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5 Days to Transformation: Trips From Seattle

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Grouse Mountain | Destination Vancouver/Kindred & Scout

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We’re all seeking a deeper connection. Not just to the world around us, but to our authentic selves. We want to see new places and embrace the excitement of exploring a world outside of the one we’ve been living in. With borders now open, it’s the time to go beyond what you know. Check out these easy trips to Vancouver, Victoria, and Kelowna—including options to go deeper into the wilds of British Columbia. 

Vancouver: Seattle’s Canadian Cousin

Vancouver is often touted as Canada’s answer to Seattle, similar in many respects, yet offering a very different experience. In Vancouver, a rainforest stirs as the ocean ebbs and flows and the North Shore mountains rise high behind the city’s skyscrapers—accessible within 20 minutes of downtown. This West Coast city boasts a thriving multicultural scene brought to life by top-notch restaurants scattered throughout distinct and inviting neighbourhoods.

It’s easy to get to Vancouver, too. Jump in the car, cross the border at the Peace Arch or Douglas crossing, and arrive in three hours. Or book with Amtrak for a smooth, three-and-a-half-hour journey from downtown to downtown. (Please note: check to see if you will be traveling by train or by bus with Amtrak.) Prefer to fly? Jump on a plane and arrive in an hour.

Once you arrive, there are countless ways to connect with nature. Breathe in the fresh ocean air as you cycle the 10-km (6-mi) Stanley Park Seawall or join Talasay Tours for an interpretive forest walk with Indigenous guides. Visit the Museum of Anthropology to see the art of living Indigenous cultures at the UBC endowment lands, stroll the beaches of Kitsilano, wander through a rainforest canopy at Capilano Suspension Bridge, or tackle 2,830 stairs on the Grouse Grind hiking trail to scale the side of a much-loved North Shore mountain. 

And this city is just the beginning of your adventure, with easy access into the wilderness around Vancouver.

Sea to Sky Gondola | Paul Bride

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Victoria: Whale Watching Wonders and Culinary Adventures

On Vancouver Island, in the seaside city of Victoria, the pace is a little slower and life is a little calmer. Recharge with the rhythm of the ocean, wander through communities inspired by the landscape, and tune into the natural world as it quietly stirs around you.

Getting to Victoria from Seattle is a breeze. For a scenic route, take the Brainbridge Ferry from Seattle to Brainbridge Island, drive to Port Angeles, and jump on the Black Ball Ferry Line direct to Victoria. Alternatively, you can floatplane in with Kenmore Air. Or take a leisurely drive north, cross the border into Canada, and drive to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal, where you can board BC Ferries to Victoria.

While you’re here, it’s easy to connect with the natural world. Book a whale-watching day trip from Victoria’s Inner Harbour, and stroll along Dallas Road for views of the ocean, keeping an eye out for wildlife. Eat your way around this foodie-favourite city, with stops in Canada’s oldest Chinatown and at hot spots like Rebar and Q Restaurant at the Fairmont Empress. Then hit the road and explore the Pacific Rim, up the Island’s east coast, through the Inside Passage, and around the Coast Circle Route. Each destination offers wildlife viewing and immersive nature.

Cox Bay in Tofino | Ben Giesbrecht

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Kelowna: Sprawling Vineyards, Rolling Hills, and Endless Sunshine

This vibrant city in BC’s interior offers a very different landscape from the moody, West Coast weather and sights of Seattle. Here, rolling hills, sparkling lakes, and sunny skies make for a true change of scenery.

From Seattle, Kelowna is a five and a half hour drive. This scenic route takes you north through Washington and into BC, then along Highways 1 (through the District of Hope) and 5 (through Merritt), with plenty of interesting stops and mountain views. For a quick trip, book a direct flight from Seattle to Kelowna and rent a car at the Kelowna airport to explore the city and beyond.

In Kelowna, explore over 40 wineries with not-to-be-missed wining and dining experiences. But first, work up an appetite along the many hiking trails that surround the city, cycle the Myra Canyon trestles, or just lounge on the sandy beaches that dot Okanagan Lake. With Kelowna as your starting point, travel out to the surrounding landscape and let the adventure—and your perspective—expand.

Mount Robson | Robert Downie

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From Seattle, the Canadian wilderness is closer than you think. Book a trip to explore Vancouver, Victoria, or Kelowna—and beyond—to connect with the energy of new experiences.

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