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The 21 Best Day Trips From Vancouver (In 2023)

British Columbia is a beautiful part of Canada with green forests, impressive mountains, and a long and rugged coastline.

While you should definitely spend a couple of days in Vancouver, there are lots of great day trips around Vancouver.

It doesn't matter if you are looking to spend some time at a lovely lake, overcome your fears while walking a 70-meter (230 ft) high suspension bridge, or hop on a short ferry ride to explore quaint little Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast, this post with the best day trips from Vancouver has got you covered!

The best day trips from Vancouver

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Vancouver Itinerary And Sightseeing Guide

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Vancouver best day trips

In this article, you'll find a list of the best day trips to take from Vancouver, British Columbia. These day trips are all within driving distance and can be comfortably visited in one day.

This post has been created in collaboration with several other travel bloggers, who have kindly shared their expert advice about their favorite Vancouver day trips.

Each of the Vancouver tours mentioned in this post can be visited independently (by car, ferry, coach, or public transport).

However, if you prefer, there are also some really great guided tours. Here is my top 5:

Day trips from Vancouver: map

On the map above you can find all the day trips included in this post.

Click here for the interactive map.

21 best Vancouver day trips

  1. Abbotsford (1 hour, 70 km)
  2. Alouette Lake (1 hour 15 minutes, 65 km)
  3. Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park (1 hour 20 minutes, 120 km)
  4. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park (10 minutes, 9 km)
  5. Garibaldi Lake (1 hour and 30 minutes, 100 km)
  6. George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary (45 minutes, 35 km)
  7. Gibsons (30 minutes by car + 40-minute by ferry, 46 km)
  8. Grouse Mountain (30 minutes, 12 km)
  9. Harrison Hot Springs (1 hour and 30 minutes, 132 km)
  10. Horseshoe Bay (30 minutes, 21 km)
  11. Ladner Creek Trestle (2 hours, 180 km)
  12. Lynn Canyon Park (30 minutes, 16 km)
  13. Nanaimo (25 minutes by car + 1 hour and 40 minutes by ferry, 81 km)
  14. Pemberton (2 hours, 154 km)
  15. Porteau Cove (30 minutes, 45 km)
  16. Richmond (30 minutes, 16 km)
  17. Salt Spring Island (45 minutes by car + 1 hour and 25 minutes by ferry, 85 km)
  18. Squamish (60 minutes, 65 km)
  19. Steveston (30 minutes, 16 km)
  20. Victoria (45 minutes by car + 1 hour and 30 minutes by ferry + plus 45-60 minutes by bus, 116 km)
  21. Whistler (1 hour and 40 minutes, 120 km)

1. Abbotsford

Driving distance from Vancouver: 1 hour (70 km)

Why you should visit Abbotsford

Claudia from The Travelling Mom: situated in the agricultural heart of the Fraser Valley is the sprawling community of Abbotsford.

As one of the fastest-growing cities in British Columbia, Abbotsford proudly maintains its farming roots with orchards and U-Pick blueberry fields lining the back roads and highways.

Abbotsford's small and walkable downtown has seen an influx of millennial entrepreneurs opening up coffee shops, bakeries, chic boutiques, and excellent farm-to-table restaurants that are still, for now, local secrets. 

Spend a day trip sipping high tea at Tracycakes or nourish the body with fresh juice from the Habit Project.

Linger over a leisurely brunch of creamed mushrooms on toast and fluffy pancakes at Little Brother, where everything from the butter to the yogurt is made from scratch.

Wander the curated aisles of Spruce Collective, a treasure-trove of housewares and gifts, cruise the stacks at Hemingway’s Books or find your next favorite outfit at Montrose & George General Store.

Walk off the day’s feasting with a stroll around the lake at Willband Creek Park. Keep an eye out for the more than 230 species of birds that frequent this wild space, including blue herons, ducks, finches, and bald eagles!

Where to stay in Abbotsford

If you decide to spend more than one day in Abbotsford, the Brookside Inn is a lovely boutique hotel just out of town.

Alternatively, the Sandman Hotel and Suites is located in the city center of Abbotsford and rooms have a fully equipped kitchen, washer, and dryer.

2. Alouette Lake

Alouette Lake day trip Vancouver

Driving distance from Vancouver: 1 hour 15 minutes (65 km)

Why you should visit Alouette Lake

Bailey from Destinationless Travel: one of the best short road trips from Vancouver is Alouette Lake.

