13 Unforgettable Weekend Getaways From Vancouver, BC to Book (2024)

weekend getaways from vancouver
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Vancouver is a vibrant city with plenty of things to do, but sometimes you just need a vacation out of town. Whether you want to go to nearby hot springs or to a faraway island, there are many weekend getaways from Vancouver to choose from. You can essentially choose your own adventure and decide if you want a quiet, romantic weekend away, an active weekend outdoors, getaways close to Vancouver, or a mix.

I’m constantly exploring British Columbia, Alberta, and Washington to find new places to visit, and it’s hard to pick a favorite. While I love spending 3 days in Vancouver exploring the city, it’s also fun to get out of it. That’s why I compiled this list of some of the best weekend trips from Vancouver when you need to get out of the city based on some of the best things to do in each place.

You can choose your trip based on how far you feel like driving, as each post lists the driving time and distance from Vancouver. Some of these are perfect for a short vacation, while others are ideal if you have a long weekend to spare. Read on to pick your next Vancouver weekend getaway so you can start planning it!

This post was first written in 2020 and last updated in March 2024.

Tips for Weekend Trips From Vancouver

spring in vancouver stanley park

Some of these spots are quick weekend getaways from Vancouver, so you won’t need to plan much in advance. However, some will take you to islands in British Columbia or across the border to Washington, so keep these tips in mind.

  • Look at the ferry schedule first – Before you start planning your trip, look at what times are available. This will help you determine when you need to leave for your Vancouver road trip and when you should head back to the ferry at the end of the weekend. You can find the Vancouver to Nanaimo ferry schedule and the San Juan Islands ferry schedule online.
  • Reserve your ferry in advance – Related to the first tip, both the Vancouver and San Juan Island ferries highly recommend booking your time in advance. Otherwise, you’ll have to arrive early and hope you get on.
  • Check the border crossing times – If you’re going on a Seattle to Vancouver road trip, there are multiple entrances into the United States, so you can check in advance which one is the most crowded. In general, the Peace Arch crossing in Blane tends to be the most popular, so I recommend taking the Aldergrove crossing in Lynden if the wait time is high. You’ll see signs along the freeway as you get closer to the border letting you know the wait times at each one so you can make your decision then.
  • Be aware of current restrictions when crossing borders – As of February 2023, you do not need to test ahead of time or quarantine. ArriveCAN is also not necessary to use anymore, but it can speed up your bordering crossing if you don’t have NEXUS. See current restrictions on the Canadian website.

13 Best Weekend Getaways From Vancouver

Whether you want to go on vacation in Vancouver in the summer or get away during a Vancouver winter or even during Christmastime in Vancouver, here are some of the best Vancouver weekend trips.

1. Whistler

things to do in whistler ski

Distance From Vancouver: 121 km (75 mi)

Driving Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Best for: Adventure, shopping

Whistler is a great place to go when you need a quick vacation from Vancouver. I go here every single year in the spring, and I love this time of year, but I’ve also been in every season and enjoyed all my trips. It’s known as a ski town, but you certainly don’t have to be a skier to have fun here (there are still plenty of things to do in Whistler during winter that don’t involve snow).

Things to Do in Whistler

Spending a winter weekend in Whistler is popular, as there are tons of winter activities to do. While many people ski, you can also snowshoe, cross-country ski, or go on a winter hike. Many visitors also head up to Whistler after being in Vancouver for 2 days.

There are also many summer activities in Whistler such as golfing or hiking, so you don’t need to love the snow to come here. Several lakes in the area provide places to swim, kayak, or canoe if you feel like being on the water. You can also pack a picnic for the day and head out to enjoy the outdoors during one of the best quick getaways from Vancouver.

When you want a break from being outside, you’ll love how many shops there are in the area. From Lululemon to Gap to Patagonia, you’ll have plenty to choose from when you need a few new items in your wardrobe. There are also salons available if you need to get your hair or nails done.

Whistler is also notoriously pet-friendly, so you can take a dog-friendly Pacific Northwest vacation here if you’re looking for short trips from Vancouver. Just make sure to read up on the rules for bringing them over the border. There are also many places to stay in Whistler that allow dogs, so just check with your hotel first during one of the quickest overnight trips from Vancouver.

