Summer is such a beautiful time of year in Vancouver and there are so many amazing getaways and adventures to enjoy within just a few hours of the city. I always try to stick around as much as possible during the summer months as the possibilities for local travel really are endless, and even if you just have 1 or 2 days spare there's so much you can do in that time.
From outdoorsy camping/kayaking adventures to luxury stays in the mountains, to wine escapes in BC's desert and surf getaways on Vancouver Island, you're spoilt for choice with options. So if you're looking to get out of the city for a few days and make the most of the sunshine, here are some of my favourite summer getaways from Vancouver that I recommend checking out.
If you really want to escape the busyness of Vancouver and truly escape the world, look no further than the Sunshine Coast. It's close enough for a weekend escape (or even a day trip) and has so many great activities and destinations to offer.
Distance from Vancouver: 40-minute ferry ride
How to get there: Ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale
Key destinations: Tuwanek, Sechelt, Porpoise Bay, Saltery Bay,
Nice camping spots: Saltery Bay (2 ferries from Vancouver), Porpoise Bay
Great places to stay: Painted Boat Resort, Madeira Park
Top things to do: Scuba diving, kayaking, fishing, hiking, explore the beaches, relax!
Do you need a car? Yes
My favourite thing to do: Kayak from Tuwanek up to the secluded beaches and camp out overnight
Saltery Bay Campsite
If you don't want to travel far, the Fraser Valley is a beautiful place to explore. Just a 40-minute drive from Vancouver, you'll find beautiful waterfalls, rustic cabins, golf courses, lakes, and beautiful mountains.
Distance from Vancouver: 1-2 hours drive
How to get there: Drive by car
Key destinations: Cultus Lake, Harrison, Golden Ears
Nice camping spots: Cultus Lake, Sasquatch Provincial Park, Chilliwack Lake,
Great places to stay: Rowena's Inn
Top things to do: hiking, fishing, canoeing, hot springs, visit the farms
Do you need a car? Yes
My favourite thing to do: I love Golden Ears Park and Rowena's Inn is a beautiful place if you're looking for a romantic escape
Adventurous hikes? Check. Luxury hotels? Check. Great food and drinks? Check. Whether you want to kick back at the outdoor spa, kayak down the river or just take in some fresh mountain air, Whistler has it all. And it's less than 2 hours from Vancouver!
Distance from Vancouver: 2 hours by car
How to get there: Drive by car // Travel by bus - check out Epic Rides or Sky Lynx // Fly by seaplane with Harbour Air
Key destinations: Whistler Village, Alta Lake, Green Lake
My favourite hotel: Fairmont Chateau Whistler
Top things to do: In summer, mountain biking, hiking, glacier skiing, ATV tour, zip lining, helicopter ice cave tour. In winter, skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing. Check out TAG Whistler or Canadian Wilderness for tours.
Do you need a car? No, everything around Whistler Village is walkable
Tofino, Vancouver Island
If you have 2/3 days to spare, a trip to Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island is a must. It's one of my favourite destinations in the whole of Canada and the vibe and landscapes are just magic. It can rain a lot but it's beautiful come rain or shine.
Distance from Vancouver: 450km, 6 hours total by car & ferry // 45-minute flight from Vancouver Airport
How to get there: Ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo, 3-hour drive from Nanaimo // Fly from YVR to Tofino with Pacific Coastal Air, 45-minute flight
Key destinations: Tofino, Ucluelet
Best beaches: Long Beach, Chesterman Beach, Cox Bay
Nice camping spots: Mackenzie Beach, Crystal Cove, Wya Point
Great places to stay: Pacific Sands Resort
Top things to do: Surfing, hiking, kayaking, Hot Springs Cove tour, whale watching
Do you need a car? Not necessarily if you fly, but it helps to have one if you want to surf at different beaches or get around without worrying about taxis/car hire
(Check out my Tofino blog posts here)
Pacific Sands Resort
Cox Bay Beach
Victoria, Vancouver Island
Victoria on Vancouver Island is a lovely getaway if you're looking for more of a city escape but with the possibility of adventure. It's one of my favourite places to mix luxury (such as Afternoon Tea and nice dinners) with outdoorsy activities like whale watching and scuba diving.
Distance from Vancouver: 3.5 hours driving + ferry // 30 minutes Helijet or Harbour Air flight
How to get there: Ferry from Tsawwassen Swartz Bay (1h 35) and drive to Victoria // Helijet from Vancouver to Downtown Victoria // Harbour Air seaplane from Vancouver to Downtown Victoria
Key destinations: Downtown Victoria, Butchart Gardens, Fisherman's Wharf, Beacon Hill Park, Craigdarroch Castle
Great places to stay: Fairmont Empress, Abigail's Hotel
Top things to do: Wander around the city, whale watching tour, eat + drink, visit Fisherman's Wharf, hiking, scuba diving, visit the museums
Do you need a car? Not in the city, but yes if you want to explore out of town. They also have Modo in Victoria.
My favourite thing to do: Stay at the Fairmont Empress, get Afternoon Tea, whale watching (with Eagle Wing Tours), sunset at the beaches and scuba diving at Ogden Point or Race Rocks
(Check out my Victoria blog posts here)
Afternoon Tea at Fairmont Empress
Whale Watching with Eagle Wing Tours
If you have a few days to spare and you want a complete change of climate and scenery, head over to the Okanagan, aka BC's wine country, to enjoy some beautiful views, hot weather, and amazing wine.
Distance from Vancouver: 4.5 hours drive
How to get there: Drive // Fly from Vancouver to Penticton (1hr) and drive to Osooyoos
Key destinations: Osooyoos, Oliver
My favourite hotel: Spirit Ridge, Watermark Resort
My favourite wineries: Burrowing Owl, Black Hills, Stoneboat Winery, Covert Farms, Bartier Bros
Top things to do: Wine tasting and touring, cycling, cycle wine tour, eat great food, chill by the lake, boating
Do you need a car? Yes
Read my post on planning a wine trip to Osoyoos here.
Spirit Ridge Resort, Osoyoos
Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island
The perfect destination if you're looking for a romantic break or a relaxing trip with your girlfriends. Sip, savour, get outdoors and enjoy a slow-paced weekend.
Distance from Vancouver: 3 hours by ferry + car // 1h 30 by Helijet from Vacouver
How to get there: Drive & ferry // Helijet
Key places to visit: Cowichan Bay, Kinsol Trestle, Westholme Tea Farm, Merridale Cidery
My favourite hotel: Villa Eyrie
Top things to do: Eat, drink, relax, hike, kayak, whale watching
Do you need a car? Yes
(See my 3 days in Cowichan guide for more info)
What's your favourite summer getaway from Vancouver? Let me know below!