Get outta town! Easy summer day trips from Vancouver

Don’t have the budget for a big summer holiday this year? No problem. A staycation is never boring when you live in beautiful B.C. The region offers tons of natural beauty and charming communities for day-trippers to discover, all within driving distance from downtown Vancouver.

Sea To Sky Gondola

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36800 Hwy 99, Squamish, BC V8B 0A7

Outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and abilities now have the chance to explore the trails 885 metres above sea level thanks to the relatively new Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish. Casual sightseers can take a comfortable 10-minute gondola ride up the lower sections of the Stawamus Chief and Shannon Falls Provincial Park. Once at the top, there are eight accessible hiking routes to explore, a 100-metre-long suspension bridge and a number of cantilevered viewing platforms that look out over Howe Sound and the surrounding coastal. Adventure junkies can make their way up the Sea to Summit trail on foot.

Emma Lea Farms

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2727 Westham Island Rd, Delta, BC V4K 3N2

First opened in 1885, Emma Lea Farms is a family-owned farm in Ladner that invites visitors to pick their own fresh berries throughout the season (mid-June to late August). Bring your own basket to fill with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and even a few lesser-known fruits like boysenberries and tayberries. There’s also a variety of fresh produce, pickled veggies and homemade jams at the on-site general store. After you’ve stocked up, visit the ice cream stand and treat yourself to a bowl of creamy vanilla ice cream topped with your own fresh-picked berries.

Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre

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3663 Park Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7J 3G3

How could you not take advantage of a rainforest right in your backyard? With several hiking trails, swimming holes, picturesque waterfalls and an impressive 50-metre high suspension bridge, Lynn Canyon Park in North Vancouver is a popular (and free!) day-out destination for Vancouver locals and tourists alike. Whether you’re planning an afternoon of trout fishing, organizing a scenic family picnic or simply looking to work up a sweat on a moderate hike, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. And there’s nothing quite like cooling off on a hot day by taking a refreshing dip in the chilly 30-foot pool.

Gulf of Georgia Cannery

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12138 4th Ave, Richmond, BC V7E 3J1

This Gulf of Georgia Cannery is just one of the many attractions to see in historic Steveston Village. Built in the late 19th century, the former salmon canning factory now serves as a museum with interactive exhibits and heritage films that offer a glimpse into the commercial fishing village’s rich history. Once you’ve toured the museum, take time to explore the quaint fishing village, where you can shop for antiques and enjoy fish ’n’ chips from Pajo’s on the waterfront. Alternatively, you could buy your own fresh-off-the-boat seafood directly from the fisherman at the public sales float at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Deep Cove Canoe & Kayak Centre

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2156 Banbury Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7G 2T1

Come for the kayaking, stay for the doughnuts. Deep Cove is just a 20-minute drive from downtown Vancouver but the laid-back vibe and sandy beaches make this waterfront community feel like a world away. The village is home to charming independent shops and restaurants (be sure to pick up a sweet treat at Honey’s Doughnuts) while nearby Panorama Park overlooking the bay offers grassy play areas for picnics and barbecues. If you want to get on the water, check out the Deep Cove Kayak Centre where you can rent kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, dragon boats and surfskis.

Grouse Mountain-The Peak Of Vancouver

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6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver, BC V7R 4K9

The Grouse Grind is a rite of passage for outdoorsy Vancouverites, but this gruelling uphill hike is not to be taken lightly. Making your way up the 2,830 steps (known to locals as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster”) is a serious cardiovascular workout and requires the right footwear and hiking gear. After the 2.9-kilometre ascent, hikers are rewarded with breathtaking views of Vancouver and a variety of great activities to enjoy, including zip lining, tandem paragliding and a mountaintop wildlife refuge. Those who aren’t interested in the strenuous hike to the top can ride up in the comfortable Skyride aerial tramway.

Town of Gibsons

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474 S Fletcher Rd, Gibsons, BC

If you’d rather spend an afternoon admiring oil paintings than trekking through backcountry trails, then take a 40-minute ferry ride from West Vancouver to Gibsons, a coastal community on the southern end of the sunshine coast. Affectionately known as the Gateway to the Sunshine Coast, this quaint hillside town is known for its thriving arts scene. The Gibsons Public Art Gallery is a great place to start, but there are plenty of smaller pottery workshops, glasswork studios and independent galleries for art lovers and collectors to enjoy. The town also hosts music and arts festivals and farmer’s markets throughout the summer.

Village Of Harrison Hot Springs

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499 Hot Springs Ave, Harrison Hot Springs, BC

There’s plenty to do in this small countryside destination located about 120 kilometres east of Vancouver, including boating tours, cycling, swimming, horseback riding, golfing and hiking trails. The town’s namesake natural hot springs can be enjoyed year-round at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa. Five mineral-rich indoor and outdoor pools are each kept at a different temperature and are surrounded by lounge chairs to encourage relaxation and rejuvenation. For a truly indulgent day out, complement your experience in the waters with a massage or body wrap at the on-site Healing Springs Spa.

Cultus Lake Park Board

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4165 Columbia Valley Rd, Cultus Lake, BC V2R 5B5

About a 90-minute drive east of Vancouver, Cultus Lake in the Fraser Valley is home to a large freshwater lake, a scenic provincial park, and a number of rustic campgrounds, RV parks and cabins in case you want to turn your daytrip into an overnight one. Those who are looking for man-made adventures can tee off at the nearby golf club or plan a trip to the Cultus Lake Adventure Park, which boasts roller coasters, fairground rides, waterslides, wading pools and other family-friendly attractions.

Municipality of Bowen Island

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981 Artisan Lane, Bowen Island, BC V0N 1G2

A hop, skip and a 20-minute ferry ride away, Bowen Island offers downtown dwellers a convenient escape from city life. Access the island by car or on foot from the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal or take a water taxi from Granville Island or English Bay. When you arrive, grab a coffee from The Snug Café and go for a walk through Crippen Park or rent a sea kayak and take a paddling tour through the surrounding waterways. After you’ve worked up an appetite, visit a local pub and order a pint of craft beer from the Bowen Island Brewing Company.

’Tis the season for colourful foliage, cozy sweaters and pumpkin-spiced lattes. The best way to take advantage of the fall harvest period is to head out of town to a local farm to enjoy wagon rides, corn mazes, pumpkin patches and apple picking. If you’re planning an afternoon of autumnal family fun, check out these country farms near Vancouver.
Beards might be having a moment but you can’t beat the timeless appeal of a classic clean-cut look. Gents looking to tame their facial hair have plenty of options in Vancouver: take a DIY approach with luxurious at-home shaving supplies, or book a professional straight razor shave at a nostalgic barbershop or an upscale, modern salon. Whatever route you take, these local grooming spots can help you put your best face forward.
The royals have landed in Vancouver! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (aka: William and Kate) and their brood touched down in British Columbia this month to take in the unique sites and cultural attractions of the region. From English-inspired gardens to afternoon tea to a private helicopter ride, here’s how to tour Vancouver just like a (future) king and queen. [Photo credit: iStock.com/JPLDesigns]
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