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Best day trips from Vancouver

Vancouver, British Columbia/Canada - Sunset over the Skyline with High Rise Buildings and the Canada Place Cruise Terminal in Downtown Vancouver. Viewed from a harbor cruise ship

In British Columbia, you will find Vancouver, one of the most densely populated and most ethnically diverse cities in Canada. Surrounded by mountains, this contemporary urban mecca is not only a stunning filming location (movies like “Blade”, “50 Shades of Grey” and the Percy Jackson-series were filmed there) but also home to thriving art, theatre and music scene.

Check out the city’s museums like the award-winning Museum of Vancouver, visit Queen Elizabeth Park (the highest point in Vancouver), admire the skyline and make sure to try some of the local seafood and fish delicacies! If you want to leave the urban setting behind and explore more, follow our guide to fun and active Vancouver day trips.

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Day trip from Vancouver to Whistler

Associated with skiing and outdoor activities, Whistler is a popular year-round destination for Vancouver day trips. The city is also an interesting spot for cultural explorations; great for family day trips from Vancouver. If you are travelling with children, you might want to visit the Maury Young Arts Centre that houses an art gallery, a theatre and a youth centre.

For families, we also recommend Vallea Lumina, one of the newest attractions in Whistler. Prepare to join a multimedia night walk in the tree-covered surroundings of Cougar Mountain; you will experience an immersive light show and hear the local legends about two brave hikers and their adventures explorations of and around Whistler.

Whistler is also the perfect destination for anyone looking for a luxurious and relaxing wellness-getaway from Vancouver. Whether you are into yoga, want to rejuvenate in a SPA or maintain your gym schedule while travelling, you will find all the necessary facilities in Whistler.

A getaway to Whistler is one of the best day trips from Vancouver without a car. Taking a bus from Vancouver is the cheapest way to get to Whistler (single one-way fares for adults start around 25 CAD, approx. 19 USD), but if you prefer a curated tour with a guide, search online for day trips from Vancouver to Whistler!

Day trip from Vancouver to Whistler

Hike to turquoise waters of picturesque Garibaldi Lake near Whistler, BC, Canada. Very popular hike destination in British Columbia.

Day trip from Vancouver to Nanaimo

Have you heard about the Nanaimo bar? It is a very popular no-bake dessert that originates from the city of Nanaimo situated on Vancouver Island. Apart from its famous sweet treat, the city of Nanaimo is known as a great spot for outdoor adventures. Go on a hike and explore the nature trails, there are amazing bicycle routes if you want to do some sightseeing on two wheels.

Yogis might want to check out the free yoga classes offered in Nanaimo’s parks! If you are interested in staying in Nanaimo longer, there are great opportunities for both camping and glamping. With its immersive scenery, camping around Nanaimo is also recommended for family day trips from Vancouver.

You can also check the online calendar to see if any regional events and festivals are going on in Nanaimo around the time of your visit. Nanaimo offers city walks and guided farm tours, and the spring season is all about Festival Nanaimo. The celebration is on for an entire month, with smaller festivals like the Annual PirateFest or the Wee Tipple Whiskey Festival. 

Because of the island location, your day trip from Vancouver to Nanaimo is easiest done by… plane! The flight only takes 36 minutes, and the plane tickets start at around 70 USD. You can also go by car and reach Vancouver Island with BC ferries.

Day trip from Vancouver to Nanaimo

NANAIMO, BRITISH COLUMBIA - Nanaimo is a city and ferry port on the east coast of Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, Canada. Shops and cafes fill the Old City Quarter.

Day trip from Vancouver to Victoria 

Known worldwide as “The City of Gardens”, the city of Victoria attracts tourists with its beautiful public gardens and parks, located both within and outside of the city (find specific garden tour suggestions below).

Check out Mount Tolmie Park, located in the heart of Victoria City. The active explorers should visit the park in the late afternoon and hike to the peak, from where one can admire the evening view with the sun setting over Victoria’s cityscape.