You see, contrary to popular belief, swimming in a beautiful lake surrounded by mountain peaks isn’t just an activity done in Whistler. Alouette Lake is actually located right in Maple Ridge!

From Vancouver city center it takes a little over an hour (by car) to get to Alouette Lake, making it an ideal day trip without having to do too much driving.

In fact, Vancouver’s Park Bus operates from downtown Vancouver to Alouette Lake so you don’t even need a car!

Alouette Lake is a pristine freshwater lake, a perfect place for swimming, picnics, fishing, or even boating. There is actually a designated swimming area near a beach with both a grass and sand area.

There are picnic tables and bathroom facilities and it is common to see many families hanging out for the day with BBQs set up.

Alouette Lake is located within Golden Ears Provincial Park. Within the park, there are many hiking trails and even campgrounds. So, if you want to turn your day trip into a weekend trip, you can!

Important note: during the summer months the park can get very busy and the parking lot fills up quickly. So it’s best to head to there in the morning to beat the crowds!

Where to stay around Alouette Lake

If you are planning to spend more than a day around Alouette Lake, check out this lovely villa located near Maple Ridge.

3. Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park

Driving distance from Vancouver: 1 hour 20 minutes (120 km)

Why you should visit Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park

Shev from Shev Strolls: Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park is a popular pit stop for road-trippers heading to and from the West Coast.

The easy access point from Highway 1 is halfway between Hope and Abbotsford (see #1) making it a great place to get out, stretch your legs, and enjoy a waterfall!

The provincial accessible site consists of a parking area with washrooms, picnic tables, and plenty of shade from the ancient trees. Once parked, you embark on the short, 10-15 minute hike through the trees to the base of the falls.

The walk itself is gorgeous as it weaves back and forth over Bridal Falls creek up to the base of the falls.

While it's only a short walk, you can easily make an event of it by taking photos with the mossy, fallen logs, and little babbling trickles of water down the creek.

To top it off, the walk to Bridal Falls is also totally wheelchair accessible!

If you are looking for another gorgeous stroll through the woods, The Othello Tunnels in Hope are also worth the visit, though they have been closed the last year or so because of weather damage.

Where to stay near the Bridal Veil Falls

Camperland Bridal Falls RV Resort & Cabins is the closest accommodation near the park (just 1km from the entrance).

Alternatively, take a 15-minute drive to the comfortable and well-reviewed Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Chilliwack. Both are nice places to stay if you plan to explore more sights in the area.
Pin for later ⤴️

4. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Driving distance from Vancouver: 10 minutes (9 km)

Why you should visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge

Carol from Wandering Carol: the Capilano Suspension Bridge (pictured above) is much more than a bridge, it’s a step into a West Coast rainforest of towering evergreens, fragrant cedars, boardwalks, canyons, and ponds.

In addition to crossing the dramatic suspension bridge, which is 137 meters (450 feet) long and hovers 70 meters (230 feet) over the Capilano River, you can catch your breath from the panoramic views on the Cliffwalk.

This cantilevered walkway curls around a granite cliff high over the Capilano Canyon. Or try the Treetops Adventure, which will give you a bird’s eye view of the forest floor.

The easiest way to get here is with the free shuttle that leaves from specific downtown pickup points including Canada Place and runs year-round.

One of Vancouver's top attractions, the suspension bridge is only 20 minutes away from downtown, but it feels like a dreamy world away!

Purchase your online ticket here.

5. Garibaldi Lake

Panorama Ridge Garibaldi Lake Vancouver trip

Driving distance from Vancouver: 1 hour and 30 minutes (100 km)

Why you should visit Garibaldi Provincial Park

Erika from Erika’s Travels: Garibaldi Provincial Park lies an hour and a half north of the city of Vancouver, along British Columbia’s Sea to Sky Highway.

Featuring turquoise lakes, alpine meadows, and evergreen forests, the park is a popular refuge for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. 

Garibaldi Provincial Park contains over 90km of hiking trails, the area’s most popular hikes begin at the Rubble Creek trailhead. 

Mountain-ringed Garibaldi Lake is undoubtedly the most popular attraction in the provincial park. For stellar views of the blue-green water, many day-trippers choose to hike to the top of Panorama Ridge.

The hike to Panorama Ridge is a 34-kilometer (21 miles) round-trip haul that affords stunning views of Garibaldi Lake and Black Tusk Mountain. 

