24 Amazing Weekend Getaways From Vancouver, B.C
Vancouver, BC is an amazing city and one of the best places to live in North America. There are many incredible things to do in Vancouver (Granville Island, English Bay, Capilano Bridge to name a few) as well as Downtown Vancouver like Stanley Park, Canada Place, Gastown. But Vancouver is also surrounded by immense beauty that are perfect for weekend getaways. Whether you are local or a visitor and looking to getaway for a weekend, there are several great places that are just a short drive away. This post is a round of 25 most amazing weekend getaways from Vancouver that cannot be missed!
Please note that some of the weekend getaways from Vancouver are across the border in the United States. The travel time does not account for border wait times.
Amazing weekend getaways from Vancouver within BC
Contribution by Lisa Garrett of Waves and Cobblestones
If you are looking for a city getaway within BC, look no further and head straight to Victoria, BC on Vancouver Island. It is easy to reach from Vancouver and has a wealth of cultural and natural attractions to enjoy – too many to fit into just one day but ideal for a weekend!
Things to do and see in Victoria, BC
Most of the top attractions in Victoria are located in a compact area, and it is a very walkable city. Explore the Inner Harbor area and see the colorful floating buildings at Fisherman’s Wharf. Take afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress or tour the historic Legislative Assembly. Visit the Royal British Columbia Museum and marvel at the impressive collection of totem poles. Victoria is also home to the oldest Chinatown in Canada and this is where you’ll find Fan Tan Alley, Canada’s narrowest street.
Tip: Take the water taxi across the harbor to save yourself time and energy when exploring Victoria.
Another must visit close to Victoria is the world-class Butchart Gardens. It is about a 25-minute drive from Victoria, but it’s definitely worth it to see the gorgeous Sunken Garden and the stunning Ross Fountain.
Contribution by Kim Gervais from Explore your bucketlist
Squamish is so close to Vancouver and makes for an ideal weekend getaway into nature without having to drive too far. In less than an hour you leave the city behind and are in the mountains enjoying spectacular scenery. Around the area are 8 Provincial Parks giving you many outdoor activities from climbing to hiking to biking.
For the less adventurous, this small town offers charming boutiques with local crafts, breweries, and family-owned eateries. There are plenty of opportunities to relax and rejuvenate in the spas around town.
Things to do and see in Squamish, BC
A must visit in Squamish is to enjoy the spectacular views from Sea to Sky Gondola. Take one of the many trails on top and enjoy a bite at the cafe with amazing views. A few minutes away is the Shannon Falls Park. Around the area are 8 Provincial Parks giving you many outdoor activities from climbing to hiking to biking.
For the less adventurous, this small town offers charming boutiques with local crafts, breweries, and family-owned eateries. There are plenty of opportunities to relax and rejuvenate in the spas around town.
Contribution by Karen from Forever Karen
Whistler is less than two hours from Vancouver and is one of the most popular weekend getaways from Vancouver. It is a great place to disconnect from city life and rejuvenate in the outdoors. If you’re looking for things to do in Whistler in summer, hiking, biking, water activities and indulging in luxurious spa treatments should be top of your list.
Things to do and see in Whistler, BC
Whistler Village, located between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, is a pedestrian-friendly area filled with shops and patio restaurants that buzz with activity in summer and winter. Nearby shops offer bike rentals if you prefer not to walk.
In summer, you can start your adventure at the mountain tops by taking the Peak 2 Peak gondola or choose a trail closer to the village. The Brandywine Falls trail offers an easy walk to an impressive cascade near Whistler Village.
Another unique trail is the Train Wreck Trail, which takes you through an old-growth forest to see graffiti-covered train cars from a past wreck. Along the trail, you’ll cross a suspension bridge that resembles locomotive wheels and railway ties.
Having hosted the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the mountains around Whistler are a first-class playground for winter sports. Even if you don’t ski or snowboard, you can try snowshoeing, tubing, or bobsledding on the same track used by the Olympic athletes.
