Whether you’re looking for a fun last-minute trip over the long weekend, or just enjoy rolling the dice – there are some great day trip destinations around Vancouver that are perfect for those moments when you just want to hop in a car and go.
So with that in mind, here are 8 spontaneous day trips you can take from Vancouver.
Food. Art. Beer. Need we say more? Squamish is not only home to the Stawamus Chief trail and some of the most beautiful (and gruelling) hikes in the province, but it’s also a great place to catch an art show, check out a museum or two, or unwind with a couple of local craft brews.
Get a coffee and do some thrift shopping in Squamish’s quaint downtown, head to Backcountry Brewing, check out the views from the famous Sea-to-Sky Gondola, or head to the Britannia Mine Museum. And to wrap up the day, enjoy the sunset over Porteau Cove or Shannon Falls.
Golden Ears Provincial Park/Maple Ridge
This is definitely a destination for your most active friends. Pack lunch beforehand and go walk/hike around one of the biggest parks in BC. Tackle the trail up Golden Ears, or keep things a little more lowkey by walking along the creeks and lakes in the area. Afterward, swing by Big Feast so your friends can say they ate a restaurant featured on “You Gotta Eat Here.”
A staple day trip for Vancouverites, Deep Cove is a picturesque community. Rent a kayak in the morning for a couple of hours, grab some lunch, then hike up Quarry Rock and survey the scene. Once you’re done, treat yourself to a donut from Honey. Heck, buy them beforehand and eat them at the top!
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A big, scenic lake east of Abbotsford, Cultus Lake is good for a large group of friends. You can lounge on the beach all day, or, you can go all in and head to the waterpark for some real fun. Personally, we would do a little bit of both.
So your friends want to take a ferry but you don’t want to go all the way to Vancouver Island. Fear not, because Bowen Island is only 20 minutes from Horseshoe Bay. Explore the area, shop around a little bit, then maybe hike up Mt. Gardner before you head back to ‘civilization’.
After sunbathing at Sandy Beach, head to Riley’s Cidery and sip some delicious, locally crafted cider.
One of the two ‘culture’ trips that we recommend, Steveston is a quaint little community south of Richmond. Explore the various museums and galleries, including the Gulf of Georgia Cannery, a national historic site. Then, walk around the harbour a little before you grab some delicious seafood from Pajo’s, located right on the water.
We’re big fans of history, and Fort Langley has got it in spades. We recommend that you actually drive past it a little bit first so that you can visit the Greater Vancouver Zoo and look at the cool flamingos/giraffes/whatever suits your fancy. Then, head into town, go to the sweet Village Antiques Mall, and hit up Fort Langley proper, a 19th-century fur trading post.
And that’s a wrap on some spontaneous day trips you can take from Vancouver! We hope you’re feeling inspired to get out and explore our beautiful province.