Due to the hike’s length and moderate level of difficulty, day-trippers from Vancouver should arrive at the trailhead by sunrise. Alternatively, campsites along the route cater to hikers who wish to spend multiple days in the area.

Though the hike to Panorama Ridge is a challenging climb to accomplish in a day, Garibaldi Lake’s jaw-dropping scenery has made the park an increasingly popular day trip from Vancouver. 

Where to stay near Garibaldi Lake

If you want to spend more than a day exploring Garibaldi Lake (and you really should!), my recommendation is to make a reservation at one of the campgrounds.

Alternatively, you can book a hotel in Whistler or stay in Squamish.

6. George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary


Driving distance from Vancouver: 45 minutes (35 km)

Why you should visit the Bird Sanctuary

Susanna from Curiosity Saves Travel: the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary is a great day trip from Vancouver, whether you are an avid birder or just someone who enjoys a relaxing nature walk.

The sanctuary is an hour south of downtown Vancouver and accessible by car (click here for the best car rental deals). Your experience will very much depend on the time of year you visit. In spring, millions of migratory birds pass through.

Early summer is the best time to see baby ducklings. Late summer and autumn are ideal for shorebirds like sandpipers and yellowlegs.

The Snow Goose is present for most of the winter months. You can easily spend about 2 hours walking the accessible winding gravel trails through forests where little songbirds flit about or along the river delta for chances to see soaring birds of prey.

Due to capacity limitations, you must reserve a parking spot online for either morning or afternoon. Once you park, you purchase an entrance ticket from the visitor center, learn about what birds are in the area, and get a map.

Don’t forget your binoculars and camera.

7. Gibsons (Sunshine Coast)

Sechelt Inlet Sunshine Coast BC

Distance from Vancouver: 30 minutes to Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal (by car) followed by a 40-minute ferry ride to Gibsons (46 km).

Why you should visit Gibsons (and the Sunshine Coast in general!)

Gemma from Two Scots Abroad: the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia is a delightful all-season escape from the city. In fact, locals will joke that once you visit, you won't want to go back to Vancouver. 

Your coastal day trip starts with a forty-minute ferry ride from Vancouver to Gibsons. The ride is stunning in summer and in winter. You can choose a top deck seat to watch the scenery.

Gibsons is quite a big town in comparison to others on the coast. There are plenty of restaurants to dine at, some shops, and a handful of craft breweries. 

Sechelt, BC is another big town. One of my favorite things to do here is to watch the seaplanes arrive and depart while drinking a cold beverage. There is also a great paddleboard area just out of town. 

You can get around all the little towns and villages on the coast but you have to rely on public transport timing unless you rent a bike or travel by car. If you have a car, you can head far north, making pitstops at the many lakes. 

Where to stay in Gibsons

If you decide to spend more than a day on the Sunshine Coast (and once again I recommend that you do;-), the lovely Bonniebrook Lodge is a great place to stay.

Located just 5 km from downtown Gibsons, this historic lodge offers comfortable suites with a balcony and whirlpool tub. 

8. Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain by Outside Suburbia

Driving distance from Vancouver: 30 minutes (12 km)

Why you should visit Grouse Mountain

Priya Vin from Outside Suburbia: take a leisurely Skyride to Grouse Mountain and you will be rewarded with a spectacular view of Vancouver and the Pacific Ocean.

If are up for the challenge you can hike the grueling and challenging Grouse Grind mountain. 

Once on top of the mountains, you can see of grizzly bears at the Refuge for Endangered Wildlife, ravens, and eagles.

Don’t miss the lumberjack show where they compete against each other and showcase their skills in log rolling, a 60-foot tree climb, and axe throwing among others. 

There is plenty to do on the mountain, from ziplines to guided nature walks and hikes. Our favorite was the open chairlifts to the summit, soaring to an altitude of 1250 meter high (4100 feet) above sea level.

The scenic Peak Chairlift will transport you to the apex of Grouse Mountain. At the summit, the panorama is just a spectacular panorama.

You can easily spend half a day at Grouse Mountain, or more. Drive here from downtown Vancouver or take the free shuttle (only in summer) from Canada Place. Read more about the shuttle here.

