Vancouver, British Columbia. Settled perfectly between the soaring North Shore mountains and the vast Pacific Ocean, Vancouver is filled with breathtaking scenery. And with so much natural beauty surrounding the city, it isn’t a surprise that there are many incredible weekend getaways from Vancouver.
Of course, BC has plenty of nature that can satisfy anyone’s appetite for adventure. From leisurely strolls to arduous climbs, the mountains, forests, and waterways of BC offer it all. You can spice it up a bit more with seasonal activities that will get your heart pumping.
Then sit down for a delicious meal complemented by local craft beer or fine wine. And of course, we can’t forget about admiring the stunning indigenous art!
Whether you travel by car, bus, train, or ferry, you’re sure to end up somewhere amazing. So today, I’ve put together 18 fabulous weekend getaways from Vancouver. We’ll start out with the BC Interior, then look at the BC Islands, and finish off with the road trips from Vancouver to the USA. So without further ado, let’s get to it!
Looking for other things to do in Vancouver? If so, check out my other Vancouver articles!
- The Ultimate Self-Guided Vancouver Walking Tour
- The 15 Best Hikes in Vancouver
- 22 Incredible Hikes near Vancouver
Table of Contents
The Best Weekend Getaways from Vancouver to the BC Interior
Before we start exploring the leafy nooks and crannies of BC and beyond, let’s have a look at what the immediate vicinity has to offer (hint: it’s way more than you think!). Here are the best weekend getaways from Vancouver to the interior of British Columbia.
Whistler is one of the most popular weekend getaways from Vancouver — and for excellent reason! Located 121 kilometers north of Vancouver, Whistler offers a plethora of outdoor activities for every season.
In the winter, you can enjoy the thrill of skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling. For a calmer winter activity, you can go snowshoeing in the forest or admire the scenery from up high on a gondola tour.
Summer also offers plenty of outdoor opportunities, from nature walks to camping in Whistler. And to add a pinch of adventure, you can add one of these activities to your itinerary:
- Bungee jumping
- Hiking – there are many epic hikes in Whistler to choose from!
- ATV tours
- and plenty more.!
At night, you can have your pick of concerts, festivals, and fun events.
If you’re short on time, you can always opt for the day trips to Whistler from Vancouver. But trust me, the more time you spend in Whistler, the better!
- Driving Time from Vancouver to Whistler: Approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes.
- Bus from Vancouver to Whistler: You can book a 2-hour bus through companies like SkyLynx that stop at both the Vancouver airport and downtown Vancouver – tickets start at $15. If you’re planning to go skiing in Whistler, Snowbus is also a great option, as it offers bus and lift ticket packages.
Another haven for outdoor enthusiasts, Squamish is one of the best short trips from Vancouver. Located 64 kilometers north of Vancouver and 59 kilometers south of Whistler, it is filled with mountains, rivers, trails, and the ocean, all at your disposal.
You can enjoy the charming small town atmosphere, then go out for some hikes in Squamish (they offer some of the best hikes near Vancouver!). A popular choice for hiking in Squamish includes the challenging Stawamus Chief, with 3 peaks totaling an 8-kilometer round trip trail. If you’d like a more beginner-friendly hiking trail, there are tons of other options, including:
- The 6-kilometer Four Lakes Trail in Alice Lake Provincial Park.
- The 350-meter walking trail to Shannon Falls.
If your legs need a break, you can give your arms a good workout with whitewater rafting, canoeing, or kayaking. Or go all in and try your hand at rock climbing, another popular activity in Squamish.
Of course, this isn’t anywhere near everything Squamish has to offer. From the Sea to Sky Gondola to eagle watching, scuba diving, or playing golf, there is truly something for everyone in Squamish. If the weather isn’t on your side, you can also spend an afternoon in the Britannia Mine Museum.
- Driving Time from Vancouver to Squamish: Approximately 1 hour.
- Bus from Vancouver to Squamish: Fortunately, there are many bus routes available. A great option is the Squamish Connector, which can cost as little as $12 per ride if you take multiple trips. Skylynx also operates this route for around $15 one way.
3) Harrison Hot Springs
Located 130 kilometers east of Vancouver, Harrison Hot Springs is another fabulous choice for weekend trips from Vancouver.
A favorite for family trips, romantic getaways from Vancouver, and even some well-deserved alone time, Harrison is a delightful small community in the Fraser Valley.
