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Best Vancouver Day Trips & Weekend Getaways

Best Day Trips & Weekend Getaways from Vancouver, BC

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Vancouver is perfectly situated for a wide range of day trips and weekend getaways. The Best Vancouver Day Trips take you to some of the most breathtaking scenery in the Pacific Northwest, to some of North America's top ski and snowboard resorts, to picturesque villages and historic cities for shopping and strolling, and to the best spots for outdoor recreation, including camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and more.

Use this list of the Best Vancouver Day Trips & Weekend Getaways to get the most out of living in or visiting Vancouver.

See also: Romantic Getaways from Vancouver

1. Whistler

Canada, British Columbia, Whistler, people outside ski lodge
Noel Hendrickson/Digital Vision/Getty Images

The number one destination for Vancouver day trips and weekend getaways has to be Whistler, one of North America's best ski and snow-sport destinations. Located about two hours north of Vancouver (via the famously scenic "Sea to Sky" highway), Whistler is home to the the Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort, plays host to major music and cultural festivals, including the World Ski & Snowboard Festival, and is just as fun in the summer months, when families can zip line, hike, or take ecological tours.

More: Whistler - Blackcomb BC - Top Things for Families

2. Seattle & Washington State

Vancouver Day Trips: Seattle
Photo © Getty Images / Photodisc

Crossing the southern border into the U.S. is a popular way to spend the day or take a weekend getaway from Vancouver. (Passports are required; so be prepared!) The drive from Vancouver to Seattle is about three hours, or you can take the scenic Amtrak Cascades train or Quick Shuttle bus. Enjoy Seattle's nightlife and shopping or explore the beauty of Washington State's coasts, mountains, and state parks.

More: Washington Travel Guide & Photo Galleries
Budget Shopping in Seattle & Bellingham, WA
Vancouver to Seattle: Guide to Crossing the Canada/U.S. Border

3. Vancouver Camping

best vancouver day trips & weekend getaways: camping
Image Courtesy of Tourism Vancouver

Vancouver camping season runs from mid-May through September and is an enormously popular way to enjoy an inexpensive weekend getaway. There are lots of options for camping within a two-hour drive of Vancouver, including gorgeous provincial parks with lakes, hiking trails, fishing, and more.

More: Guide to Camping in Vancouver

4. Skiing, Snowboarding & Snow Sport Resorts

Vancouver Day Trips: Cypress Mountain
Image © Cypress Mountain; Photo by Katie Kotz

Cyrpress Mountain is just 30 minutes from Vancouver. Cypress has 52 ski trails, served by 9 lifts, and has the highest vertical rise of the North Shore Mountains. Cypress also has one of the most diverse cross country ski areas near Vancouver, as well as night skiing and riding.

More: Cypress Mountain is just one of five world-class skiing and snow-sport destinations near Vancouver. Use my guide to the Best Skiing & Snowboarding Resorts Near Vancouver for details on Cypress Mountain, North Vancouver's Mount Seymour, and resorts on Vancouver Island.

5. Grouse Mountain

Vancouver Day Trips: Grouse Mountain
Image Courtesy of Tourism Vancouver

Situated just 15 minutes north of downtown Vancouver, Grouse Mountain is another Vancouver Day Trip that's equally popular with visitors and locals: it's a ski-and-snowboard destination in the winter and an outdoor entertainment venue in the summer. Facilities on top of Grouse Mountain include restaurants and hotels, sports and recreation, a mountain bear refuge, lumberjack shows, and incredible views of the city.

More: Top 10 Vancouver Attractions

6. Deep Cove

Vancouver Day Trips: Deep Cove
Image Courtesy of Tourism Vancouver

Located in North Vancouver, about 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver, Deep Cove is one of the most beautiful destinations in all of the Lower Mainland. Best in summer, kayaking in Deep Cove brings you close to nature--eagles, seals and sea lions are common--and keeps taking your breath away with the sheer glory of this tranquil spot.

7. Capilano Suspension Bridge

Vancouver Day Trips: Capilano Suspension Bridge
Image Courtesy of Tourism Vancouver

Just a short drive away in North Vancouver, the Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of the most popular and unique Vancouver Day Trips. The swaying, scenic suspension bridge, which stretches 137 metres (450 feet) across and 70 metres (230 feet) above the Capilano River, is amazing to cross, and the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is home to a lots of family activities, including rainforest trails and treetop adventures.

8. Steveston Village

Vancouver Day Trips: Steveston Village
Image Courtesy of Steveston Community Society

About a half-hour drive south of Vancouver, Richmond's Steveston Village is a great Vancouver Day Trip for anyone looking for local salmon flavour. The quaint fishing village has reinvented itself as a foodie destination in the summer months, hosting the annual Canada Day Salmon Festival (July 1) as well as artisan and food markets, cannery tours, and live music.

9. Victoria

Vancouver Day Trips: Victoria, BC
Photo © Getty Images / Photodisc

As the capital of British Columbia, there's so much to see and do in Victoria that it makes a better weekend getaway than Vancouver Day Trip, though you can get there and back (by ferry) in a day. Among its many attractions, Victoria is home to the famous Butchart Gardens, the historic Fairmont Empress Hotel--where you can indulge in high tea--and loads of antique shops and bookstores, perfect for strolling.

More: Butchart Gardens Photo Gallery

10. Family Friendly Day Trips from Vancouver

An elephant at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, WA
Image Courtesy of Woodland Park Zoo

Have kids? Even very young kids will love these choices for Family Friendly Day Trips from Vancouver, which include the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, kids' activities in Whistler, and the Reifel Bird Sanctuary near Ladner.

More: Family Friendly Day Trips from Vancouver

11. Best Beaches near Vancouver

vancouver weekend getaways: Tonquin Beach Park
Image Courtesy of GoTofino.com / Tofino Photography

Along with Deep Cove (above), there are several incredible beach and waterfront destinations around Vancouver, including sandy beaches and warm-water beaches (on Savary Island and Hornby Island), that make ideal weekend getaways. Top nearby beaches include beaches on Vancouver Island, along the Sunshine Coast, and along Indian Arm.

More: Best Beaches near Vancouver, BC

12. Sun Peaks Resort

Vancouver Weekend Getaways: Sun Peaks Resort, BC
Image Courtesy of Sun Peaks Resort / Adam Stein

Located in the B.C. interior, Sun Peaks Resort is one of the top ski and summer sports resorts in B.C. About a five hour drive from Vancouver--or a short, 40-minute flight from Vancouver to Kamloops--Sun Peaks offers an amazing array of winter and summer activities in a charming, family-friendly atmosphere. In winter, skiers and snowboarders can enjoy ski-to-door access and lifts without wait times. In summer, visitors can choose from an array of outdoor adventure options, from fabulous downhill mountain biking to golf, canoeing, horseback riding, kayaking, and hiking.

More: Guide to Sun Peaks, BC

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