Vancouver is the perfect blend of urban metropolis and natural beauty. There are so many things to do in Vancouver, it is no wonder Vancouver is one of the most expensive places in the world to live. From downtown Vancouver, you will see beautiful oceanside beaches, lush rainforest and huge glacier mountains.

Vancouver BC is one of the greenest cities in the world. Vancouver city planners have set a huge priority of keeping this bustling city in touch with nature and you will find many forests right in the middle of town. This Pacific Northwest City receives a ton of rain, on average 192 days of rainfall a year. Luckily, there are tons of things to do in Vancouver even when it rains.

Vancouver is the perfect city for outdoorsy people who love living life. This list of the best things to do in Vancouver includes both downtown city-life hotspots and adventurous heart-pumping activities. Grab a cold beer and read about all the fun things to do in Vancouver for your next trip.

1. Do a Vancouver city tour

Downtown Vancouver has so many epic sites all within a relatively small distance. The city is flat enough to be walkable but is fairly spread out. It is full of bike lanes and is a great area to bike around. There is also a good amount of public transportation with the Skytrain, buses, and aqua buses making it so getting around is quite easy. One of the best things to do in Vancouver, whether you’re visiting for the first time or coming in from the suburbs, is to act like a tourist and sightsee this beautiful city.

 Just some of the top sights in downtown Vancouver include: Stanley Park, Olympic Village (Vancouver hosted the 2010 Olympics), Granville Island, Robson Street, Gastown, Chinatown, and English Bay… to name a few!

This Vancouver grand tour bike tour is one of the best ways to see the city. You will pass by all the major sites including Olympic Village, Gastown, Chinatown, Stanley Park, and more. The 5 hour tour costs $116.55 CAD ($87.10 USD) per person and includes your tour guide and all biking gear. If the tour sounds good but you’d be more comfortable on an e-bike, you can upgrade for $35 CAD ($25 USD) extra. You will stop at Granville Island for lunch at your own expense.

If you’d rather drive than walk, this Vancouver sightseeing tour is about 3.5 hours and will take you past all the major city sites. Costing $72.45 CAD ($54.14 USD) per person, this tour includes hotel or port pick up. You will get a drive-by view of many of the top sights in Vancouver and then have the opportunity to get out and take photos at both Granville Island and Stanley Park.

2. Bike the seawall at Stanley Park

Stanley Park is one of the most famous areas in Vancouver. The perfect balance of nature mixed into the urban setting, Stanley park is an impressive 1000 acre urban forest almost completely surrounded by the ocean. Taking in the city views while submerged in the Stanley Park forest is one of the best things to do in Vancouver.

Stanley Park in downtown Vancouver, Canada is one of the best things to do in Vancouver. You can bike the seawall, visit the totem poles, take in the city views and so much more at Stanley Park.

The park is full of many intricate forest trails. Some lead to lakes, beaches, and even the Lost Lagoon. If you’d prefer to stay along the ocean you can enjoy the paved 10km Stanley Park Seawall. Walk, rollerblade or bike the seawall and bring your camera as you are sure to see some great sights.

One of the best ways to see Stanley Park is by bike. There are so many trails it can be hard to see in one day. If you didn’t bring your bike this Stanley Park Bike Tour comes with a bike to use.

Downtown Vancouver waterfront
View of Vancouver BC from the Stanly Park Seawall

Some of the top things to do in Stanley Park include:

  • Stanley Park Seawall
  • Prospect Point
  • Stanley Park totem poles
  • Stanley Park waterparks, playgrounds and railway

Stanley Park is also home to the Vancouver Aquarium. We do not support animals being held in captivity and we recommend this is avoided. Read more about heartbreaking things you should avoid when travelling.

3. Enjoy a shopping day at Granville Island Public Market

Located across the inlet from downtown Vancouver you will find the iconic Granville Island. Surprisingly this is not an island but rather a peninsula stretching into False Creek. Famous for the Granville Island public market, this is a great place to buy some fresh seafood and locally made arts and crafts.

Families will love the Granville Island Kids Market where you will find a child’s paradise. Inside you will find many different toy stores. Older kids will love the Granville Island arcade and the bumper cars. Younger kids will want to spend their whole day at the massive multi level Granville Island playground.

While the kids play you can enjoy the Beanstalk Bistro and grab a bubble tea or some chicken strips to keep the family happy. If you visit in the summer months, there is also the Granville Island Waterpark located not too far from the Kids Market.

Granville Island is extremely walkable so consider parking near Granville Island and taking the charming and dog-friendly Aquabus. This water bus departs from many different ports throughout the inlet. Taking the Aquabus through the inlet to Granville Island is easily one of the top things to do in Vancouver.

Vancouver BC downtown core is stunning. BC place and many other iconic Vancouver sights can be seen from Vancouvers waterfront.

You will be happy you didn’t bring your car once you visit the Granville Island Brewing Company and taste some local craft beer. If you do decide to drive, note that all parking in the area is paid. You can easily spend the day here with many Granville Island restaurants to choose from as well as some cafes and fast food options. 

This VIP Granville Island Market tour is a great way to learn about the area’s history while trying all the delicious food it is so known for. You will taste about 20 different foods while you walk through the area, costing $129.29 CAD ($96.62 USD) per person.

Some of the top things to do in Granville Island include:

  • Taste the fresh produce from Granville Island Market
  • Visit Granville Island Brewery
  • Take in a show at the Granville Island Theatre
  • Take the family to enjoy the Granville Island Kids Market

Heading for a roadtrip to Kelowna? Check out our favourite Kelowna breweries!

4. Walk one of the most famous Vancouver Neighbourhoods: GasTown

GasTown is a cute Vancouver neighbourhood that features old Victorian architecture and eclectic artsy vibes. Located a short walk east of Canada Place, you will know you are in the right area as the pavement is traded for quaint cobblestone streets. 

Gastown BC is located just off the water making this picturesque Vancouver city that much more appealing. One of the best ways to start off a trip to this neighbourhood is to stop at one of the cute Gastown coffee shops.

Both Milano Espresso Lounge and Timbertrain Coffee Roasters are great options for your morning coffee. One of the top things to do in Vancouver is to enjoy some Gastown Vancouver restaurants such as The Birds & The Beets.

One of the best things to do in Gastown is to EAT! It doesn’t get much better than this Gastown walking food tour gives you a full rundown of the area’s history while showcasing some of the best food in the city. The tour costs $124.95 CAD ($93.37 USD) per person and includes 7 food tastings and 3 alcohol tastings while passing through the iconic sites of the area.

Nestled into the heart of downtown, a trip to Gastown is one of the best things to do in Vancouver, especially if you’re short on time. A trip to the Gastown Steam Clock should be at the top of your list. Every 15 minutes it emits steam with an hourly show of whistles and steam. Ironically, this steam clock is actually electric now but still emits steam for historic appeal.

One of the most interesting ways to see this area is by taking a Vancouver Lost Souls of Gastown Walking Tour. This is an hour and a half walk through the famous Vancouver area that includes 5 stops showcasing Gastown’s storied history.

Gastown is known to locals as being home to some of the best restaurants and pubs in Vancouver. This is an area you will want to do a pub crawl. Whether you are looking for high end restaurants or a beer chugging Vancouver Irish pub, you’ll find it all. If you’re looking for great family restaurants in Vancouver Gas Town is home to the Old Spaghetti Factory where you can have your dinner served inside an old train car.

Some of the top things to do in Gastown include:

  • Visit the Gastown steam clock
  • Grab a cold beer from one of the many Gastown Pubs
  • Marvel at the old architecture as you walk down cobblestone streets

5. Visit Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver

One of the best hikes in North Vancouver is the Grouse Grind trail on Grouse Mountain. Heading to North Vancouver you will find this urban mountain hiking trail. The Grouse Grind is a gruelling 2,830 stair climb that will take you 800 metres up the mountain for this vertical hike. 

Looking to beat the crowd? Head to the lesser known BCMC trail. This Grouse Mountain trail has the same starting point as the Grind but has much fewer stairs and instead just has the hill up.

Notes about the hike:

  • Grouse Grind elevation gain is 800 metres (2,625 feet)
  • You cannot hike down the mountain. You will need to bring $20 to pay for the Grouse Grind Gondola to take you back down the mountain. 

For those looking for a ride to the top, there is the option of taking the Grouse gondola. This easily transports you from the parking lot and runs up to the village. Once on Grouse Mountain, you can go mountain biking, try a treetop obstacle course and even visit some Grizzly bears at the wildlife refuge.

If you are looking for the best things to do in Vancouver in the winter, the most popular activity here is downhill skiing and snowboarding. There is also a network of cross-country trails. Bring some ice skates and try out the mountain’s 8,000 sqft skating pond. There is a rental shop on the mountain that offers ski, snowboard, skates and snowshoes for rent.  