It’s no surprise that the most popular reason to visit Harrison is for the hot springs themselves. But once you’ve soaked and relaxed in the springs for long enough, try hiking Harrison Hot Springs as well! The Spirit Trail Walk is a great and easy choice, boasting local art along the way. Alternatively, you can walk around the peaceful Hicks Lake or meander down Miami Bridges Walk.
And don’t forget to keep an eye out for the Sasquatch! Legendary in the Harrison River Valley, there have been many reported sightings of the Sasquatch near Harrison Hot Springs, with the Sts’ailes First Nations community believing it to be a spiritual being that can move back and forth into the spirit realm. To learn more, drop by the Sasquatch Museum.
If you like camping, the campsites in Sasquatch Provincial Park are utterly enchanting, offering parks, beaches, and a beautiful lake.
- Driving Time from Vancouver to Harrison Hot Springs: Approximately 2 hours.
- Bus from Vancouver to Harrison Hot Springs: There is no direct bus from Vancouver to Harrison Hot Springs. However, if you can’t go by car, you can take an Ebus or Rider Express to Chilliwack then transfer to the local Chilliwack/Agassiz-Harrison Transit System. The first part of the journey takes anywhere between 1.25 to 2.5 hours and costs around $45 one way.
If you’re looking for fun road trips from Vancouver, you have to drive to Hope! Located 150 kilometers east of Vancouver, there is an amazing repository of things to do in Hope BC.
Of course, like most other trips from Vancouver, there are tons of hiking trails, walks, and climbs. So whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or an arduous full-day challenge, Hope will surely not disappoint.
In the winter, you can go skiing, and in the summer, swoosh down the water-slides at Bridal Falls Waterpark. Art lovers can also let their eyes feast on the masterpieces at:
- Hope Arts Gallery
- Heaven N Earth Native Art Gallery
- Lillooet Miyazaki House
- Hope Chainsaw Carvings (town center)
- and many more!
Don’t forget to drop by the Japanese Friendship Garden, offering a peaceful recluse for the body and mind.
- Driving Time from Vancouver to Hope: Just under 2 hours.
- Bus from Vancouver to Hope: Bus options include the Ebus and Rider Express, with the ride taking anywhere between 2 hours and 3 hours and 15 minutes, and costing about $60 one-way.
5) E.C. Manning Provincial Park
For one of the most beautiful weekend trips from Vancouver, visit E.C. Manning Provincial Park! Located 220 kilometers east of Vancouver, Manning Park is a well-known camping retreat for locals.
But there are plenty of things to do here in every season. In the winter, go skiing, tobogganing, snow shoeing, or check out the Polar Coaster Tube Park!
There are even more things to do in Manning Park in the summer, including:
- Manning Park hikes
- Horseback riding
- Mountain biking
- Canoeing or kayaking
This rich selection is complemented by year-round events, from ski courses and fondue tours to lantern making workshops. And of course, let’s not forget about stargazing!
For a true immersion into the wild outdoors, take advantage of one of the many Manning Park campsites. And if you need a short break from nature, the Loon Lagoon Indoor Pool Complex will do the trick.
- Driving Time from Vancouver to E.C. Manning Provincial Park: Approximately 2.5 hours.
- Bus from Vancouver to E.C. Manning Provincial Park: Mountain Man Mike’s Bus Service operates a route from Vancouver to Kaslo, stopping at Manning Park. The trip takes about 3 hours and costs $60 one way. It’s best to plan your trip in advance as this service only runs twice a week. The route from Vancouver to Manning Park only runs on Thursdays and Sundays, and the route from Manning Park to Vancouver only runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Another option is to book a private shuttle service with Vancouver Shuttle Hire.
Another prime spot for overnight trips from Vancouver, Kelowna is well-known to locals as the ultimate wine retreat destination. Located 445 km east of Vancouver, it is a bit time-consuming to get to Kelowna, but its dazzling array of activities will guarantee that the trip will be well worth-it.
Of course, there are dozens of outdoor seasonal activities to enjoy, from hiking to skiing. But the real crown jewel of Kelowna is its wine. There are over 40 wineries in Kelowna, all within a 20-minute drive of one another. And these aren’t only basic wineries; Kelowna goes above and beyond, offering guided wine tours, wine trails, and even dog-friendly wineries.
