After what may just have felt like the longest winter of all time, these sunny days and spring flowers may just have you ready to get out and explore. With kids still in school and summer a ways off yet, there may not be time for a big holiday, but there are plenty of options for quick spring getaways from Vancouver that are within close range – from an hour’s drive to a relaxed crossing by ferry boat. If it’s been a while since you travelled, you may not be sure which destinations are most appealing to you right now. Check out a few of our favourite spring destinations near Vancouver…
Ideas for Spring Getaways from Vancouver
There’s no wrong time to take a visit to the province’s capital but spring might just be the best season to head over: blossoms and blue skies, crisp winds off the harbour, green buds on every tree. What’s not to love? Check out the Royal BC Museum for an afternoon of history and learning, hop on a water taxi for a trip across the harbour, or head to Fisherman’s Wharf for some fresh seafood. Fan Tan Alley and Chinatown should be the top of any must-see list. And don’t forget the Rogers Chocolate shop on Government Street. And if you’re coming by ferry, make a pitstop on the way into town at the world-famous Butchart Gardens, where spring is a botanical explosion of colour and beauty.
This region is on the mainland of BC but since it’s only accessible by ferry (or plane), it has that island life vibe. For an escape from city life, it can’t be beat. Find a cute motel or a private cabin to rent for a few days, and then explore from Gibsons, through Sechelt, Halfmoon Bay, and up to Pender. Rent a kayak or bike, check out the many local artisan shops (pottery is a particular highlight in this region), and do some beachcombing. On that note, check out Gibson’s Landing, where the fictional TV show The Beachcombers filmed for almost two decades.
Harrison Hot Springs
Head east past Abbotsford and Chilliwack, then north past Agassiz to the tiny community of Harrison Hot Springs. Known primarily for its biggest hotel – the Harrison Hot Springs Resort, which features unique hot springs pools – there are actually a dozen or more options for accommodations in the area. Take a long walk along the lake, swim in the local public hot springs pool (the pools at the resort are for guests only), or head another 40 minutes up the road to Sasquatch Provincial Park for some fishing lakes and walking trails. In spring, it’s not quite warm enough to swim in the lake just yet (it’s one of the coldest in the province) but sunny days make for a perfect time for the season’s first stop at one of the town’s great ice cream shops or to get a burger-to-go for a lakeside picnic.
Whistler is a world-famous winter destination – but those-in-the-know come all year round because there’s fun to be had in every single season. Featuring a large alpine-style village, full of shopping, restaurants, spas and much more, for visitors to shop, eat, be pampered, or simply walk and wander. Later in spring, the hiking and biking trails are ready for visitors and local lakes, trails and forests offer plenty of outdoor exploration.
A hop, skip and a jump from Vancouver, Seattle is the closest major metropolitan city in the US – and it’s full of great travel fun for the whole family. From Pike Place Market, to local trails and outdoor adventures, Seattle has long offered British Columbians a destination for a big-city experience without an airplane flight.
Skip the driving altogether and enjoy a staycation in the heart of downtown Vancouver. Use one of the discount “surprise” hotel websites – select the price and the star rating without knowing exactly which hotel it is – or splurge on a favourite destination with amenities you know you’ll enjoy. Then take in the sights like a tourist in your own town: Stanley Park, Gastown, the great restaurants, and more.
Like a string of jewels along a necklace, the Gulf Islands are gems waiting to be admired – and explored. From Salt Spring to Galiano, Bowen to Denman (just to name a few), these west coast wonders are a great destination for spring getaways. Each island has its own flavour and personality – stay in one or visit a few. Be sure to pre-book those ferry trips: some islands only have one or two boats a day to visit. With farm markets, artisan shops, local eateries and of course endless miles of beach, there is no shortage of fun to be had.