While this is one of the more active Vancouver weekend getaways, there are plenty of places to relax as well. If you have time, I recommend stopping at the Scandinave Spa for a morning. This adults-only outdoor spa enforces quiet time outside, so you can relax while enjoying the sounds of nature. They also offer massages to round out your experience.

Many people also consider this one of the top family getaways near Vancouver, as there are ski lessons for kids, free concerts in the summer, playgrounds, and more in Whistler. You’ll also love all the Sea to Sky Highway attractions on the way up.

You’ll get plenty of snow if you head up during January in Vancouver. Winter is also an ideal time to cozy up at a cafe in Whistler with a warm drink.

Where to Stay in Whistler

2. Salt Spring Island

weekend trip from vancouver salt spring island

Distance From Vancouver: 83 km (52 mi)

Driving Time: 2 hours and 20 minutes (includes a ferry ride)

Best for: Relaxing

When you want to plan a romantic getaway near Vancouver, check out Salt Spring Island. This small island is a scenic place to drive around, and there are a handful of stores and dozens of restaurants there.

My friends used to live on Vancouver Island and took us here one day when we were visiting, and I fell in love with the small-town charm. It very much reminded me of my personal favorite island in Seattle, Whidbey Island (where there are so many Whidbey Island attractions to visit). Visiting Salt Spring is one of the best things to do in spring in Vancouver when you want to get away.

Things to Do on Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Vineyards is a cute place to go wine tasting and has an indoor tasting area as well as a garden outside. If you prefer beer, head over to Salt Spring Island Ales to try locally brewed beer.

They’re both the type of place where you can take your time and spend an afternoon, so you’ll want to add this to your list of long weekend getaways from Vancouver. You’ll also love all the Vancouver Island winter activities if you’re visiting during that time.

You can also book a whale-watching tour to see sea life in the nearby waters. There are also kayaking tours if you want a workout while exploring the water and to see some of the best kayaking in Vancouver during your weekend getaway from Vancouver.

Make sure to stop in the downtown area during your Vancouver romantic getaway to check out the local shops. You’ll find jewelry from artists on the island, Pacific Northwest-inspired artwork, and handmade candles. This is a fun Pacific Northwest family vacation idea as well.

Where to Stay on Salt Spring Island

3. Banff

banff weekend trip

Distance From Vancouver: 848 km (527 mi)

Driving Time: 9 hours and 30 minutes

Best for: Adventure

Spending time in Banff is great when you want to go on a long road trip from Vancouver. The Vancouver to Banff drive is absolutely stunning, so you’ll want to plan a time to stop along the way during one of the best weekend getaways from Vancouver. However, if you’re in a hurry, it is doable to drive there in one day.

Banff was my first international solo trip, so it holds a special place in my heart. It’s a great trip for solo adventurers or a weekend getaway from Vancouver for families as well.

Things to Do in Banff

While many people enjoy skiing in the area, I personally think the best time to visit is in the summer. You’ll greatly improve your chance of seeing wildlife and be able to access more hikes in Banff. You can also take pictures of the famous bright blue Lake Louise when the snow melts.

For another naturally beautiful sight, visit the waterfalls at Johnston Canyon. You can take two separate trails to visit either the Upper or Lower Falls, and I recommend visiting both. In the winter, these completely freeze over, and some people even climb them! Make sure to bring your camera on this part of your Vancouver getaway.

For a low-key adventure when looking for things to do in Banff, take the Banff Gondola high up to the top for a 360-degree view of the area. You can walk around the top and even have dinner at one of the two restaurants up there.

Where to Stay in Banff

4. Harrison Hot Springs

vancouver weekend getaway harrison

Distance From Vancouver: 132 km (82 mi)

Driving Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Best for: Relaxing

Harrison Hot Springs is ideal when you want a short weekend getaway from Vancouver that will have you feeling recharged when you get back to town. People from all over Canada have been coming here since 1886, and it’s no surprise why.

While we have Scenic Hot Springs in Washington, and there are also many hot springs on a weekend getaway in Idaho, Harrison Hot Springs are Vancouver’s much bigger answer to that.