Contribution by Adam and Kathryn of Adventures of A+K
Tofino is a beautiful coastal town located on the western side of Vancouver Island and is known for surfing, beaches and scenic views. It is one of the most romantic weekend getaways from Vancouver, B.C. Summer is the best time to visit as you can truly enjoy the beautiful beaches and surfing.
Things to do and see in Tofino
There are so many fun things to do in Tofino like hiking and chilling at the beaches. While in Tofino, check out the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Hike some of the many trails throughout the park, visit the beach that leads you to the site of a crashed plane from 1945 (everyone survived the crash!). Dogs (on leash) are allowed in almost every area of the park.
For beach time, check out Chesterman Beach (the most popular), Mackenzie Beach (great for families) and Cox Bay Beach (probably the prettiest of them all). The beaches are great for surfing as well. There’s several places to rent surf boards and wetsuits and you can also take lessons if you’d like.
Some other ideas for your weekend in Tofino include going on a whale watching tour, hiking to a lighthouse, or visiting Hot Springs Cove.
Contribution by Chanelle Rosenbaum of Chasing Chanelle
When thinking about a mountain getaway from Vancouver, Whistler is probably the first place that comes to mind. But this isn’t your only option! About a 25-minute drive further north you will come to the charming mountain town of Pemberton, which is perfect for a weekend away in nature. You won’t run out of things to do here – with a range of outdoor activities such as hiking, horseback riding, golf, paragliding, and water sports, as well as local breweries, farms, cafés and museums to explore.
Pemberton isn’t as big of a tourist hotspot as Whistler, but this really adds to its charm and makes it one of BC’s best hidden gems. The quaint town is located at the base of Mt. Currie, and is surrounded by impressive mountain scenery, three stunning provincial parks and some of the most incredible hiking and camping spots in all of Canada.
Things to do and see in Permberton
The most popular place to see is Joffre Lakes Provincial Park, only a 30-minute drive away. The best things to do at the park are hike three iconic turquoise-blue lakes, take a cold plunge and camp overnight.
Some other stunning places to hike and camp near Pemberton include Nairn Falls, Tenquille Lake and Rohr Lake. And for water sports, visit Lillooet Lake where you can kayak, canoe, fish and swim.
Nanaimo is a coastal city on Vancouver Island and a year-round destination. It is just a ferry ride from Vancouver; Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal is the closest to Nanaimo.
Things to do and see in Nanaimo
Nanaimo has an incredible mix of natural beauty, rich history and culture and is a great place to visit in winter or summer. If you love nature and outdoors, enjoy kayaking Nanaimo Harbour or take a short ferry ride up to Newcastle Island full of sandy beaches and lush hiking trails. If you love history, visit the Nanaimo Museum to learn about the city’s indigenous heritage.
In the winter, enjoy winter activities at the Mount Washington Alpine Resort in Courtenay. The cozy cafes and restaurants of Nanaimo are great places to visit and chill year round.
BOWEN ISLAND, BC
Bowen island is a short 20 minute ferry ride from Horse Shoe Bay and is a perfect place to escape the hustle of the city.
Things to do and see in Bowen Island
Some of the best things to do in Bowen Island are hiking and kayaking/paddleboarding and hiking the trails of Crippen Regional Park and Mount Gardner. Another must do activity is kayaking tour to see the bioluminescence at night (depending on the season).
SUNSHINE COAST, BC
Contribution by Taryn Eyton of Happiest Outdoors
The Sunshine Coast is a short ferry ride from Vancouver but since the pace is so much slower, it feels farther away. The easiest part to explore is the southern section between Gibsons and Egmont since you will only have to take one ferry. The coast is dotted with tiny towns, quiet beaches, and gorgeous hikes.
Things to do and see on Sunshine Coast
Gibsons is one of the best places to visit on the Sunshine Coast. The shops and restaurants in Gibsons Landing are adorable. Be sure to walk along the pier for the best views and check out the Gibsons Public Market for great artisanal meat, cheese, bread, chocolate, and more.