If you’re wanting to see a couple top sites in North Vancouver, this Capilano Suspension Bridge & Grouse Mountain combo tour is a great way to do so. This full day tour costs $227.90 CAD ($170.31 USD) and includes transportation from Vancouver hotels, entrance fees to Capilano Suspension Bridge, and a roundtrip ride up the Grouse Gondola.

Some of the top things to do in Grouse Mountain include:

  • Go skiing or snowboarding in the winter months
  • Take in the sights as you ride the Grouse Mountain Gondola
  • Visit the rescued grizzly bears at the Grouse Mountain Wildlife Refuge
  • Get your heart pumping at Grouse Mountain’s zip lines or mountain ropes adventure courses

6. Cross a Vancouver suspension bridge

There are a few different suspension bridges in the Vancouver area. These hanging bridges sweep across valleys and have you suspended in the air walking amongst the top of the trees. Vancouver’s rainforest is one of the greatest draws to the city so getting an aerial view of the forest is one of the best things to do in Vancouver. There are two beautiful suspension bridges, both are great things to do in North Vancouver.

North Vancouver is home to Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge. One of the best things to do in Kelowna is visit the Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge.

Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge is one of the most popular suspension bridges in Vancouver. One of the best FREE things to do in Vancouver, you can easily spend your whole day here. Located in North Vancouver, this Vancouver suspension bridge swings 160 feet (50m) over the Lynn Canyon.

The Lynn Canyon Park is an impressive 617 acres in size offering numerous hiking trails, lakes and crystal clear river access points to swim in. We recommend a trip through the Lynn Canyon trails to Twin Falls where you will find a less busy swimming hole to explore. Entry into the park is completely free but you will have to pay for parking ($3/hr) if visiting between March and October.

Capilano Suspension Bridge is located not far away from Lynn Canyon, also in North Vancouver. This park has a few different attractions including the walk amongst the treetops at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. This is a network of bridges from treetop to treetop and a thrilling cliff walk and of course, the suspension bridges that sit 230 feet (70m) above the Capilano River. 

Buy your Capilano Suspension Bridge tickets ahead of time online to save a few dollars as entry fees are around $65CAD. While entrance fees are high, you can trust that you will have a great time in this treetop adventure. After all, it’s one of the top things to do in Vancouver.

If you are a resident of BC, your one-time ticket will allow you a full year of access to the park.

If you don’t have a car, there is the Capilano Suspension Bridge shuttle that picks you up from downtown Vancouver and brings you to the suspension bridge. The Capilano Canyon lights operate between November and January and are one of the best times to visit.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience, book this seaplane and Capilano Suspension bridge combo tour. For $184 CAD ($139 USD) you can fly above Vancouver’s harbor taking in the stunning sights in the area. Once you’re done with the birds-eye view of the city, you can submerge yourself in the treetops at Capilano Suspension Bridge. This tour includes the $63 CAD ($47 USD) entrance fee and transportation to Capilano Suspension Bridge, making it a great deal.

Sea to sky peak suspension bridge

Another less well-known Vancouver suspension bridge is at the top of the Sea-to-Sky Gondola called the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge. Offering gorgeous views of the Howe Sound area, this is another beautiful way to get your thrill walking above the rainforest. 

7. Take a cable car up the Sea-To-Sky Gondola

If you are looking for adventurous things to do in Vancouver, head towards Squamish along the Sea to Sky Highway. The Sea to Sky Summit offers some of the best views of the Howe Sound and the Lower Mainland. The Sea To Sky Gondola up the mountain has large floor-to-ceiling windows which will leave you feeling like you’re flying above the treetops. En route up the mountain, you will have a unique view of the nearby Shannon Falls and the infamous Stawamus Chief.

Sea to Sky Gondola Hours

Sunday – Thursday: 9 am-6 pm

Friday & Saturday: 9 am-8 pm

Sea to Sky Gondola Prices

Adults: Weekday: $62.95, Weekend: $65.95

Kids (6-12yrs): Weekday: $24.95, Weekend: $27.95

Youth (13-18yrs): Weekday: $37.95, Weekend: $40.95

Families (2 adults, 2 child/youth): Weekday: $143.95, Weekend: $148.95 

* Children under 5 are free. Discounted prices are available for seniors and online purchasers.

If you’re looking for a heart-pumping hike, you can take the Sea to Sky Summit Trail which will have you trekking 6.5km up the mountain. This is an intense hike with the first half of the trail being the steepest part. With a 918 metre elevation gain up this trail, you can expect to pass by the Stawamus Chief Trail and Shannon Falls.

While this hike is dog friendly, it is not an easy hike so make sure your dog can handle the trek. Dogs are not allowed up the gondola but they are allowed to ride down ($20 ride down fee – dogs are free).

Once you reach the top of the mountain, you will be met with stunning views of the entire Howe Sound area. This area is best visited in the summer months when you can fully explore the many walking trails at the top of the mountain. There is a restaurant and cafe at the top of the mountain along with a large suspension bridge. In the summer months, you can even enjoy live music and a bbq on Friday nights. 

Adventure seekers will want to try out the Squamish Via Ferrata located at this mountain peak. Try your hand at some great mountain climbing where you will get harnessed in to climb steep rock surfaces and climb across narrow bridges. Steel rungs have been put into the mountain making this more accessible and safe for families and inexperienced mountain climbers.

Some of the top things to do at the Sea-To-Sky Summit include:

  • Take in the sights riding the Sea to Sky gondola up the mountain
  • Walk the Sea to Sky suspension bridge
  • Hike through the outback
  • Sip coffee with unbelievable views

8. Head to a Vancouver Beach

Vancouver is home to some of the best beaches in a big city. Being almost completely surrounded by water, enjoying the many beaches in the city is one of the top things to do in Vancouver. The area south of Stanley Park is lined with sandy beaches and cold Pacific waters.

English Bay Beach

One of the best places to catch the sunset in the whole city is English Bay Beach. You can sit here for hours watching the waves crash against the long white sandy beach. Nestled right beside Stanley Park, the seawall actually runs right past this beach. Centrally located in Vancouver’s thriving West End, this Vancouver BC beach is notoriously busy, especially on sunny afternoons. Arrive early, or stop by for the sunset, to ensure you get a good spot on the beach for some Vancouver beach swimming

English Bay in Vancouver is one of the most popular beaches in BC. The Inukshuk is a staple of the beach showcasing the Indigenous rights to the Vancouver land.

Kitsilano Beach

Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver is one of the best beaches in the city. This is a great place for fun summertime sports with its volleyball, basketball and tennis courts. If the ocean is too cold for you, take a soak in the outdoor saltwater pool. There is even a specially dedicated dog off-leash area on the beach. (YES! This is a dog friendly beach in Vancouver!) Centrally located you can plan to head to one of the nearby Vancouver beach restaurants or cafes after you’re done at the beach. 

Second Beach

One of the best family-friendly beach in Vancouver, Second Beach offers fun for the whole family. The large outdoor heated swimming pool makes it so you don’t even have to brave cold ocean temperatures to cool down from the heat.

With two parks at this beach, kids are sure to be entertained. For the best family-friendly things to do in Vancouver on a hot summer evening, check out the summer outdoor theatre located in Stanley Park. 

If you are looking for the best beaches in Vancouver, Stanley Park has some great options. Third beach has a beautiful sandy shoreline that leads to a rocky coastline.

Third Beach

This quiet beach in Vancouver offers the tranquillity you wouldn’t expect from a downtown Vancouver beach. One of the best Stanley Park beaches for escaping the crowds, this is a great place to go to relax.

Jericho Beach

If you are looking for more of an upscale beach with stunning views of the city, this is the one for you. Get beautiful downtown views across the ocean as you lay on the white sandy beach of Vancouver. Home to both the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club and the Jericho Tennis Club, this is a fairly busy beach that hosts tons of regulars. If you are looking to get out onto the ocean in Vancouver, water sports lessons and rentals are offered at the Jericho Sailing Centre.  

Wreck Beach

Wreck Beach Vancouver is for those looking to push past their comfort zone. If you’re looking for unique (aka risky) things to do in Vancouver, this is certainly that!  Wreck Beach is Vancouver’s only nude beach. This Vancouver beach is clothing optional but takes a fair amount of effort to get to.

Located on the coastline at UBC, about a half hour’s drive from downtown Vancouver, you will find parking on what seems like the side of the road. Hundreds of stairs down this cliff (literally, about 500 steps) you’ll be at the topless beach.

9. Paddleboard through False Creek

With recent popularity surrounding stand up paddle boarding, more and more people are getting into this watersport. False Creek is a very popular area of downtown Vancouver. This is especially picturesque at dusk when you can catch the sunset in Vancouver. 

False Creek is an inlet meaning the waters are well protected and you won’t be fighting large ocean waves and strong currents. Kayaking and paddleboarding in this area can be done year-round making this a great activity, no matter when you’re heading to the city.