Things to Do in Harrison Hot Springs

This pet-friendly resort offers plush rooms with a view of Harrison Lake. You can start the morning by walking through the gardens or enjoying your coffee by the lake.

There are five different hot springs to take a dip in, with two indoors and three outdoors. You can choose from an adult-only pool, a family pool, and a lap pool if you want to take a swim during one of the most fun weekend getaways from Vancouver.

You’ll also want to spend some time at the spa during your visit. You can get a facial, massage, manicure, body care treatment, and more. Once you’re done with your treatments, you can head over to one of four restaurants at the resort. If you’re looking for cheap getaways from Vancouver, you can stay at a nearby hotel and just get a day pass here.

Where to Stay in Harrison Hot Springs

5. Sunshine Coast

sunshine coast weekend getaway from vancouver

Distance From Vancouver: 67 km (42 mi)

Driving Time: 2 hours (depending on which part of the coast you visit, includes a ferry ride)

Best for: Adventure, art lovers

The Sunshine Coast is one of the best fall weekend trips from Vancouver, but many people don’t know about it. You can visit this area at any time of the year, but the summer and fall months in Vancouver allow you to do more activities.

Things to Do on the Sunshine Coast

You can go boating, canoeing, kayaking, and more when it’s warm out, thanks to the eight lakes in the area. Hiking the Sunshine Coast is another popular activity, and some people choose to go backpacking on the trail for days. There are even white sandy beaches when you visit Savary Island.

There are more artists on the Sunshine Coast per capita than in any other region in Canada, so you’ll want to check out some of the art galleries in the area. They also have plenty of music festivals and events, so check out the schedule before you head there for one of the more beautiful Vancouver weekend getaways.

Where to Stay on the Sunshine Coast

6. Tofino

tofino weekend trip

Distance From Vancouver: 326 km (203 mi)

Driving Time: 6 hours (includes a ferry ride)

Best for: Relaxing, wine tasting, ocean views 

Tofino is an ocean lover’s paradise, so you’ll want to book this romantic getaway from Vancouver to this part of Vancouver Island if you want fantastic views every day. While it takes a bit to get here, the entire Vancouver Island road trip through the island is scenic.

Things to Do in Tofino

The area is one of the top places to surf in the Pacific Northwest, so you’ll likely see surfers of all skill levels out on the water. You can even take surfing lessons if you want to give it a try yourself.

For those who prefer to walk along the beach instead of going in the water, visit Long Beach. You can also explore nearby Pacific Rim National Park if you want to go hiking during one of the best active weekend getaways from Vancouver.

Tofino Botanical Gardens is a relaxing place to walk through and admire the different arrangements. You can also stop at some of the local shops to pick up souvenirs for your vacation.

Some people decide to do nothing and spend the weekend staring at the ocean from the hotel room, which is another nice way to vacation during one of the more relaxing Vancouver getaways.

Where to Stay in Tofino

7. Victoria

victoria fishermans wharf

Distance From Vancouver: 114 km (71 mi)

Driving Time: 3 hours (includes a ferry ride)

Best for: History lovers

Victoria is a popular Seattle weekend getaway, and Canadians love visiting this area of Vancouver Island as well. The city is the capital of British Columbia, and you can see the Parliament Building in the middle of downtown, which is a popular stop on a Victoria, BC day trip.

There’s nothing like taking a stroll along the waterfront during what is also one of the best romantic getaways in Vancouver, BC. I’ve been here numerous times and always find something new to do when I visit. You can either walk on the ferry to get here or bring your car for a road trip from Seattle.

Things to Do in Victoria

A historical attraction to check out is Craigdarroch Castle, which a Scottish family built in the late 1800s. The castle is on the top of a large hill, so you can get a great workout if you want to bike here. I always stop here on what’s one of my favorite Vancouver weekend getaway ideas.

There are also plenty of things to do in Victoria with kids, such as the Victoria Bug Zoo and the Miniature Museum. The city is very walkable, so you could easily leave your car at your hotel for the weekend during your Vancouver weekend trip.

