Travel ideas: Load up the car, pack a picnic and hit the road. Here is a guide to the top 10 day trips from Vancouver you will want to explore.
Vancouver Day Trips
Take the challenge and explore these Vancouver day trips over the next 10 weeks. If you are visiting Vancouver for a few days, any of these day trips will help you explore the area and will not disappoint.
Get outside to discover tumbling waterfalls, towering mountains, stunning fjords, spectacular ocean views, mossy wooded rainforests with giant 800 years old trees, rolling farmlands and more.
If you are planning a trip to explore some of the most incredible spots in Vancouver and the rest of B.C., don’t miss our suggestions for experiences to last a lifetime below. Please leave any comments, questions or suggestions below and remember to subscribe so you will see the next update. Get the latest travel tips and learn about destinations from near and far.
1. Impressive Shannon Falls on the scenic Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler
Shannon Falls is the third highest waterfall in British Columbia. These impressive falls drop 335 meters. Located 59.3 kms north of Vancouver, the drive to Shannon Falls Provincial Park takes about 50 mins on the spectacular Sea-to-Sky Highway BC-99 on the route to Whistler.
Take the short trail through the forest along the river to the falls from the parking lot. This is always a favourite picnic stop. The park is open year-round, but use extra caution on wet days as the trails and other surfaces can be extremely slippery.
Carling O’Keefe Brewery owned the area in 1976 and used the mountain water to make its beer. The land was later donated to BC Parks in 1982. Find out more about the park.
While here on a clear day, take advantage of spectacular views of Howe Sound from the Sea to Sky Gondola.
Start your day earlier and continue north on the road to Whistler. Read more about exploring the Sea-to-Sky Highway, one of the most scenic drives in North America.
Discover 19 of the best waterfalls in BC
2. Fraser Valley Circle Tour to Abbotsford – Vancouver Day Trip
Take a road trip out to the Fraser Valley to enjoy fresh country air, rolling farmlands with mountain views.
It’s a place of farmers, brewers, growers, and makers coming together to showcase their pride of produce. Pick up all the makings of a great picnic; artisan cheeses, fresh fruits, vegetables, baked goods, award winning wines, honey, ciders and mead.
Depending on the season, there are fields of fragrant lavender, spring tulips, delicious summer fresh berry farms, and late summer sunflowers. There are also other family-friendly, fun-loving, seasonal activities like corn mazes and pumpkins patches.
Find out more.
3. Historic Fort Langley – Vancouver Day Trip
Historic Fort Langley offers plenty of places to explore on a day trip from Vancouver. Situated in the scenic Fraser Valley, this area provides stunning mountain and riverfront views, quaint shops, museums, restaurants, galleries, Fort Langley National Historic Site, nature parks and trails.
Village of Fort Langley
Treasure hunt for one of a kind items at the 10,000 square foot Village Antiques Mall. There are about 60 independent dealers offering collectables, antiques, movie set props, as well as home decor.
Three museums offer history about the pioneers of the region: The B.C. Farm Machinery Museum, the 1915 CN Station and one of the oldest community museums in the province, Langley Centennial Museum.
Plan a visit to the salishan Place by the River, a new arts, cultural and heritage centre currently under construction. The centre is being built in collaboration with community Indigenous partners. The temporary exhibition gallery displays art, history, or science with a local, regional, national, or international focus.
There are several dining options in the village, from afternoon tea to a 50s diner.
On Saturdays, pick up fresh produce from mid April to early December and meet local farmers at the Farmers’ Market.
Locally made fruit wines are available at the Fort Wine Company.
There are many types of organized tours offered in Fort Langley, from food and drink to history, culture, private and custom tours. Find out more.
Fort Langley National Historic Site
Historic Fort Langley recreates life as it was in the 1800s. Built in 1827 as a Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading post the fort was important to the British Empire trade route.
Wander through the historic site and discover interesting interactive experiences for all ages. Pan for gold, take a guided tour, watch blacksmithing demonstrations, talk with interpreters dressed in period costumes and learn about First Nations.
Derby Reach Regional Park
Find a picnic spot to enjoy the beauty of the area or take a hike along one of the several trails in Derby Regional Park. Follow the informational signs to see the heritage farm buildings located within the park.
