Vancouver is the square root of negative one. Technically it shouldn’t exist, but it does. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
Mr Coupland is a renowned artist from Vancouver and his quote reflects how I felt about the city I lived in for 15 months. Vancouver is unlike anywhere I have ever visited. I never got used to seeing snowy mountains out the grimy bus window on my commute to work. There are seemingly endless options of places to eat, drink and catch up with friends. I enjoyed seeing the city bloom like a flower in summer as residents came out of hibernation. There was always something to do. Every week included a new market, a visit to the beach, checking out a festival or a day trip.
Seeing as I have written about all of my favourite Vancouver day trips now, I thought putting them together in one simple post would be the perfect idea. All of these trips are budget-friendly and are accessible via public transport. However, a few of them I visited with friends who had cars. Thanks, friends! x
Lynn Canyon Park
This was the first of the Vancouver day trips I accomplished with a couple of fellow Australian expats in the summertime. It was also one of the cheapest. We ventured there via ferry and then bus. North Vancouver is a definite place to visit for festivals and night markets in the summer months.
You can visit Squamish by driving or getting the Greyhound bus. Although there is enough happening in the outdoor recreation capital of Canada to keep you going all weekend, a day is better than not venturing there at all. Please enjoy the Sea to Sky Gondola for me.
This is technically a day trip within Vancouver, but it is still a great way to spend a day in the city. Have fun being surrounded by delicious food, local home-wares and seaside walks. Follow the path to visit False Creek, Vanier Park and around the bend to Kitsilano and its popular beach.
I was so glad I finally got to see Steveston before I left. It is such a perfect harbour-side town with great seafood (albeit expensive) and cute boutiques. If you do see Once Upon a Time recording here, please don’t tell me as I may cry. You can get to Steveston by bus.
The Snowy Mountains
There are three main mountains to visit on Vancouver day trips: Mount Seymour, Cypress and Grouse. I never got to Cypress but did visit Grouse before Christmas 2013. On Grouse I built a snowman, got a photo with Santa and drank hot chocolate whilst watching the sunset over Vancouver. You can also tackle the Grouse Grind during the warmer months if you dare. There are buses in North Vancouver that go directly to Grouse Mountain.
I visited Mount Seymour in January for a friend’s birthday and to try tubing. Cue #halesfail.
This is a destination I saw in the winter but it would definitely still be a worthwhile trip in the summer. The town is pass Squamish and you can drive or get the Greyhound bus here also. Just try and ignore the many Aussie accents in the town dubbed Whistralia.
This was another place on my list to see before I left. It was one of my favourite Vancouver day trips with easy access from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver (buses running regularly from the city). There are plenty of bays for swimming, mountains for hiking, shops for browsing and restaurants for eating and drinking.
A quiet cove in Eastern North Vancouver that is a good place to visit in summer when you can swim, kayak and hike.
A place I never got to but I have heard it is worth a visit. Unfortunately it can take awhile to get there via public transit so if you have a friend with a car — shout them lunch by the seaside!
Seattle may be too far to classify under Vancouver day trips, but you can still pop over the border and load up on American bargains. Although I only stopped in Bellingham on the bus to and from Vancouver, I have heard it has excellent shopping outlets. Because everything is cheaper in the United States.
Honourable mentions should also go to The Sunshine Coast and Harrison Hot Springs. I have seen some websites recommend Victoria as a good day trip, but I would advise against doing this city in a day if taking public transport from Vancouver.
So there it is: my top ten best Vancouver day trips. It is a hard city to get bored in, when there is always a new food truck to visit, day trip to take or mountain to climb.