Vancouver is an epic city to spend time in, whether you’re living there or just visiting. One of the largest and most densely populated metropolises in Canada, Vancouver is a hustling and bustling, west coast seaport city with loads to see, do, and take in. In fact, the city is incredibly ethnically diverse, making it a melting pot of culture, heritage, and history! Partly for this very reason, Vancouver is known to be very modern and trendy, meaning that there are seemingly endless options for galleries, theaters, and other artsy type places to visit.
But sometimes, life in the city just gets a bit much, but luckily, if you would like to see something different for a few days, there are lots of awesome weekend getaways from Vancouver. Whether you’d like to get out into the mountains or explore one of Canada’s many quaint small towns, you’re sure to find a destination that piques your interest.
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The Best Places to Go for Weekend Trips from Vancouver
Vancouver is surrounded by a plethora of phenomenal locations for epic weekend getaways if you just need some time off from the busy city streets. Here are a few of the best options for weekend trips from Vancouver – good luck picking just one!
Whistler, British Columbia
Of course, Whistler simply has to be on this list, so we’re going to start with this world-famous, snowy little town just north of Vancouver. If you’re a lover of Canadian winters and like to embrace the snow and all it offers, then you absolutely need to spend a weekend in Whistler – or more!
Not only is it a beautiful little winter wonderland, but there’s just so much to do. As a well-established holiday and resort town, everything is well-established and organized, so all you really have to do is decide what you fancy doing with your time and get on it – the rest will be history.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that although Whistler is renowned for its wintertime activities, it’s also an awesome place to visit in summer. The snow-covered mountains turn into sunny peaks just waiting to be explored and the lakes warm up, becoming a summer paradise. So whether you’re looking for a summertime or wintertime getaway, Whistler could be the place for you.
Here are a few of the coolest things to do during your weekend getaway from Vancouver:
- Explore Whistler on a guided sightseeing tour
- Visit the Lost Lake and Whistler Blackcomb
- Take a drive out to Brandywine Falls National Park for spectacular scenery
- Hike the Whistler Train Wreck Trail or the Whistler Valley Trail
- Check out the Audain Art Museum
- Zipline over the Fitzsimmons Valley between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains
- Go snowshoeing or skiing
- Fly over all the beautiful scenery on a seaplane glacier tour
Whether you want to just explore the landscape and enjoy the scenery or really get stuck in and hit the slopes, you’re bound to have an epic weekend in Whistler.
Distance Between Vancouver and Whistler: 120 km, an hour and a half
Where to Stay in Whistler: Blackcomb Springs Suites
Squamish, British Columbia
Squamish, British Columbia used to be one of the best and most well-known day trips from Vancouver or even Whistler, but today, it’s a holiday destination in its own right. It’s fast become known as the adventure capital of British Columbia, and there really is no guessing why! In Squamish, you can spend your days exploring the picturesque mountains, rivers, trails, and even the coastline. It really is a dream destination for outdoor enthusiasts, and if you’re on the hunt for day trips from Vancouver, Squamish is nice and close.
The views are just absolutely terrific – postcard-worthy material, to say the least – and the best part of the Squamish landscape is its diversity. That means that you can gaze out into the distance from beside a lake, the top of a mountain trail, within a river, or on the ocean – each one providing you with a different vantage point and exceptional views.
Best of all, while you’re exploring the gorgeous terrain, make sure you keep an eye out for animals of all sorts – whether it’s majestic birds or friendly horses from a local ranch.
Some of the best things to do in Squamish:
- Hike a few of the best trails in the area – try the Stawamus Chief Trail or Elfin Lakes
- Go sailing or kayaking on Howe Sound
- Go rock climbing or mountain biking
- Explore the sky on the Sea to Sky Gondola Tour
- Get extreme and go whitewater rafting on Elaho River or kiteboarding at the Spit
- Check out the picturesque lakes at Alice Lake Provincial Park
- Peruse the Brittania Mine Museum
So stop wasting time wondering what you’re going to get up to! With so many epic things to choose from, Squamish is the perfect place for a weekend getaway, whether you’re looking for something for the whole family or romantic trips from Vancouver.
Distance Between Vancouver and Squamish: 65, an hour
Best Place to Stay in Squamish: Squamish Adventure Inn
Victoria, British Columbia
The capital of British Columbia, Victoria is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. Known as the garden city of Canada, it’s one of the oldest cities in the pacific northwest, and it offers lots of pretty views and cool things to do.
Now, we all know that Canadian winters can be pretty harsh. If you’re not a fan of the extreme cold and gnarly snow, Victoria’s mild winters are probably going to become your new favorite thing. Similarly, the city’s summers aren’t extreme either. They’re warm but mild, making for a great place to enjoy some sunshine but not have to suffer through unbearable heat. Win!
Victoria is a smallish city so it’s pretty quick and easy to get around. So if you’re leaving Vancouver because you need a break from the massive city and busy streets, Victoria is a pretty different vibe. But best of all, it’s a trendy and fun city with lots to do and see.
Here are a few of the best things to do in Victoria:
- See and smell the roses at Butchart Garden
- Do a historical walking tour of the city of Victoria
- Try out stand up paddle boarding at Willow Lake
- Go to the Royal British Columbia Museum for a special experience
- Take a ride on a pickle boat (yes, pickle) from Victoria Harbor
- Hit the Galloping Goose trail
- Observe marine wildlife on a whale watching tour
- Go kayaking and look out for birdlife
Regardless of how you decide to spend your time, an escape to Victoria is hands down one of the best options for weekend getaways from Vancouver, full of incredible things to do and see. Don’t miss out!