On your Vancouver to Victoria day trip, make sure to visit the city’s Chinatown (Canada’s oldest Chinese enclave). You can book a special guided walking tour around the old Chinese settlement to learn more about the history of the Chinese immigrants who first arrived in Victoria more than a century ago. The Chinatown is also a fun place to visit at night, as the area gets lighted up with colourful lanterns. Visit Victoria’s Chinatown for its lively atmosphere, delicious Asian food and unique photo opportunities!

In the mood for some shopping? Head straight to Johnson Street! Lined up with boutiques and cafés, this vibrant street attracts tourists and locals alike. Go there at night if you want to catch a live performance or a street concert! Give yourself time to explore this charming neighbourhood, walk towards the Market Square and admire impressive Victorian-style buildings along the way.

Day trip from Vancouver to Victoria 

Victoria BC,Canada - Deuce Coupe classic car show in Victoria BC,Canada,with the BC legislature in the background.

Day trip from Vancouver to Victoria and Butchart Gardens

The Butchart Gardens are located 20 kilometres from downtown Victoria, and if you want to see the city and get a comprehensive tour around Butchart Gardens (with convenient transportation from Vancouver, through downtown Victoria and towards the Gardens), we recommend booking a dedicated Victoria and Butchart Gardens Day Trip from Vancouver. Officially listed as a National Historic Site of Canada, the gardens welcome over a million visitors each year – this lush oasis is an absolute must-see.

On this tour, a hassle-free pick-up will be arranged for you, and already during your drive and the scenic ferry tour through the Gulf Islands, your guide will share with you stories and facts about the region. Upon your arrival in Victoria, your guide will take you to the Royal BC Museum, show you the Parliament Buildings in Victoria as well as the famous Fairmont Empress Hotel. You will make a stop at Victoria’s Chinatown too.

After the urban explorations, your guide will take you to Butchart Gardens (admission ticket to the gardens will be included in the cost of your Victoria and Butchart Gardens Day Trip from Vancouver).

With the many dining options on the ferry, you can enjoy your dinner on board, while sailing back towards Vancouver.

Day trip from Vancouver to Victoria and Butchart Gardens

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA - Butchart Gardens, near Victoria, receive over a million visitors each year, and have been designated a National Historic Site of Canada.

Shannon Falls & Sea to Sky Gondola day trip from Vancouver

Some of the most popular day trips from Vancouver take you to experience the famous “Sea to Sky Highway” (often referred to as Highway 99). It runs from West Vancouver (passing Squamish) through Whistler, ending at Lillooet.

To make most out of your experience, we recommend booking a guided tour that includes Shannon Falls & Sea to Sky Gondola. From Vancouver, you will cruise along the Sea to Sky Highway, enjoying the sights of hilltops and coastal mountains. You will stop at Shannon Falls Provincial Park; get ready for a short hike to reach the lookout deck from where you can admire the waterfall cascade and Howe Sound (North America’s southernmost fjord).

You will get some free time to stroll around, so explore one of the hiking trails or walk across the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge (approximately 100 metres long). Visit the Summit Restaurant for refreshments. For even more spectacular views, embark on the 10-minute long gondola ride with the famous Sea to Sky Gondola. 

If time allows, on the way back to Vancouver, you will visit the Britannia Mine Museum with the option to tour the mine (the now-retired copper mine was in operation between 1904 – 1974), walk through historic exhibits and have a look at the educational displays (we recommend the museum for family day trips from Vancouver).

Shannon Falls & Sea to Sky Gondola day trip from Vancouver

Shannon Falls, the third highest waterfall in British Columbia, Canada, where water falls from a height of 335 meters

Day trip from Vancouver to Capilano Suspension Bridge & Grouse Mountain

One of the most popular family day trips from Vancouver is a day excursion to Capilano Suspension Bridge & Grouse Mountain. Have your camera by your side already when leaving Vancouver, as you will drive over the Lion’s Gate Bridge. With its 1323 meters, the bridge is a true Vancouver landmark that offers breathtaking views of the English Bay and Vancouver Harbour. 