You’ll also want to check out the variety of cuisine in Victoria. The oldest Chinatown is in Victoria, so make sure to walk through there and grab lunch. You can also find an Irish pub with live music, which is a fun way to spend an evening there. It’s easy to see why Victoria is one of the best weekend trips from Vancouver.

Where to Stay in Victoria

8. Olympic National Park

mount Ellinor best hikes in Olympic National Park

Distance From Vancouver: 183 miles

Driving Time: 4 hours and 40 minutes (includes a ferry ride)

Best for: Adventure

While you can visit Olympic National Park in one day, it’s worth it to take your time and book a weekend in the area. I love coming here whenever possible, as there’s so much to see – mountains, rainforests, the ocean, and more.

Things to Do in Olympic National Park

You can head out to the coast to see the Pacific Ocean at Ruby Beach and walk along the beach during one of the long weekend trips from Vancouver to the US. You can also do an Olympic Peninsula road trip if you want to see the whole area.

This is also a popular place for locals to take a weekend trip from Portland, as Oregon doesn’t have the beautiful rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula.

You’ll also want to stop at Hoh Rainforest to take a walk along this unique rainforest in the park. You can take a hike here or go to other parts like Hurricane Ridge for more challenging hikes on the Olympic Peninsula.

Lake Crescent is another fun place to spend the day, as you can relax in the middle of the park on a gorgeous lake. Many people pack up picnic lunches to bring here and enjoy swimming in the summer. Put this trip on your list, as it’s one of the most unique weekend getaways from Vancouver.

Where to Stay in Olympic National Park

  • Lake Crescent Lodge is in the park, and right on the beautiful Lake Crescent, so it’s a great base for your weekend trip from Vancouver (rates start at $155 per night; read reviews on TripAdvisor and book your room on Booking.com).
  • Port Angeles Inn is out of the park but will save you money and has a view of the water (rates start at $75 per night; book your room on Hotels.com or Booking.com).

9. Seattle

pike place market marissa

Distance From Vancouver: 230 km (143 mi)

Driving Time: 2 hours and 45 minutes

Best for: Seafood, coffee

Things to Do in Seattle

I have a whole list of things to do in Seattle, but here are some of my favorite activities to recommend.

Stop by Pike Place Market to buy fresh fish, produce, and flowers to bring back home from your weekend getaway from Vancouver. For seafood restaurants, I recommend Pike Place Chowder and The Crab Pot. This is one of the best weekend trips from Vancouver in winter since there are plenty of places to stay warm inside.

Some of the attractions you won’t want to miss include the Space Needle, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Museum of MoPOP. Make sure to stop by the Smith Tower as well to have a happy hour drink at the top and see one of the best Seattle Instagram spots.

Visiting West Seattle is another fun option when you’re looking for a sandy beach to hang out on, especially during summer in Seattle. You can also rollerblade or ride your bike along Alki Avenue, giving you fun date options if you want romantic getaways near Vancouver.

Seattle is also great for weekend trips from Vancouver without a car, as you can easily take the train or bus down. You can check out the schedule for Amtrak Cascades if you prefer to travel via train as one of the easier Vancouver weekend getaway ideas, while there are various bus companies to choose from.

Where to Stay in Seattle

When you’re looking for an overnight trip from Vancouver in a different city, you’ll love heading down to Seattle. There’s so much to do here that it’s hard to fit it in during a few days, but I would start with indulging in seafood during your weekend away from Vancouver.

10. Orcas Island

things to do on orcas island

Distance From Vancouver: 187 km (116 mi)

Driving Time: 3 hours and 30 minutes (includes a ferry ride)

Best for: Relaxing

Many people spend a weekend on San Juan Island, but Orcas Island is also a fun weekend getaway from Vancouver.

Things to Do on Orcas Island

There’s an activity for everyone here, whether you want to go wine tasting, kayaking, or shopping.

Hikers will love the challenge of hiking to the top of Mt. Constitution. While it’s only three miles up, the last mile is a very steep, challenging set of switchbacks. You’ll have an amazing view of the other San Juan Islands and Canada from here during one of the top Vancouver romantic getaways.