Interested in the road trips from Vancouver to Banff? If so, read my 7-day drive from Calgary to Vancouver, with stops in Kelowna, Yoho National Park, and Moraine Lake!
And make sure to check out some Kelowna breweries, cideries, and distilleries as well! Popular options include the Tree Brewing Company, Kettle River Brewing Co., SOMA Craft Cidery, and BNA Brewing.
If you need to walk off some of that alcohol, explore Kelowna’s wild side with some Kelowna hikes, bird watching, or even an urban adventure.
- Driving Time from Vancouver to Kelowna: Approximately 4 hours.
- Bus/Plane from Vancouver to Kelowna: Ebus can take you from Vancouver to Kelowna in 6-7 hours, costing around $85 one-way. A more expensive but faster option is to take the 1-hour plane ride.
If you liked Kelowna, then you have to visit Osoyoos as well! Located 400 km east of Vancouver, Osoyoos is another local-favorite escape.
Despite its small size of about 5,000 inhabitants, there are a handful of great wineries in Osoyoos, each with their own unique vibe and story to tell. You should especially consider a visit to:
Despite it being a small town, there is a surprisingly rich selection of things to do in Osoyoos (other than checking out the wineries). Cool off at Osoyoos Lake and gaze at the colorful spots at Spotted Lake. If you’d like to take it indoors, admire the art at the Okanagan Art Gallery, relax at Solterra Desert Spa, or or be inspired by the Osoyoos Desert Model Railroad.
To top it off, events are held year round, from street dances to concerts and artisan markets!
- Driving Time from Vancouver to Osoyoos: Approximately 4.5 hours.
- Bus/Plane from Vancouver to Osoyoos: Mountain Man Mike’s Bus Service operates a route from Vancouver to Kaslo, stopping at Osoyoos. This takes 6 hours and costs $95 one-way. It’s best to plan in advance as this service only runs twice a week. The route from Vancouver to Osoyoos only runs on Thursdays and Sundays, and the route from Osoyoos to Vancouver only runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Another option is to fly from Vancouver to Osoyoos, but you would have to fly to Penticton and then take a 1-hour bus. If you factor in the airport wait-times, it’s not much faster than the bus.
The Best Weekend Getaways from Vancouver to the Islands
So far, we’ve explored some great weekend getaways from Vancouver on land. But a whole new world of opportunities open up to you if you take the ferry to Vancouver Island from Vancouver. So let’s have a look at 7 more excellent weekend getaways!
Of course, we can’t talk about the best places to visit on Vancouver Island without mentioning Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. A charming city located to the south of Vancouver Island, Victoria is filled with beauty, from the lovely beaches to the European-inspired architecture.
While you can easily take a day trip from Vancouver to Victoria, it’s best to make it a weekend trip, as there are so many fabulous things to do in Victoria BC. These are my top 10 recommendations for things to do in Victoria:
- Visit the British Columbia Parliament Buildings.
- Explore Victoria’s Chinatown.
- Walk around Victoria Inner Harbor and Fisherman’s Wharf.
- Admire Craigdarroch Castle.
- Tour the Royal BC Museum.
- Shop around Lower Johnson Street and Market Square.
- Visit the Butchart Gardens.
- Relax on Willows Beach, one of the best beaches on Vancouver Island.
- Embark on the Thetis Lake Trails or Mount Douglas, some of the best Victoria hiking trails.
- Explore the Horne Lake Caves.
Needless to say, Victoria is one of the most popular and best overnight trips from Vancouver!
- Transport Time from Vancouver to Victoria: Expect the entire journey to take around 4 to 4.5 hours, including the 90-minute ferry ride.
- How to Ferry from Vancouver to Victoria: First, you’ll have to drive or take the bus to Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal. From there, BC Ferries can take you to Victoria’s Swartz Bay Terminal. Ferries run every two hours and start at $18.00 per passenger, one-way (and $62.00 with a vehicle). From May to September, you can also make an adventure out of the commute and book a 4-hour whale watching ferry from Vancouver to Victoria with the company Prince of Whales.
9) Salt Spring Island
If you want to visit an island with a bohemian reputation, then you have to check out Salt Spring Island! One of the best weekend trips from Vancouver, it offers a thriving art scene, many incredible wineries and breweries, and stunning natural scenery.