The Sunshine Coast is also a great destination for lovers of craft beer, cider, and spirits. Persephone Brewing is one of the top breweries to visit. They grow their own barley! Another adorable cidery that is tucked away in the forest is Sunday Cider. In the summer they have an awesome food truck with the bests smash burgers. Brickers Cider in Sechelt is also great.
There are several incredible hikes on the Sunshine Coast. Soames Hill in Gibsons is short, but steep and has an incredible ocean view from the top. Smugglers Cove in Halfmoon Bay takes you along the coast and the views from the top of Pender Hill in Pender Harbour are breathtaking. Also checkout the Skookumchuck Narrows in Egmont for fascinating tidal rapids.
WHITE ROCK, BC
White Rock, bordering the United States and less than an hour from Vancouver is a charming city by the sea. If you are looking for a sweet little getaway that is a short drive from Vancvouer, White Rock would be perfect.
Things to do and see in White Rock
The most popular thing to do in White Rock is visiting the White Rock Pier and taking a scroll on the promenade. The White Rock pier is the longest pier in Canada and one of the best things to do in White Rock. Enjoy the myriad of summer activities on the pier like dancing, yoga and summer festivals.
White Rock is also popular place for water sports like kayaking and paddleboarding.
If you would like to bathe in the forest, check out the nearby Redwoods Park and Crescent Park.
Some of the best restaurants to eat are all on the pier. If you love seafood, check out Uli and Five Oyster Bar.
Sushi Mori has incredible sushi and for fish and chips, head to Coney Island or Montgomery’s.
GULF ISLANDS, BC
Gulf Islands is a collection of small islands on the Strait of Georgia between Vancouver Island and BC mainland. It includes several islands but the most popular and best islands to visit are Salt Spring Island, Galiano Island, Pender Island and Mayne Island. Being just a short ferry ride from Vancouver, the gulf islands are perfect for a romantic getaway.
Things to do and see in the Gulf Islands
With a laid-back and tranquil vibe, the Gulf Islands are a haven for beach lovers. Popular beaches include Shell Beach on Gabriola Island and Ruckle Provincial Park on Salt Spring Island.
Support local artists at the Salt Spring Island Saturday Market.
Visit Gulf Islands National Park Reserve on Pender Island. Hike the Bodega Ridge Hike or Montague Harbour Marine Provincial Park on Galiano Island.
HARRISON HOT SPRINGS, BC
Harrison Hot Springs is a picturesque village that is a short drive from Vancouver and is an incredible place to relax and recuperate. While Harrison Hot Springs is known for its natural hot springs, there are many more activities to do in the winter and summer.
Things to do and see in Harrison Hot Springs
One of the best things to do in summer and winter is taking a dip in the Harrison Hot Springs public pool widely known for its therapeutic properties.
Enjoy a day at the Harrison Lake and indulge in the numerous water activities or head to the hiking and biking trails. The Harrison Grind and the Spirit trail are some of the most popular trails.
In the winter, it transforms into a winter wonderland with winter festivals and offering skiing, snowshoeing and other winter sports at the Sasquatch Mountain Resort.
FRASER VALLEY, BC
Fraser Valley is another area that is a short drive from Vancouver and a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. It is home to several lakes and some of the most beautiful hikes in BC.
Things to do and see in Fraser Valley
Enjoy a variety of water activities and have a beach day at Cultus Lake or Chilliwack Lake. If you prefer the rapids, go river rafting on the Chilliwack river.
Another must visit in Fraser Valley is the Bridal Veil waterfalls which is a short hike from the parking lot and fun for families. Lindeman Lake is another great hike with the most gorgeous emerald green waters and is one of the best things to do in the area.
SUNSHINE VALLEY/MANNING PARK, BC
Sunshine Valley and Manning Park Provincial Park are both nestled in the Cascade mountains of BC and are something of hidden gems in Fraser Valley.
