18 Vancouver Weekend Getaways


15 min read
Waterfront view in Vancouver with Science World in view

Vancouver is perfectly located near many weekend getaway locations. Its central location makes it a great starting point for trips in the north, south, and west of BC as well as in the US. If you have already spent several days visiting Vancouver, or are a resident, no doubt you are looking at some activities outside of Vancouver.

You can drive or catch the ferry to a host of Vancouver weekend getaway locations. If you want a faster option, in some cases, you can travel by seaplane. Easily catch your plane from Downtown Vancouver to fly in under an hour to popular destinations.

With so many great Vancouver weekend getaway spots, it can be hard to decide which to choose! Luckily, there is something for all types of traveler, and this list has everyone covered; from snow sports lovers to nature and wildlife enthusiasts, and those looking to explore another urban city.

Whether you live in Vancouver or are visiting, consider these 18 Vancouver Weekend Getaways for your next adventure!

  • 18 activities
Garibaldi Lake in Whistler, British Columbia
Garibaldi Lake in Whistler, British Columbia
Joffre Lake in Pemberton, British Columbia, Canada
Joffre Lake in Pemberton, British Columbia, Canada
Squamish, British Columbia, Canada
Squamish, British Columbia, Canada
Canoeing in Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia, Canada
Canoeing in Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia, Canada
The lake in Manning Provincial Park, BC, Canada
The lake in Manning Provincial Park, BC, Canada
Viewpoint at Savona in Kamloops Lake in British Columbia, Canada
Viewpoint at Savona in Kamloops Lake in British Columbia, Canada
Sunset over Kelowna waterfront, BC, Canada
Sunset over Kelowna waterfront, BC, Canada
The road to Naramata, British Columbia, Canada
The road to Naramata, British Columbia, Canada
The view of the town in Osoyoos, BC, Canada
The view of the town in Osoyoos, BC, Canada
Waters edge at Galiano Island, British Columbia, Canada
Waters edge at Galiano Island, British Columbia, Canada
The shoreline of Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada
The shoreline of Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada
Cape Mudge in Campbell River, BC, Canada
Cape Mudge in Campbell River, BC, Canada
Seals in Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Seals in Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Sunset by the park in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Sunset by the park in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Waterfront of Seattle, Washington, USA
Waterfront of Seattle, Washington, USA
A sunny day in Portland, Oregon
A sunny day in Portland, Oregon

Whistler

A trip to Whistler is one of the best weekend getaways from Vancouver. Located about 2 hours north of Vancouver, Whistler is a popular and well-known winter sports destination. If you’re not visiting in winter or aren’t a winter sports enthusiast, Whistler is still worth a visit.

Skiers and snowboarders can enjoy the world-class Whistler Blackcomb from mid-November to May. There are a range of runs for all levels plus park features and backcountry trails. Passes can be purchased for a day or the whole weekend.

There are many trails for hiking or biking in the area too. There are also multiple lakes. Perfect for winter walks or summer lake days. The Scandinave Spa is another great attraction for those after a relaxing getaway.

I also recommend the Whistler Peak 2 Peak experience. Take the gondola up the mountain to experience 360 views of the surrounding scenery. Once at the top, enjoy a meal or drink at one of the mountain top restaurants. Peak 2 Peak is a great spring/summer as well as fall/winter activity.

Whistler Village is fun to explore all year round. There is a selection of shops plus cozy alpine-style bars and restaurants.

If you have time on the way to or from Whistler, stop at Horseshoe Bay. This scenic seaside town has quaint cafes and restaurants and a great harbor view.

Pemberton

Pemberton is about a 30-minute drive north of Whistler. Like Whistler, it offers a range of outdoor recreation activities. However, Pemberton benefits from being less busy than well known Whistler.

For those looking to undertake winter activities without Whistler’s crowds, Pemberton offers access to quiet backcountry and alpine skiing runs.

Visitors will find multiple trails for hiking, biking, or horse riding. Pemberton is also close to Provincial Parks including Joffre Lakes, with its ice-blue glacier lakes, and Nairn Falls Provincial Park.

Pemberton is additionally an agri-tourism destination. Visit a selection of u-pick farms and a weekend farmers market, running June through October, for local produce.

Squamish

Squamish is located North of Vancouver, between Horseshoe Bay and Whistler. Stop here on the way to Whistler or just visit for a day or overnight trip.

One of Squamish’s main attractions is the Sea to Sky Gondola. Take a ride on the gondola to enjoy views of Howe Sound and the surrounding coastal forest and mountains. You’ll also be able to see Shannon Falls and Stawamus Chief climbing area. Both of which are great additional attractions to visit.

