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10 Best Day Trips in Vancouver to Unleash Your Inner Explorer

10 Best Day Trips in Vancouver to Unleash Your Inner Explorer

Vacations don’t need to take weeks. Sometimes, all it needs is a single day to explore new places and create memories that will last a lifetime.

If you’re looking for a short, exciting adventure, we’ve got just the right places! From wandering through a quaint village to immersing yourself in nature, we’ve got the best day trip ideas from Vancouver that will make you get out of bed on a weekend!

Read on and start your adventure!

Wander the streets of Gastown

Media credit: mygastown

Distance from Downtown Vancouver: 3-minute drive, 1 km


Address: Gastown, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Operating Hours: 24/7, establishments will have different hours

Contact Information:

Admission: Free

There’s no need to wake up early to leave Vancouver for a day trip. Gastown, the city’s oldest neighbourhood, is just a short distance from downtown, making it a quick adventure that’s perfect for families and groups of friends.

You can go shopping on the cobblestone streets—we suggest Community Thrift & Vintage, a good cause that sells recycled clothes for men and women. You can also visit the local pub, Steamworks Brewing Company, for some fish and chips and local beer.

But one of the best activities is joining a walking tour, particularly a ghost tour, for a retelling of Gastown’s bone-chilling stories. The Lost Souls of Gastown has tour guides in costume performing theatrics for a unique experience!

Pro Tip:
Visiting Gastown means you have to do a lot of walking on cobblestone streets. It’s best to wear comfortable shoes, particularly walking or running shoes, so you won’t feel the uneven roads too much.

Explore Granville Island

Media credit: granville_island

Distance from Vancouver: 7-minute drive, 3.7 km


Address: Granville Island, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Operating Hours:

  • 24/7, establishments will have different hours
  • Public Market: Monday – Sunday: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm

Contact Information: (604) 666-6655

Admission: Free

If you’re a foodie, you will enjoy a day trip to Granville Island. There are a lot of food shops and breweries, but a stop at the Public Market is definitely something you need to make time for.

It has fresh produce, fruits, and artisan crafts, but the food court is the jewel of the place. There, you can indulge in your food cravings with a wide variety of cuisines, like Indian, Italian, Spanish, and more!

You’ll also find plenty of outdoor seating areas to dine and enjoy a pint of beer. If you’re lucky, you might get to watch street performers while dining, and hey, you might find your next favourite artist here!

Pro Tips:
Avoid eating too much in one place. It’s best to taste little things from different food stalls so you get to try more and pick out your favourite!

There’s limited parking on Granville Island. Instead of driving, you can take the bus #50 False Creek from downtown, which will stop at the island.

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Media credit: capilanosuspensionbridge

Distance from Vancouver: 10-minute drive, 8.4 km


Address: 3735 Capilano Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7R 4J1, Canada

Operating Hours:

  • Monday – Tuesday: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
  • Wednesday – Sunday: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm

Contact Information:


  • Adult (18 – 64) – $59.95 – $66.95
  • Senior (65+) – $55.45 – $61.95
  • Student (18+) – $48.25 – $53.95
  • Youth (13 – 17) – $32.95 – $36.95
  • Child (6 – 12) $- $23.95 – $26.95

Adrenaline junkies will have a blast crossing the Capilano Suspension Bridge, which is 70 metres high above the Capilano River. You’ll walk the bridge that stretches for 137 metres while admiring the gorgeous BC scenery.

This is not just a thrilling activity but is also a historical and cultural place. You’ll also learn about the First Nations and their roles and connections to the park.

Plus, this place is very accessible from downtown, taking only 15 minutes. If you have park admission, you get a free shuttle, so no need to drive!

Pro Tip:
Visit around November to January to catch the Canyon Lights. The bridge will have a multi-colour display from end to end, which will surely add to the festive mood of the season!

