Vancouver is a city full of wonderful attractions. Whether you want something simple or want to get away from it all, Vancouver has many fantastic places to visit and plenty of things to do.
One thing that can be challenging when trying to discover new places is finding them on your own.
That’s why we’ve scoured the city looking for the best secret spots for day trips from Vancouver.
Secret Spots for Day Trips from Vancouver
The city is full of amazing little locations that, for whatever reason, still manage to stay off the beaten path. Despite their relative anonymity, these secret spots for day trips continue to add to the charm and character of Vancouver.
Our top picks for you today are Whistler, sightseeing in Victoria and relaxing at Harrison Hot Spring. So if you’d like to get out and explore some of Vancouver’s secret spots for day trips, you’re in the right place.
Explore and Experience Whistler
A trip to Whistler would be incomplete without a visit to one of the most well-known ski resorts, Whistler Blackcomb.
This resort consists of the soaring Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, which boast nearly 8,100 acres of snow-covered slopes to satisfy every skier’s fantasy.
Even if you don’t ski, Whistler Blackcomb is still worth a visit because it has a beautiful backdrop for photos. You can also ride the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, which offers a bird’s eye view of the forest and mountains.
Aside from skiing, Whistler is also Canada’s prime golf destination, with numerous golf courses surrounded by breathtaking mountain views.
We recommend you visit the Whistler Golf Club to play golf. This golf club has over 18 courses and is suitable for golfers of all skill levels.
However, if you want to warm up before hitting the course, you can go to The Range and practice your swings. Drop-in rates at The Range cost from CAD 12 to CAD 150, depending on the number of golf balls rented.
After a long day of exploring Whistler, grabbing something to eat is a good idea. Since 2009, All Seasons Grill Whistler in Whistler Village has served all-day meals.
This restaurant serves a wide range of breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals and only uses fresh, locally produced ingredients. They are also an ideal burger joint as they offer a wide variety of grilled burgers from CAD 18 to CAD 24.
Before you leave, it’s a good idea to experience Whistler’s Nightlife scene as the city has plenty of bars that offer craft beer, wine, and mixed drinks.
Whistler’s Crystal Lounge is great for grabbing a beer and relaxing. This quaint bar serves draft beers, cocktails, and live music every night.
The trip from downtown Vancouver to Whistler takes about two hours. The quickest route is through Stanley Park, across the Lions Gate Bridge, and then drive towards the Sea-to-Sky highway.
You can also take the YVR-Whistler SkyLynx, which is the only bus company that has tickets at the Vancouver International Airport. Another option would be the Snowbus, which offers rides between Whistler and Richmond, Vancouver, and West Vancouver
Go Sightseeing in Victoria
The Inner Harbour in Victoria is one of the most beautiful harbors in the world, which made us consider how ideal it would be to take a photography class before visiting this city.
This harbor offers a majestic waterfront view and numerous interesting buildings in Downtown Victoria. The Empress and the Legislature buildings also provide a beautiful backdrop to the Inner Harbour’s beautiful water view.
This harbor offers a variety of day trip activities such as sightseeing, visiting art galleries such as the Robert Bateman Gallery, joining the whale watching adventure, and simply strolling along the waterfront.
If you enjoy gardens, you should visit one of Canada’s national historic sites, The Butchart Gardens.
Butchart Gardens has nearly 55 acres of lush greenery and 900 bedding plant varieties. The Sunken, Rose, Japanese, Italian, and Mediterranean gardens are among the five gardens at this establishment.
Visitors are treated with blooming annuals, flowering trees and shrubs, and majestic trees. Butchart Gardens also employs over 50 full-time gardeners to care for their nursery plants. This garden is open all year round, from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm.
The Whistle Buoy Brewing Company, where they make and serve fresh beer, should be your final stop. This brewery in Market Square is always looking for new ingredients and techniques to offer new beer flavors.
If you’re in a hurry and just want a can of beer, they also sell ale and lager for CAD 20.
Traveling by car between Vancouver and Victoria will take you approximately four hours. To get to the BC Ferry terminal from downtown Vancouver, take Howe Street south and cross the Granville Bridge.
Then, when you reach the intersection of Granville and West 49th Avenue, turn left, continue to the next intersection, turn right, and cross the Oak Street bridge.
From there, follow the signs for “Highway 17-Victoria Ferries Next Right” to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal. Once you arrive on Vancouver Island, downtown Victoria is only a 30-minute drive away.
You can also take Translink, which connects downtown Vancouver to Victoria. However, this option takes longer, so if you want the quickest public transportation option, we recommend taking a bus from Pacific Central Station, which is located on Main Street and Terminal Avenue in Vancouver.
Relax at Harrison Hot Springs
Harrison Hot Springs is a must-visit for anyone looking for a relaxing day trip. This resort features two indoor and three outdoor mineral hot pools with a descending waterfall, rock formations, and plants to mimic a classic West Coast setup.
They also have dedicated spa facilities with numerous treatment rooms that provide comfortable, heated massage tables and soothing lights to make you feel well-rested.
Harrison Hot Springs is also an excellent wedding venue if you want to have a garden wedding. They have a full-wedding service that assists clients from planning to execution.
The travel time from Vancouver to Harrison Hot Springs is approximately 1 hour and 28 minutes. Turn right onto W Georgia after traveling northeast on Hornby Street. Turn right onto Clark Drive, then left onto E 1st Avenue.
After merging onto the Trans-Canada Highway, take Exit 44 and keep left toward Mary Hill Bypass. Continue straight onto Lougheed Highway, then turn right onto BC-7E.
Lastly, continue to Agassiz-Rosedale Highway and look out for signs for Harrison Hot Springs.
You can also ride a bus to Harrison Hot Springs at the Waterfront Station, but this option takes longer.
Discover Salt Spring Island
Salt Spring Island is located between British Columbia and Vancouver Island in the Strait of Georgia. It’s the largest and most populated island of the Southern Gulf Islands.
This island is ideal for day trips for those who want to immerse themselves in nature, art, food, and adventure.
The first stop is Moby’s Pub. This pub is a great place to have a good time and listen to live music. It’s the perfect casual hangout where you can bond with friends while enjoying a meal or a drink.
Moby’s Pub serves a wide variety of beer on tap and tasty cocktails such as margaritas, daiquiris, and many more. These beverages cost around CAD 8 to CAD 15.
While you’re there, try some of their locally made beverages, such as the Salt Spring Wild, Garry Oaks Winery, and Kutatas Wine. These drinks are made from local ingredients, costing between CAD 11 and CAD 13 per glass.
Salt Spring Island is also excellent for families as it offers plenty of kids’ activities such as nature walks, ice cream tours, exploring tide pools, and climbing Mount Erskine.
The ferry ride from Vancouver to Salt Spring Island takes about an hour and twenty-five minutes. You can also take the SeaPlane, which reduces travel time from downtown Vancouver to only 35 minutes.
There is certainly a lot of variety when it comes to going on a day trip from Vancouver. You never know what you might find or experience during your excursion, and that’s part of the fun.
However, there are also some really amazing spots within an hour and a half drive from downtown that are worth exploring. Whatever you choose to do, don’t forget to document your adventures!