Vancouver’s is a unique coastal location near the U.S. border makes it a perfect launchpad for a wide variety of wonderful weekend trips. From the Gulf Islands to the Sunshine Coast and Victoria to Whistler, these weekend getaways are all within driving distance or a ferry ride from Vancouver.
For outdoor enthusiasts, there are hiking trails through first- growth forests, kayaking along quiet rivers, and fishing in world-class waters. For those who want a little more rest and relaxation, there are spas, award-winning restaurants, and beautiful boutiques selling local goods.
So whether it’s a romantic gateway or a fall weekend retreat, plan your trip with our list of the best weekend gateways from Vancouver.
When planning the perfect trip from Vancouver, look no further than British Columbia's thriving capital on Vancouver Island. One of Victoria's most popular attractions is the Royal British Columbia Museum, which does a briliant job of outline the history of province, from it's First Nations people to the Gold Rush with interactive exhibits and display.
For a romantic gateway in Winter, you can't beat the fresh ocean air, temperate rainforest, and wild beaches of Vancouver Island's west coast and one of the best towns from which to explore them is Ucluelet, not far from teh resort town of Tofino. Make a planned stop at Cathedral Grove to walk along the ginormous trunks of ancient Douglas fir trees in the remnant of a rare and endangered ecosystem.
Whistler provides the ideal weekend gateway from Vancouver no matter what the season. In summer, there’s world-class golfing, hiking, and mountain biking. In winter, the skiing at Whistler Blackcomb is some of the best in the world, offering visitors over 200 marked runs and 16 alpine bowls spread over 8.171 acres of skiable terrain.
Salt Spring Island As the largest of the Southern Gulf Islands, Salt Spring Island has all the attractions and amenities you’d need for a relaxing weekend trip from Vancouver. While in the summertime the island bustles with activity and visitors, a fall weekend is also an ideal time to visit- the leaves are changing, the crowds have dissipated, and time slows down.
As the Southern Gulf Island closest to Vancouver, Galiano Island is one of the easiest to reach for a weekend trip. The non- stop ferry ride a breeze from Tsawwassen Terminal, transporting you from the bustling streets of Vancouver to Galiano’s spectacular rocky cliffs, quiet pebble beaches, and ancient forest trails in about an hour.
While the Sunshine Coast is part of B.C.’s mainland, the landscape is so rugged and mountainous, the only way to access it is via ferry. A 40- minute boat ride from Horseshoe Bay gets you to Langdale Terminal, a few minutes drive from Gibsons, the main hub of the Sunshine Coast.
A hike up Soames Hill, with its superb vistas of the surrounding mountains and islands, is also a popular activity. To make your time outdoors even more meaningful, consider booking a guided tour with B.C.’s first certified forest- bathing guide at Haida Nature.
For a food- filled fall weekend trip from Vancouver, head to Vancouver Island's Cowichan Valley. This region is an undiscovered treasure trove of activities and agricultural gems that really comes alive during the harvest season. The Eat, Stay, Play food festival runs through November, but there is plenty to do any month of the year in Cowichan Valley
Sitting just off the Sunshine Coast is Bowen Island, an idyllic weekend destination that gives visitors stunning ocean views, plenty of relaxation opportunities, and unique island activities. Plus since it's only 20 minutes ferry ride from Vancouver via Horseshoe Bay, this little island provides the perfect location for a weekend trip when time is precious.