An aerial view of lush greenery and pools at the Scandinave Spa.

An Inside Guide to Spring Getaways in BC

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Scandinave Spa, Whistler | Justa Jeskova

Blooming blossoms, rich Indigenous experiences, and invigorating seaside strolls. Spring in BC is a time of rebirth, when longer days and warmer weather inspire us to seek out adventures that light up our soul. Cities surrounded by nature set the stage for culture, dining, and outdoor activities on land and sea. From cozy mountain hideaways to seaside havens, plan a spring escape where the wild is within easy reach.

Vancouver: Culture, Cuisine, and Adventure

Surrounded by ocean, mountains, and forests, Vancouver is a bustling metropolis with vibrant street art, engaging exhibits, two BC Ale Trails, and a thriving restaurant scene with MICHELIN street cred. The city is a scenic springboard for an abundance of outdoor activities that take you from sea to sky.

Spring has officially arrived in this West Coast city when delicate cherry blossoms paint the town pink (there’s even a festival in their honour). Enjoy flower gazing in local neighbourhoods and urban gardens like VanDusen Botanical Garden or Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.

Experience Vancouver

Located on the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Peoples, the area is also alive with Indigenous art, culture, and heritage. Begin your cultural experience by visiting Vancouver’s only Indigenous owned and operated restaurant, Salmon n’ Bannock. Next, visit Stanley Park with Talaysay Tours to learn about Indigenous plant knowledge and hear stories that have been passed down for generations. The Bill Reid Gallery, which houses collections from contemporary Indigenous artists, is a must-do for art lovers. Continue your journey and stay at Skwachays Lodge, a hotel, gallery, and social enterprise that provides Indigenous artists with housing and studio space.

North Shore: An Urban Basecamp For Outdoor Play

Distance from Downtown Vancouver: 30 minutes by car | 15 minutes by SeaBus

Vancouver’s rugged North Shore brings you ever closer to the Coast Mountains.

Take the Grouse Mountain gondola to the “Peak of Vancouver” to explore mountaintop activities and meet rescued grizzly bears Grinder and Coola. Back down at sea level, head to the ancestral village site of Whey-ah-wichen (Cates Park) for an Indigenous-led paddle or walking experience with Takaya Tours of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.


Experience The North Shore

Make Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier your HQ for North Shore adventures. The Lonsdale Quay neighbourhood is a 15-minute SeaBus (passenger ferry) ride from the buzz of city life in downtown Vancouver, and a brief drive to trailheads, viewpoints, and attractions. The nearby Shipyards District is a beautifully transformed historic neighbourhood with interpretive walks, a congregation of breweries, and the chic Polygon Gallery.

Norm Hann Expeditions in Squamish | Hubert Kang

Squamish: Immerse Yourself in Nature

Distance from Downtown Vancouver: 1 hour by car or shuttle

With cascading waterfalls, craggy granite faces, and moody rainforest, Squamish is a poster child for journeys in the elements. Perched at the mouth of Howe Sound (called Átl’ka7tsem in the Squamish language), the community is located within Canada’s newest UNESCO Biosphere Region. From biking and hiking routes to trails of the craft tasting kind, Squamish offers an array of outdoor activities, great dining, and a relaxed atmosphere.



Experience Squamish

Take a stand-up paddleboarding tour to immerse yourself in the ocean environment—you might come across a raucous raft of sea lions or spot delicate, pearl-like herring eggs on the shoreline at low tide. Back on land, ride the Sea to Sky Gondola to 900m (2,900 ft) and get aerial views of a colourful patchwork, comprised of a river estuary, rugged mountains, and turquoise ocean.

In the Squamish Valley, cozy up in one of Sunwolf’s charming riverside cabins, with close proximity to the rustic luxuries of AIKA Spa, waterfall hikes, horseback riding, and heart-pumping rafting excursions.

PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola| Blake Jorgenson

Whistler: Play, Dine, and Unwind in the Mountains

Distance from Downtown Vancouver: 1 hour 45 minutes by car

Plan a mountain getaway that has it all: great dining, plenty of fun, and an energetic party scene. Spring in Whistler is synonymous with multi-sport days, and it’s all just steps from the village.