At the top of the gondola ride, you’ll be able to walk the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge. This 100-meter long bridge offers more breathtaking 360-degree views.

Tantalus Provincial Park is another great attraction in Squamish for hiking, fishing, and even backcountry skiing. Here you’ll also discover Lake Lovely Water, a sub-alpine lake surrounded by forest and glaciers.

If hiking isn’t your thing, consider a helicopter tour to enjoy the views. And don’t forget to keep an eye out for native Squamish eagles!

Bowen Island

If you’re looking for somewhere close to Vancouver to relax in nature, Bowen Island is the right choice.

Despite still being part of Metro Vancouver, located between West Vancouver and Gibsons, you’ll feel far away from the city. Drive from Vancouver or get there in 20 minutes on the ferry from Horseshoe Bay.

There are multiple large parks on the island, including Apodaca Provincial Park and Crippen Regional Park. Perfect for hiking and wildlife viewing. The Bowen Island Ecological Reserve also has many trails and guaranteed wildlife sightings.

There is additionally a selection of scenic beaches around the island. Chill on the sand for a relaxing day or try some fun water sports.

If not into outdoor activities, Bowen Island has a variety of independent shops plus restaurants, museums, and spas.

Gibsons

Gibsons is a quaint fishing town on the southern end of the Sunshine Coast, north of Vancouver. This peaceful town overlooks the harbor and the islands of Howe Sound. If you want a quick trip from Vancouver, Gibsons is a great option. You can get there by ferry from Horseshoe Bay in 40 minutes.

Gibsons offers a relaxed mix of water activities and hiking. Kayaking and canoeing are popular, and even diving is offered. Being a fishing village, fishing on the water is also a common activity.

There are many hiking trails. Soames Hill is recommended for a scenic hike and great views of the region.

Gibsons Public Market is well worth a visit for local produce and artisan crafts. You should also explore the shops plus museums and art galleries in Gibson's landing.

Be sure to check for events being held during your visit too. Many festivals are held throughout the spring and summer including a jazz festival and a craft beer festival.

Harrison Hot Springs

Harrison Hot Springs is nestled within the mountains and beaches surrounding Harrison Lake in southwestern British Columbia. Just drive 90 minutes out of Vancouver, and you'll be able to relax in BC's famous hot springs.

To enjoy the hot springs, you have two options. You can venture to natural hot springs near Port Douglas and at Clear Creek. Otherwise, head to Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa. Access is free if you stay at the resort or you can pay for spa entry.

Other spas and outdoor yoga sessions and retreats are abundant. It's an excellent place for a calm and relaxing weekend.

If you want a more active weekend, kayaking and fishing are popular on Harrison Lake. Hiking and wildlife viewing in the surrounding areas are also popular activities for locals and tourists.

Manning Provincial Park

Manning Provincial Park’s main attraction is the Manning Park Resort. The resort hosts the ski and snowboard hill that attracts visitors.

Located in the sub-range of the Canadian cascades, it offers perfect conditions for a snow sports trip. You can reach the resort in under two and a half hours if driving from Vancouver.

The resort is appealing as it’s much smaller than popular ski resorts like Whistler. The smaller resort allows for a more relaxed getaway. It’s also great for those looking for space to learn or practice their technique.

Even if you aren’t a snow sports enthusiast, don’t cross Manning Park off your getaway list. The alpine terrain is great for hiking, especially in the spring and summer months. Water sports and fishing are also offered on the Lake.

Manning Park is a great place to spot wildlife too. It’s a black bear habitat and many other animals call the park home. Summertime camping and horseback riding are additional activities favored by tourists to the area.

Kamloops

Kamloops is the second-largest city in BC’s interior. It is found approximately four hours from Vancouver.

Kamloops is known by some as ranch country. Ranches cover the landscape, and horseback riding is a popular pastime. Visitors can even stay at guest ranches with guided horse riding offered on a range of trails.

It’s also perfect for lovers of other outdoor activities. There are many hiking and biking trails and over 80 parks. Kamloops Wildlife Park is another fun attraction with guaranteed sightings of local species. Golfers will additionally find a large selection of highly-rated golf courses.

Having experienced the outdoor activities, Kamloops has to offer, relax at one of its wineries or craft breweries. Tours and tastings are available on most days.

A farmers market is also hosted weekly with local produce to purchase. Lastly, I recommend visiting The Noble Pig restaurant. Enjoy house-brewed beer and yummy gastro-pub style dishes at this popular local spot.

Kelowna

As one of the biggest cities in the Okanagan, Kelowna is a popular tourist destination. It’s known for beautiful lakes and scenery. Due to the range of activities available, Kelowna is one of the best long weekend trips from Vancouver.