In fact, I already wrote an article on the 11 best things to do in Salt Spring Island! But as a summary, there are many ways to spend your Salt Spring Island itinerary.
For all the outdoor enthusiasts with itchy feet, the Salt Spring Island hikes will surely not disappoint. You can choose from provincial parks, forest trails, and lake tours. The length and difficulty level varies, with family-friendly options as well as steep climbs that will drench you with sweat. Three popular options to consider include the hikes in:
- Ruckle Provincial Park
- Mount Maxwell Provincial Park
- Mount Erskine Provincial Park
Afterwards, rest your feet in one of the island’s many great pubs, restaurants, and farms, including:
Alternatively, you can relax on a Salt Spring Island beach.
Be sure to save some time (and space in your stomach!) for the Saturday market as well. More than just food, you can find lots of beautiful handicrafts and souvenirs to take home with you.
- Transport Time from Vancouver to Salt Spring Island: The ferry to Salt Spring Island from Vancouver takes anywhere between 2 hours and 15 minutes to 2 hours and 55 minutes, with stops at 1-3 islands en route.
- How to Ferry from Vancouver to Salt Spring Island: First, you’ll have to drive or take the bus to Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal. From there, BC Ferries can take you to Salt Spring Island, with the Salt Spring Island ferry tickets starting at $18.10 one-way (not including a vehicle). Use the BC Ferries website to find the route and price for your travel dates.
10) Bowen Island
For a closer weekend trip and one of the best day trips from Vancouver, visit Bowen Island! Though very small (with only 4,000 inhabitants), this island offers a full range of awesome activities for every taste.
Relax on a pristine beach, drop in on a yoga class, go golfing, or admire some art in a gallery. Explore new tastes at the Copper Spirit Distillery or admire the enchanting island scenery with a Zoom Zoom scooter rental. But whatever you do, don’t miss out on the beautiful Bowen Island hikes!
Crippen Regional Park is an obvious choice for hiking on Bowen island. Surrounding Snug Cove, it offers several trails, including Killarney Lake and Dorman Point. For a hike with a higher altitude, you can also climb Mount Garner, the island’s tallest mountain. Without a doubt, one of the best things to do on Bowen Island is checking out its trails!
- Transport Time from Vancouver to Bowen Island: The ferry only takes 20 minutes to sail from Vancouver to Bowen Island.
- How to Ferry from Vancouver to Bowen Island: First, you’ll have to drive or take the bus to Horseshoe Bay. From there, BC Ferries can take you to Snug Cove on Bowen Island. However, please note that tickets can’t be booked online! Round-trip, tickets cost $10.95 per passenger, plus $31.00 for a vehicle.
11) The Sunshine Coast
The Sunshine Coast is one of those weekend getaways from Vancouver you’ll want to do again and again. Each time you visit, you can do a whole new set of thrilling activities; you’ll never run out of things to do on the Sunshine Coast! From horse riding to hiking and checking out the beaches on the Sunshine Coast, there are endless ways to spend your time.
Like the whole province of British Columbia, the Sunshine Coast doesn’t disappoint with its stunning natural sights. Consider checking out the Sunshine Coast hikes in:
- Porpoise Bay Provincial Park
- Inland Lake Provincial Park
- Soames Hill & Knob Hill
- Willingdon Beach Trail
- Sechelt Heritage Hidden Groves
Or relax on Davis Bay Beach! Additionally, one of the best ways to soak up the area’s beauty is to stay at one of the Sunshine Coast campsites. There are three major campgrounds, including:
While the nature in the Sunshine Coast is utterly stunning, so is its art scene! The area boasts the densest population of artists and craftspeople in all of Canada, with over 100 galleries to show for it. Follow the purple banner tour to discover the art at your own pace.
- Transport Time from Vancouver to the Sunshine Coast: The ferry ride takes around 40 minutes.
- How to Ferry from Vancouver to the Sunshine Coast: First, you’ll have to drive or take the bus to Horseshoe Bay. From there, BC Ferries can take you to Langdale on the Sunshine Coast, with tickets costing $14.30 per passenger round-trip, plus $49.00 for a vehicle. Unfortunately, tickets must be booked directly at the ferry terminal.
It’s extremely hard to choose favorites with so many wonderful overnight trips from Vancouver, but for many (especially locals!), Tofino steals the show.