Click here to book your tickets to Grouse Mountain

9. Harrison Hot Springs

Harrison Hot Springs day trip

Driving distance from Vancouver: 1 hour and 30 minutes (132 km)

Why you should visit Harrison Hot Springs

Lesley from Freedom56travel: Harrison Hot Springs is a fun day trip from Vancouver! An easy 90-minute drive from Vancouver, this little community is perched on the edge of beautiful Harrison Lake in the picturesque Fraser Valley. 

I suggest taking Highway 7 out to Harrison Hot Springs instead of Highway 1, this scenic drive is much nicer and less busy too!

A day trip in the summer is always a treat because you can swim in Harrison Lake.  There’s also great paddling via kayak and canoe in the lake and you can rent your watercraft at the Harrison Resort dock. 

One of the biggest attractions in Harrison Hot Springs is their Sasquatch, of course.

Described as ‘a bi-pedal mammal of exceptional size', this hairy beast is known to roam the Harrison Hot Springs area, with many reported sightings.

The Sasquatch is a beloved fixture in the oral tradition of the local First Nations people.

There are lots of great places to eat in Harrison Hot Springs, especially along Esplanade Ave in front of the lagoon. Try the Muddy Waters Café, near the Sasquatch statue.

10. Horseshoe Bay

Ferry from BC Ferries sailing into Horsehoe Bay

Distance from Vancouver: 30 minutes by car or 44 minutes from Waterfront station by train/bus (21 km).

Why you should visit Horseshoe Bay

Alex from The Swedish Nomad: Horseshoe Bay is a lovely town and an easy day trip from Vancouver. There are many quaint little shops and restaurants, where you can pick up a souvenir or two.

The Butter Lane Bake Shop and Tea House are some of the best places to buy mouthwateringly freshly baked goods. They also serve some of the finest teas.

If you are looking for a nice restaurant, I suggest eating at the Boathouse restaurant or Troll's. 

One of the most popular things to do in Horseshoe Bay is to explore the network of fjords by boat, either on your own or on a small cruise.

Furthermore, you can go scuba diving, kayaking, and animal spotting, or simply enjoy the beautiful views. From Horseshoe Bay, you can also visit lovely Bowen Island and Howe Sound. 

11. Ladner Creek Trestle

Ladner Creek Trestle pine forest and cobalt blue river

Driving distance from Vancouver: 2 hours (180 km)

Why you should visit the Ladner Creek Trestle

Roxy from The Coastal Campaign: the Ladner Creek Trestle near Hope is an epic little hike that makes for a great day trip from Vancouver!

The hike itself is relatively easy and it takes around 30 minutes to reach the old trestle bridge that used to form part of the Kettle Valley Railway. The trestle is a beautiful old bridge tucked away in the mountains, curving high over Ladner Creek and surrounded by pine trees.

The journey to the pullout on the Coquihalla Highway takes just over two hours from Vancouver.

To hike to the Ladner Creek Trestle, hang out and enjoy the view and make the return journey to the car park, which should take 1.5 – 2 hours.

Important note: while the trail is relatively easy, it is best done in summer to avoid snow on the ground or slippery terrain.

This hike is one of British Columbia's best-kept secrets, meaning you shouldn’t have to share the trail with too many other people. The view of this beautiful bridge is well worth the journey from Vancouver!

12. Lynn Canyon Park

Hiking trail in Lynn Canyon Park

Driving distance from Vancouver: 30 minutes (16 km)

Why you should visit the Lynn Canyon Park

Claire from Backpacking Bella: the best day trip from Vancouver on our cross-Canada adventure was to the beautiful Lynn Canyon Park.

While you should also visit the famous Capilano Suspension bridge (mentioned earlier in this post), you can also find a suspension bridge in Lynn Canyon Park. This one is less crowded and (as an added bonus) totally free!

Lynn Canyon Park is located in North Vancouver, about half an hour’s drive from downtown Vancouver. Don't worry if you don't have a car, you can also get there by public transport (a journey by bus takes just over an hour).

Sure enough, Lynn Canyon Park has a suspended walkway where you can cross 50 meters above a scenic, tree-covered canyon, as a waterfall crashes far beneath you. But there is much more to this park besides the bridge!

Boulders and tree stumps are ready to be jumped on, serene swimming holes beg to be dived into and you can hike one of the many winding trails in this century-old forest.

Lynn Canyon Park is open daily all year round, except for Christmas and New Year. It has some great picnic spots and a cafe, though this is closed during the winter.

