Sticking around this weekend? You can still have a mini adventure and make it home in time for dinner. From hiking and swimming to berry picking, museums and Labour Day festivities, there’s no shortage of outdoorsy, end-of summer day trips for the intrepid Vancouver family.
Here are five day trip ideas all within a 90 minute (or less) drive from downtown. Have one to add? Help out by commenting.
5 Day Trips for the Labour Day Long Weekend
1) Lynn Canyon Park: Hiking, swimming, picnicking
If you mention you’re planning a day trip to Lynn Canyon Park while sitting at a bus stop or over dinner conversation in a restaurant, inevitably a helpful Vancouverite will chime in with their favourite trails and picnic spots. Lynn is a 617 acre park in North Vancouver with hiking trails of all different levels as well swimming holes, breathtaking waterfalls and scenic Rice Lake. Take a picnic and brave the Baden Powell trail, if you dare. The total journey takes hikers across the entire North Shore mountain range, linking several parks including Capilano River, Grouse Mountain, the Power Line Trails, Lynn Canyon Park and Quarry Rock in Deep Cove. 48-km. is too much for a day; stick to the section inside Lynn Canyon Park, with river views and a trek across the suspension bridge.
2) Langley: Circle Farm Tour, Fort Langley National Historic Site
Berry pickin’. Barrel making. Take the family about an hour out of town to Langley and you’ll find lush berry fields, dairies and the chance to explore the Fort Langley historic fur trading post and farm. Circle Farm Tours offers visitors a roadmap of the local places of interest, allowing you to cherry (or should I say blueberry) pick your favourites. Highlights in Langley include Krause Berry Farms, where u-pick blueberry picking is still taking place, and Fort Langley, which has fun daily activities as well as Fort Farm Fest, Sept. 1-2.
3) Bowen Island: Hiking, kayaking, swimming
Just a 20-minute ferry ride away from West Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay, Bowen Island’s Snug Cove (aka “The Cove”) offers small town marina charm while nearby parks and beaches provide ample hiking, swimming and kayaking opportunities. Polish off a salmon burger and ice cream cone at a marina eatery. Then make your way into the 800-acre Crippen Regional Park for a hike. Nearby Sandy Beach, or protected beauty Tunstall Bay, on the west side of the island, offer picnic and sunbathing opportunities.
4) Squamish River Estuary Great Blue Heron Trail: Hiking, picnicking, bird watching
About an hour north of Vancouver, the Great Blue Heron Trail along the Squamish River Estuary is an ideal place to view wildlife and watch the seasons change. Bring binocs on the 4 km. loop. Note: If the bird has fabric instead of feathers, it’s a kiteboarder. Read more about the trail in this handy Jack Christie Georgia Straight article.
5) Steveston: Gulf of Georgia Cannery, fishing, exploring
It’s worth the 20-minute drive just for the fish and chips at this active West Coast fishing community. But why not stay for the day? Watch the fishing boats unloading their catch. Cast for salmon off the public fishing wharves. Take a Cannery Channel Tour. Visit the Gulf of Georgia Cannery – built in 1894 and now an interactive family museum – and learn how Canada’s West Coast fishing industry developed. Lastly, for landlubbers and people-watchers, Steveston has a slew of cute coffee shops and bakeries as well as boutiques that can easily fill an afternoon.