Popular with its stunning beaches, camping sites, and surfing spots, Tofino is the perfect summer getaway from Vancouver. But there are so many other things to do in Tofino, regardless of the season!
Tofino’s star is the aptly named 16-kilometer Long Beach. It’s the perfect place for walking, with sand packed so flat that you can even push strollers on it. There are several other Tofino beaches worth visiting, including:
- Chesterman Beach
- Cox Bay Beach
- Mackenzie Beach
- Wickaninnish Beach
- Florencia Bay Beach
If you’d like to do more than relax and gaze at the beautiful scenery, try your luck with surfing!
To dry off, check out some Tofino hiking trails, including:
And if you’re wondering what to do in Tofino in other seasons, add even more variety to your itinerary with the Naa’Waya’Sum Gardens. Or, combine nature with culture on the Nuu-chah-nulth trail. It has plaques along the hike offering insight into the First Nations people of the area.
Overall, from camping Tofino to the Tofino hikes, Tofino definitely earns its adventurous rep!
- Transport Time from Vancouver to Tofino: Expect the entire journey to take around 5.5 to 6 hours, including the 1 hour and 40 minute-to-2 hour ferry ride.
- How to Ferry from Vancouver to Tofino: First, you’ll have to drive or take the bus to one of Vancouver’s ferry terminals. There is no direct ferry to Tofino as it’s on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, but you can take one of the BC Ferries to get there. Either take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay (Nanaimo) or from Tsawwassen to Duke Point (Nanaimo). After that, you can drive or take a bus via the Vancouver Island Connector to Tofino. Ferry tickets cost around $18.00 one-way, plus $62.00 for a vehicle.
For a more obscure weekend getaway from Vancouver, visit Ucluelet! Often overlooked for Tofino up north, there are tons of incredible things to do in Ucluelet; with its rocky coastline, lush temperate rainforests, and summer festivals and markets, Ucluelet is a gem just waiting for you to explore it.
The Wild Pacific Trail offers a beautiful one-hour walk complete with ocean views, towering trees, and vivid green colors every way you look. Two other trails you shouldn’t miss out on are:
Still a beginner hiker? If so, read my article on how to start hiking safely!
If you can’t decide which trail to embark on, don’t worry! These hikes are stunning yet short, so you can do all three of them over the course of two days.
And if you’re wondering what to do in Ucluelet other than hiking, pair that with camping Ucluelet! Add a kayaking adventure to the mix or some whale-watching, and you’re all set to have your fill of nature (if that’s even possible).
But there are, of course, other things to do in Ucluelet for those wanting to take it easy, including:
- Transport Time from Vancouver to Ucluelet: Expect the entire journey to take around 5.5 to 6 hours, including the 1 hour and 30 minute-to-2 hour ferry ride.
- How to Ferry from Vancouver to Ucluelet: First, you’ll have to drive or take the bus to one of Vancouver’s ferry terminals. There is no direct ferry to Ucluelet as it’s on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, but you can take one of the BC Ferries to get there. Either take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay (Nanaimo) or from Tsawwassen to Schwartz Bay (Victoria). After that, you can drive or take a bus via the Vancouver Island Connector to Ucluelet. Ferry tickets cost $18.00 one-way, plus $62.00 for a vehicle.
14) Campbell River
Last but not least, the final weekend trip needing a BC ferry is the stunning Campbell River. Filled with gorgeous scenery, Campbell River is a prime summer destination!
Elk Falls Provincial Park is perhaps the most popular attraction in Campbell River. Its trails snake throughout the park, passing waterfalls, lush forests, and gorgeous views. Other great natural sights (other than the Campbell River camping sites!) includes:
There are also many fabulous Campbell River shopping spots. From food to art and even pure salt, you’ll find it all. Places to visit include:
- Cortes Natural Food Co-op
- Coastal Black Estate Winery
- The Urbanary Home and Garden
- Island Clayworks
- Mussels and More Pottery
Two other unique experiences to have in Campbell River include visiting Holly Hill Farm, a vast interactive petting farm, and the Museum at Campbell River. The latter will teach you all about the history of northern Vancouver Island.
- Transport Time from Vancouver to Campbell River: Overall, the trip should take around 6 hours by ferry and car, including the drive from Vancouver to the ferry terminal (30 minutes), the ferry to Vancouver Island from Vancouver (1 hour 40 minutes), the drive from Departure Bay to Campbell River (1 hour 30 minutes), and all the waiting in-between. Alternatively, you can get there in 40 minutes by airplane.