The park also has an ecology center which is great for kids. Make sure you bring comfortable shoes so you can properly explore this naturally stunning place!

If you're a photographer, grab your camera and book this excellent small-group photography tour of Lynn Canyon (led by a professional photographer guide).

13. Nanaimo

Statue Nanaimo Harbourfront Vancouver Island

Distance from Vancouver: 25 minutes by car plus 1 hour and 40 minutes by ferry (81 km).

Why you should visit Nanaimo

While most people head to Victoria (see #14), another great place to visit on Vancouver Island is Nanaimo.

As the second largest city on the island and the landing place for most people traveling to Vancouver Island by boat, Nanaimo is a great place to spend a day.

Stroll along the Harbourfront Walkway, admire the views over Protection Island, hike up to Mount Benson, and sample some tasty Nanaimo bars.

Have a drink at the Dinghy Dock Pub, visit the Nanaimo Museum and enjoy everything this lovely city on Vancouver Island has to offer.

Where to stay in Nanaimo

The Coast Bastion Hotel and AnnArthur Guest House are great places to spend the night if you decide to stay longer (and believe me, you'll want to stay much longer).

14. Pemberton

Driving distance from Vancouver: 2 hours (154 km)

Why you should visit Pemberton

Rachael from A City Girl Outside: Pemberton is one of the best day trips from Vancouver and a lesser-visited destination.

Pemberton is often overshadowed by nearby Whistler but there is plenty to do here and many hidden gems.

The town of Pemberton itself is a small quaint town a short 30 minutes north of Whistler, with a wonderful small-town vibe. It's surrounded by picturesque mountains and local farms.

Some of the best farms to visit in the Pemberton area are North Arm Farm and Laughing Crow Organics. North Arm Farm is the closest to the main Downtown area and is great for blueberry and strawberry picking, it also has amazing views of Mount Currie which towers over Pemberton.  

Laughing Crow Organics Farm can be found on Pemberton Meadows Road. The farm has an onsite craft brewery called the “Beer Farmers”.

Laughing Crow Organics offers seasonal events such as the tulip fields in the spring, the sunflower fields in late summer, and a pumpkin patch in the fall. 

Pemberton is also a hiker's paradise. One of the most famous hikes in British Columbia, Joffre Lakes, is just a 20-minute drive from the town of Pemberton. This popular hike leads to three stunning glacial blue lakes. 

Where to stay in Pemberton

The Pemberton Valley Lodge is the best place to stay in Pemberton. This centrally located hotel not only offers spacious and clean rooms but some of the best views in the Sea to Sky. 

15. Porteau Cove

View from Porteau Cove

Driving distance from Vancouver: 30 minutes (45 km)

Why you should visit Porteau Cove

Riana of Teaspoon of Adventure: one of the best day trips from Vancouver is Porteau Cove. Porteau Cove Provincial Park is a beautiful campground and beach area between Vancouver and Whistler.

I love Porteau Cove because it’s super close to the city (only a 30-minute drive!) and has some of the most incredible views over Howe Sound and to the mountains. It’s an ideal campground because of its location and beauty. 

There’s a ton to do (when you’re done taking in the beautiful views). You can swim on the beach, go kayaking or canoeing, or even go scuba diving, as there is a man-made reef and sunken ships to explore.

There are trails and a small hill to hike. And at night, this place has the most stunning and bright view of the stars, completely unobstructed by the city lights. 

What's more: visiting the park for the day is free of charge!

Where to stay in Porteau Cove

If you have more time available, I would suggest booking a campsite for a couple of nights at Porteau Cove. Many of the sites are right on the water!

16. Richmond

Driving distance from Vancouver: 30 minutes (16 km)

Why you should visit Richmond

Kenny from Knycx Journeying: Richmond is a coastal city in the south of Vancouver and a member municipality of Metro Vancouver.

The city is close to the Vancouver International Airport, as well as the BC Ferries terminal that connects to Vancouver Island. 

The development of Richmond started with the influx of foreign immigrants decades ago, it is a wonderful location to add to a tourist’s Vancouver itinerary as it has an interesting and vibrant mix of cultures and heritages from all around the world.   

Visit the Britannia Shipyards, ride the Steveston Interurban Tram, explore the Richmond Museum, check out the Richmond Art Gallery, and go on a shopping spree at McArthurGlen Designer Outlet.

