With the uncertainty around travel through the winter and spring, plenty of families have opted for a close-to-home summer season. And there’s plenty in this region to keep kids of all ages busy: check out our roundups on local mini golf destinations, the best skateparks, and a heap of events running in August through to early September.)
But if you’re feeling the need for a bit of open road and a change of scenery, why not have a getaway and head out on a daytrip? You don’t need to pack any bags or make a hotel reservation for these great destinations for day trips near Vancouver.
Destinations for Mini Getaways & Day Trips near Vancouver
Go back in time with a visit to the Fort Langley National Historic Site, originally a Hudson Bay Company fur trading post. The site is now full of unique opportunities to learn about blacksmithing, early trading in the area, and the history of the Fraser River. But modern-day Fort Langley has just as much to offer so don’t spend the whole day at the historic site. Take a wander through this picturesque town for ice cream, lunch, book shops, art galleries, antique sellers, and much more.
Though this is a popular campground destination, you needn’t be camping to enjoy all that the lake has to offer. It’s still one of the greatest day trips near Vancouver! Pack a picnic lunch and spend a day at the beach, go for a hike through local trails, or spend some time fishing. There are kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards available for rent, too. The lake is located just a few minutes beyond downtown Squamish, so you can easily make a stop on the way home for a quick dinner in this popular Sea-to-Sky community.
Known for its namesake resort hotel (which features hot springs pools exclusive to its guests), there’s plenty to do in this small town even if you’re not staying overnight. Walk the trail along the shore, enjoy a swim in the manmade lagoon (Harrison Lake is a cold body of water, so the lagoon and its sandy beach makes a warmer environment for kids and adults both to spend the day swimming), rent a peddle kart for four, or enjoy a meal along the waterfront. Head through town all the way up to Sasquatch Provincial Park for trails and fishing.
Originally part of an extensive rail line built to allow the Canadian Pacific Railway trains to travel through from the Kootenays to the BC Coast, the Othello Tunnels are now a series of large tunnels connected by foot paths and trestle bridges over and through the Coquihalla Gorge. Gorgeous views of the water below along with historic signs along the way combine for a beautiful walk on a sunny day. The tunnels are dark but easily walkable without a light – though little ones may enjoy having their own flashlight on hand. The trails are just outside of Hope; pack a lunch and enjoy a picnic at the tables near the parking area.
Located along the Sea-to-Sky highway, about 10 kilometres north of Porteau Cove, the Britannia Mine Museum is a once-active mine facility that has been turned into a museum. Kids will enjoy a hard-hat ride on a small mine car through dark tunnels and panning for gold. The facility recently launched its interactive exhibit, BOOM. This award-winning, multi sensory, live action experience bring to life the 20-storey mill that once bustled with activity.
Craving something a bit more quiet? Head to Rolley Lake Provincial Park for a beach day and a trail walk. The park features a large campground but the day-use area is open all day for visitors, and includes a sandy beach with a roped-off swim area and the calm lake is ideal for kayaks, canoes and paddleboards. Head out on the loop trail that circles the lake for a walk through a beautiful forest, including a portion that features a raised boardwalk over one end of the lake. Rolley Lake is truly one of the most peaceful day trips near Vancouver.
Known as the Peak of Vancouver, this gorgeous destination isn’t just for snow and skis. An excellent place for day trips near Vancouver, it’s a hot spot for locals and tourists alike all year long, Grouse Mountain has plenty to offer in the summer. Take the gondola up and then explore the fun: visit bears at the wildlife refuge, tackle your balancing skills on the mountain ropes adventure, learn about the local owls, and enjoy a meal with one of the best views in the world (bring your own and eat it in the great outdoors or head in to the restaurant patio).
Head to Westham Island for a visit to the 850-acre bird sanctuary that is home – at different times of the year – to some 300 species of local and migratory birds. Keep in mind that due to current covid protocols, reservations are required so plan in advance. The site has plenty of trails and a viewing tower (if you don’t mind heights) to enjoy both the view and the birds. The sanctuary is located on Westham Island, home to a variety of berry, herb, and other farms, so keep an eye open along the road for farm stands.