Yes, Vancouver has pretty much everything you would want within arm’s reach, but sometimes you want to escape the rush of the city and find a quiet escape, a cool lake, a warm beach or a winery with an abundant supply of wine. Should you find yourself with some time to kill and something to get you from a to b, here are a few ideas to get the wheels turning:
Harrison Hot Springs: This quiet spot is only a 90 minute drive from downtown Vancouver, and less than three hours from Seattle. When you arrive in Harrison, you’ve got your pick of spots to stay and you can choose a spacious RV in one of the many parks (or bring your own if that’s what you’re driving), rent a lake-front condo, stay in a cozy bed and breakfast, or rent a room in one of the local hotels that are perched right on the lake. The main strip of shops and hotels is literally right across the street from the lake, which is also accessible from Vancouver via the Fraser and Harrison Rivers. There’s a public hot spring facility you can use if you don’t stay at the Harrison Hot Springs Hotel, which boasts a lovely pool, filled with the hot spring waters. There are some restaurants you can dine at while you’re there, but if the weather’s nice, nothing beats a BBQ or picnic on Harrison Beach.
Bowen Island: It may not be a road-trip per say, but you can take your car on the ferry, or just walk on. You have two options to get to Bowen and your first to take BC Ferries from Horseshoe Bay, which is slightly cheaper than taking the English Bay Launch. However, the English Bay Launch takes off from Granville Island and goes straight over to Snug Cove and it’s only about a 25 minute boat ride, and this will save you about an hour of your time if you choose to take the BC Ferries route. Once you at Bowen, there are some quaint pubs, cafes and shops to bop around through. Not to mention, the sandy beaches and shallow waters that warm up like a baby’s bath. It’s one of the best day trips to take from Vancouver because you feel like your miles away, yet it’s only 15.5mi northwest of Vancouver.
Okanagan: This is Canada’s Napa Valley and is perhaps one of the hottest places in Canada during the summer months. It’s a favorite getaway for many Albertans and British Columbians because of the picturesque views, plentiful lakes and the fantastic wineries that are scattered around the area. There are some large wineries that are well known across Canada that produce some lovely wines, but when you go, don’t overlook the small boutique wineries because you could be in for a treat! You can either hire a car to get from winery-to-winery, but what fun is that when you’re the designated driver? There are also tours that will take you around, and if you’re feeling energetic, bring your bicycle. If wine isn’t your thing, there’s plenty to do outside of the wineries. Spend the day swimming in the lakes, rent a boat or take yourself fishing. It’s definitely quite the drive from Vancouver, but it’s very beautiful and one that definitely requires a camera to snap the lovely scenery. There’s no shortage of places to rest your head, and you can choose to stay in a B&B, resort or rent a cabin for the duration of your stay.
If you don’t have time to go all the way out to the Okanagan, there are a number of wineries in the Fraser Valley that are only about a 45 minute drive from Vancouver and are the perfect day trip. I paid a visit to Domain de Chaberton in Langley last summer and really enjoyed it!