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The Top 15 Vancouver Weekend Getaways that Won’t Break the Bank

The Top 15 Vancouver Weekend Getaways that Won’t Break the Bank

I had it all figured out—a cozy cabin, all the nature activities planned for a chill weekend away from the city. That was the plan, at least. 

Reality? ramshackle cabin with questionable plumbing, a view of a noisy highway, and enough mosquitoes to carry me away. Needless to say, my weekend getaway wasn’t quite the escape I craved.

But that experience, though frustrating, led me to look afterwards for the very best affordable getaways from Vancouver that offered relaxation and adventure. And as I’m all for sharing the goodies I find, here are all the best cheap weekend getaways from Vancouver! You can try these for your own budget escape. 

1. Whistler

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Whistler. The name itself conjures images of swooshing down diamond runs, luxurious spas, and celebrity chefs. But a budget-friendly getaway here is totally doable.

Just a two-hour drive away, you can swap cityscapes for soaring peaks without blowing a day on travel. Whistler’s natural beauty is its crown jewel, and luckily, appreciating it doesn’t require a hefty price tag. 

The Valley Trail is a paved path that winds through the entire valley, perfect for walking, biking, or rollerblading. Take a dip in Lost Lake. It’s refreshingly chilly but totally free. 

Pro Tip: Finding a cheap place to stay is not impossible. Hostels are a great option! Look for places outside the main village, like Creekside or Armchair Glacier, for even better rates. And if you’re travelling with a group, consider splitting a vacation rental.

2. Tofino

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Tofino has stunning beaches, epic waves, and a laid-back vibe that’s perfect for relaxing.

Explore miles of wild beaches, like the famed Long Beach. Hit the waves with a cheap surfboard rental, or try your hand at skimboarding (it’s easier than it looks!). 

Pack a picnic and hike the trails of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve for a chance to spot bears, eagles, and all sorts of cool critters. 

Pro Tip: Cozy up in a surf hostel or rent a cabin, but camping is a great option too. Pacific Rim National Park Reserve has several campgrounds with basic amenities, putting you right in the heart of the action. 

3. Harrison Hot Springs

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Harrison Hot Springs is all about soaking up relaxation (literally and figuratively) without the luxury price tag.

The main attractions, of course, are the natural hot springs. Soak in the warm, mineral-rich waters for a fraction of the cost of some fancy spas. 

Stay at the resort with hot spring access included—just be sure to factor that into your accommodation comparison.

Pro Tip: Harrison Hot Springs isn’t a party town, but that’s part of its appeal. Check out the cute cafes and unique shops lining the streets. 

4. Squamish

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Squamish is the outdoor recreation capital of Canada. Squamish is for that wild weekend getaway without the fancy price tag. 

Hike the epic Shannon Falls, the third-highest waterfall in BC, for free. Feeling brave? Take a dip in the glacial pool at its base (just be prepared for a refreshing shock!). 

Wanna shred some gnar? Lift tickets at the Sea to Sky Gondola are decent, and the views are epic. 

Or explore the scenic Estuary Boardwalk and catch a glimpse of bald eagles soaring through the air or curious seals basking in the sun. 

Pro Tip: Pack a picnic lunch if you’re planning on doing some hiking. This way, you can save some cash.

5. Sunshine Coast


Unlike some Gulf Island getaways, the Sunshine Coast is accessible by ferry without needing a car on the other side. This saves a ton on vehicle transport fees. 

Quaint seaside towns like Gibsons and Sechelt have a strong arts scene with galleries and studios to check out. There’s tons of laid-back vibes that’s perfect for unwinding.

If you want to do some nature activities, hike the scenic Pender Harbour Trail, kayak the glassy waters of Sechelt Inlet, or build sandcastles on the endless beaches.

Pro Tip: Skip the pricey boat tours and explore the stunning Sechelt Inlet by renting a kayak or joining a guided paddleboarding group. It’s a fraction of the cost of a traditional boat tour. 

6. Victoria

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Victoria is a blend of history, natural beauty, and quirky culture, all within a weekend’s reach from Vancouver. Victoria is steeped in British colonial history. 

Explore the majestic British Columbia Parliament Buildings for free, and wander the grounds of the impressive Butchart Gardens at a discounted rate during the off-season (November to March). 

To get to Victoria, take the scenic ferry ride from Vancouver—sometimes whales or orcas can be spotted on the crossing!

Foodwise, be prepared to find plenty of fresh and affordable seafood (think fish and chips!) or browse the different markets in town.

Pro Tip: Beacon Hill Park is a must-visit if you’re into stunning ocean views, walking trails, and peacocks! 

7. Bowen Island

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Bowen Island is just a short ferry ride away from Vancouver. And it isn’t overrun with fancy resorts. Instead, you’ll find cozy B&Bs, vacation rentals, and even campgrounds, all at reasonable prices. 

To keep things under budget, ditch the expensive hotel breakfast and grab fresh pastries or picnic supplies for a seaside feast. 