The Houston House is of the few remaining old farmsteads. The Edge Farm Trail passes by remnants of the old farm, including the barn and the family cemetery. There is also a heritage apple orchard.
Look for the carin marking the site of the first Fort Langley built in 1827. The original fort was much smaller and about 1/10th the size of the existing fort.
4. Historic Westham Island and one of Canada’s top birdwatching spots in Delta
Drive over the impressive Westham Swing Bridge, one of the oldest bridges in British Columbia, to explore the historic island.
Visit a farm, take a nature walk on one of the many trails, bird watch, have a picnic or visit a winery. This tranquil island is only a 45-minute drive from Vancouver.
The George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary
Make sure to visit one of Canada’s top bird watching spots. The George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary is always a treat for everyone. The Sanctuary is an area of ponds, intertidal channels and marshes covering 300 hectares. Explore several kilometres of nature trails and discover some of the almost 300 bird species. The greatest number of migrating birds will be found from fall through spring.
5. Campbell Valley Regional Park in Langley
Come discover the family-friendly scenic walking trails of Campbell Valley Regional Park.
Located in Langley, these Metro Vancouver trails wind through the natural beauty of serene, mossy wooded forests, wetlands, and an heritage farmstead.
There are 29 kilometres of easy trails to enjoy any time of the year, which are family and dog friendly, along with 14 kilometres for horse-riding trails. Learn more about Campbell Valley.
6. Cascades and Stave Falls near Mission
The stunning beauty and tranquility of Cascades Falls is truly a jewel worth finding in the Fraser Valley.
Cascades Falls is 30-metres-high and is accessed by a 1 km trail. The falls are found in Cascade Falls Regional Park, which is located in Deroche, 90.2 kilometres from Vancouver.
Stave Falls Powerhouse
Stave Falls Powerhouse is definitely worth a visit while in this area. This 100 year old powerhouse is a designed national historic site. There are many interactive exhibits, electrical demonstrations and historical displays.
After, go on a hike to take in the outstanding views from the Stave Dam Forest Interpretation Trail or in the summer, head to Hayward Lake for a swim.
7. Scenic trails of Whatcom Falls Park, Washington
Wander through the forest trails and cross over wooden and stone bridges along the way while viewing the rushing Whatcom River.
Discover 5.5 miles of easy hiking trails, a small fish hatchery and fishing derby pond for children under 14 years old. There are picnic shelters and tables, playgrounds and bathroom facilities.
In the summer, follow the trail to Bloedel Donovan Park, a popular beach on Whatcom Lake.
Whatcom Falls Park is located in Washington State, near the city of Bellingham, and runs between Bellingham Bay and Whatcom Lake. The park is open daily from 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.
To avoid disappointment crossing over the United States border, make sure everyone in the vehicle takes along a valid passport, US Visitors Visa or the required identification.
Learn more about Whatcom Falls Park.
8. Bowen Island
Head to Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal to catch a ferry to sail to Bowen Island located in Howe Sound.
Enjoy stunning coastline views of snow-capped mountains during the 20-minute crossing time.
There are several hiking trails and bike routes to discover on Bowen Island on this scenic day trip from Vancouver.
One of the most popular trails is the Killarney Loop trail located in Crippen Park.
There are 11.4 kilometres of hiking trails throughout the park, as well as 5.6 kms of trails for horses and 5.4 kms for biking to explore the wetlands of a west coast temperate rainforest.
Take a hike around the entire Killarney Lake loop and it will take about 2.5 hours from the Snug Cove ferry terminal.
If you leave from the parking lot it will take about 1.5 hours.
On the popular, scenic 4 km loop trail you will discover a lake, streams, beaver dam and Bridal Falls fish ladder.
9. Cathedral Grove, Vancouver Island
On this longer Vancouver day trip, expect to have a 12-14 hour day and experience the following:
- Eat a legendary Nanaimo bar, a dessert originating from the city of Nanaimo.
- Hike to the waterfalls at Englishman River Falls Provincial Park.
- Check out the famous goats on the roof at Coombs Country Market.
- Do another short hike to two waterfalls at Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park.
- Take a swim or have a picnic at Cameron Lake Provincial Park.
- Experience towering old growth rainforests at Cathedral Grove, MacMillan Provincial Park.