The next stop on the tour will be the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Not only will you walk a world-famous footbridge, you will also learn about the Coast Salish indigenous people and their traditions. You are also invited to explore canopy walks or try the newest attraction at the Capilano Suspension Bridge, the “Cliffwalk”. It is a series of suspended granite walkways, fun challenge for any thrill-seeker out there! 

The journey will continue towards Grouse Mountain. Get ready to ascend into the mountains by Grouse Mountain Skyride gondola to reach the viewpoint (located at a height of 1200 metres) from where you can enjoy breathtaking views of Vancouver city. In the summer season, you can also walk around the meadows and enjoy your time in the pristine nature. Especially for travellers with children, we recommend a visit to the Refuge for Endangered Wildlife, where you can “meet” grizzly bears and join educational workshops and demonstrations.

Day trip from Vancouver to Capilano Suspension Bridge & Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain, Vancouver / Canada - People walking across Capilano Suspension Bridge amongst trees in Canada

Winery tours from Vancouver

Gastronomy tours are some of the most popular day trips from Vancouver. Regardless of your previous wine-knowledge, we highly recommend joining the guided winery tours. You do not have to be a high-end cuisine connoisseur to enjoy the carefully selected drinking (and food) menus offered during Vancouver winery tours.

One of our top recommended winery tours from Vancouver is a day trip to Fraser Valley. You will visit 3 – 4 different wineries and taste at least 12 locally produced wines. Both at the wineries and during your drive, your guide will tell you more about the history and agricultural specifics of the region. You will also learn more about the winemaking processes and discover the many steps of the journey from vineyard to bottle.

To complement your wine tasting, you will also be served a light lunch, typically a platter with cheese and charcuterie. You will also be offered delicious samples of locally made jams and pickles – a great option for some gourmet souvenirs for friends and family back home!

Typically, the winery tours are among the short (and less active) day trips from Vancouver; you get to relax, spoil your taste buds and admire the amazing Canadian scenery on your drive to and between the wineries – highly recommended for travellers who are looking for leisurely-paced Vancouver day trips.

Winery tours from Vancouver

Vineyard on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Northern lights tour from Vancouver

During Vancouver day trips you get to see the beauty of the Canadian nature, but for full immersion, we suggest a multi-day excursion to Canada’s Yukon Territory which is recommended as one of the best places to see the Northern lights.

Also known as Aurora Borealis, the phenomenon is an auroral sight appearing in many (changing) colours. The lights swirl around, taking on different shapes; from unsharp cloud-like forms through more defined arc-formations. This trip will be especially intriguing for photography enthusiasts; a unique chance to take amazing pictures of the multi-hued lights dancing in the sky.

You will find many interesting options with tour providers online; we recommend a Yukon Northern Lights 4-Day Tour from Vancouver. From Vancouver, you will fly to Whitehorse. Your guide will meet you at the airport and take you to your Whitehorse lodge located on a peaceful ranch, away from any light pollution that could interrupt the night views of the Northern Lights.

To increase your chances of seeing this breathtaking phenomenon, it is recommended to stay in Whitehorse multiple nights. During the day you will have plenty of time to explore the area and enjoy winter activities like snowshoeing, sledging or fat biking along wild, snowy trails.

Northern lights tour from Vancouver

Furry Creek and Aurora at midnight located on Howe Sound in the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District

Recommended Best day trips from Vancouver

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Best day trips from Vancouver

Best day trips from Vancouver

Best day trips from Vancouver

Article written by:

Hi, my name is Samantha, Finance Managing Guru by day, Travel Blogging Enthusiast by... well... day too! Haha! Travelling King is the destination hotspot for the wannabe traveller! Showcasing affordable, luxurious getaways for the budget conscious! With the combination of my financial knowledge and travelling experiences I aim to show you, with a little planning, the right budget and a realistic goal you can fulfil your travel fantasies and explore the world whatever your budget or desires may be!