket list as is the entire northwest part of North America. Day trips are always nice from any city because it allows you to see the life outside the big city. I have heard nothing but amazing things about Whistler and can’t wait to go some day.

  7. Nisha Reply

    Canada and in particular BC is definitely one of the most beautiful regions in the world. I have never been there but it is definitely on my list.

  8. Justine Reply

    Vancouver is about 12 hour drive from where I live (Calgary) but I’ve never been to Whistler and heard so many good things about it. I’ve been to Victoria and Seattle though and both are amazing!

  9. Megan Jerrard Reply

    We visited Vancouver and took the ferry for a couple of days to Vancouver Island. LOVED it!! Highly recommend people spending more than a day, but if that’s all you have it’s definitely worthwhile. Victoria was so great.

    Cool idea to jump into the US for a visit to Seattle – a great city, and we found driving into the States pretty hassle free from Canada re immigration and border security 🙂

  10. nixki Reply

    I love that Seattle made the list! I have a lot of Canadian friends who always ask about Seattle as if they should go – and I always say yes! So much to offer, especially foodies.

  11. Thu Nguyen Reply

    I really love the simple and peaceful beauty of the Fraser Valley. Vancouver seems to be an ideal city to enjoy your life. I’m totally impressed by the breathtaking view there. Thanks for those beautiful photos.

  12. candy Reply

    I really need to revisit Vancouver during the warmer months. I did the drive from Vancouver to Whistler and it was absolutely gorgeous. The scenic drive went by so fast! Whistler is so beautiful, but I need to visit when there is less snow on the ground 🙂

  13. Rhonda Albom Reply

    Vancouver was one of our favourite cities, but unfortunately, we didn’t get to visit a lot of it. Whistler sounds like a fascinating day trip. It’s nice to hear that there’s still things to do in the summer and that it doesn’t just die down once the snow leaves. The walks on Galiano Island sound great. A picnic is always fun.

  14. Izzyt Reply

    When I was 17, I spent the summer in North Richmond, Vancouver and felt some serious happiness in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle is on my big hit list, its a burgeoning city for sure! But I had no idea there was more to Whistler than just slopes, I need to visit The Audain Gallery and the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Center since I have a huge appreciation for First Peoples.

  15. Ozzy Reply

    Vancouver, BC is one melting pot of various cultures for sure. However, its great to know that there are such lovely spots all around dvthe place that can be covered in a day. Loved the Whistler and Fraser Valley Wineries, the pictures speak a thousand words for sure.
    Post saved for future reference!

  16. Adrenaline Romance Reply

    What a beautiful place, especially the beaches and the shore. My father, who now resides in the US, once visited Vancouver. He said the place is really awesome and would be a good “fit” for us since we love the outdoors.

    Visiting Whistler and the Fraser Valley wineries would be the first in our list if we have the chance to visit there.

  17. Ami Reply

    I have heard so much about Vancouver and after seeing the weekend options, I definitely would like to visit it. The Wineries seem so cool as do the beaches. Love the whole pristine and calm feel of the place.

  18. Jenn Reply

    I’m all about the wine so visiting Fraser Valley sounds excellent for me. I’m also crazy about seafood so I think I ‘d really enjoy Victoria. I was in Vancouver when I was a kid, but definitely want to go back for another visit!

  19. Sherrie Fabrizi Allbritten Reply

    I was in Vancouver a few years back and loved it! I only had 2 days, which there is enough to see in the city that can take up 2 days. But I love this list incase I go back for a longer period of time. Hopefully sooner than later!

  20. Kellyn Reply

    I’ve been to Canada, but not on the west coast. Seems like a really unique experience. I think my children would love it. Adding to next years vacation list for sure.

  21. Marlies Reply

    I have done three trips out of the five. Not bad 🙂 But I did wish I had this article when I visited Vancouver because I would have definitely tried go to those two other places as well! Hopefully next time 🙂

  22. Silke Reply

    So many things to see in Vancouver and surrounds. I can see that I could easily spend a week there just to discover the surroundings. I’d definitely like to see the mountains near Whistler. The colour of the lake is just amazing! Will keep this post in mind for when I get a chance to visit Canada.

  23. Fiona Maclean Reply

    Gosh, my geography is so lacking! I had no idea Whistler was near Vancouver. That said, I’d probably head for the Fraser Valley Vineyards which looks wonderful

  24. Harsh gupta Reply

    I have heard a lot of good things about Fraser And Whistler Valley. Would love to take a trip to Vancouver soon. Cannot resist the temptation of those gorgeous valleys!

  25. Jessica Reply

    Bookmarked! Been wanting to go to Vancouver for years now. Making it a priority for 2018. Whistler is on the top on my list of places we want to go. Thanks for the tips.

  26. arvin Reply

    British Colombia During my visit I thought was the most beautiful place in North America. That was 20 years ago, and there were no known winery,I think a road trip north is overdue, some of these day drips look pretty amazing!!

  27. Holly Reply

    Well first I need to get to Vancouver and do some exploring. Then check out these really cool places. Shoot I haven’t even made it to Seattle yet, but it is on my list.

  28. knycx.journey Reply

    Thanks for the itinerary and detailed introduction, I enjoyed it! I think I might skip the wineries tour, and I would love to go skiing during the winter. Besides, a good idea to go South and visit Seattle! Maybe I need more than a day for that! @ knycx.journeying

  29. Cat Reply

    I used to live in Vancouver but haven’t been many places nearby. I’d love to explore BC next year, hopefully Whistler and Victoria!

  30. Followingtherivera Reply

    Galiano Islands and Fraser wineries look like my kind of places! I’ve yet to visit Vancouver, but when I do, I’ll definitely visit these two.

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