Distance from Vancouver to Victoria:115 km, 3 hours
Where to Stay in Victoria: Chateau Victoria Hotel & Suites
Sechelt and the South Sunshine Coast, British Columbia
Enjoy the laid-back vibe of Sechelt when you visit for a short weekend getaway from Vancouver. This sweet little coastal town is northwest of Vancouver, located on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. With a community of only 10,000 people, Schelt is the perfect place to go if you’d like something a little different. Whether you spend all your time outdoors or exploring the town, you’re sure to enjoy your vacation.
Visiting in summer is definitely recommended, especially if you’re hoping to spend your days lounging on the beaches and soaking up some rays. But if you are there in winter, there’s still plenty to do in the town!
Here are a few of the best things to do in Sechelt:
- Spend the day at Davis Day Beach
- Hang out at Porpoise Bay Provincial Park
- Grab a drink at the Bricker Cider Company
- Enjoy the beauty of nature at Chapman Creek Hatchery
- Stroll the waterfront harbour on Gibsons Landing
- Go for a walk to the waterfalls at Burnett Falls Park
- See the snow at Tetrahedron Provincial Park
Sechelt is an epic destination for weekend getaways because it truly is so diverse! You can go for a hike, a swim, and enjoy a show all in one day.
Distance Between Sechelt and Vancouver: 70 km, 2 hours
Where to Stay in Sechelt: The White House (not the White House, but a White House, so to speak)
Port Renfrew, British Columbia
A fisherman’s dream, Port Renfrew is a gorgeous lake district where you can go fishing galore and just enjoy the serenity of the great Canadian outdoors. You don’t necessarily need to be an expert seafarer either. If you like, you can take your own fishing gear along. But if you’d rather get some local insight and assistance, you should definitely consider doing a sport fishing excursion – this is great for both learners and experienced fishermen! Salmon, Steelhead, and trout are among the best fish you can catch in the area.
Port Renfrew is also home to wonderful greenery, including a few interesting and important trees – for instance, Red Creek Fir is Canada’s largest standing Douglas fir tree and Big Lonely Doug is the second largest. The trails and lakes in the area are truly breathtaking, allowing for some truly phenomenal views – best of all, there are loads of options available to you!
Here are a few of the best things to do during your getaway to Port Renfrew:
- Go out on a fishing charter
- Enjoy a tour of Port Renfrew’s famous big trees
- Visit the Botanical Beach Provincial Park or Carmanah Walbran Provincial park
- Check out Sombrio Beach
- Pay a visit to Harris Creek Sitka Spruce
- Go for a hike on the Juan De Fuca Marine Trail or any of the other trails in the area
- Explore the Fairy Lake and its unique bonsai tree
So jump in your car and hit the road, because Port Renfrew is just waiting to be explored!
Distance Between Vancouver and Port Renfrew: 220 km, 4 hours and 25 minutes
Where to Stay in Port Renfrew: West Coast Chalets
Final Thoughts on Unforgettable Weekend Trips from Vancouver
We may not have mentioned all the possible places you can visit and things you can do in Vancouver – because, how could we – but these epic places are some of the best! Now, you don’t need to waste your precious time doing research on where to go, because we’ve done it all for you. With the five best places to go for weekend trips from Vancouver, along with the best things to do and top suggestions of places to stay, all you have to do make your choice for your weekend getaway from Vancouver.
So whether you’re a fan of hanging out at the seaside, fishing on the lakes, or exploring the art and culture scene in a town or small city, we’ve got you covered. So pack your bags and get out the door because there’s so much to see and do outside of Vancouver!
If you want to get a little fancy, try The Raven Room. Want to get your craft beer on, check out Coast Mountain Brewing. Looking for an energetic spot with great vibes, stop over at Tapley’s Neighbourhood Pub.
Victoria’s Inner harbor is much closer to whale-watching grounds than what you can see in Vancouver. The best times for whale watching are when the waters are warmer like in late April to early October.
Panorama Trail, Coho Park Trails, and Shannon Falls are some beginner trails with a typical duration of 1-2 hours. Smoke Bluffs Park Hike, Brohm Lake Interpretive Forest, and Murrin Park Loop Trail are more difficult while still being between 1-3 hours.
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Travel Resources For Your Next Trip
If you’re in the process of planning your trip and putting together your itinerary, these are genuinely the best resources that the Going Awesome Places team stands by 100%.
Airport Parking: You’ll need a spot to leave your car at the airport so why not book a spot at a discount. Use code AWESOME7 to get at least $5 off at Airport Parking Reservations or Park Sleep Fly packages.
Hotels: Our go-to is Booking.com because they have the best inventory of properties including hotels and B&Bs. The exception is Asia where Agoda always has the best prices. TripAdvisor is also useful for reviews and bookings.
Vacation Rentals: Airbnb is the market leader but you’d be surprised how you can find cheaper deals on the lesser-known VRBO.
Travel Insurance: Learn how to buy the best travel insurance for you. This isn’t something you want to travel without.
- Insured Nomads – Popular insurance provider for frequent travelers and comes with great coverage and special perks.
- RATESDOTCA – Search engine Canadians looking for the cheapest insurance including multi-trip annual policies.
- SafetyWing – A perfect fit for long-term nomads.
- Medjet – Global air medical transportation.
- InsureMyTrip – Best for seniors, families, and those with pre-existing conditions.
If you need more help planning your trip, make sure to check out our Travel Toolbox where we highlight all of the gear, resources, and tools we use when traveling.