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Cars driving the Sea to Sky Highway between Vancouver and Whistler with ocean and mountains in the background.

6 Short Road Trips from Vancouver

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Set on the edge of a vast wilderness, Vancouver is just a hop, skip, and a road trip away from your next weekend adventure. Here are six short getaways from Vancouver that can each be accomplished on a single tank of gas.

Big Sky golf Club | Grant Harder

Pemberton

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, and—thanks to the surrounding valley’s local bounty—plenty of sipping and sampling as well. 

Visit Pemberton

Squamish

Tucked between 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 whitewater rafter to enjoy this community of 20,000 nature lovers. There are plenty of mild adventures and spectator experiences to get your heart racing.

Visit Squamish
Green Point on Harrison Lake | @brynnstonephoto via Twitter

The Scenic Highway 7 Route

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 as this route along the north side of the Fraser River offers many hiking, biking, fishing, and golfing opportunities. Worked up an appetite with all that adventure? Take a break at one of several roadside farm stands or stops along one of the Circle Farm Tours in the area. 

Follow the Scenic 7
Vista D’oro Vineyard in Langley | Albert Normandin

The Fraser Valley

A short drive from Vancouver’s busy urban centre is a place of country pleasures just waiting to be explored. The Fraser Valley, a 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.

Visit The Fraser Valley
Hell's Gate Airtram in the Fraser Canyon, BC | Vagabond Quest

The Fraser Canyon

Here, you’ll find a highway embraced by sheer granite walls, with mountain peaks overhead and a raging river below. BC’s 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.

Follow the Gold Rush Trail
One of the few places left where you can still be genuinely spooked by an owl. Killarney Lake and Crippen Park walk, Bowen Island.

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 travelled 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 Coastal Mountains command you to slow down, pay attention, and be present. Before you know it, you’re stepping into another world. 

Tips for travelling with BC Ferries

Feature Image: Sea-to-Sky Highway winding along the coast of Howe Sound with mountains in the backdrop.

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