Pay a visit to the Britania Mine Museum

Media credit: britanniaminemuseum

Distance from Vancouver: 24-minute drive, 51.6 km


Address: 150 Copper Dr, Britannia Beach, BC V8B 1J1, Canada

Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 9:00 am – 4:30 pm

Contact Information:

  • 1 (800) 896-4044 (toll-free)
  • (604) 896-2233 Ext 0


  • Seniors (65 – 100+) & Students – $36.95
  • Adults (18 – 64) – $41.95
  • Youth (13 – 17) – $31.95
  • Children (5 – 12) – $23.95
  • Infants (0 – 4) – $0.00

A fun and educational place you can visit not too far from Vancouver is the Britania Mine Museum. You only need to take four hours of your day for this trip, so you’ll get home by dinnertime!

This is a must if you’re in BC, given it’s a National Historic Site. With every visit, you get a guided tour of the underground, see the historical exhibits, and go gold panning.

Plus, you’ll watch the immersive BOOM! experience, where you get to see the mine come back to life! Get ready for the roars and rumbles of the mill and learn how the machinery worked back in the day.

Pro Tip:
Wear comfortable shoes because you’ll need to walk 48 steps going to the train. Also, bring a jacket, even just a windbreaker, because the tunnel and the mill can get cold.

Hike at Elk Mountain in Chilliwack

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Distance from Vancouver: 1 hour and 27-minute drive, 118.2 km

Address: Trailhead – 50285 Elk View Rd #50311, Chilliwack, BC V4Z 1A5, Canada

Operating Hours: Year-round, 24/7

Admission: Free

With the many hiking spots in Canada, we need to do the sport at least once in our lives. Just over an hour from Vancouver, and you’ll reach Chilliwack, home to hiking spots of various difficulty levels.

We suggest Elk Mountain, an 8.2 km trail which offers stunning views of Chilliwack, Cultus Lake and Fraser Valley. The trailhead starts at the parking lot along Elk View Road.

This hike will take over four hours to complete but will still depend on your skill level. Expect steep climbs, particularly at the top, as this is a challenging route, but it’s pretty well-maintained with markers.

Pro Tip:
It’s best to wear spikes and bring hiking poles. You’ll need it, especially once you’re near the viewpoint, as it can get steep.

Go skiing at Whistler Olympic Park

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Distance from Vancouver: 1 hour and 30-minute drive, 121.2 km


Address: Whistler, BC, Canada

Operating Hours:

  • Visitor Centre, Monday – Sunday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Whistler Olympic Park

  • Winter, November 2023 – April 2024
  • Monday – Friday: 9:00 am – 4:30 pm*
  • Saturday – Sunday: 8:30  – 4:40 pm

*Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays will have extended hours on certain nights

Contact Information: 

  • 1 (800) 944-7853 (North America)
  • 1 (604) 932-0606 (International)

Cross-country Ski Rates: 

  • Adult (19+) – $35
  • Senior (65+) – $19 (weekday)
  • Youth (7 – 18) – $19
  • Child (6 and under) – Free
  • Dogs – $8

One of the best places to go to in the winter is Whistler, especially if you’re looking for a thrilling activity that’s perfect for the whole family. You can ski at Whistler Olympic Park, the same place where the 2010 Winter Games was held—pretty cool, pun intended.

This world-class destination is open to individuals of all ages. With 90 km of picturesque trails, you can find a place to escape from the hustle and bustle of life.

Plus, you can even bring your furry companions because there are dog-friendly trails. The open space and extensive trails will be a perfect outdoor activity that will tire out your dogs at the end of the day.

Pro Tips:
Always check the weather updates or ask the visitor centre regarding avalanche warnings. Remember: safety first!Remember to eat breakfast before skiing. It’s an exhausting sport, so make sure you aren’t hungry while on the slopes.

Smell the flowers at The Butchart Gardens

Media credit: thebutchartgardens

Distance from Vancouver: 2 hour and 46-minute drive 102.7 km


Address: 800 Benvenuto Ave, Brentwood Bay, BC V8M 1J8, Canada

Operating Hours: Subject to change depending on the dates/holidays

  • Winter, Monday – Sunday: 9:00 am – 3:30 pm
  • Spring, Monday – Sunday: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
  • Summer, Monday – Sunday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Autumn, Oct 1 – Oct 31, Monday – Sunday: 9:00 am – 3:30 pm/4:00 pm

Contact Information: 

  • (250) 652-4422
  • (866) 652-4422 (toll-free)

Admission: Subject to change depending on the dates

  • Adult (18+) – $22.90 – $41.50
  • Youth (13 – 17) – $11.45 – $20.75
  • Child (5 – 12) – $3 – $5

The Butchart Gardens is one of the best places near Vancouver for a relaxing day trip. It has gorgeous gardens with stunning landscapes that make for a perfect photo op for the whole family.