Mine for “white gold” on the slopes of Whistler Blackcomb in the morning and hit the hero dirt on cross-country bike trails in the afternoon. Cap off the day with a round of golf or a ZipTrek tour in the forest. A hot-to-cold hydrotherapy cycle at Scandinave Spa is a welcome respite after an active day, or you can hit the bar for a well-earned après—The Raven Room has an impressive artisan cocktail menu.


Experience Whistler

While you’re in town, be sure to check out the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, which features Indigenous exhibits, a cafe, and interpretive tours from two Nations that have collaborated on this shared territory since time immemorial.

Plan a mountain escape midweek for spring deals and a quieter village. The Nita Lake Lodge in Creekside is a relaxing lakeside getaway, while the Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside in the heart of the village brings you closer to the action.

Inner Harbour |Reuben Krabbe

Victoria: An Elegant City By the Sea

Distance from Downtown Vancouver: 3 hours 45 minutes by car (including a BC Ferries ride)

Lively Victoria has the youthful glow of a seaside city and the sophistication of a historic capital. Stroll through spring gardens in bloom, sample local food and drink, visit attractions, and step into nature.

Boasting the highest number of restaurants per capita in Canada and its very own BC Ale Trail, Victoria’s culinary scene beckons. The Inner Harbour is a great place to connect with culture, whether taking an Indigenous-led walking or canoe tour with Explore Songhees, or admiring settler architecture and heritage sites. Stay in the midst of the action at Delta Hotels Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort, a centrally located luxury inn on the waterfront.

Experience Victoria

Spread your wings beyond the city centre. Bamberton Provincial Park is one of many beaches within the Greater Victoria area, featuring views of the Gulf Islands and Mount Baker. Take it from beach to boat and head out on the water for a paddle, sailing adventure, or whale-watching tour. The farms and vineyards of the Cowichan Valley are just an hour away, while the Saanich Peninsula, home of The Butchart Gardens and Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse, is only a 30-minute drive northwest of the city.

Malahat SkyWalk | Hamish Hamilton

South Vancouver Island: Rugged Coastal Landscapes

Distance from Downtown Victoria: 2 hours by car

Make the most of your trip to Southern Vancouver Island and spend a few more days venturing further afield. The Spirit Loop takes you on a journey through Langford, Port Renfrew, Sooke, and Malahat, stopping in at farm-to-table eateries and breweries, galleries, suspension bridges, historic train trestles, old-growth forests, and incredible oceanside hikes.

Each community has its own adventure offerings, whether it be a cook-your-catch fishing and dining experience, whale watching, stand-up paddleboarding, or freediving. The Malahat SkyWalk is an accessible 600m (1,900ft) elevated spiraling platform with 360-degree views of a dramatic seascape.

Experience Southern Vancouver Island

With the fisheries, farms, and foragers so close, the South Island is a great place to sample local food and drink. Dine at Wild Mountain restaurant in Sooke for seasonal West Coast cuisine before continuing on to Port Renfrew for cold water surfing and hiking in Juan De Fuca Provincial Park. Spend the night at Soule Creek Lodge overlooking the Olympic Peninsula and the wild coast.

Getting to BC from Washington

By Air
Fly into Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and rent a car or take public transit to downtown Vancouver. If you plan to head to Victoria or Whistler, you can fly directly from downtown Vancouver to Victoria’s Inner Harbour or Whistler via Harbour Air seaplanes.

By Land and Sea
If you’re driving, Vancouver is approximately a three-hour drive from Seattle. Whistler is about 1 hour and 30 minutes from Vancouver. Victoria and Southern Vancouver Island can be accessed via the BC Ferries route from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay. Those heading to Vancouver Island from Seattle can book a high-speed ferry ride through Victoria Clipper, which takes approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Getting to BC from California

Direct, non-stop flights into Vancouver International Airport (YVR) are available from San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Ana, and Sacramento.

Vancouver is just 25 minutes from YVR and easily accessible. Rent a car at the airport or take public transit, a taxi, Uber, or airport shuttles into the city. If you plan to travel beyond Vancouver, consider Harbour Air which runs direct seaplane flights to Victoria and Whistler.

Your Dollar Goes Further

At the time of publishing $1 USD = $1.34 CAD. Confirm the most recent exchange rates with the Bank of Canada.

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