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With the wilderness at its back and on its doorstep, Vancouver’s day trips offer plenty of fresh air and an exhilarating array of escapes and outdoor adventure options. Mountains, creeks, canyons, and forests await to the north, while dozens of misty islands bask in the waters of the Georgia Strait, a scenic ferry or floatplane ride west of the city. Inland, forests and regional parks hide beautiful lakes, picnic areas, and tiny towns. All of these wonders are within two hours of the city. Nearby ski resorts include Mount Seymour (25 minutes from downtown), Grouse Mountain (15 minutes from downtown), and Cypress Mountain (30 minutes from downtown).

Day Trips from Vancouver

Bowen Island

Craggy peaks, jagged inlets and coves perfect for kayaking, and a smattering of upscale restaurants and solid pubs make this hunk o’ rock a perfect day trip; 20 minutes’ ferry ride from the mainland.

20 miles north from Vancouver, BC,
Tags: hiking | kayaking | day trip | culinary

Buntzen Lake

Tucked amid the deep forest outside of Port Coquitlam, Buntzen Lake basks at the foot of steep, stern, pine-flanked peaks. Crystal clear waters sparkle in the sun as swimmers splash and cavort in the clean waters. A small, safe swimming beach is packed with families on sunny days, and the leafy park has an abundance of picnic tables.

22 miles northeast of Vancouver,
Tags: beach | family | outdoors | day trip | lake

Point Roberts

Cut off from Canada by an arbitrary latitudinal line, this tiny Washington state town, a fun afternoon day trip from Vancouver, perches on the tip of the Point Roberts Peninsula. A swift U.S. border crossing is all that separates the small town and its rocky beach from Canada.

22 miles south of Vancouver,
Tags: beach | family | outdoors | day trip

Saltspring Island

An offbeat gourmet delight, Saltspring boasts back-road stands offering honey, flowers, fresh eggs, and more. A farmers’ market groans with locally made cheese and the area’s vineyards concoct Pinot Gris and Blackberry Port.

50 miles southwest from Vancouver, BC,
Tags: kayaking | day trip | culinary | wine tasting

The Sunshine Coast

White-capped peaks loom over small fishing harbors, tiny stores sell local crafts, and eagles hover over secluded log-strewn beaches up this 50-mile stretch of coastline.

30 miles northwest from Vancouver, BC,
Tags: beach | hiking | outdoors | day trip


B.C.’s capital is big on quaint Anglophile charm. On the southern tip of Vancouver Island (not to be confused with the location of the city of Vancouver), it’s perfect for whale watching and taking tea in one of the ubiquitous tearooms or in the grand Empress Hotel.

70 miles south from Vancouver, BC,
Tags: day trip | museum | whale watching


Host slopes for 2010’s Winter Olympics, Whistler boasts some of North America’s top powder. Hop on skis, snowshoes, a snowboard or Skidoo in winter. Run, bike, or Ziptrek through the trees in summer.

80 miles north from Vancouver, BC,
Tags: editor pick | skiing | day trip | culinary

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