Things to do and see in Sunshine Valley
Sunshine Valley is a great place to visit in both winter and summer. In summer, enjoy the many hikes and mountain biking with stunning views. Enjoy a day paddling or kayaking in Lightning Lake or go on a hike on the alpine trails. Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park is another park to explore nearby.
In the winter, Sunshine Valley transforms into winter wonderland with lots of winter activities like snow shoeing and cross-country skiing.
Contribution by Lauren Neves of Lauren’s Lighthouse
Nestled within the southeastern edge of the Coast Mountain Range lies the quiet rural town of Lillooet. Lillooet is found at the junction of Highways 99 & 12, making it the perfect northernmost point of a circular weekend road trip in BC before heading back into the Fraser Valley. Lillooet is for hikers, campers and those who want to escape the crowds of Vancouver and Whistler for a day or two.
Things to do and see in Lillooet
A must do activity is the short 15 minute hike up from Duffey Lake Road for stunning picturesque views of Seton Lake. The winding U road with Seton Lake shimmering under the Lillooet mountains in the background is one of the most stunning scenery in along Sea-to-Sky Highway.
This untouched mountain paradise in this neck of the woods is fantastic for those who enjoy getting out in the backcountry.
KELOWNA/OKANAGAN VALLEY, BC
Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley are over 4 hours drive from Vancouver but well worth the drive for the myriad of fun activities to do in summer and winter. Kelowna is an incredible place with amazing views of Okanagan lake, vineyards and mountains in the background.
Things to do and see in Kelowna
Start the day a stroll on Waterfront Park. Enjoy water sports like parasailing, kayaking, paddleboarding on Okanagan Lake.
Enjoy a morning coffee at one of the many coffee shops in downtown Kelowna or wine tasting at the Okanagan wineries. Some of the most popular wineries are Mission Hill, Cedar Creek Estate Winery, Summerhill Pyramid and Ancient Hill Winery.
Osoyoos is another warm place in BC; in fact it is the warmest place in Canada. If you love water sports and family friendly activities, this is the place to visit.
Things to do in Osoyoos
Take a dip in Osoyoos Lake, the warmest freshwater lake in Canada and enjoy water activities.
Savor the beauty of the region while sipping delicious wine at one of the many wineries. Our favorite are Nk’Mip Cellars, Burrowing Owl Estate Winery, and Moon Curser Vineyards.
Explore the Osoyoos desert centre and enjoy hiking and biking on the desert trails.
At 4 hours drive from Vancouver, Kamloops may be a bit farther away but well worth the weekend trip. Kamloops is a vibrant city that blends the charm of a small town with the allure of outdoor adventures.
Things to do and see in Kamloops
Enjoy hiking or biking adventure in one of Canada’s largest municipal parks – Kenna Cartwright Park. Discover British Columbia’s diverse wildlife at the BC Wildlife Park. This conservation facility is home to animals like bears, cougars, eagles, and more. Enjoy a day at Kamloops lake.
Best Weekend Getaways from Vancouver to the USA
Contribution by Chelsea from Adventures of Chels
A great weekend getaway from Vancouver, B.C is the beautiful city of Seattle, Washington. Seattle is a perfect getaway from Vancouver as it is easily accessible and provides a change of scenery with no shortage of things to see and do for people with all sorts of interests.
Things to do and see in Seattle, Washington
A few must see places include Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, and the Museum of Flight. Another fun thing to do is a stroll along the waterfront admiring the beautiful views and checking out the Seattle Great Wheel (ferris wheel). For a great view of the skyline of Seattle, head to Kerry Park. And don’t forget to pay a visit to the Fremont Troll who lives under the George Washington Memorial Bridge. If you’d like a glimpse into the history of Seattle and how it was rebuilt on top of itself after the 1889 fire, take the Seattle Underground Tour.