As the heart of BC’s wine country, you’ll discover an array of vineyards and wineries. Winery tours and tastings are a popular activity when visiting Kelowna. There are many to choose from including small boutique wineries and larger Italian style estates. Most wineries are closely located, making multiple stops easy.

Kelowna is on Lake Okanagan, so water sports and lakeside beach days are also popular. Rent a boat, or go kayaking or paddle-boarding. Alternatively, just relax on the beaches found along the lakeshore.

Hikers and bikers will find a range of trails to cover. Along with smaller, scenic trails, there are multiple provincial parks in the area to explore.

Lastly, visit downtown Kelowna to walk along the promenade and visit the shops and restaurants located there.

Naramata

Naramata is found in the Okanagan Valley, about an hour's drive from Kelowna. If coming directly from Vancouver, it is approximately a five-hour drive.

As in Kelowna, you'll find a selection of wineries and cideries to visit. These are often not as busy as those in Kelowna, therefore, making them a good option for a more relaxed tasting session.

Naramata is on the shores of Okanagan Lake. Visitors can undertake a range of water sports or just relax on the lakeside beaches. Trails for hiking and mountain biking can also be found. These include trails around the Naramata Creek Park Waterfall and the Kettle Valley Rail Trail.

In the main part of town, you'll discover a quiet village with independent restaurants and cafes. Don't forget to pick up some gifts or souvenirs at the boutique shops.

If staying overnight, Naramata has many quaint B&Bs and lakeside cottages. You're sure to find a charming place to stay in this rural town.

Osoyoos

Osoyoos is located south of Kelowna and is just 2km from the Canada-US border. It's a great additional stop during a trip to Kelowna, Kamloops, and or Naramata. Osoyoos is a particularly interesting location to visit as it's Canada's only arid desert.

Nestled in this dry and sandy landscape is a selection of wineries. These include many popular wineries like Nk'Mip Cellars and Burrowing Owl Estate Winery. Each winery offers tastings, tours, and often, high-quality cuisine.

Golf is also a popular activity in Osoyoos. Take your pick from a selection of well-rated courses in the area.

Finish your weekend by spending some time by (or on) Osoyoos Lake. The lake runs through the western part of the town and is shared with Washington State.

Galiano Island

Galiano Island is the perfect place for a quick trip from Vancouver. Spend the day or take your time exploring with a full weekend trip.

Galiano is a 50-minute ferry ride from Tsawwassen as the first stop on the Tsawwassen-Gulf Islands ferry. The island is known for its white shell beaches and relaxing bohemian culture.

I recommend hiking up Mount Galiano for the amazing views of Vancouver Island and the surrounding area. Then visit Sturdies Bay for shops, art galleries, and to eat at the many cafes and restaurants.

I would also recommend going by car as some attractions are far apart. This will allow you to enjoy beautiful ocean view drives too.

Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring is part of Vancouver’s gulf islands on the Strait of Georgia. Located between mainland BC and Vancouver Island, it’s easy to access by ferry or seaplane.

The main town on the island is Ganges which features independent shops, restaurants, and art galleries. As it overlooks the marina, you’ll experience beautiful views during the day and night.

Ganges is also home to the famous Salt Spring Saturday Market. Running April through October, you can purchase local art, jewelry, produce, and more.

Be sure to spend some time on the beaches and lakes found across the island too. Kayaking and paddle-boarding, in particular, are popular water sports to try during your stay. There are also many scenic hikes and Salt Spring benefits from some of the best weather on the west coast!

Campbell River

Campbell River is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island. It’s a great Vancouver getaway for outdoor and nature lovers.

Wildlife fans will be thrilled by the range of wildlife viewing tours available. Campbell River offers whale, eagle, and bear watching tours. Choose just one, or spend the weekend trying to spot all these Canadian creatures!

Campbell River welcomes fishing, so it’s a good spot for those looking to unwind on a weekend fishing trip. One of the main fish in the area is Salmon.

In fact, Campbell River is known by some as the Salmon Capital of the World! If you want to catch your own, river salmon fishing excursions are available. Or try fresh-caught Salmon at one of many local restaurants.

Hiking lovers will discover lots of trails across all types of terrain. Elk Falls Provincial Park offers a scenic trail for all hiking levels. There is also a suspension bridge to cross for an adrenaline rush and views of the stunning falls. Other popular trails include Canyon View Trail and The Kwai Lake and Forbidden Plateau.

No matter what your favorite outdoor activity, it’s sure to be offered in this Vancouver Island town!

Tofino

Tofino is a small coastal village on Vancouver Island. It is about a six-hour drive from Vancouver, or you can take the seaplane to get there faster.

