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Exploring the 5 Best Weekend Getaways from Vancouver You Will Want to Take!

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If you are looking for the perfect weekend getaway from Vancouver and want some fresh ideas, you can find great destinations just a few hours from the city. British Columbia is filled with so many great destinations that are just a few hours from Vancouver.

Pack up the car, pack up the kids (and perhaps the dog) and get out and explore. These weekend trips from Vancouver have something for everyone. They include the outdoors (hiking, biking, kayaking, canoeing, horseback riding, skiing) but also luxury and relaxing escapes (hot springs, spa, great food, wildlife watching, wine tastings).

Weekend getaways from Vancouver.

10 Best Weekend Getaways from Vancouver

Harrison Hot Springs

Harrison Hot Springs is known as one of the best day trips from Vancouver, but it is also one of the great short trips that are perfect for a weekend. The drive from Vancouver is about 90 minutes depending on where you are in the city. (In afternoon rush hour you should add at least 30 minutes to your drive. Same for summertime. On the Friday of a long weekend, add an extra hour!)

If you are visiting Harrison Hot Springs in the summer, you have got to try the inflatable course on the lake! It is a ton of fun (make sure you get the wet suit rentals as the lake is very cold, even in the summer!) Harrison eco-tours is the place to rent e-bikes or take a kayak tour!

The Harrison Hot Springs Resort is a popular choice to stay in and offers great amenities for family travellers. Whether you are visiting Harrison Lake with friends, as a romantic getaway or with your family, you will find plenty of activities to keep you as busy as you would like to be!

Things to do in Harrison Hot Springs

– Watersports including boating and sea doo rentals

– Fishing for Sturgeon on the Harrison River

– Kayaking on Harrison lake or Harrison River (you can take guided tours or rent a kayak)

– Relax at the Harrison Hot Springs Spa (reserved for resort guests)

– Enjoy a round of golf

– Take the circle farm tour

– Rent an ebike from Harrison Eco-Tours and explore

– Hike

– Enjoy the beachfront of Harrison Lake

– Visit nearby Kilby historic site

Harrison Watersports floating water park

– Take a jet boat or scenic boat tour

– Get wet with bumper boats

READ MORE about all of the things to do in Harrison Hot Springs

Where to stay in Harrison Hot Springs: Harrison Hot Springs Resort, Rowena’s on the River, the Lodge on Harrison Lake

Driving Time and Directions from Vancouver to Harrison Hot Springs: Head east out of Vancouver on the 1 towards Abbostford/Chilliwack and Harrison Hot Springs. Take exit 135/Bridalveil Falls and follow signs north to Harrison Hot Springs. Driving time is about 90 minutes. Add 30 minutes at rush hour and add up to an hour on Fridays of long weekends in the summer.

Harrison Hot Springs - Kayaking tour
Did you know you can take a kayaking tour on the Harrison River? It is offered from Harrison Eco Tours.

Whistler

Whistler is one of the best resorts in North America and the number one resort in Canada. It is one of the top getaways in British Columbia. It is less then 2 hour drive from Vancouver and the perfect overnight trip from Vancouver. Its pedestrian-only village vibe, its epic snowflakes, its laid-back attitude, and its wealth of seasonal activities all contribute to making it one of the best mountain vacations you can take in the summer and in the winter!

Things to do in Whistler

In Summer:

Paddle the River of Golden Dreams

– Swim in the nearby lakes

– Paddle Green Lake and the Green River

– Bike around the village

– Shop and eat in the village

– Enjoy the Scandanave Spa

– Hit the alpine for hiking and epic views

– Get an adrenaline rush downhill biking

– Zipline on Cougar Mountain

– Take an ATV Tour

For more information on any of these summer, activities check out: things to do in Whistler in summer.

In Winter:

– Skate on the outdoor skating rink

– Ski the world-class Whistler / Blackcomb mountains

– Enjoy the magic of Vallea Lumina

– Get a thrill on the Whistler tube park

– Enjoy an apres ski drink with a view

– Book a photographer

– Visit the Scandanave Spa

– Zipline on Cougar Mountain

– Shop and eat in the village

– Learn about the Indigenous history in the area at the SLCC.