Contribution by Annie of Your Friend the Nomad
Just 30 minutes south of the US/Canada border, Bellingham is a vibrant outdoorsy town that makes for a cozy weekend getaway from Vancouver. Whether you’re looking for scenic coastlines, craft breweries, charming waterfalls, cute boutiques, undeveloped lakeshores, or all of the above, Bellingham is sure to impress.
Things to do and see in Bellingham
Some of the best things to do in Bellingham include strolling through the historic Fairhaven neighborhood, taking in enchanting coastline views along windy Chuckanut Drive, overlooking Bellingham Bay from the Oyster Dome hike, grabbing a drink at one of Bellingham’s many craft breweries (or the Culture Cafe Kombucha bar), searching for waterfalls at Whatcom Falls Park, and hiking along the shores of one of Bellingham’s stunning lakes.
If you’re up for more of an adventure, you can head to nearby Mount Baker (1 hour and 45 minute drive) for skiing in the winter and gorgeous alpine hiking in the summer.
MT. BAKER, Washington
Contribution by Jessica from Uprooted Traveler
If you’re looking for an ideal weekend away from Vancouver into beautiful nature, consider making a trip down to Washington state’s Mount Baker. Located less than 3 hours from Vancouver, Washington’s third tallest mountain offers tons of different outdoor activities, from hiking and stand-up paddleboarding to exploring natural hot springs.
Things to do and see in Mt. Baker
One of the best ways to enjoy Mount Baker’s beautiful landscape is through the incredible hiking trails in the area. For example, Yellow Aster Butte offers jaw-dropping views of Baker and the surrounding Cascades and, come fall, explodes with stunning autumnal colors. Park Butte Lookout is another excellent hike to a historic fire lookout, with in-your-face views of Baker’s glaciated peak.
The turquoise waters of Baker Lake also provide endless opportunities for fun, especially in the summertime. Jump in the refreshingly chilly water at Horseshoe Cove or rent a kayak or stand up paddleboard at North Cascade Kayaks.
There are also plenty of scenic drives, if you’re looking for a lower impact option. For example, make the drive up to Artist’s Point, where you’ll pass alpine lakes, fields full of technicolor wildflowers, and ancient glaciers. In the winter, Mt. Baker turns into skier’s paradise and is one of the best ski areas in North America.
NORTH CASCADES NATIONAL PARK, Washington
Contribution by Kate from kateroamstheworld.com
North Cascades National Park in Washington is an amazing weekend getaway from Vancouver for those seeking adventures outdoors. The mountains in this area of Northern Washington are some of the best views you’ll find in the Pacific Northwest! The National Park is best enjoyed in the summer or fall when you’ll have the most access to hiking trails and avoid road closures due to snow.
Things to do and see in North Cascades National Park
Take the scenic drive along the North Cascades Highway which is about 250 miles long. Parts of this drive resemble the European Alps rather than Washington!
A must stop is the iconic Diablo Lake, a giant, vibrant turquoise lake. Also stop at Washington Pass Overlook for stunning mountain views.
Maple Pass Loop is a great place to hike. The moderately challenging hike is 7.5 miles round trip with 2,200 feet of elevation gain. It features lake and mountain views, and in the fall you can see the larches turn bright yellow! Cascade Pass is another great day hike at 6.7 miles round trip with 1,800 feet of elevation gain. Blue Lake is also an easier day hike option at 4.6 miles round trip and 915 feet of elevation gain and leads you to a gorgeous alpine lake.
While Vancouver is not short of things to do, there are many more amazing places to explore around Vancouver. Vancouver’s unique location is perfect to escape to the mountains or city within a few hours in BC as well as Washington. Hope you enjoyed this post and get inspired to venture on one of these amazing weekend getaways from Vancouver.
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I am Aswani Kurra. I am an engineer, dreamer and part-time wanderlust, writer and wine lover. I always had an urge to write, create and travel. So I created this space to satisfy my creative itch and combine all my skills to help you plan your Charming Escape.