This is one of the best things to do in Vancouver because it gives you unbeatable views of the most popular sights in Vancouver. Paddle past Science World giving you a great view of this Vancouver landmark. You can stop in on your way past Granville Island to grab a snack. Expect to see a lot of birds in the Vancouver inlet as well as potentially some harbor seals.

There are a couple of places you can rent a paddleboard in Vancouver if you don’t have your own. The most popular place to rent from is in Olympic Village: Creekside Kayaks. If you are in Granville Island, Vancouver Water Adventures offers kayaks and paddle boards to rent. 

10. Go on a Brewery Tour in East Vancouver

With more than 40 breweries in Vancouver (and more than 75 in the metro area), it is clear drinking beer is one of the most popular things to do in Vancouver. Brewery tours, much like winery tours, mean you stop at many different spots to sample their beer.

We like to get beer flights when we brewery hop in Vancouver so that we can sample a few different beers from each brewery.

The brewing district in Vancouver has some of the best craft beer in BC. East Van brewery has some of the best micro brewed beer you can have.

This behind the scenes brewery tour gives you VIP tours through 3 different local craft breweries. The tour costs $110 CAD ($82.20 USD) and will meet downtown Vancouver and provide transportation between the breweries, samples at each brewery and a souvenir beer glass.

Craft breweries in Vancouver are super popular! It seems like every month a new Vancouver brewery is opening up. You may be wondering what the best breweries in Vancouver are.

  • One of our favourites is East Van Brewing Company, especially if visiting during happy hour between 3-6 pm where you can get a 4 beer flight for only $6!
  • Strange Fellows Brewing is another great Vancouver brewery that we love for one main reason: their sours!
  • We also recommend 33 Acres Brewing.

 Really, you can’t go wrong with any breweries in Vancouver, they’re all delicious!

11. Take the family to Science World

Science World in Vancouver is famously known for its large globe shape that sits right in the Vancouver harbour. Science World is an area with a lot of nostalgia for locals having been built in 1977, it is a trademark of the city’s skyline. Easily one of the best things to do in Vancouver for families, a trip to Science World is the best way to make learning fun.

Inside Science World you will find a bunch of great family friendly (but fun for adults too) interactive demonstrations. Individual science related experiments are set up throughout the building to allow kids to interactively learn and explore the world of science. Science World often features different large temporary exhibits that are more geared towards adults here such as the Body exhibit. For the rest of 2022, they have a dinosaur exhibit called T-Rex: The Ultimate Predator. There is also an OMNIMAX theatre on site.

12. Go on a Whale Watching Tour

One of the main draws to Vancouver is its coastal location alongside the Pacific Ocean. One of the best things to do in Vancouver for ocean lovers is to go whale watching. Vancouver waters are packed with marine life – they’re just too cold to be explored as easily as in tropical destinations. The best way to get up close with animal interactions is to visit them in their natural habitat and witness their activities.

Whale watching in Vancouver will have you seeing a ton of sea life. Seals, sea lions, river otters, orcas and even the occasional humpback whales are all commonly seen on Vancouver whale watching tours. While not as common, there is a chance that you may even see grey whales, porpoises or dolphins.

There are many companies that offer whale watching tours in Vancouver. We recommend this half-day whale watching tour from Vancouver is $199 CAD ($151 USD) and guarantees you will see whales – or you can get on another tour! 

Be sure to dress warmly as you will spend a good amount of time on these windy waters (3-5 hours) and run a good chance of getting sprayed by water.

The best time to see whales in Vancouver waters is in the warmer months, April through October. While killer whales are common in these waters, humpback whales are more commonly seen en route migrating north to Alaska. The best time for humpback whale sightings is in the spring and fall months.  

13. Try Sea Kayaking in Deep Cove

Deep Cove in North Vancouver is one of the most beautiful areas in BC. You can easily spend the day in this part of town. Kayaking in Deep Cove is one of the most popular areas in all of Vancouver.

Departing from Deep Cove beach you will take your kayak and head north up the Indian Arm. One of the most beautiful things to do in Vancouver, you can expect panoramic mountain views as you paddle your way up the Indian Arm.

If you don’t have your own kayak, Deep Cove Kayak rentals is right on the water for convenience.

There is a good chance you will see some great wildlife on your paddle. The waters here are packed with lots of marine life including starfish, jellyfish and salmon. It is very common to see seals in Deep Cove as well. If you paddle along the shore, you may even get lucky enough to see bald eagles, bears and other wildlife.

There are so many things to do in Deep Cove. The Quarry Rock hiking trail is one of Vancouver’s most popular hikes. Deep Cove hiking trails will not disappoint. Head to Baden Powell Trail where you will find a network of trails that weave up Burrard Inlet.

This seaside town has great restaurants, quaint cafes and the beautiful Deep Cove park beach. The beach is small but great for swimming and the large grass area has a park that is great for kids.

Deep Cove brewing in North Vancouver is some of the best BC craft beer. One of the best things to do in Vancouver is go ocean kayaking in Deep Cove.

If you are travelling over New Years, Deep Cove is famous for its January 1st polar bear swim where thousands of locals take the plunge into the cold ocean waters.

Some of the top things to do in Deep Cove include:

  • Hike Quarry Rock in Deep Cove
  • Grab a cold craft beer from Deep Cove Brewery
  • Have a picnic at Deep Cove Park

14. Make a splash at Cultus Lake Waterpark

If you are out of things to do in Vancouver, head to Cultus Lake. This area is a relaxing lakeside resort town in Vancouver’s suburb of Chilliwack. A 100kms from downtown Vancouver, you will need a car to visit this area. Worth the trip, Cultus Lake in BC is a vacation destination of its own. Here you can find the best waterpark in BC, an amusement park, great hiking trails, a large lake and awesome camping.

Cultus Lake Waterpark is the biggest in the area with tons of rides ranging in difficulty. Young kids will love splashing in the Family Spray Park, Pirates Cove and the Tots Castle. Thrill seekers of any age will love swirling down the Bazooka Bowls, the Cultus Lake Valley of Fear or the 72’ vertical drop in the Freefall ride.

 If you are looking to stay dry, a quick walk across the street will get you to the Cultus Lake Adventure Park. Weave through the trees on thrilling roller coasters, get an aerial view in the park’s Cloud Buster or take a ride on the Wave Swinger. The area also has a mini golf course. Adults will also appreciate The Cultus Lake Golf Club.

Cultus Lake itself is a big beautiful lake with surprisingly warm water you will want to jump right in. There is a main Cultus Lake beach that sits at the provincial park as well as many smaller beaches that run along the edge of the lake.

With multiple campgrounds on the water and many resort-style villas offering AirBNBs, there are tons of places to stay overnight in the area. One of the most popular family friendly hikes in the area is Teapot Hill where, just as the name describes, you will walk through the forest greeted by teapots along the way. 

Some of the top things to do in Cultus Lake include:

  • Make a splash at the Cultus Lake Waterpark
  • Book at one of the Cultus Lake campsites and enjoy a weekend in the woods
  • Take a ride at the Cultus Lake amusement park

15. Ride the Seabus to North Vancouver and visit the Lonsdale Quay

A short 12 minute ride on Vancouver’s SeaBus will transport you across the ocean from Vancouver’s downtown core to North Vancouver. Departing from downtown’s Waterfront station, the SeaBus Vancouver will float you across the Burrard Inlet and drop you right in the Lonsdale Quay. While the Lonsdale Quay has a lot to offer, a ride on the SeaBus is one of the best things to do in Vancouver in its own right. Make sure to have your camera ready.

The Lonsdale Quay Market offers great food, farm fresh local food markets and boutique style shopping. Here you will find food, clothing, jewellery, hand-carved wood, wine, handmade crafts and more. If you find yourself here on a sunny day, stroll through the nearby Waterfront Park or Victoria Park or take the family to the Shipyards Splash Park.

The North Vancouver SeaBus runs from 6 am to 1 am Monday to Saturday and 8 am to 11 pm on Sundays and holidays. SeaBus fares are also reasonable making this a fun thing to do in Vancouver. This also makes staying in North Vancouver a great option while not having to compromise the big city vibes.

North Vancouver Lonsdale Quay is home to delicious Vancouver restaurants, handmad shops and a fun waterpark for kids.
North Vancouver Lonsdale Quay shopping. best things to do in North Vancouver.

Some of the top things to do in the Lonsdale Quay include:

  • Shop at the Lonsdale Quay Market
  • Take the family to splash in Shipyards Splash Park
  • Enjoy the city views from the pier

16. Drive the Sea-To-Sky Highway

The stretch of highway (Highway 99) between West Vancouver and Whistler is known to locals as the Sea-to-Sky Highway. Driving along this stretch of Vancouver is a trip on its own where you can expect stunning views, rocky coastal beaches, gorgeous waterfalls and mountainous hiking trails. The road is narrow and windy and is frequented by supercars looking to test out performance.

