6 Short Road Trips from Vancouver

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Vancouver is perched on the edge of a vast wilderness, so close to your next weekend adventure. Here are six short road trips from Vancouver that can be done on a single tank of gas.

Pemberton

A couple pitches a tent in a small clearing in the forest.

Nairn Falls Provincial Park near Pemberton, BC. Photo: Julian Apse

Just two-and-a-half hours from Vancouver up the Sea to Sky highway, tiny Pemberton makes a perfect base for a weekend (or more) of hiking, biking, fishing, hot springs, golf and — thanks to the surrounding valley’s local bounty — plenty of sipping and sampling as well.  Read more from Sue Kernaghan on Pemberton.

Squamish

A rocky mountain overlooks a coastal highway.

The Chief near Squamish, BC. Photo: Bob Young.

Tucked between towering mountains and the ocean, in a terrain dotted with glacial lakes and rivers, Squamish attracts hard-core outdoor enthusiasts. But you don’t have to be a rock climber, kite surfer or white-water rafter to enjoy this community of 17,000 nature lovers. There are plenty of mild adventures and spectator experiences to get your heart racing. Read more about road tripping to Squamish.

The Scenic Highway 7 Route

Aerial view of an island overgrown with vegetation.

Green Point near Harrison Hot Springs, BC. Photo: Lauren Mitchell via Twitter

Highway 7 (the Lougheed Highway) from Vancouver to Hope is a slower alternative to Highway 1, but a scenic one. An attractive choice for motorcycles, RVs, and cyclists, it passes through rolling foothills and along winding rivers. Pack your favourite adventure gear, for this route along the north side of the Fraser River, offers many hiking, biking, fishing, and golfing opportunities. Read more about Highway 7 road trip stops.

The Fraser Canyon

A red airtram travels over a red bridge and rushing rapids.

Hell’s Gate Airtram in the Fraser Canyon, BC. Photo: Vagabond Quest

A highway clinging to sheer granite walls, mountain peaks looming overhead, a raging river below: the Fraser Canyon may not be the fastest way to the interior, but it wins hands down for drama.

The canyon, a 108-kilometre stretch of Highway 1 between Hope and Lytton, is where the Fraser River cuts a steep gorge between the Cascades and the Coast Mountains. Replaced by the Coquihalla Highway as the quickest route inland, the area is gaining traction as an outdoor destination with enough rafting, biking, hiking, living history and geological thrills to keep visitors occupied for weeks.  Read more about the Fraser Canyon from Sue Kernaghan.

The Fraser Valley

A group of people sit at a dinner table outdoors enjoying food and wine.

Vista D’oro Vineyard, Langley, BC. Photo: Albert Normandin

Just a short drive from Vancouver’s busiest urban centre is a place of country pleasures just waiting to be explored. The Fraser Valley, that fertile delta between the Coast and Cascade mountains, is British Columbia’s largest agricultural region. It’s also home to boutique winemakers and craft brewers, beekeepers, bakers, and baristas.  Read more about the flavours of the Fraser Valley from Joanne Sasvari.

Bowen Island

A group of women hike in the forest, pointing at the mature trees lining the path.

An easy walk around Killarney lake, Bowen Island.

Bowen Island is unique: It’s only an hour from Vancouver, but the back-to-basics atmosphere makes you feel as though you’ve traveled deep into BC’s wilderness. Catch a BC Ferry from Horseshoe Bay for a 20 minute sailing to Snug Cove, or take a water taxi from Coal Harbour or Granville Island. As you cross Howe Sound, the towering Coastal Mountains command you to slow down, pay attention and be present. Before you know it, you’re stepping into another world.  Read more about how to re-wild on Bowen Island.

Featured image: Sea to Sky Highway. Photo: Blake Jorgenson