Where to stay in Whistler:

Where to stay in Whistler:

LUXURY: Four Seasons Whistler 

MIDRANGE: Delta Hotel Whistler 

MIDRANGE: Aava Hotel Whistler 

BUDGET: Pangea Pod Hotel 

You can read more about the best Whistler hotels for Families,  Whistler AirBNB’s or check out my go-to favorite here. One downside to AirBNB’s is that they are not all in the village.

How to Get to Whistler from Vancouver: Whistler is an easy drive from Vancouver and can also be reached by private transfer or bus! You can read all of the ways to get to Whistler from Vancouver.

Whistler - Green Lake Green River Rafting Wedge Rafting TAG Adventures
Paddling Green Lake towards the Green River. This epic experience is available through Tag Whistler.

Salt Spring Island

If you have never experienced British Columbia’s Gulf Islands, Salt Spring Island is a great place to start! Saltspring Island is the largest of the Gulf Islands between Vancouver and Victoria and it is a popular short trip from Vancouver. It can be done in a day, but it is a long day! I highly suggest you stay overnight!

On this weekend getaway from Vancouver, you will find kayaking, whale watching, hiking and biking trails as well as eclectic shops in the centre of town: Ganges. You will not find traffic lights on the island, and amenities such as car rentals are limited. Salt Spring Island features some amazing B&B’s but no large hotel chains. Make sure to visit the Sunday Market in Ganges where you will find local arts, crafts and locally made cheeses and other treats!

Saltspring is a fun short trip from Vancouver. It is a unique place for foodies. Make sure to visit the Salt Spring Island Cheese Company, drink plenty of Salt Spring Island Coffee and stop into Barb’s Bakery!

Getting to Salt Spring Island from Vancouver: BC Ferries leave from Tsawwassen to Long Harbour regularly throughout the day. There is also a thoroughfare that requires two boats which goes first from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay (Victoria) and then you can transfer to a smaller boat that goes into Fulford Harbour. Float planes also land in Ganges Harbour from Richmond Airport.

Salt Spring Island - Barbs bakery
Try the twist bread at Barb’s Bakery. If you want a full meal, grab one of the sandwiches!

Victoria

As the capital city of British Columbia, Victoria has so much to offer for everyone on a weekend trip from Vancouver! It is not just a tourist destination! Book a hotel for the weekend and visit the many beaches, parks, and outdoor activities to explore!

Things to do in Victoria

– Whale Watching ( Book your whale watching tour here )

– Check out the Royal BC Museum

– Enjoy Butterfly World or the Bug Zoo

– See the floating homes on Fisherman’s Wharf

– Take a local food tour

– Walk the Galloping Goose Trail or hike up Mount Finlayson

– Have afternoon tea at the Empress

– Take a water taxi

– Walk the beaches

– Book a photo shoot 

If you are planning on going on an overnight trip from Vancouver to Victoria at Christmas, you need to do a little planning ahead. Read this article on  Victoria at Christmas.

How to Get to Victoria: Victoria is located on Vancouver Island, a one hour and thirty five minute ferry ride from Tsawassen Ferry Terminal (about 30 minutes south of Vancouver). The ferry docs on Vancouver Island at Swartz Bay. It is about 30 minutes drive into the city.

Due to the current travel climate and shortage of workers, I would highly recommend making a reservation on BC Ferries before you travel.

There are also flights to Victoria that can save a lot of time. You can take a seaplane from downtown Vancouver with HarbourAir or fly from YVR to YYJ on a commercial flight.

Where to stay in Victoria:

LUXURY: Fairmont Empress, or the Inn at Laurel Point

BUDGET: Hotel Zed

victoria inner harbour british columbia
Victoria Harbour in the Summertime

I hope these short trips from Vancouver have given you some ideas for your next weekend getaway! If you have another favorite spot in BC that you can enjoy on a quick trip, please let me know!