- How to Ferry from Vancouver to Campbell River: First, you’ll have to drive or take the bus to Horseshoe Bay. From there, BC Ferries can take you to Departure Bay in Nanaimo, where you’ll then drive or take the Island Link Bus to Campbell River. One-way, ferry tickets cost $18.00 per passenger, plus $62.00 for a vehicle.
The Best Weekend Getaways from Vancouver to the USA
15) Seattle, Washington
First, let’s talk about Seattle! The biggest city in Washington State, Seattle is a city celebrated for grunge music and Starbucks coffee. A bustling and diverse city, Seattle has an overwhelming choice of things to do (so much so, it’s kind-of hard to know where to start).
If you’d like a break from Canada’s booming nature, duck into one of Seattle’s many museums, including:
- Chihuly Garden and Glass (my personal favorite)
- The Museum of Flight
- Museum of Pop Culture
- Pacific Science Center
- Seattle Aquarium
However, you can also get around via the Seattle Center Monorail, offering a unique way to travel between many of Seattle’s notable attractions, weaving between skyscrapers high above the bustling streets.
But the real magic happens outside, where you can marvel at the stunning sunsets in Seattle. You can do this from a park or a beach, but for the most memorable experience, head up to an observation deck. Options include:
And if you’re interested in the sights surrounding Seattle, check out my article on the 15 best day trips from Seattle!
- Driving Time from Vancouver to Seattle: Approximately 3 hours, with light traffic and short lines at the border. While it’s most convenient to go to Seattle by car, keep in mind that there may be long wait times at the border or brutal traffic during rush hour. Parking in downtown Seattle also isn’t the cheapest.
- Bus from Vancouver to Seattle: The bus is the cheapest way to travel to Seattle. Options include Quick Coach, which costs as little as $11 and takes about 4 hours and 40 minutes.
- Train from Vancouver to Seattle: For a more scenic route, consider taking the train from Pacific Central Station in Vancouver to downtown Seattle with Amtrak. The trip takes 4.5 hours, and tickets cost around $45 one-way.
16) Leavenworth, Washington
If you’re looking for a Bavarian-styled village huddled in the mountains of Washington state, check out Leavenworth! One of the best road trips from Vancouver and a popular Seattle day trip, Leavenworth is a picturesque alpine town surrounded by enchanting scenery and adorable shops.
Things to do include visiting Waterfront Park, a spot offering an oasis of serenity so beautiful, it’ll make the entire weekend trip worth it. Front Street Park is another peaceful spot that warrants a visit.
For a winter holiday off-the-beaten path, plan to spend Christmas in Leavenworth Washington! There are tons of places to do your holiday shopping, and the lights that decorate the entire village are nothing short of magical.
Leavenworth is a city worth-visiting regardless of the season, but Leavenworth in winter is simply spectacular. Admire the breathtaking views, then check out some of the shops in Leavenworth WA to escape the cold! And if you’re a fan of ballet, The Nutcracker Museum will tell you all about the predecessors of the iconic bearded character.
Things to do in the summer include embarking on the Icicle Ridge Trail, white-water rafting down the Wenatchee River, and visiting the local wineries.
- Driving Time from Vancouver to Leavenworth: Approximately 5 hours.
- Bus from Vancouver to Leavenworth: While there are also ways to get to Leavenworth by bus, train, and plane, they all take over 6 hours of travel time. In general, driving is the most convenient way to get to Leavenworth.
17) San Juan Islands, Washington
While the journey to get to the San Juan Islands can be arduous, the wait is definitely worth it. Another fun-filled weekend getaway from Vancouver, the San Juan Islands offers stunning coastal views, serene forest trails, and thrilling outdoors activities.
An archipelago located close to Victoria, BC, the San Juan Islands consist of 172 named islands and reefs. The three most popular islands include San Juan Island, Orcas Island, and Lopez Island. While you can choose any of these three islands to visit, San Juan Island is one of the most popular and lively spots.
So what are the best things to do on the San Juan Islands? The first thing to mention is of course its nature. You’ll have the chance to get close and personal with it through whale watching or observing the crabs in the beach-side tide pools.