If you want to taste the local wine, you can visit downtown Eastsound where there are multiple wine tasting rooms. Beer lovers can get a flight at Island Hoppin’ Brewery during one of the tastier Vancouver weekend trips.

There are multiple places to kayak or canoe, such as North Beach or Cascade Lake. If you’re lucky, you may see seals, sea otters, or whales passing by while you’re on the beach. You can read more details about the best things to do on Orcas Island during one of the more scenic weekend getaways from Vancouver.

Where to Stay on Orcas Island

11. North Cascades National Park

hiking blue lake north cascades

Distance From Vancouver: 202 km (126 mi)

Driving Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Best for: Adventure 

North Cascades National Park is one of the most stunning national parks in the United States. This is an adventurous weekend getaway from Vancouver, as there are numerous outdoor activities to do here, including boating, bird watching, and fishing.

Things to Do in North Cascades

One of the most popular things to do in the North Cascades is go hiking. From easy hikes in Washington State to overnight hikes, there are plenty of North Cascades hikes to choose from. You can check the official website to see if there are any current closures as you plan one of the most active weekend getaways near Vancouver.

You’ll want to bring your camera, as the North Cascades Highway has some amazing places to pull off for a photo. One of the most popular photo spots in the park is Diablo Lake, which you can access by hiking or taking pictures from a viewpoint. While many people choose to take a day trip to North Cascades National Park, I recommend spending a few days here.

Where to Stay in North Cascades

12. Winthrop

downtown winthrop

Distance From Vancouver: 333 km (207 mi)

Driving Time: 4 hours and 15 minutes

Best for: Exploring

There are plenty of things to do in Winthrop, and it’s a fun way to spend your weekend in a small town. The main street on Winthrop has a “Wild West” theme, so you’ll feel like you’re in an old Western movie, which I got a kick out of the first time I visited. You can even dress up in western-themed costumes and take pictures to get proof of your trip there.

Things to Do in Winthrop

There are also plenty of boutique shops and outdoor gear shops on the main street. When you’re hungry, stop by Old Schoolhouse Brewery for a pint and lunch during one of the more unique weekend trips near Vancouver.

If you love the outdoors, you can choose from hiking, biking, swimming, boating, and more. This is a beautiful area in the summer with relatively warm weather, and the winter brings the perfect opportunity to discover miles of cross-country skiing trails.

You can also just rest while you’re in town and visit the restaurants and shops. I love starting my morning at Rocking Horse Bakery for coffee and pastries and then heading into town as the stores slowly open. The Shafer Museum is a free activity you can do to learn about the history of Winthrop.

Where to Stay in Winthrop

13. Courtenay

courtenay vancouver island road trip

Courtenay was one of those places I discovered by accident on one of my many explorations around Vancouver Island. Located on the east side of the island, it’s a great base for a weekend of adventure.

Things to Do in Courtenay

The area itself is very relaxing, and you can visit Miracle Beach Provincial Park and Seal Bay Park when you want to see the ocean. The District Museum and Paleontology Center is also fun for history lovers.

On my first trip there, I went to Mount Washington to go snowboarding. It’s one of the most scenic places I’ve snowboarded before, as you can see the ocean as you come down the mountain. Many people also aren’t aware that you can ski on Vancouver Island, which is a fun fact.

My favorite restaurants include Flying Canoe West Coast Pub and The Hen and Hog Cafe.

Where to Stay in Courtenay

  • Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa is an amazing spot to treat yourself that has an oceanfront spa, a balcony or patio outside of each room, and a cave-themed steam room. (rates start at $197 per night)
  • Bayview Hotel is an affordable place to stay that’s within walking distance of the town center, has a waterslide, and has many family room options. (rates start at $119 per night)

Whether you want to relax or get outdoors, there’s something for everyone. This list of weekend getaways from Vancouver should give you plenty to choose from so you can start planning your vacation!

2 thoughts on “13 Unforgettable Weekend Getaways From Vancouver, BC to Book (2024)

  1. Marissa says:

    I loved my first trip there and I hope to get back later this year! It’s such a fun island.

  2. Jen says:

    We visited Salt Spring Island over Christmas break & we loved the slower pace on the island!

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