A stunning spot to get your West Coast fix is the multi-day backcountry West Coast Trail (WCT)- one of the top ten, worldwide, hiking spots! At 75km length, this incredible backpacking trail is the “granddaddy of all coastal hikes on Vancouver Island.”
Vancouver is one of the most beautiful places in the world (in our opinion), but sometimes you just need to get out of the city. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or just skipping town for a few hours, being in the heart of the West Coast means that you have tons of options. Pack a bag, jump in the car and go!
Here are a few our favourite weekend getaways and quick trips out of the city.
The Sea to Sky
Barely out of the city and easy to find, Crescent Beach is perfect for a family day at the seaside. Located in Surrey, it also has a lifeguard on duty during the day at Sullivan Point and a grassy area for picnics.
Manning Park is just a couple of hours away from Vancouver. Nestled in the mountains and edging a lake surrounded by trails, you can go hiking, head out on the water by canoe, or relax and enjoy the tranquil surroundings.
Although it’s famous for skiing and snowboarding, there are so many reasons to visit Whistler it would be impossible to list them all! From tons of trails, a bike park and clear lakes for swimming and kayaking to amazing restaurants and luxury lodges for apres-ski.
Explore the outdoors, and then kick back at one of the many restaurants and breweries in Whistler Village, or visit the famous nordic-style Scandinave Spa for some peace and quiet.
If you spend any time in Vancouver, it won’t be long until you hear people talking about hiking The Chief. The Stawamus Chief is located in beautiful Squamish, and it’s one of the many incredible hikes in the area.
Located midway between Vancouver and Whistler, Squamish is home to glorious trails, scenery and cute coffee shops, restaurants and breweries overlooking the mountains and water.
End your day exploring Squamish with an ice cold brew and delicious food at the Watershed Bar & Grill or The Howe Sound Brewery.
Sloquet Hot Springs
Open year-round for overnight camping and day visits, these incredible natural hot springs are a two hour drive from Pemberton, and absolutely worth the travel time. Feel your cares melt away when you slip into the misty hot water.
Located in the traditional territory of the Xa’xtsa First Nation, the Sloquet Hot Springs have been used for generations to perform spiritual and cleansing ceremonies.
Bowen Island is only a 20 minute ferry ride away, departing from Horseshoe Bay. Head over for a few hours or the whole weekend. Cycling, hiking, swimming and kayaking are at your fingertips.
There are fantastic restaurants just minutes away from the ferry dock, and if you miss the last ferry back, never fear, there’s also a water taxi.
The original Gulf Island getaway, Saltspring Island is big enough to have everything you want for a few days out of town, as well as a variety of accomodation, from luxury B&Bs to camping.
Scenic views, boating and diving, as well as restaurants, bars and agricultural festivals, Saltspring is perfect for weekend travellers.
If you’re looking for an authentic Gulf Island experience, a mid-sized island like Galiano has a similar variety to Saltspring on an even smaller, friendlier scale (and to be honest, everything Gulf Island has it’s own charm.) Get down to Montague Harbour by boat if you can!
The sailing and boating in this area is incredible. Stop for lunch on the water near the harbour dock at The Crane and Robin, and get down to the Hummingbird Pub to hang with the locals.
Don’t miss the sandstone caves, the shell beaches at Montague and the art galleries and stores lining the road near Studies Bay.
Located across from the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, it takes three (yes three!) ferries to get to Hornby Island from Vancouver. Known as an artist’s paradise (and the ultimate retreat) after driving across Denman catching the last ferry, you’ll see why people are wild about Hornby Island.
Tribune Bay feels like a slice of the tropics in the middle of the PNW, with bright aquamarine water and beach as far as the eye can see. Explore the sandstone beaches and caves, or walk through the lush and varied trees, like grey oak and arbutus, in the forested trails up to Helliwell Provincial and along the long, winding bluff.
Sooke is an outdoor-enthusiasts dream. This small Vancouver Island community is set in the middle of diverse and beautiful provincial parks and trails, beaches, lakes and ocean. If nature and wildlife is your passion, you won’t want to miss Sooke.
Qualicum Beach is a wonderful town at the base of Mount Arrowsmith. Explore the heritage forest, Little Qualicum Falls, hike the Arrowsmith Trail, or just relax at the famous beach.
If you’ve never been to Tofino, you’re missing out. This wild and beautiful coastal town has a special magic all its own. Surrounded by ocean and rainforest, Tofino is unbelievable rain or shine. It’s especially beautiful during storm season!
If you’re a surfer, Tofino is famous for it’s waves. Visit Long Beach and Chesterman Beach to unwind and connect with nature.
Treat yourself and book a table at the the incredible award-winning restaurant the Wolf and the Fog, and drop by acclaimed First Nations artist Roy Vickers’ Gallery.