If you are looking for the best outdoorsy things to do in Vancouver, this road will take you to some of the best hikes in the city. Along the route, a popular stopping point is at Whytecliff Park, a beachfront area frequented by scuba divers and offering unbeatable views of the Howe Sound.

Further up the road you will find the Britannia Mine Museum which can be seen from the highway. Formerly a large copper mine, taking a tour through the mine can be a lot of fun for the whole family.

The town of Squamish is small with a definitive hippie-vibe. A hub for outdoor enthusiasts, you will find tons of rock climbers and mountain bikers living in this city.

The Shannon Falls are some of the most popular waterfalls in the area stretching an impressive 1,100 feet (334 metres) into the air. Not far from the falls you can take a gondola ride up to the Sea-to-Sky Summit and get an aerial view of the area. This area is famous for the Squamish Chief, a 6km loop hike that leads you through the forest and scales you up the mountainside.

Hands down the best way to see this road is with a Sea to Sky exotic driving experience! Myles is a car guy and his dream is to take a Lamborghini or Ferrari down this road. The cost varies on the number of people in your booking and includes fuel and hotel pick up. You will get the chance to drive multiple exotic cars.

Some of the top things to do on the Sea to Sky highway include:

  • Hike the Squamish Chief
  • Have a picnic on the ocean at Whytecliff Park
  • Check out Shannon Falls in Squamish

17. Visit the Lighthouse Park

This 185 acre park is located on the coast of West Vancouver. Made up of a network of some of the best Vancouver hiking trails that take you around the park, Lighthouse Park is a place for the whole family. Pack a picnic and head to this coastal park. If you are looking for some things to do in Vancouver in the forest, this is a great place to spend the afternoon. 

The main draw to Lighthouse Park is the historic lighthouse that sits on the rocky shoreline. A protected area, you will see some beautiful old growth trees sitting in this forest. There are tons of picnic areas and ideal spots on the rocks to have a picnic with a view.

18. Go snorkeling or scuba diving

After getting PADI scuba diving certified in Thailand in 2017, there are few things we love more than jumping in the water and exploring marine life. While Vancouver doesn’t have the same warm tropical waters that may come to mind when thinking of going snorkeling or scuba diving, the waters are packed with life such as seals, octopus, eels, and impressive reefs.

If you are wanting to go scuba diving, this Vancouver scuba diving tour costs $139.95 CAD ($104.58 USD)  and is a great way to get into these beautiful waters.

If you’re not convinced about scuba diving, you may prefer to snorkel. This half day snorkel, kayak, and seal adventure is a great way to explore the coastal waters. You will get up close and personal with seals as you jump in the water and snorkel alongside them.  The tour costs $99.95 CAD ($74.69 USD) and is a great way to spend your afternoon.

19. Take a trip to the Tri-Cities

One of the best things to do in Vancouver is to check out the many neighbouring cities that make up the Greater Vancouver Area. Three cities make up an area known to locals as “the tri cities” including Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody.

This is a great area to visit for those who like to mix a whole lot of outdoors into their urban lifestyle. A fast growing area of metro Vancouver, the tri cities are designed to be a part of the forest instead of demolishing it. This makes the area especially green and allows a very dense population of wildlife (such as coyotes, deer, raccoons, bears, cougars, etc) to co-exist with the people here.

Port Moody

Port Moody is a city that wraps around the Burrard Inlet. Known for its artsy vibes, this thriving city offers the perfect balance between beachfront bliss and urban busyness.

Newport Village is packed with restaurants and markets making it a great place to get some lunch. Or you can grab fresh ingredients for a picnic on the ocean in nearby Rocky Point Park.If you’d prefer to dip into freshwater or looking for a good hike, head up into the mountains where you will find two beautiful wilderness lakes: Buntzen Lake and White Pine.

Freckles and Samara at the dog beach at Buntzen Lake

Rocky Point is Port Moody’s shining star. With gorgeous trails that weave along the water, a kids playground and splash park, an outdoor pool and a skateboard park there is guaranteed fun for the whole family.

There are also lots of places to get replenishments. A lively string of Port Moody breweries lines the street across from the park, one of the best being Yellowdog Brewing. This Port Moody brewery offers parkside views and a lively upbeat vibe.

In the summer months, Rocky Point Ice Cream Parlour opens up and is the place to be. There are also food trucks serving fish and chips in the Rocky Point park. There is also a watersports rental offered here for those looking to kayak in the Burrard inlet.


Coquitlam, located just beside Port Moody, is the largest of the 3 cities. This outdoor playground offers lots in terms of hiking trails, lakes and waterfalls. Minnekhada Regional Park in Coquitlam is one of the most serene and beautiful places in the city to go for a hike in Vancouver

Coquitlam parks are plentiful and can be found around every corner in this family friendly city. If you are looking for a great area for kids, head to either Mundy Park or the bigger Town Centre Park. These areas are especially big during festive seasons such as Christmas, Halloween and July 1st (Canada Day) where there are often fireworks shows.

Town Centre Park in Coquitlam is home to the beautiful Lafarge Lake. When exploring this Coquitlam park, be sure to keep a look out for some resident beavers that roam the area. 

Port Coquitlam

Port Coquitlam is the runt of the three with significantly less wilderness to offer. One of the best things to do in this city is to walk along the Fraser River boardwalk. The Traboulay PoCo Trail has many access points, our favourite being at the DeBoville Slough Trailhead. There is tons of wildlife in the area so make sure to bring a bell. 

Some of the top things to do in the Tri Cities include:

  • Go for a hike at Minnekhada Regional Park
  • Spend the day at Rocky Point Park
  • Spend the day at Buntzen Lake beach

20. Go on a walk through Yaletown

Yaletown is one of the most famous areas of Vancouver. Known for the best restaurants in Vancouver, hip Yaletown bars and a young lively atmosphere. If you are looking for things to do in Vancouver that revel in city life, be sure to visit Yaletown.

Walking the False Creek boardwalk in Yaletown is a great way to get fit and enjoy some stunning views. Walk this picturesque stretch and pass many cafes and coffee stands along the way. You will pass large grassy parks with playgrounds for the kids. Be sure to keep a lookout over the water where you may even spot some marine life.

Yaletown itself has a buzz of its own. With many great restaurants and pubs, this is a great area to find a patio to hang out. Yaletown happy hour is the place to be. If you find yourself in Yaletown between 2-6 pm-ish, be sure to check in at the many restaurants offering great happy hour deals. There are also lots of boutique-style shopping in this area. 

Some of the top things to do in Yaletown include:

  • Eating at one of the best Yaletown restaurants
  • Grab a beer at one of the Yaletown Breweries
  • Enjoy the ocean views along the False Creek boardwalk

21. Spend the day (and night) in Langley

If you are looking for some fun things to do in Vancouvers suburbs, head about 45km east from downtown Vancouver to Langley. The city itself is on the rise with large developments turning this once rural farm town into an urban hub. 

Nestled up to the Fraser River you will find the quaint historic trading village of Fort Langley. A former fur trading hub for Hudson Bay Company, you can now take walking tours through the fort and explore all the history in the area.

Fort Langley is packed full of cafes, boutique shops and breweries. With an expansive trail system that walks along the river and networks up into the fields of Langley, there is tons to do around here. There’s even an off-leash dog park in the area.

If you’re hungry, a visit to the Langley Olive Garden is a must do – in fact it is the only Olive Garden in BC. 

The Twilight Drive In Theatre in Langley is one of the best summer things to do in Vancouver. Pack some snacks, or head to the concession, and get cozy enjoying the double features playing at the drive-in movie. The drive in theatre is pet friendly making this a great summer night for the whole family.   

You know what else the Fraser Valley is known for? Wine! Taking a Fraser Valley wine tour will have you visiting 4 wineries in the lower mainland. The tour lasts 6 hours and costs $165 CAD ($123.30 USD) per person and includes all wine tastings, a wine tour, lunch, and round trip transportation from Vancouver.

Some of the top things to do in Langley BC include:

  • Having dinner at one of the restaurants in Fort Langley
  • Catch a movie at the Twilight Drive In Theatre
  • Go on a hike through the trails in Fort Langley

22. Day trip to Whistler

We may have saved the best things to do in Vancouver for last. Whistler is Vancouver’s secret gem of a mountain town. To get to Whistler from downtown Vancouver, you will first need to cross the Lion’s Gate Bridge into West Vancouver and then jump on the Sea to Sky Highway. For those who don’t have a car, the Whistler shuttle bus takes you from either Vancouver Airport or downtown Vancouver to Whistler.

Riding the Peak 2 Peak Gondola is one of the best things to do in Whistler. A glass bottomed gondola spanning between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains delivers epic views.

Whistler BC is one of the top vacation spots in BC. Visiting Whistler Village is one of the best things to do in Vancouver.

Whistler Village offers tons of great boutique style shopping, restaurants and a lively mountain village vibe. If you are visiting Whistler in the winter, you will want to make sure you bring your skis and snowboard along. Whistler Blackcomb ski hills are some of the best in the province (if not the whole world).

If you are enjoying summer in Whistler, the ski hills turn into some of the best mountain biking trails in Vancouver.

For $199 CAD ($150 USD) you can take this daytrip tour through Whistler, BC. This guided tour will pick you up from your downtown Vancouver hotel and take you past Stanley Park and wind you up the Sea-to-Sky highway towards Whistler. You will take a breif stop at Shannon Falls to stretch your legs and take in the stunning views of the waterfall. You will then be taken to Whistler where you will have lots of free-time to explore Whistler Village, ride the peak-2-peak gondola or take to the slopes.

Some of the top things to do in Whistler include:

  • Take in the sights as you ride the Peak 2 Peak Gondola
  • Shop in Whistler Village
  • Go skiing or snowboarding down Whistler or Blackcomb mountains
  • Get your heart pumping by zip lining or bungee jumping in Whistler

23. Relax at the Scandinave Spa

One of the most relaxing things to do in Vancouver hands down is a trip to the Scandinave Spa Whistler. This is a meditative retreat that has a natural feel built into the mountainside. You will be soaking in hot baths, sitting in saunas and steam rooms and then plunging into ice cold pools right after. Visiting the Scandinave Spa in Winter is one of the best romantic things to do in Vancouver.

Heading to Kelowna? Read about the top romantic date ideas in Kelowna

24. FlyOver Canada at Canada Place

We visited FlyOver Canada a couple years ago and I still sing its praises to whoever will listen! We went in without any idea of what to expect and we were so pleasantly surprised at the experience. Having driven across Canada, we absolutely reveled in the experience of flying above it.

FlyOver Canada is located at Canada Place right downtown Vancouver. The entire experience will last about 25 minutes including the 8 minute flying experience.

First you will get a brief run down of Canada’s history. You will then start your flight by entering a room and taking your seat aboard the ride. The room has a giant wraparound screen. Expect movement in your seats to mimic the feeling of flying, wind being blown and nature scents to follow as you take flight. You will fly over the rocky mountains, the prairies, Niagra Falls and more.

25. Take a day trip to BC's capital Victoria, BC

Victoria is BC’s capital city and one of the prettiest cities in the province. Located on Vancouver Island, the only way to access Victoria is by plane or ferry. Victoria is located on the southern point of Vancouver Island and has a large inlet that the city is centered around. Island life is in full effect in this city making Victoria a perfect vacation destination in BC.

This full day guided Victoria tour from Vancouver will take you through the best areas of this coastal city. The tour costs $203 CAD ($154USD) and includes pick-up from specified locations in Vancouver and takes you aboard the 95-minute ferry ride to Vancouver Island. Once in Victoria, you will take a guided tour through the Butchart Gardens, BC’s Parliament Buildings, and more top sights in Victoria. You will then be taken back on the ferry and returned to Vancouver.

If you’d rather tour yourself around, you can take this quick flight from Vancouver to Victoria riding a seaplane. During your flight, you will enjoy stunning views of Vancouver’s harbor, the Salish Sea, and will fly you above some of the 200 islands off the coast of Vancouver. For $268 CAD ($202 USD) this flight will get you to Victoria’s harbor in 35 minutes.

26. Take a sunset dinner cruise through Vancouver's harbor

I would argue that there is no better way to see the city than by doing a Vancouver sunset dinner cruise. Not only will you get a romantic date night and a gourmet meal serving up delicious west coast cuisine but you will get a unique and beautiful view of Vancouver’s skyline. Taking a sunset dinner cruise is one of our favorite things to do in Vancouver.

A Vancouver sunset dinner cruise will cost $140 CAD ($106 USD) and includes dinner and a 2.5 hour evening cruise past some of Vancouver’s top sights. Starting near Devonian Harbour Park you will board the large yacht and spend your time cruising through the Burrard Inlet. You can expect both city and forest views as you cruise past Stanley Park and Canada Place. You will circle around Stanley Park giving views of North Vancouver and West Vancouver and the beautiful Lions Gate Bridge. 

If you’d like to do a day cruise through the harbor, this sightseeing cruise is a really popular way to see all the best sites of the city and take in the stunning mountain views. The cruise costs $70 CAD ($52.31 USD) and has a licensed bar on board where you can purchase drinks.

Thanks for reading!

We were both raised in Vancouver and LOVE telling people all the cool things to do in Vancouver. The city buzzes with life and offers so many great activities whether you’re looking for adventure or a lazy getaway. 

We hope you liked our top things to do in Vancouver. Let us know what your favourite one is (or if we missed any) in the comment section below!


Like it? Pin it.

The best things to do in Vancouver BC include going to Stanley Park, Gastown, Granville Island, and more.
On your next trip to Vancouver, be sure to check out these top things to do in Vancouver. Stanley Park, Whistler Village, Grouse Mountain, Deep Cove, the best beaches in Vancouver and more
The best things to do in Vancouver are visit stanley park, deep cove, north vancouver, the grouse grind, whale watching and more.

In our completely biased opinion, British Columbia, well Canada in general, is a really cool place. This massive heap of land is home to such a small relative population leaving most of the landmass free to be explored. In fact, only 5% of British Columbia’s land is privately owned. After decades of travelling our home province both together and apart, we have compiled the top 6 unbelievable places in BC.

What does that mean? This province is massively spread out which makes it the perfect place to plan a BC summer road trip.

Also, read about the top US cities that aren’t on your radar but should be.

Coombs – Vancouver Island

The first spot on our list has everything to do with animals (typical us). When making your way to Vancouver Island you will not want to miss this quirky spot. It’s right on the way for those that are making their way to the popular vacation spot, and surfers paradise, Tofino. The closest main city to this stop is Nanaimo. Heading just north of Nanaimo to Parksville this quirky city is about 10km to your west.

coolest places in BC, statue, parking lot, sky
The statue farm next to the goats

A Norwegian couple who immigrated to Vancouver Island is responsible for the hype in this area. They have a market area that they designed to be like their homes were in Lillehammer, Norway. Here, many homes were built into the hills with sod roofs acting as an extension to the land. This feature provided the houses with exceptional insulation bringing forward the eco-friendly green roof. To top it off (see what we did there 😉 ), there are goats on the roof to help “maintain” the roof’s grass levels.

This market is more of a small community. With many stores ranging from fresh fruits, small boutiques and surfing stores, there are many things to do and see. While this is a fun family-friendly place, it is more of a stop-through town than a final destination. We recommend adding this stop to a Vancouver Island road trip.

Wells Gray Park – Kamloops

Check out more about Kamloops here: Epic Road Trip Through BC

coolest places in BC, waterfall, wells gray, nature
Up close and personal with the falls

Roughly an hour and a half north of Kamloops (around 5 hours north of Vancouver) you will find the small town of Clearwater, BC and the impressive Wells Gray Park. 1.3 million acres of protected provincial park is home to 41 known waterfalls (more are constantly being discovered). In Wells Gray Park you will find all your adventure needs met with expansive hiking and biking trails, massive waterfalls and an immense amount of wildlife.

In fact, the wildlife is so dense in this area you are practically guaranteed to see all kinds of animals – everything from deer, cougars, bears and moose. Wells Gray is a great summer vacation destination as the large lakes and ample tree coverage offer more moderate summer temperatures.

coolest places in BC, water fall, river, water

While the area is packed with beauty, the biggest draw is the many impressive waterfalls. Some are located mere steps from the road offering easier accessibility while others require a dedicated hike to reach. The range of accessibility to the various waterfalls varies as some are much bigger than others. While some offer distant viewing areas, others you can become more intimate with, even climbing behind. Helmcken Falls is one of the main ones in this area and is the fourth largest in Canada. This is saying something if you consider we are also home to Niagara Falls.

We recommend staying in this area for a few days as there is much to do and see. Anything less than this and you’ll surely miss something.

coolest places in BC, waterfall, lookout point
The view from the lookout point

This area offers everything from hotels, cabin rentals, and quaint B&Bs but the best way to travel is to immerse yourself in nature at a campground. You can even find some free campsites around the park. There are lakes in this area where you can rent water sports like stand-up paddle boards and canoes. Nothing says getting into nature as much as paddling out to the middle of a lake and listening to the eagles and loons. If you are riding close to the shore, you are likely to encounter some even bigger wildlife.


Penticton is the perfect small beach town. Being completely surrounded by lakes, this dog-friendly city is incredibly laid back giving it the ultimate beach bum vibe. With exceptional rock climbing, biking and hiking trails all around, this city offers something for everyone. Penticton is keeping up with the Okanagan vibes, offering many fresh local restaurants and hipster breweries to give you that typical Okanagan lifestyle.