Don’t forget to sample all the authentic Asian cuisines or enjoy an afternoon tea at London Heritage Farm.

End your day trip and enjoy the view of sunset at Steveston Heritage Fishing Village (see #19). 

17. Salt Spring Island

Distance from Vancouver: 45 minutes by car plus 1 hour and 25 minutes by ferry (85 km)

Why you should visit Salt Spring Island

Lina from Bucket List Places: the Vancouver area has hundreds of islands and coves that can be explored by boat or ferry but Salt Spring Island is one that will stick in your memory for years to come.

The eclectic town of Ganges, a popular stop on any Gulf Islands and San Juan Islands boating itinerary, features dozens of art galleries, shops, and delicious restaurants which is worth the day trip just to explore the town itself. 

A drive and ferry take approximately 2.5 hours from Vancouver but there are also sea planes that have regular flights that can get you there even quicker.

Of course, if you want the ability to explore beyond the Ganges, bringing your own car is a must to see all the great things Salt Spring Island has to offer. 

Salt Spring Island has so many different activities to offer, anyone can find something that fits their wants.

From beach combing to hiking, and visiting art galleries to fine dining, Salt Spring is one of those places that you could really explore for days.

Where to stay on Salt Spring Island

If you find that one day is just not enough, make sure to spend the night at The Sanctuary Retreat and soak in the views in their bathtub. 

18. Squamish

Sea To Sky Gondola in Squamish

Driving distance from Vancouver: 60 minutes (65 km)

Why you should visit Squamish

Lori from the Voyage Writers: one of the best day tours from Vancouver is Squamish! Located an hour from Vancouver, Squamish B.C. is often referred to as ‘the outdoor recreation capital of Canada'.

There are outdoor activities for every season and whether on the water or on land, there is something for everyone!

A popular activity is the Sea to Sky Gondola. Open all year round, the 10-minute gondola ride to the summit will take your breath away. Click here to book your tickets.

Through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the gondola, you’ll have sweeping views of the waters of Howe Sound, the coastal forest, and surrounding mountains. Furthermore, there are hiking trails, the Sky Pilot suspension bridge, and viewing platforms.

Or visit Shannon Falls Provincial Park for an easy stroll and to admire the third-highest waterfall in BC (335 meters).

Feeling hungry? There is a cafe at the Summit Lodge. Alternatively, head into town and check out the Squamish Tasting Trail for samples of cider beer, coffee, food, and dessert.

If you are driving, take the Sea to Sky Highway/Highway 99. Alternatively, there are shuttles and tours leaving from Vancouver.

Whatever you choose to do while in Squamish, you will surely appreciate the beautiful nature British Columbia has to offer!

Where to stay in Squamish

If you want to spend more time in Squamish, there are several hotels, motels, cabins, hostels, or campgrounds for overnight stays.

The Mountain Retreat is a good and affordable hotel, campsites can be found on this site or via the free iOverlander app.

19. Steveston

Steveston seaside town south of Vancouver

Driving distance from Vancouver: 30 minutes (16 km)

Why you should visit Steveston

Toni from Enchanted Serendipity: Steveston, a seaside town just south of Vancouver, should be at the top of your list for any day trip out of Vancouver. 

Steveston is easily accessible from Vancouver by car and public transport. From Waterfront Station (which operates a Skyrail), you need to take the Canada Line (light blue) to Richmond – Brighouse Station. Then, catch a bus (#402) to Steveston Village.

There are other buses that get you to this area besides the #402 so I always use Google Maps for up-to-date transport information.

One way, it is a minimum journey of 45 minutes, but it can sometimes take just under an hour. 

So why do people make the effort to get down to Steveston? The entire town of Steveston is just quaint and charming and historic, but it’s not the only reason…

For some, it is the awesome marina views the harbor offers, I don’t think I have ever seen a more pretty seaside setting. Or the fish market which allows customers to purchase fresh fish right off the fishing boats themselves.

But for me and many like me, it is the filming locations that can be found here. Steveston features as the charming town Storybrooke in the ABC drama ‘Once Upon A Time‘.

In fact, 90% of exterior shots from the show were filmed here! The shooting locations can be found along Moncton Street if you are a fan of the series you will immediately recognize it the minute you arrive.

Steveston filming location of Once Upon A Time

Fans of the series Supernatural will also recognize Steveston from key episodes. Other productions from ‘X-Files' to ‘Sliders' have used cute little Steveston as a filming location too.

