British Columbia (BC) is without a doubt one of Canada’s most scenic provinces—and those who visit Vancouver on their holidays can take advantage of the immense beauty surrounding the city. Vancouver is the perfect place to hire a car and take a road trip, with plenty of nearby locations to escape for a weekend getaway.
In this post, we’ve selected some of our favourite destinations you can choose to visit on your Vancouver holiday. Even better? They’re all within a three-hour drive.
1h, 13 mins from Vancouver
A playground for all ages, Cultus Lake is best-known for being home to BC’s biggest and best waterpark and themed amusement park. An extremely popular destination during summer months, giant water slides and rollercoasters offer visitors of all ages plenty of options for an adrenaline-filled weekend. You’ll also find plenty of conservation areas, trails and beaches here, as well as the popular farmers’ market, which runs from June to August.
Garibaldi Provincial Park
1h, 15 mins from Vancouver
Garibaldi Provincial Park—the largest in Squamish—is a favourite destination among outdoor enthusiasts, particularly popular for hiking (take the trail leading up to the Red Heather Hut, or trek through the meadows to Elfin Lakes), as well as skiing, snowshoeing and other winter sports. Many recognise it as the benchmark of the Sea-to-Sky Corridor, characterised by its beautiful mountains, rolling glaciers and bright blue lake. It also gets bonus points for its accessibility. Not only is it close to a large city centre, but it’s also one of the only areas in the province where you can drive up to 1000 metres.
1h, 44mins from Vancouver
Whistler is not only one of the most visited destinations in BC, but in the whole of Canada. If it’s raining in Vancouver, you can count on snow in Whistler, making it a popular spot for skiers and snowboarders during the winter months. If it’s sunny and warm, there are plenty of places to go hiking or mountain biking in Whistler. Some people choose to relax by one of its many lakes, spend some time in the village shopping, or visit one of its many micro-breweries. It’s also a popular choice for a spa getaway, home to the Scandinave Spa.
2h, 13mins from Vancouver
Accessible via a 40-minute scenic ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay, the Gulf Islands are the islands situated between mainland BC and Vancouver Island. The perfect getaway for those seeking outdoor adventure, farm-fresh food and plenty of culture, they guarantee rest and relaxation to anyone visiting. Of course, which island you choose is entirely dependent on your preferences. Salt Spring Island, for example, is a popular spot with art lovers, home to a range of galleries, studios, craft stores and more. Mayne Island, on the other hand, has the most visible history, with the buildings of Miners Bay—the island’s commercial centre—dating back to the 1850s. Choose to visit one, or have some fun island hopping!
2h, 23mins from Vancouver
For a weekend of peace and tranquillity, we couldn’t recommend Manning Park more. Situated alongside a beautiful lake, why not rent a canoe, or take a hike through the intricate trails surrounding the area. It’s a great spot to have a picnic while admiring the area’s scenic views and diverse wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for some of the park’s lesser-known species, including the Mountain Beaver, Wolverine and the Cascade-Mantled Ground Squirrel. It’s also a great year-round getaway, boasting an abundance of winter activities like alpine skiing, snowboarding and ice skating.
2h, 49 mins from Vancouver
You might be on a Vancouver holiday, but who said you need to stay in Canada the whole time? Many people don’t realise just how close Vancouver is to Seattle—less than a three-hour drive from the city. Take a tour of the tourist hot spots, check out a Seattle Mariners game, or fill your shopping bag at Nordstrom Rack, one of the best places in North America to grab a designer bargain. Other highlights include Pike Place Market—the oldest farmers’ market in the US and the site of the first Starbucks, as well as what is arguably Seattle’s most iconic landmark, the Space Needle.
Browse our Vancouver holidays online and talk to our Canada Travel Experts with any questions.