Heading to the Okanagan? Be sure to check out all the best of Kelowna as well. 

On the north end of Penticton, you have the massive Okanagan Lake that stretches all the way up to Vernon. While this lake is quite large in size, you will be pleasantly surprised by how warm the water is in Penticton. If there weren’t enough reasons to love the beach, the city of Penticton even sets up fire rings on their beaches to allow you to have a campfire on the beach. Okanagan Lake Beach even has a little slide in the water.

On the south end of Penticton, there is another large lake called Skaha Lake which has a great beach life. If the two lakes weren’t enough, there is also a lazy river channel here that you can float down. They even have tube rentals and shuttle services. Penticton weather is great in the summer and is one of the first places to get warm in BC after long cold winters. 

If you like wine, be sure to visit the resort town of Naramata located less than 20 minutes up the lake from Penticton. Here you will find some of the best views in the Okanagan with many amazing vineyards all housing their own impeccable Okanagan views. Along the way, we recommend visiting the many delicious fruit stands – or better yet head straight to the local farms. 

Ucluelet – Vancouver Island

Located on Vancouver Island, Ucluelet is a smaller city on the island that often mistakenly gets overlooked by tourists who flock to the nearby beach town: Tofino. While Tofino is definitely worth a visit, Ucluelet has so much to offer it deserves its own shout-out.

coolest places in BC, rocky shore, photography,
Halfway through the Lighthouse Trail hike

This small coastal town has a laid back homey vibe that we found to be very authentic. The lighthouse loop trail is a must-do hike in the area. Less than 3km in length, this loop hugs the water delivering consistent breathtaking ocean views. A great family-friendly hike offering different routes depending on your family’s needs. As the name suggests there is an iconic lighthouse that you will encounter along your path. With a rocky shore, we recommend wearing solid shoes that will allow you to climb your way all across the uneven terrain.coolest places in bc, ucluelet, lighthouse, light house, shore, ocean, sea

The Lighthouse at Ucluelet

When we visited we spent hours sitting on the rocks watching the waves crash against the shores with the changing times. Pack a picnic and spend the entire afternoon in this beautiful area. This was an experience you will NOT want to miss.

coolest places in BC, shoreline, ocean, victoria
Another shot of the ocean, cause why not

If you are a fish like us, you may also like reading about our first-time scuba diving in Thailand.


A bit of a drive from Vancouver, this town is located around 8 hours east, situated in an area of BC called the Kootenays. While this destination is quite remote, it is a sweet mountain town that has a lot to offer. Submerged in the outback, it is fairly common to be rewarded with lots of wild animal encounters including bears, vultures and moose.

Nelson is an old hippie town that is truly after our hearts. It has old VW vans everywhere, tie-dye shirts, old Victorian houses and small local businesses. Don’t come here expecting a Starbucks – you sure won’t find one. Instead, you will find tons of vegan and gluten-free health-conscious cafes and restaurants. Rocking a boho-chic vibe, this city is an eclectic haven.

With a river going through this town and tons of nearby lakes, this is a great summer destination. Nearby you will find a lot of small quaint towns that are also worth a visit. No trip to the area is complete without heading to Ainsworth Hot Springs, a resort offering natural mineral waters and even a beautiful underwater cave you can swim through.

Sooke – Vancouver Island

Another spot on Vancouver Island that we love is Sooke. Located at the southern point of Vancouver Island, Sooke is quite an isolated area of the island with only a few access points that aren’t 4-wheel drive. Well worth the drive, you will be rewarded with many amazing spots driving all around this area.

coolest places in BC, nature, potholes, water, swim
Samara trying not to fall into the water

This is another coastal town and has countless pull-offs for free campsites around it. While there isn’t much in terms of city life in this area, this is a great place to escape. There are lots of quaint B&B’s around to stay at in addition to our favourite spot: the Sooke potholes.

coolest places in BC, sooke, water, swim, pot holes, potholes
Crystal clear water just urging you to jump in

The potholes are located along the Sooke River. You will find easy walking trails leading up to these stunning rock formations and will be rewarded with crystal clear waters ready to swim through. You will sit in awe when learning that these stunning rocks were formed during the last Ice Age – 15,000 years ago! While the water is admittedly quite cold, the crystal clear waters are the perfect destination on a hot summer day. 

coolest places in BC, sooke, potholes, pot holes
Rock formations at Sooke Potholes

Have you ever visited one of our favourite spots in BC? Tell us what you thought of them in the comment section below. If we missed your favourite spot, let us know about it below.

Like it? Pin it!

Top must see places in BC, Canada #waterfall #vineyard #roadtrip #travel

Top must see places in BC, Canada #waterfall #vineyard #roadtrip #travelTop must see places in BC, Canada #waterfall #vineyard #roadtrip #travel

road trip through bc, westfalia, freedomchasers.ca, volkswagen, westfalia

British Columbia is one of the most beautiful places in all of Canada. We’re not just saying this because both of us grew up here, we did some thorough exploring before giving this title. After travelling around all of North America we have come to appreciate this part of the world even more than before. A road trip through BC offers some of the most scenic drives in the entire country.

An adventure lovers paradise, this province has everything from stunning coastlines, tall mountains, lush forests and a whole lot of wildlife. Where else can you scuba dive the depths of the ocean in the morning and go skiing in the afternoon? I mean, don’t actually do this because you are sure to get some altitude sickness… but, like, you COULD.

As BC natives and globe travellers, we’ve undoubtedly spent more time in this province than anywhere else and now consider ourselves experts. Below we have put together our favourite road trip through southern BC. This ultimate road trip guide is designed for people who are looking to get away for about a week.

All in all this road trip adds up to about 1,000 km of pure joy and the open road. We recommend allowing 5-10 days for this trip in order to be able to really soak in all the sights.

Read more: Vietnam’s 10 Best Destinations You Have To See

Road trip tips:
  • Best time to ROAD TRIP: Summers are known to be road trip season – and for good reason. This specific route is much better in the summertime. With many lakes, fresh fruit stands, hot summer sun and the best access to wineries, the months of June – mid-September are the best for this kind of trip.
  • The roads are MUCH safer at this time as you will be climbing some steep mountains. Make sure you have a reliable vehicle to take you on the trip. While you can plan a BC road trip in the winter months, it becomes a lot more dangerous with icy, snow-covered roads. Be aware that BC roads mandate winter tires on most highways between October 1st and April 30th.
road trip through bc, travel, backpack, roadtrip, drive, car
The Highway to Kamloops in the winter
  • While the best road trip through BC is in the summer months, be sure to consider the many natural effects that happen in these months. May – June typically experiences a fair amount of flooding. Late July – September typically sees wild forest fires. Be sure to check out what’s going on before you leave as there may be some changes needed to your route. These restrictions often lead to fire bans as well
road trip through BC, bachelorette, weekend, winery
Samara’s Bachelorette Weekend

Starting Point: Vancouver

As most people are coming from Kelowna, let’s start our trip there. If you are coming from out of the province, you will be likely flying into Vancouver’s main airport: YVR (Vancouver International Airport). There are many places you can rent a car or motorhome for this trip.

road trip through bc, vancouver, sunrise, sunset, cityscape, city, city scape
Vancouver at sunrise

If you are not interested in renting a car (you really should, it will be MUCH cheaper) there are buses that will take you this route as well but these routes aren’t as affordable and flexible as other parts of the world. 

Pro Tip: Skip the expensive and long cab ride from the airport to the city and instead jump on the Skytrain. The Canada Line will take you right from Richmond (the city YVR airport is in) and drop you right downtown for a fraction of the price.


This is a small town nestled in the mountains located about 100 kilometres east of Vancouver. After leaving the hustle and bustle of the lower mainland, Chilliwack will be a welcomed introduction to the huge farmlands and gorgeous mountain views you can expect from the rest of BC. 

Chilliwack has one major draw to it: an amazing resort community called Cultus Lake. This area has so much to offer and is a great vacation spot for families. Here you will find BC’s best waterpark: Cultus Lake Waterslides. As the name suggests, there is also a beautiful and warm lake that is a must-visit. Provincial campgrounds and privately owned lakefront cabins, many of which offer AirBNB, are in the area. 

Take the Vedder Road exit off of Highway 1 to get to the last rest stop before Hope (another half hour away). You can use this time to stretch your legs, grab some snacks and fill your gas tank. Chilliwack is often home to the cheapest gas in the lower mainland so we recommend taking advantage. For those who aren’t Canadian, you will need to take this time to grab a Tim Hortons coffee. You can’t do a Canadian road trip WITHOUT Timmy’s.

Pro Tip: When driving through the Hope area, be sure to stop at the Othello Tunnels. Some old railway trestles weaving into the rocky landscape have been repurposed into some stunning hiking trails.

road trip through bc, british columbia, mountains, coquihalla highway, mountain pass
Coquihalla Highway (Hwy 5) in April

Manning Park (PAID)

Distance From Vancouver: 218 km

Just following Hope the road forks allowing you to veer off Highway 1 and get onto Highway 3 which cuts east across the province. Taking this will get you to Manning Park – a small mountain community in BC that sits inside a protected provincial park. 

You can find accommodations for the night at Manning Park. This is a popular area for cross country and downhill skiing in winter and a beautifully scenic stop in the summer. Here you will find a mixture of campgrounds, airBNBs, cabins and hotels to choose from. While you may be able to snag something last minute, we recommend booking these in advance as things fill up quickly. Tucked into the mountains, be sure to pack layers no matter when you visit as temperatures can stick quite cool year-round. 

The best way to see this area is to get out of your car and explore on foot (or ski). Extensive hiking trails allow you to get deep into the wilderness to explore. Bring your bike along, or rent some cross-country skis, and make the most of this beautiful landscape.

When you’re ready to leave you will want to keep driving east on Highway 3. This road is long, windy and often single-laned but incredibly worth it as you will be immersed in some breathtaking beauty.

Note: If you are wanting a free night of camping try using this area as a place to get out and stretch your legs. Hike the trails and go play outside for a bit before continuing another 50 minutes for a FREE site in Princeton.

Princeton (FREE)

For those of you who are looking to cut some costs and still get a great camping spot on the river, try heading to Princeton for some free camping! This spot has half a dozen campsites all sitting right on the water. You will find fire pits, picnic tables and even outhouses in this area. You can even drive your vehicle practically right on the beach making this spot perfect!

road trip through bc, camping, volkswagen, westfalia, vanagon, dogs, camping
Our campsite just outside Princeton

Note: Free camping spots all work on a first come first serve basis so you can not make reservations. Don’t worry though as there are many PAID campsites in this area that are just as beautiful so if you can’t score a free site you will have no problem still finding a place to park your RV.

Be warned, the town of Princeton doesn’t offer a ton in terms of city needs – it has a couple of gas stations, a booster juice and a Save On Foods (grocery store) to gather supplies. The real draw here is the outback that you are submerged in, the free camping sites and the many amazing biking trails close by. 

On your way out of town, be sure to keep an eye out when driving through the tiny town of Keremeos as you will be wanting to take a turn south to head towards Osoyoos rather than directly towards Penticton.

Pro Tip: If you are looking to make this trip a bit shorter, skip over Osoyoos and head straight to Penticton.


Osoyoos is a popular beach town located close to the USA-Canada border. From a wine drinker’s point of view, this town is a MUST SEE. Osoyoos weather is desert-like (read: hot and dry) making it GREAT for growing wine crops.

In Osoyoos and the slightly northern town of Oliver, you will find countless wineries where you can sip on your favourite wines for CHEAP.  This area is a great place to gain some flexibility with your road trip as most of the wineries in the area don’t require appointments or reservations and welcome drop-ins. Just keep in mind most are only open from 10 am-2 pm.

road trip through bc, volkswagen, westfalia, osoyoos
Our secret spot overlooking Osoyoos

Note: Osoyoos isn’t a very dog-friendly city. Most of the beaches don’t allow dogs, there aren’t any dog off-leash beaches and most local restaurants don’t allow your furry friend to join you on the patio. With that being said, there are many great hiking and biking trails in the area for you to bring your pups.

road trip through bc, biking, bicycle, dogs, pets
Biking through the hills in Osoyoos

If you are visiting through the summer months be sure to hit up the MANY fruit stands in the area. Fresh, delicious fruits, veggies and honey are in abundance in the whole Okanagan region. For this reason, buy for the day and then keep driving to the many other fruit stands or U-picks along the way. There are also many campsites around this area if you don’t want to stay in Osoyoos hotels.


One of our favourite cities in the Okanagan, Penticton has that quaint picturesque small-town feel with all the big city conveniences you could need. You’ll find big parks, tons of greenery, off-leash dog beaches and two big beautiful lakes. There is WiFi just about everywhere in this town if you are like us and working nomadically. (Look for the one named Shaw Go rather than Shaw Open).

road trip through bc, beach, penticton, sun, sand, lake
One of the many beaches in Penticton

This town is most famous for its lazy tubing down rivers. While there are many places on this trip where you will have the opportunity to laze on a river, this is by far the most popular place to do so. Bring a floaty and jump into the Penticton canal and join the river floating fun. Penticton weather in the summertime makes for floating heaven. You can even rent tubes and get shuttle buses to return you upstream taking all the guesswork out of your experience. They really make it easy to have a great day.

This town is built in between two lakes. The north lake, Okanagan Lake, is a much more sophisticated area. With beachside bars and million-dollar houses, this is the site where you will find expensive 5-star Okanagan resort hotels. At the south end of the city, you will find Skaha Lake which offers a large park and a much more laid-back young beach vibe. You will find more bed & breakfast style accommodations here and places to rent paddleboards, windsurf boards and kayaks.

Get your camera ready and be prepared to make A LOT of stops on the road between here and Kelowna. Your whole ride will be driving alongside one big beautiful lake: Okanagan Lake. There are plenty of spots to pull over along this drive to take lots of photos or stop for a picnic along the water. 


While this is mostly a drive-through town you will want to drive REAL slow. This area is absolutely stunning. There are many pull-offs here for you to get the best selfies. Tons of fruit stands give this small town a lazy beach bum vibe that you are sure to love.


Another small drive-through town, Peachland is located a few minutes outside of Kelowna, the next big city. Worth a stop, this small town is small and lazy making it a great spot to stop on your road trip. Rent some paddle boards and head to the beach or lace up your shoes to a secret waterfall, Hardy Falls. We really do love summertime on the water.

road trip through bc, peachland, summerland, camping, vanlife,
Camping at Silver Lake (beware, there are cows here)

There are some great off roading trails in this area up Brenda Mines Road that can take you to some great lakes and free camping sites. Our favourite in the area is heading to Headwaters Lakes or. Silver lake campground. If you’d rather adventure on foot than by vehicle, head to Pincushion Mountain. This short 3.4km hike starts off with a bang as you climb steep slopes and staircases to tread up the mountain. Keep with it as the steep climb levels off pretty well along the way and delivers some world class views once you get to the top. 


Kelowna, our hometown, has turned into a mini Vancouver with all the conveniences you get with a big city, and yet a Hawaii-like tropical feel. Kelowna has the best of every world and is the best summer destination in BC. This lakeside city offers the longest summers in Canada and so much to do. 

The city is so full of life and has an unbeatable outdoorsy vibe. Kelowna’s population is growing as many people are moving away from Vancouver’s buzz and Alberta’s flatlands. Think lakeside living, delicious wineries and excellent boutiques… oh and a CHEAPER PRICE TAG.

roadtrip through bc, winery, wine, field, vernon, kelowna
You can’t beat the view at the wineries

Soak in Okanagan Lake while searching for the Ogopogo, hike the beautiful hills, indulge in some lakeside dining and take on a wine tour. We specifically loved Quails Gate Winery in West Kelowna. This place is quite upscale and you can taste it in the wines. We also loved Meadow Vista winery. This is a really small winery with honey-infused wines!

This is a great place to visit for bachelorette parties or for fun nights out. Packing your days with tours through the vineyards and your evenings with lakeside restaurants is easy in this area. For those who like some entertainment, Kelowna offers some great nightlife at local hotspots like King Taps, Craft Beer Market, Social 242 and even Gotham nightclub. I had my bachelorette party in the city and there was tons to do!

Lake Country

In between Kelowna and Vernon you will find yourself driving through a city called Lake Country. As the name suggests you’re in store for stunning water views every way you look. This town doesn’t offer much in terms of city life as you will find only a few restaurants that aren’t associated with a vineyard. It does, however, offer some amazing lake country wineries all with their own stunning views. If you are in this area you do not want to miss a trip to Gray Monk Winery. Sitting perched on a cliff-side this winery offers delicious wine and views you won’t want to miss.

When driving through Lake Country the highway takes you past Wood Lake and Kalamalka Lake. When the weather is clear, these lakes glisten with turquoise waters that will have you thinking you’re in paradise. If you have time on your trip, we recommend crossing the hill to the west side of Lake Country where you will find access to Okanagan Lake. Driving down Cars Landing Road will reward you with amazing views and many white sandy beaches.

road trip through bc, lake country, vernon, lake
One of the many picturesque views in this area


Vernon keeps with the Okanagan trend of offering a ton of sunshine, lakes and laid back vibes. Kalamalka Lake is an absolute must-see when coming to this area. Point your car straight to Kalamalka beach and thank me later! While here, rent some paddle boards or go for a hike through the rocks to find some great cliff jumping. You don’t have to travel far for lunch as you will find some lakeside restaurants and convenience stores to give you fuel. If you have a dog along with you, instead head towards Okanagan Lake’s Kin Beach. They have a dog-friendly section of their beach that your pup will love. O’Keeffe Ranch is a great local farm that offers a ton of activities for the whole family.

For those that are looking to soak in some luxury, we recommend the beautiful hilltop spa of Sparkling Hill. This is a great luxury destination in the Okanagan where you will find steam rooms, saunas, and even an igloo room. If your itinerary allows, we recommend staying at least 2 nights here to be able to fully enjoy the experience and make the most of all the activities on site. They even have dog-friendly rooms! 


road trip through bc, goat farm, goat, log cabin
The ideal goat setup

Heading north from Vernon you will drive past the small town of Armstrong to get to the town of Enderby. While this may look like just another small town, it packs a punch with tons of things to do. The drive to Enderby will take you past the Log Farm which is a great place to stop, especially for those travelling with kids. This eclectic farm is filled with fun activities your whole family will love. On arrival, you will be greeted by some massive dinosaur statues and a whole array of fun figures. There is also a mini petting zoo on-site with animals that you can pet and feed. The most iconic animals are the goats that have a bridge they can walk over that you drive under as you enter the site. Inside you will find a farmer’s market-style store that sells all sorts of goodies (try the pie!!!).

road trip through bc, goats, lunch, goat, farm
Lunchtime traffic jam

This tiny town may not look like there is a lot to do, but looks can be deceiving. The town is home to a quaint outdoor flea market where locals sell homemade goods. If you like hiking be sure to check out the Enderby Cliffs. While this hike is longer in duration it offers a good amount of tree coverage and switchbacks help to make it not feel as steep. This is one of our favourite hikes in the Okanagan. Not only are the views from the top of the cliff unlike anything else in the area, the path on the way up makes you feel like you’re trekking through a tropical paradise. 

One of the greatest draws to the area for locals is the Enderby river. While Penticton offers a city float, the Enderby river offers a more remote float as you weave leisurely through expansive farmlands on your way into town. If you have to pick just one spot to float down a river on this list, Enderby should definitely be the one! As soon as it turns dark, head to the must-visit Starlight Drive-In Theatre. This is also a great place to do some stargazing on a clear night.

road trip through bc, goat, feeding, lunch, farm, fun
Samara feeding the goats

If you like wide-open spaces and large lush farmlands this area will not disappoint. Located a short drive from Armstrong, another small town in the area.

road trip through bc, enderby, lake, river dog
The river that runs through the town

From here you are faced with two options. You can drive north for another beautiful city: Salmon Arm or you can drive west and have a more rural experience in the hills of Falkland.

Option 1: Highway 1 Through Salmon Arm

road trip through bc, salmon arm, mountain, lake, marsh
The view from the park in downtown Salmon Arm

If you are wanting to stick to the small cities and lake vibes then heading north towards Salmon Arm and driving Highway 1 is the way to go. Once reaching the small green town of Salmon Arm you will be greeted by yet another large lazy lake, the Shuswap Lake. There is a lot to do in this area for adventurers. Some of our favourites are white water rafting, zip-lining or renting some kayaks and paddleboards for a lazy day on the water. In fact, this is one of the more popular spots locals like to hang out.

Option 2: Highway 97 Through Falkland 

If you’d rather wind your way through farmlands and have a more rustic nature-filled experience, taking Highway 97 through Falkland and Monte Lake is a great route. There are tons of places to camp in the area as you drive through a couple of small farm communities. 

The town of Falkland is known in the area for the annual Falkland Stampede that draws in a fairly big crowd every spring. You will know you have reached the town when you can see their iconic Canada flag displayed up on the mountainside. Hiking up to this flag will lead to some rewarding views. Heading north up Falkland Chase Road will take you to some great outback areas where you can set up camp. On your way, you will pass Pillar Lake, a popular fishing lake.

Further north you will pass through Westwold where you will find the Westwold General Store – try their donuts and thank me later! A little ways further you will find an area called Monte Lake. This area draws a crowd of rock collectors who frequently dig near the lake for precious rocks and gems.

camp, camper van, travel, road trip, british columbia
One of the free campsites along this road


Another great place to float down the river, Kamloops is a town that is almost guaranteed to have sunny weather and a whole lot of wind. There are tons of hiking spots in this area including treks to Kenna Cartwright Park and Peterson Creek. Dog owners will enjoy a trip to Pioneer Park, a large off-leash dog park that even has an off-leash beach.

road trip through bc, fire, camp, camping, camp fire
One of the many places to camp for free around Kamloops

There are many surrounding areas here that you will enjoy including Paul Lake, Sun Peaks mountain and Harper’s Trail.

Note: If you have some time to spare, driving an hour and a half north to Clearwater will take you to Wells Gray Park. This is one of the best-kept secret places in BC’s interior which we consider a much see! There are so many impressive waterfalls in the area. With camping nearby, rafting and some great places to canoe on the lake, this is a must-see spot for those that can afford the time.

road trip through bc, camp, camping, vanlife, dogs, pets, hammock
Our favourite site near Hope


A sharp turn south along the Coquihalla highway will take you to the city of Merritt. This will be the last stop on your travels. While the town of Merritt isn’t packed with entertainment, the surrounding area offers some great backwoods camping. 

When heading back to Vancouver, be sure to take advantage of Chilliwack’s cheaper gas on your drive-through – this often saves us about 10 cents a litre compared to prices in the city.


road trip through bc, lions gate bridge, vancouver, north vancouver
Lions Gate Bridge connects Vancouver to North Vancouver

If the sudden and crippling burst of traffic hasn’t already shown you, you’re back in the city once again. Be sure to use this time to look over your vehicle as this was a long road trip.  

Have you wanted to take a road trip across BC? Tell us your favourite areas in the comment section below.

Like it? Pin it!

These last few months have been well spent. You may have read our recent post about why we decided to settle down for a bit. As much as our soles need to explore, our bodies needed to catch up. Myles was able to devote the time he needed to rehab his body while we escaped winter. With our heart’s longing for more, our brains knew how important this time was for us.

vanlife, camping, Europe, van life, backpacking, travel, road trip, roadtrip

As the days grow warmer we are spending more and more time outside. We are surprising ourselves at how much we missed living 100% of our life outside. It’s not just us, our dogs feel it too. Despite their daily walks and endless love, they are BORED! We are moving into our van in a couple of days and Myles said to me “I can’t believe how much better I feel, I can’t wait to start actually living again.”

Just like that, I knew we made the right decision. Staying still wasn’t lavish but I am so grateful that our admittedly hectic life gives us enough flexibility to move (or stay) how we need to. As hard as it was to give up our life of mobility, I am so thankful that we were in tune with our bodies enough to know what it is we needed.

Europe, vanlife, van life, spain, travel, backpacking, back pack

As our bodies began to regain their strength we found ourselves turning our talks and dreams into a reality. Lying in bed one night we started with a simple “wouldn’t it be cool to do this extended Euro trip, where we jump from the beaches in Sicily to the islands in Greece?

We can sip wine in Nice and get in a massive food fight in Barcelona (it’s a real thing and we couldn’t be more excited for it!)”.  Somehow, this transformed into an overwhelming “holy shit we are moving in less than 2 months.”

I can’t confidently tell you how in less than a month we went from an idea to plane tickets and dog vaccinations. But I can confidently tell you one thing: Always marry someone as crazy as you are. Or don’t and save A LOT of money ;).

I am going to be honest here, Europe has never been at the top of my list of places to explore. I know, the history is amazing. The architecture, the food, the castles, the cobblestone streets… the list is endless. I have travelled to Rome and the Netherlands before and loved both trips.

The vastly different day-to-day life experienced in other parts of the world has always been appealing to me. Asia, Central and South America have always been the areas on my radar. Recently, my wanderlust has skyrocketed and you’d be hard-pressed to find a country I don’t want to visit.

There are 195 countries in the world and I want to explore all of them

The beauty of Europe is the range you can see in a shorter time. On our Canadian road trips, we drive for 6 hours and are still in the same province. In Europe, we could be in 3 different countries. Not ready to give up our time in the mountains and forests quite yet, we will be devoting our next two months to nightly campfires and getting lost in the woods (hopefully not literally FRECKLES). Mid-June we will be ON A PLANE TO… well, who knows.

This is how we see our next few months shaping up. Our plan as of today (keep in mind this changes HOURLY):

  • Throw our pups on a plane
  • Land in EUROPE – we’re thinking London or Amsterdam.
  • Hunt through the streets for a van #vanlife FOREVER
  • Spend the summer driving anywhere and everywhere throughout Europe

*DID YOU KNOW that Sweden has a “Freedom to roam” act. This allows you to camp on ANY land that is not privately owned!! That’s right the stunning mountains, coastlines and archipelagos are all fair game! GO SWEDEN! 🙂

  • Find an apartment in Barcelona for the winter to act as our home base.

*Their winter months average around 16 degrees, we can live with that!

Any advice could not be more welcomed!!!!