When you’re walking around the town it's easy to see why. Filming locations aside, Steveston is just a beautiful place.

It holds so much history within it, given it was founded in the 1880s. History buffs will get a lot out of a visit here. No matter what you decide to do there, an afternoon or full day here is a real highlight.

I lived in Vancouver and Steveston was one of my best memories from all of the explorings I did, as well as that of my friends!

20. Victoria

Places to visit in Victoria - Places to visit on Vancouver Island

Distance from Vancouver: 45 minutes by car plus 90 minutes by ferry plus another 45-60 minutes by bus (116 km).

Why you should visit Victoria

One of the prettiest cities in Canada as well as the capital city of British Columbia is Victoria.

While Victoria it's quite a journey for one day (why not spend a weekend in Victoria), it is doable, though not recommended with young kids.

From Vancouver, it takes approximately 45 minutes by car to drive to Tsawassen where the ferry departs to Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island.

Ferry to Vancouver Island

The ferry takes 1 hour and 30 minutes, however, it's an activity in itself as the scenery is stunning. If you are very lucky you may even spot a killer whale!

From Swartz Bay, it's another 45-60 minutes to downtown Victoria by bus (bus 70 or 72). Altogether, expect the journey to take at least 4 hours.

Once you have arrived in Victoria, visit the beautiful British Columbia Parliament Building. You can do a free tour or visit independently.

Across the Parliament Building is the Fairmont Empress Hotel, where you can enjoy the hugely popular Tea at the Empress.

Walk along the Inner Harbor and soon you will arrive in the historic center of Victoria, with beautiful old buildings, colorful street art (especially in Chinatown), and lots of cute shops and cafes.

Families with kids should visit the petting zoo and playgrounds in Beacon Hill Park, while nature lovers can join a whale-watching tour.

Killer whales on whale watching Victoria Vancouver Island

Take a stroll around Fisherman's Wharf or visit Craigdarroch Castle, an impressive mansion built by Robert Dunsmuir, a Scottish-Canadian coal mine developer.

Before you head back to Vancouver, eat some tacos at Tacofino or grab a beer at one of the many breweries.

Where to stay in Victoria

If you decide to spend more than a day in Victoria (which is highly recommended because Victoria is such a fun and friendly city) there are lots of accommodation options, suitable for any budget.

Luxury travelers will want to stay at the aforementioned 5-star Fairmont Empress Hotel. The Helms Inn and the Oswego Hotel are excellent options if you're looking to spend a bit less on accommodation. Be sure to check out my Victoria hotel guide for more details.

Camping on Vancouver Island is another good option, there are many beautiful sites, both official campgrounds as well as free sites.

21. Whistler

Driving distance from Vancouver: 1 hour and 40 minutes (120 km)

Why you should visit Whistler

Whistler is also called British Columbia's best outdoor escape and with reason. No matter the season of your visit, there are always lots of things to do in Whistler!

From hiking one of the many trails in summer to riding the snowy slopes from the end of November until late April.

From fun festivals in autumn, such as the Whistler Village Beer Festival and Whistler Writers Festival, to the annual World Ski & Snowboard Festival in April, Whistler is fun all year!

An absolutely spectacular activity is a glacier tour by floatplane. On this 30-minute flight, you can admire green alpine meadows, rugged snow-capped peaks, and the blue waters of Garibaldi Lake from the sky.

Or take the Guinness World Record-breaking Peak 2 Peak Gondola to the top of Blackcomb Mountain.

The views from the longest and highest Gondola in the world are breathtaking and there are more excellent hiking trails at the top. Click here to book your Peak 2 Peak Gondola ticket.

Whistler's center is a pedestrian-only area with colorful houses, restaurants, and shops. Go for a stroll, take your picture at the Olympic Rings (see above) or get an ice cream at Cows.

A great (and very affordable) place to grab some lunch is Purebread, a family bakery with an extensive selection of freshly baked goodies.

Where to stay in Whistler

If you want to spend more time in and around Whistler, the Summit Lodge Boutique Hotel is a great option right in the village center.

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Vancouver day trips: in conclusion

I hope this post has given you lots of inspiration to spend a bit more time in Vancouver and the surrounding area. As you have read, there are many worthwhile Vancouver day tours, suitable for all types of travelers.

If you plan to travel more in Canada, also read these posts: