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12 of the best Vancouver weekend getaway ideas

12 of the best Vancouver weekend getaway ideas

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One of the best things about our move to Vancouver, Canada is that there’s a whole new load of places to explore. We’ve managed to fit in a decent amount of Vancouver weekend getaways since we moved here in June 2017. From romantic weekend getaways to adventure weekend getaways and places that make a great mix of the two, Vancouver is in the prime place for some excellent BC getaways.

Check out these cosy cabin getaways in BC!

There are always more weekend getaway ideas that I could come up with, but here are some of the best weekend getaways we’ve done so far. If you’re planning some weekend vacations from Vancouver then make sure to check out these great weekend getaways.

Weekend getaway to Tofino, Vancouver Island

how to spend a weekend in tofino and ucluelet

Tofino is probably the most popular trips from Vancouver if you’re looking for a weekend getaway from the city. It’s over on the west coast of Vancouver Island and is famed for its beaches. The drive across the Island makes for one of the best road trips from Vancouver too.

If was the first weekend getaway we did and I loved in (particularly Ucluelet just south of Tofino). It’s a prime example of BC’s beauty. Think luscious forests, wide sandy beaches, surf, hiking and wildlife. Plus there’s also one of BC’s best hot springs in the area too.

Check out my guide to a weekend in Tofino and Ucluelet.

Where to stay in Tofino

How to get to Tofino from Vancouver

To get to Tofino from Vancouver you’ll need to take the ferry. The drive is a little quicker if you get the ferry from Vancouver to Nanaimo, but you can also get the ferry to Victoria too.

Travel with BC ferries from either Horseshoe Bay or Tsawwassen. Ferries from Horseshoe Bay takes about 1 hour 45 minutes, and from Tsawwassen the ferry is about 2 hours.

Romantic spa trip to Harrison Hot Springs

harrison hot springs weekend getaway from vancouver

If you’re looking for romantic weekend getaways then a trip to the spa at Harrison Hot Springs is one to consider. Harrison Hot Springs is great if you’re looking for last minute vacations from Vancouver since it’s less than two hour’s drive away. One of the top spa resorts in BC, Harrison Hot Springs resort is a great place to relax.

Not only is there a spa here but lots of hiking, a great lake and a secret waterfall to explore too all of which make Harrison Hot Springs a great Vancouver getaway.

See my guide to Harrison Hot Springs

Where to stay in Harrison Hot Springs

How to get 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.

Adventurous weekend in Whistler

whistler weekend getaway from vancouver

Ah, Whistler. Whether you’re just paying a visit to Vancouver or not matter how long you’ve lived here, Whistler is a great place for an adventurous weekend getaway from Vancouver. You’re sure to find something new every time you visit.

Whistler in the summer and Whistler in the winter are two very different places. In the summer it’s all about mountain biking, hiking and chilling out by the lakes. Come winter it’s all about skiing and snowboarding. It’s without a doubt one of the best winter getaways in BC.

However, even if you’re not a massive snow sports fan, there’s plenty to do in Whistler that’ll keep you entertained even in winter. Hit up some of the great restaurants, relax at the Scandinave Spa for an awesome spa retreats in BC, or take in the views from the top of the gondola.

Where to stay in Whistler

Check out these BC resorts and lodges in Whistler:

How to get to Whistler

Getting to Whistler is an experience in itself. The drive is absolutely beautiful and there are plenty of places to stop along the way to soak it all up. From Vancouver simply head north on Hwy 99/The Sea to Sky.

It takes between 1.5-2 hours to drive to Whistler which makes it great for those of you looking for short trips near Vancouver for a long weekend.

See where to stop on the way to Whistler from Vancouver

Wine tasting in the Okanagan

best kelowna wineries

If you’re after a fun trip with friends then be sure to check out the Okanagan. The Okanagan is BC’s wine country and a trip here is one of the best weekend getaways in BC. There are vineyards everywhere and touring them is a great way to spend a late summer’s weekend.

Exploring the vineyards of Kelowna and the Myra Canyon Trestles has been one of my favourite weekend trips from Vancouver so far.

See my tips for a wine tasting weekend in Kelowna

Where to stay in Kelowna

How to get to Kelowna from Vancouver

Getting to Kelowna from Vancouver is easy. Simply follow the 1 eastbound out of Vancouver until you reach Hope. From here take the 5 northbound and switch to the 97c signposted to Kelowna.

Total drive time is about 4.5 – 5 hours.

Scenic weekend in Campbell river

elk falls campbell river (1 of 2)

Campbell River on Vancouver Island makes for a great British Columbia vacation. If you’re looking for a scenic and adventurous Vancouver Island vacation then be sure to look into a trip to Campbell River.

It’s one of the best places near Vancouver for whale watching and wildlife spotting and one of the most scenic places to go near Vancouver thanks to the beautiful Discovery Islands you can see from here.

Take a look at my guide to Campbell River

Where to stay in Campbell River

There’s a lot of camping you can do here which makes it an addition to the list of cheap places to travel from Vancouver.

How to get to Campbell River from Vancouver

Getting from Vancouver to Campbell River is easy. Simply pick your departure point, either Tsawwassen or Horseshoe Bay and book your crossing with BC Ferries. It’s ever-so slightly quicker and cheaper to get the ferry from Horseshoe Bay, but these boats tend to book up a bit quicker than those from Tsawwassen.

You can sail into Nanaimo or Victoria. From Victoria you’re looking at a drive of just over 3 hours on the BC 1-N and then the BC-19 north bound towards Campbell River.

From Nanaimo the journey takes about half the time (roughly 1.5 hours) and you just head north on the BC-19 all the way.

A city break in Victoria on Vancouver Island

vancouver weekend getaways to victoria vancouver island

img: Lonely Plant

If you’re looking specifically for Vancouver Island getaways then make sure to look at a trip to Victoria. Week getaways to Victoria are easy to book and plan. Just choose whether you’re getting there by ferry (as usual) or make it a more romantic getaway to Vancouver Island by arriving by seaplane.

A weekend away in Victoria is like a city break to somewhere very different. Appreciate the more European architecture of Victoria, wander the waterfront, go for a hike and enjoy the change of scenery. A weekend getaway to Victoria is always a nice idea.

Where to stay in Victoria

How to get to Victoria from Vancouver

Catch a BC Ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay and then head south to Victoria (it’s well signposted!). Or take a seaplane from downtown Vancouver with HarbourAir.

A weekend full of adventures in Squamish

squamish weekend getaway from vancouver

If you’re looking for an adventurous couples getaway in BC then enter Squamish. This adventure town between Vancouver and Whistler is ideal for a cheap getaway from Vancouver. You can camp out in the forest, by a lake or by a river, go hiking, mountain biking, climbing and more.

I love Alice Lake for swimming and kayaking, Murrin Lake Provincial Park for hiking and the Brackendale area of Squamish for some easier mountain biking trails.

It’s also a great weekend trip from Vancouver in winter since there’s snowshoeing and skiing nearby.

Where to stay in Squamish

If you don’t plan on camping then take a look at these Squamish hotels.

How to get to Squamish from Vancouver

Head north on Hwy 99 towards Whistler. Squamish is about 1 hour’s drive away from downtown Vancouver.

A foodie weekend getaway to Salt Spring Island

salt spring island bc canada

Another great Vancouver vacation is to Salt Spring Island. This Vancouver trip is especially great if you’re a foodie. This little island has plenty to offer visitors in terms of food and is best visited in the summer when the market is one.

Be sure to check out the Salt Spring Island Cheese Company, drink plenty of Salt Spring Island Coffee and have a look at some of the art while you’re there too.

See my guide to Salt Spring Island

Where to stay on Salt Spring Island

How to get to Salt Spring Island from Vancouver

The most common way to get to Salt Spring Island is to take the ferry from Vancouver. BC Ferries leave from Tsawwassen to Long Harbour regularly throughout the day. Some ferries stop off at other Gulf Islands which adds quite a bit of time to the journey, whereas others go direct.

A relaxing break on the Sunshine Coast

smuggler cove marine park

Still wondering where to go in BC for a weekend? Check out the Sunshine Coast for a romantic weekend getaway in BC. There are beautiful beaches, a slower pace of life, the incredible Skookumchuck rapids, and so, so many lakes. The further north you go, the prettier it gets!

This is one of the top romantic getaways near Vancouver thanks to its proximity to the mainland. You can catch a ferry from Horseshoe Bay which takes just 20 minutes to reach the Sunshine Coast. All in all you could be on the Sunshine Coast in just an hour from downtown Vancouver!

You can make things romantic by staying in some picturesque waterside lodges, walking along the beach at sunset and spending some quality time together.

Take a look at my full guide on what to do on the Sunshine Coast in BC

Where to stay on the Sunshine Coast

backeddy resort where to stay on sunshine coast bc vancouver weekend getaways

How to get to the Sunshine Coast

The easiest and cheapest way is to take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay. BC Ferries depart from Horseshoe Bay throughout the day, every day and the crossing takes just 40 minutes.

Explore the Fraser Valley

othello tunnels

I feel like the Fraser Valley is often forgotten when it comes to Vancouver vacation ideas but it definitely shouldn’t be! It’s one of many short road trips from Vancouver and is a great cheap destination from Vancouver.

If you’re looking for weekend getaways in BC that are cheap consider the Fraser Valley. In the Fraser Valley, you can chill out at the lakes near Chilliwack, go camping for free at Jones Lake, discover the Othello Tunnels and the Ladner Creek trestle and so much more!

Check out my spring road trip itinerary for the Fraser Valley

Where to stay in the Fraser Valley

If you’re staying in Chilliwack I’d recommend camping by a lake, otherwise here are a few options for hotels & B&Bs in Chilliwack.

For Abbotsford check out these hotels:

How to get to the Fraser Valley

The Fraser Valley stretches from Abbotsford to the Coquihalla. It takes about an hour to get to Abbotsford from Vancouver (depending on traffic) and closer to 3 to get to the Coquihalla.

Just head east on Hwy 1/Trans Canada.

Relax on Bowen Island

NectarYogaBnB yoga dome

Bowen Island is one of the most relaxing places to visit near Vancouver. Whilst it makes a great day trip from Vancouver it’s also great as a short trip from Vancouver for the weekend.

It’s a pretty cheap trip from Vancouver too since you won’t need a car; you can get the bus to Horseshoe Bay, catch the ferry across as a foot passenger and then either walk, hitchhike or get the bus on the island.

Read more things to do on Bowen Island

Where to stay on Bowen Island

How to get to Bowen Island

Take a BC ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Snug Cove.

Staycation in Vancouver

vancouver stAYCAtion

If you’re looking for some romantic getaways in BC but don’t own a car and don’t want to hire one then why not consider a staycation? Sure it’s not exactly a getaway but it can be fun nonetheless.

For your holiday in Vancouver book one of the luxury Vancouver hotels, head out to a restaurant or a bar and see the city in a new light. Aim to visit an area or a park you wouldn’t usually go to to make it really feel like you’re somewhere else.

You might even want to revisit the Vancouver tourist spots as I bet if you live here you’ve not really done them! There are also some pretty romantic things to do in Vancouver (walks around Stanley Park at sunset, cocktails at Juniper or Prohibition and a trip to the Vancouver lookout or a Seaplane ride to name a few) for a Vancouver romantic getaway.

See my Vancouver accommodation guide

Useful things to know about these Vancouver weekend getaways

Olivia

Saturday 3rd of November 2018

This is such a great list. I was able to visit BC this past summer and I love it. I'm glad I was able to travel to some of these spots, but obviously, I need to come back and explore more!

Hannah Kacary

Sunday 18th of November 2018

My list is constantly expanding!

Emma

Saturday 3rd of November 2018

Great post. I live in Vancouver and while I've done some of these, there's definitely ones I need to plan. I love Ucluelet and glad you gave it a mention. It sometimes gets forgotten about next to Tofino but I love how quiet it is in comparison.

Hannah Kacary

Sunday 18th of November 2018

Yes same! It's prettier too I think - a bit more wild :)

Kayla

Saturday 3rd of November 2018

Ah Vancouver is such a lovely city, but also the perfect adventure hub! SO much to see and do not only in the city, but nearby. Would love to base myself there at some point.

Hannah Kacary

Sunday 18th of November 2018

I love it here so much :) So many adventures nearby

Lindz

Friday 2nd of November 2018

WOW this guide is so in-depth! I seriously missed out on so many adventures when I lived in Vancouver. Ah well, just an excuse to visit again, right? ;) I did enjoy a last-minute trip to Salt Spring and had an absolute blast. There's so much to do in BC!

Hannah Kacary

Sunday 18th of November 2018

Thank you! and yes, definitely a good reason to come back!

Michelle M

Friday 2nd of November 2018

Your weekend getaways from Vancouver are so picturesque! All of these places look absolutely gorgeous. You have a great list of nature and scenic getaways, but I love how you add that a staycation can be just as fun.

Hannah Kacary

Sunday 18th of November 2018

Thank you! Staycations can be great and a little cheaper if you're not having to travel somewhere too!