If you’ve wanted to try glamping, the San Juan Islands may be the place to cross it off your list! You’ll have a ready-made campsite including a real bed, while still conserving the comforting camping atmosphere. For a more authentic experience, there are many San Juan Islands camping sites. You can read more about campsite locations, reservations, rules, and booking here.
If you’re planning to visit San Juan Island, drop by the charming coastal village of Friday Harbor, then go killer-whale watching at Lime Kilm Point State Park. And if you’re looking forward to hiking San Juan Islands, check out the following San Juan Islands hikes:
- English Camp (San Juan Island)
- Cattle Point Lighthouse (San Juan Island)
- Moran State Park (Orcas Island)
- Turtleback Mountain (Orcas Island)
- Lopez Hill (Lopez Island)
- Hummel Lake (Lopez Island)
How to Get from Vancouver to the San Juan Islands: While it is bit of a journey to get to the San Juans, the San Juan Islands tourism site lists a couple different options, including:
- Via Victoria: Drive from Vancouver to Tsawwassen, then take a BC ferry to the Swartz Bay Terminal in Victoria. Proceed to drive to Sidney (30 minutes north of Victoria), and take the ferry to Friday Harbor on the San Juan Islands. The ferry schedule can be found here.
- Via Anacortes: First, drive from Vancouver to the Anacortes Ferry Terminal in the US. This drive should take around 2.5 hours, not including border wait times. From Anacortes, take one of the Washington State Ferries to the San Juan Islands.
18) Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
Have you ever visited an active volcano? Well, if you take this weekend trip from Vancouver to Mount Rainier, then you can say that you have!
Another incredible day trip from Seattle and one of the best national parks to visit in the fall, Mount Rainier is a stunning national park filled with breathtaking sights and adventurous activities, from skiing and snowboarding to trekking. Things to do include:
- Visiting Myrtle Falls (one of the most beautiful Mount Rainier waterfalls!)
- Admiring the wildlife through the wild walk or wild drive at Northwest Trek
- Taking a gondola ride up Crystal Mountain
- Going on a hot air balloon ride
And of course, you have to go hiking! The best hikes of Mount Rainier include:
- The Skyline Trail
- The Silver Falls Trail at Ohanapecosh
- Nisqually Vista Trail
- Bench and Snow Lakes Trail
- Frozen Lake via Sourdough Ridge Trail
- Mount Fremont Lookout Trail
All of these activities, from the gondola rides to the hikes, will take you all around Mount Rainier, giving you a powerful taste of everything nature has to offer. Needless to say, Mount Rainier is one of the best spots in the USA, and possibly all of North America!
- Driving Time from Vancouver to Mount Rainier National Park: Approximately 5.5 hours.
- Bus from Vancouver to Mount Rainier National Park: Unfortunately, there is no direct bus from Vancouver to Mount Rainier. If driving is not an option, you can take a bus or train down to Seattle, then bus from Seattle to Enumclaw, and then grab a taxi or rideshare to Mount Rainier.
Enjoy your weekend getaways from Vancouver!
Overall, while each one of these weekend getaways from Vancouver is unique in its own right, they all share one thing in common — endless opportunities for fun! You’ll be surprised how even the smallest towns are packed with things to explore, climb, and eat. And remember, a lot of these weekend trips can serve as Vancouver day trips as well!
Thanks for reading the article! If you have any questions, feel free to comment down below, and if you want to see more travel and hike-related content, make sure to check out my other articles.
Photos by Mia and Pixabay.
Want to travel the world but still in school? If so, read my guide on how to travel as a student!
About to embark on a trip around British Columbia? Here are some awesome BC destinations to check out:
- 11 Fabulous Things to Do in Salt Spring Island
- The Ultimate Self-Guided Vancouver Walking Tour
- The 15 Best Hikes in Vancouver
- 22 Incredible Hikes near Vancouver
- 6 Epic Whistler Hikes
- The Perfect 7-Day Canadian Rockies Road Trip: How to Drive from Calgary to Vancouver
- 15 Incredible Day Trips from Seattle
And here are some helpful articles and additional links to make your trip as awesome and stress-free as possible:
- How to Travel Without Breaking the Bank
- 15 Things to Do Before a Trip
- How to Start Hiking: 15 Beginner Hiking Tips
- Click here for my walking tours
- Click here for my hiking guides
- Click here for more posts on North America
- Click here for more posts on Canada
- Click here for more resources
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