There’s plenty to do too! Hike through Crippen Regional Park, or take a stroll along the scenic Killarney Lake Loop. 

Pro Tip: Skip the expensive ferry food and pack snacks for the ride over. 

8. Pemberton

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Pemberton is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. Hike or bike the scenic trails around stunning Mount Currie. 

Feeling adventurous? Go whitewater rafting on the roaring Klasyach River, or rent a kayak for a peaceful paddle on turquoise Lake Pemberton. 

The best part? Most trails are free to access, and you can rent gear in town for a reasonable price. 

Pro Tip: Camp out under a blanket of stars at Birkenhead Lake Provincial Park. Feeling fancy? Look into cozy B&Bs or guesthouses for a touch of local charm. 

9. Southern Gulf Islands

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The Southern Gulf Islands are a hidden gem for budget-minded travelers.  While flights can be pricey, ferries are an affordable and scenic way to access the islands. 

These islands are small, which is a good thing for the wallet! You can explore most places by bike or foot, saving on expensive car rentals. 

Each island in the Southern Gulf Islands has its own unique personality. Galiano Island has amazing hiking trails. Salt Spring Island is a haven for local artisans and foodies. Mayne Island offers tranquilly and fewer crowds. 

And the beauty of the Southern Gulf Islands is free to enjoy! Kayak in crystal-clear bays, or simply relax on a secluded beach—all for the price of zero dollars.  

Pro Tip: Swing by a supermarket in Vancouver before you catch the ferry to stock up on essentials. This will not only save you money but also allow you to pack picnic supplies for exploring. 

10. Garibaldi Lake

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This glacial lake is surrounded by snow-capped peaks—perfect for those Instagram shots. 

Set up camp right by the lake too! There’s picnic tables and fire rings, and the scenery is definitely something you can’t get from a motel room. 

Pro Tip: While most people head straight to the lake, the adventurous can continue the trail past Garibaldi Lake for another kilometer. This rewards hikers with stunning views of Garibaldi Peak.

11. Pacific Marine Circle Route

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The Pacific Marine Circle Route takes you through rainforests, along stunning coastlines, and past charming little towns.

Cruise along the rugged Pacific Ocean coastline, with waves crashing against the rocks and the salty air filling your lungs. 

Hike through towering old-growth forests and spot some local wildlife—keep your eyes peeled for bald eagles soaring overhead!

Pro Tip: Head to Race Rocks Provincial Park. This is a popular spot for whale sightings from land! 

12. Parksville

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Sometimes, you just have to ditch the city and soak up some sunshine. And Parksville is the ultimate budget-friendly Vancouver escape.

Parksville can be reached by a shorter ferry trip from Horseshoe Bay in Vancouver. You can choose between taking your car on the ferry or opting for the passenger fare and renting a car in Parksville itself. 

Parksville’s claim to fame is its sandy beaches, stretching for miles. The best part? Unlike some resort towns, beach access in Parksville is completely free. Pack a picnic, grab a frisbee, and enjoy the fresh ocean air without spending a dime.

Pro Tip: There’s tons of budget-friendly stays, from cozy motels to campgrounds nestled right in the heart of nature. If you’re feeling social, consider a hostel—a great way to meet fellow travellers and save some cash. 

13. Manning Park

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E.C. Manning Provincial Park, just a 2.5-hour drive east of Vancouver, ticks all the boxes for a cheap getaway. 

Ditch the expensive hotels and opt for camping! Choose a basic tent site or a more luxurious canvas cabin. 

Pack your groceries, fire up the camp stove, and roast marshmallows under a blanket of stars—all for a fraction of the cost of a city staycation.

There’s tons of hiking trails to explore too! From the family-friendly Lightning Lake loop to the challenging ascent of Greig Meaden Peak.

Pro Tip: If you need a break from lacing up your boots, there’s still plenty to do. Manning Park Resort has canoe and kayak rentals, and in the winter, the park transforms into a winter wonderland with opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. 

14. Kamloops

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Kamloops, almost a 4-hour drive from Vancouver, has so much to do—it’ll be hard to do it all in just a weekend. 

Hike or bike the countless trails that weave through the Ponderosa pine forests. Kayak down the calm waters of the Thompson River, or try your luck whitewater rafting. 

If you’re bold enough, check out the rock climbing scene. Best part? Most of these activities are free or have very reasonable prices. 

Pro Tip: If you’re visiting during the spring or summer, there’s bound to be a sporting event happening, from volleyball tournaments to rodeos. Many of them have free admission or very cheap entry fees.

15. Okanagan Lake

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Okanagan Lake is just a 4-hour drive from Vancouver, making it perfect for a weekend getaway without breaking the bank. Enjoy stunning scenery with rolling hills, vineyards, and, of course, the massive lake itself. 

It’s not hard to find accommodation either—especially for all you budget-conscious travelers. There are cozy cabins, campgrounds, and motels. The best deals are outside peak season (April–May or September–October). 

Pro Tip: Lace up your hiking boots and explore the scenic trails around the lake.