With summer officially underway, there’s never been a better time to get out and explore our beautiful province. From day-tripping to planning exciting road trips across the province, there’s so much to see. The good news? You don’t need a car to enjoy some of the most breathtaking natural scenery in BC – there are plenty of lakes that you can bus to from Vancouver!

So with that in mind, here are some bus-accessible lakes worth checking out this summer.

Buntzen Lake

Situated in Port Moody, Buntzen Lake is easily accessible via transit and offers a beautiful spot for swimming, picnicking, hiking, and paddling. You can take the N9 from downtown Vancouver to Coquitlam Central Station, where you can easily hop on 179 to head to the lake’s entrance.

Time: Approximately 2 hours

Sasamat Lake

A popular choice for lake days in the summer, Sasamat Lake offers visitors wide shandy shores to explore and an extensive hiking trail network if you want to work up a sweat before taking a dip into its clear waters. All in all, it’s about an hour and a half trip each way – from Commercial-Broadway station, you can hop on the Millenium Line to Port Moody, where you can hop on the 179 at Moody Centre (or Inlet Centre Station) towards Belcarra Regional Park.

Time: Approximately 1.5 hours

Garibaldi Lake 

For $95 roundtrip, you can hop on a Parkbus to one of the most breathtaking, iconic provincial parks in the country. And for that price, you’ll get direct service from downtown Vancouver to the park entrance, as well as a day pass with access to over 90 km of trails. Parkbus will drop visitors off at the Rubble Creek parking lot, the official trailhead for Garibaldi Lake and Panorama Ridge.

Time: Approximately 1.5 hours

Joffre Lakes 


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Another popular Parkbus destination, Joffre Lakes is known for its vibrant turquoise blue water, which makes for the perfect place to cool off with a dip after a hike to the lakes themselves. As with Garibaldi, a bus ticket gets you a free day-pass, and passengers are picked up from downtown Vancouver at 1025 Dunsmuir Street. The journey is a bit longer at around three hours – but well worth it!

Of note: BC Parks states that Joffre Lakes Park will be open over the Labour Day weekend, from Friday, September 1 to Monday, September 4.

“The park will then be inaccessible again for a three-day period from Tuesday September 5, while BC Parks and the Province continue to chart out a plan that will provide space and privacy for cultural activities of the Lil’wat and N’Quatqua while ensuring public access to the park in a responsible and sustainable manner,” it adds. For more information, check out BC Parks’ website.

Time: Approximately 3 hours

Rice Lake

Nestled within Lynn Headwaters Regional Park lies the peaceful Rice Lake. Catch a bus 210 from downtown Vancouver to Upper Lynn Valley (or the 228 from Lonsdale to Lynn Valley) and embark on a leisurely stroll to this hidden gem, which offers lush greenery and plenty of trails worth exploring.

Time: Approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes

Golden Ears 

Finally, we come to our last Parkbus pick and one of the largest parks in BC – Golden Ears. Perfect for a camping trip, spontaneous day on the lake, a challenging hike through the mountains – or a combination of the three! Passengers hop on at downtown Vancouver, and pay $64 roundtrip.

Time: Approximately 1 hour

Alice Lake

A short bus journey via Epic Rides ($44 roundtrip) or Skylynx ($42 roundtrip) from Vancouver takes you to Squamish, where you can catch a Line 1 bus to Alice Lake Provincial Park. This picturesque spot is surrounded by towering trees, offering beachgoers plenty of shade for when they’ve had enough of the direct sun. Explore the hiking trails, swim in the refreshing waters, or simply enjoy a peaceful lakeside picnic.

Time: Approximately 2 hours

So there you have it, Vancouver! As it turns out, some of BC’s most beautiful lakes are closer than you might think. Happy exploring!