In the middle of the gardens, you’ll find the star of the show: the Sunken Garden, which has 151 flower beds and occupies five acres. Colourful blooms and lush trees make up the landscapes, which took an incredible nine years to complete.

Before leaving, visit the Seeds & Gifts Store, where you’ll find a large selection of seeds to take home and plant in your own garden. Look for the Tibetan Blue Poppy, which is harvested from the gardens.

Pro Tips:
If you want to avoid crowds, visit early. It can get busy really quickly, even on weekdays.Wear comfortable shoes because you’ll be walking a lot. It can take up to four hours if you want to see the whole place.

Discover the depths of Horne Lake Caves

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Distance from Vancouver: 3 hour and 22-minute drive, 149.4 km


Address: 3905 Horne Lake Caves Rd, Qualicum Beach, BC V9K 2L7, Canada

Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Contact Information:

Rates: per participant

  • Riverbend Cave Explorer – $54
  • Multi Cave Experience – $79
  • The Action Pack (main and lower caves) – $79
  • Achilles Challenge – $139
  • Max Depth Adventure – $199

For thrillseekers, a great day trip from Vancouver is caving, particularly the Horne Lake Caves, a wild cave kept in its natural state. There are beginner and family-friendly routes, while others are best suited for spelunkers.

The Riverbend Cave Explorer is ideal for families, and it only takes an hour and 45 minutes. Book a private tour to confidently explore with your kids aged five and up.

Daredevils will enjoy the Max Depth Adventure (open from June to September), taking five and a half hours and is the most difficult route. Here, you’ll need to crouch, rock climb, and crawl on your belly to explore the cave.

Pro Tips:
Visit early in the morning to avoid crowds. Also, summer and fall seasons are also when the caves are driest. 

Consider joining guided tours if you’re a beginner and with your family. It also means you will only follow the designated routes, and you’ll have an expert with you at all times.

Paddle the waters at Port Moody’s Rocky Point Kayak

Media credit: rockypointkayak

Distance from Vancouver: 21-minute drive, 20.4 km



Operating Hours: Varies depending on days and seasons


  • Monday – Friday: 10:00 am/1:30 pm – dusk
  • Saturday – Sunday: 9:00 am – dusk


  • Monday – Sunday: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm


  • Monday – Friday: 9:00 am/10:00 am/1:00 pm – dusk
  • Saturday – Sunday: 9:00 am – dusk

Contact Information:

Rates: Requires a $100 deposit

  • Guided Kayak Inlet Tour – $35
  • Group SUP Lesson – $40
  • Group Combo Kayak and SUP – $60

Port Moody is an ideal day trip from Vancouver for water adventures. At Rocky Point Kayak, you can have a fun-filled family activity because group bookings are available, complete with a guided tour so you can safely navigate the waters.

A kayak tour will take two and a half hours and will take you along the shores of Rocky Point Park and the Burrard Inlet. If you’re lucky, you might come across adorable seals swimming in the water.

You can book a morning trip so it won’t be too hot out. Also, the staff will sometimes ask you to play fun games while kayaking, depending on the weather.

Pro Tip:
Always wear proper attire and sunscreen. Bring a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.

Dip your toes in Willows Beach

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Distance from Vancouver: 3-hour drive, 119.1 km

Address: Esplanade, Oak Bay, BC 000, Canada

Operating Hours: Year-round, 24/7

Admission: Free

Drive to Victoria to cool off in the summer. Willows Beach is a popular swimming spot in the area and is an excellent choice for families because of its protected waters and shallow water depths.

You can relax while basking under the sun, playing beach volleyball, or having a delicious picnic. There’s a tea house if you want to have light snacks and plenty of concession stands so the kids won’t go hungry while playing in the waters.

Pro Tip:
If you’re visiting on a weekend, it’s best to bring snacks and water. The concession stands will usually have long lines since this is a local hotspot.