Tofino is a very popular surfing destination. It's great for experienced or newer surfers with many companies offering surfing lessons. The beautiful sandy beaches are perfect for relaxing beach days too. Other beach activities include fishing, kayaking, and canoeing.

Hikers and bikers will find many trails and hikes both easy and more challenging. No matter where you choose to explore, there'll be amazing views and wildlife sightings guaranteed.

Tofino is an excellent location for whale watching. Multiple companies offer whale-watching excursions. You'll be able to see grey whales, humpbacks, and orcas. Bear-watching tours are also available.

If visiting in fall or winter, storm watching is a unique activity offered in Tofino. Watching the stormy skies, lashing rain, and big crashing waves up close is a memorable experience. Many hotels offer storm watching packages, allowing you to view the incoming storms from their beachside accommodations.

Victoria

A trip to British Columbia’s capital of Victoria on Vancouver Island is one of the best weekend getaways from Vancouver.

Take the ferry from Tsawwassen or consider going by air! Although more expensive, I highly recommend taking a seaplane at least one way. It’s about a 30-minute flight between downtown Vancouver and downtown Victoria.

Once downtown, there are a range of attractions to explore. The Parliament Building is a must-see. The Butchart Gardens are also a popular attraction. The 55-acre botanical garden is a relaxing oasis in the city. Taking a stroll through pretty Beacon Hill Park is equally recommended. Victoria also has many great brunch spots so be sure to check them out.

Fisherman’s Wharf is a fun place to visit. Although still downtown, there are seaside style shops and restaurants. There are also the quirky and colorful houseboats to see that float on the water.

Whales and other marine animals even come into the harbor throughout the year. To guarantee a whale sighting, Victoria is a popular spot to take whale watching tours. You can find many tour companies to book excursions with.

You’ll additionally find a wide selection of restaurants, bars, and clubs throughout the downtown area. From vegan-friendly spots to rooftop bars and fantastic brunch options, there’s something for all tastes!

Seattle

Seattle, in Washington state, is a fun weekend getaway from Vancouver. Drive there in around three hours or take the scenic Amtrak Cascades train from Vancouver’s Pacific Central Station. As you’re crossing into the US, remember your travel documents!

In Seattle, you’ll find many famous attractions to visit. Head to Pike Place Market to browse the unique shops and market stalls.

Pike Place is also home to the first Starbucks. Get a coffee at this iconic location if you’re willing to wait in line. Alternatively, just snack your way around the market. Before you leave, stop by the fish market to see the famous fish toss!

Another popular attraction is Pier 57. With retro seaside decor and gift shops, it’s touristy but worth a visit! The Space Needle is a must-visit landmark too. Travel up the 184-meter tall observation tower for 360-degree city views.

Within downtown Seattle, there are multiple Museums to visit. The museum of pop culture is particularly recommended. The underground tour, a tour of old Seattle that’s sat under present-day Seattle since 1889, is another must-do activity.

Complete your weekend with some shopping or by watching Seattle’s NFL, MLS, or MLB team play.

Portland

Portland has something for everyone and is an ideal location for a long weekend trip from Vancouver. Located in the US state of Oregon, it’s known for its hipster culture and friendly locals. Portland is about a six-hour drive from Vancouver or you can travel by Amtrak.

Craft breweries are super popular in Portland. You’ll find breweries open for drinks and even tours across the city. If you’re looking to dedicate time to a brewery crawl, I recommend heading to the Pearl District.

There is also a selection of pretty and tranquil gardens to visit. The International Rose Test Garden and Japanese Garden are both worth visiting while in Washington Park. History and culture lovers will be spoilt for choice too. Top places to visit include Pittock Mansion and the Portland Art Museum.

You’ll also find unique independent stores and plenty of thrift shops. Make sure to stop at the popular Voodoo donuts for some quirky and delicious treats too!

If you have some extra time, Portland is a relatively short drive to Mt. Hood for skiing, snowboarding, or hiking. There are also national parks and other trails a short drive from the city.

In Summary

Hopefully, my list gave you some great ideas to start planning your next Vancouver getaway! If possible, I definitely recommend checking out as many of these spots as you can.

As many locations are close to each other, consider combining suggestions for a multiple stop getaway.

However, if you're only in Vancouver briefly, you're sure to have an amazing trip no matter which location you choose.


Written by Alli Sewell

allisewell WRITER Currently based in Canada, I've also lived and worked in the UK and Brazil and travelled in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. I love finding the best photo-ops and food and drink locations wherever I go!


Stay informed

Get excited about travel by subscribing for the latest articles and announcements.