- Beach resort towns with quaint stores and family-friendly sandy beaches
Experience towering old growth rainforests as you walk among giant Douglas Fir trees that have stood for at least 800 years at Cathedral Grove, MacMillan Provincial Park.
Take a hike through lushly forested area of Douglas fir trees to discover two waterfalls. One of the waterfalls drops down into the narrowest BC canyon related to a waterfall.
Qualicum and Parksville area very popular summer resort areas. Many people use this area as a base to explore other area attractions. If you plan to stay overnight, avoid disappointment by booking accommodations early.
Qualicum Beach’s downtown area offers quaint shops to stroll through as well as many places to eat.
In Parksville, the community Park has a wonderful water park and play area for children.
In the summer, Beachfest, a 5.5 week long family-oriented festival runs from mid July to the third week in August. The popular sand sculpture competition and exhibition is part of this festival. Find out more.
Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park offers one for most family-friendly beaches. The sandy beach is a great safe place to explore. At low tide you can walk out to the shoreline that extends out almost a kilometre. Check the tide schedule here.
Be sure to make ferry reservations, both ways, from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay.
Top things to do from Victoria to Pacific Rim National Park
10. Victorian-era charm of Victoria, Vancouver Island
The Victorian-era charm and striking British influence make this easy-to-explore Pacific Coast city a delight — and afternoon tea in Victoria is a must.
Be sure to get an early start to catch the ferry from Tsawwassen through the scenic Gulf Islands to Victoria. It is best to spend at least two nights in Victoria to see some of the numerous sights, but a day tour will be worth it as well. Be sure to make a ferry reservation.
Large Humpback whales can be spotted along the ferry route from April to November. Here is a Humpback whale spotting map from the Marine Education and Research Society. Find out about all species spotted along the BC Coast.
This scenic drive in Victoria (map below) hugs the coastline, providing sweeping ocean and mountain views. On a clear day you can see across the Strait of Juan De Fuca, south to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.
Follow Dallas Road to the Trans-Canada Highway Mile Zero Monument, an important marker of the start of the 7,821 kilometre highway running from the Pacific coast to Atlantic coast of Canada, ending in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Beacon Hill Park is a wonderful urban forest of more than 200 acres offering many recreational opportunities, as well as a rose garden and a Garry Oak meadow. Download a map of Beacon Hill Park.
As you drive along the seaside area of the park, watch for sailboarders, paragliders and kite fliers taking advantage of the coastal winds.
Continue to hug the coast using Dallas Road and then follow Hollywood Crescent onto Crescent Road where there are more beaches and viewpoints.
Choose the optional route to head north off Dallas Road or off Crescent Road to visit the beautiful Abkhazi Gardens.
As you proceed toward Victoria Golf Club, you will pass many impressive mansions.
Take in the views from Oak Bay Marina located off Beach Drive, just past the Oak Bay Beach Hotel on the eastern shores of Victoria. Watch for the directional sign to head toward Oak Bay Village.
We suggest a light lunch or afternoon tea stop in the village at the White Heather Tea Room located at 1885 Oak Bay Avenue.
After your drive through the Oak Bay area, stop at the impressive Victorian-era Craigdarroch Castle for a tour or just to walk around its grounds.
At this point, you can follow the driving tour as presented or take a detour to the historic Christ Church Cathedral to see the 4,000-pipe Hellmuth Wolff organ in the Gothic-style Anglican church. Before you go, check the hours of operation.
The scenic driving tour will take you into Victoria’s historic Chinatown, the oldest Chinatown in Canada, and will end back at Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
Capilano suspension bridge ? Grouse mountain? Granville island?
Yes, thank you the list is almost endless of great day trips in Vancouver. These will make another story.
I visited Vancouver for just a day trip but am dying to go back for a longer trip. These look like great day trips to take when I make it back there
Yes, you really must visit again. So many wonderful places to explore. Thanks for reading.
Love these day trips, have saved to add to a Canada trip thank you…
Wow! It looks so beautiful- I have only been to Quebec and would love to go to Vancouver – this just seals that!
So I’ve been living in Canada all my life, but I’ve never been to the west coast of this great country. Gotta say I’m missing out because these pictures look incredible! These are some good recommendations, worth saving! Definitely would like to check out Fraser valley. Bowen island looks breathtaking too