As much as Vancouver has to offer – the beaches, the mountains, the downtown restaurant scene – sometimes you just have to get away from the city for a day. With the weather finally heating up, now’s the time to break out the cooler and barbecue, load up the car and head for the hills. But where to go?
Do you have a favorite Vancouver day trip? A getaway that’s relatively close to the city but far enough away to offer a breath of fresh air and some new scenery? Please share your favorite day trip destination by leaving a comment below.
To get things started, I’ll offer my Top 5 Vancouver Day trips. All of these ideas are within a 90-minute drive of downtown, and they all offer a nice change of pace from city living.
1) Steveston. Who knew that Richmond – the Vancouver suburb famous for its Ikea, shopping malls and incredible Asian cuisine – also had its own quaint little fishing village? Marooned on the southwestern corner of the city, with glorious views of the Georgia Strait, Steveston is home to waterfront parks, neat rows of historic houses and a bustling fishermen’s wharf where fresh fish, crabs and even sea urchins are sold right off the boats.
2) Whytecliff Park. Located near Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver, Whytecliff Park offers a glimpse of the rugged Pacific Northwest coastline. Soaring cliffs overgrown with arbutus trees overlook Howe Sound at this nature preserve, which also has a sandy beach for swimming and grassy picnic areas. It feels hours away from Vancouver, even though it’s only a short drive on the Sea to Sky Highway.
3) Squamish. About an hour’s drive from Vancouver along the Sea to Sky Highway, Squamish is known as Canada’s outdoor recreation capital for good reason. Of course, there’s the famous Stawamus Chief, the massive granite dome that’s a mecca for mountain climbers and hikers from around the world. But there’s also whitewater rafting and kayaking, wind and kite surfing in Howe Sound, horseback riding, scuba diving and an extensive network of mountain bike trails.
4) Wine tasting in the Fraser Valley. While the Okanagan Valley may be British Columbia’s most famous wine growing region, the Fraser Valley – just outside of Vancouver – is home to a growing number of wineries. The nearby city of Langley is home to endless acres of lush farmland and at least three wineries, Township 7, Vista D’Oro and Glenugie. Many of these wineries offer free or low cost tours and tastings.
5) Golden Ears Provincial Park. For some impressive peaks and wild mountain scenery, drive about 90 minutes east of Vancouver to Golden Ears Provincial Park. There you’ll find the clear waters of Alouette Lake – perfect for swimming or boating – extensive camping and picnicking facilities and a network of trails through some stunning backcountry. In fact, the scenery here is so spectacular that it served as a backdrop for the legendary action flick Rambo.
Those are just a few of my favorites. If you’ve got an idea for a perfect Vancouver day trip, please leave a comment below.