Although Vancouver has tons of places to visit in and near the city, if you drive a little further (approximately 1.5 hours), exceptional natural beauty and unusual activities await. In the “Day trips from Vancouver” are our most favorite places: beaches, waterpark, hot springs, National Park, etc.
All the mentioned places you can find on the map below (with pictures).
Day trips from Vancouver, British Columbia
Whistler is one of the most desired destinations for winter sports in North America. Still, it is popular year-round: the 1.5-hour drive is picturesque and the area has a lot to offer even if you are not a “sports enthusiast”. Save some time for the stops along the way: the Sea-to-Sky Hwy area is exceptionally beautiful.
During winter we like (besides skiing) walking around Whistler village, playing in the huge pile of snow near the skating rink, ice skating, swimming in the town pool. During summer: mountain biking, hiking, beach time, and wandering around the town :).
2. Day trips from Vancouver: Victoria and Vancouver Island
Most people don’t travel further Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. Nevertheless, Vancouver Island has tons to offer: National Parks, Cathedral Grove, beaches (even one with warm salt water!), storm watching, surfing, kayaking, etc.
Do not underestimate Vancouver Island and plan at least a couple of days to spend there: it is massive and distances are long. Pacific Rim NP became our favorite NP in Canada: extremely diverse and beautiful, yet easy to explore if you are short on time/with small kids.
3. Harrison Hot Springs
1.5 hours East of Vancouver, Harrison Hot Spring is famous for its healing hot mineral waters. Two ways to enjoy them we found so far are Harrison Hot Springs Resort and the local public pool.
The small community (1500 residents), Harrison Hot Springs nestled in a picturesque location: squeezed between the mountains, at the shores of Harrison Lake. We loved it a lot and would like to come back.
Also not to be missed:
- The beach at the Harrison Lagoon: enormous and separated by spit from the main lake. It is shallow, warm, and has a playground (pictured above)
- Promenade and seasonal events
- Harrison Lake inflatable Waterpark, pictured below, is cool to visit with older kids, especially on a hot summer day:
4. Day trips from Vancouver: Cultus Lake: Waterpark, Theme Park, beach
Within 1.5 hours from Vancouver, Cultus is a popular summer destination among Vancouverites. The lake has a sandy beach, shade, playground, marina, campground, rentals, and a huge swimming area:
Cultus Lake Waterpark was a huge hit for both, kids and adults. We liked that there was an even amount of slides and rides for everybody: small, big, and fearless. The curious thing: 5 hot tubes! The air temperature during our visit was 71.6 (and cloudy) and the water was cold. Being able to warm up in hot tubes was … just perfect :D.
We didn’t visit Theme Park, but it seemed like a lot of fun, too. Check their website.
Day trips from Vancouver: Essentials
- Book accomodation far in advance to get the best/cheapest rates, as all the mentioned places is highly popular. Ferry to the Vancouver Island/Victoria also have to be booked ahead of time.
- Try to stretch your visit if you can. Although all 4 places are good as day trips, you’ll be glad to add more time, there is a lot to see and do.
- Rain jacket, comfortable boots for the wet weather, sweater, and (you never know!) swimsuit, would be usefull while visiting British Columbia. Sunscreen, binoculars, and bug spray also good to have.
- Places we shared above we visited with babies, toddler, older kids, and being pregnant :).
Day trips from Vancouver on My Maps, with pictures
British Columbia was our first meeting with the Pacific Northwest. (Although we moved to Seattle, our first impression of the region we got from Canada). We have never seen such clear, transparent waters, breathtaking coastline, and greenery before, as in BC. Later, we’d fully agree with the nickname “Beautiful British Columbia” :).
Top places to visit in Vancouver: Part 1 (seasonal fun, historical sites, local food, etc.), Part 2. Vancouver Travel Guide: budget, accommodation, the best time to visit, transportation, etc.
More cities: Amsterdam, Washington DC, Reykjavik, Munich, Portland
Hawaii, most popular islands to visit: Oahu, Big Island, Maui, Kauai
Thank you for visiting, we are glad you are here! 🙂