While summer might be done and dusted, the fun and adventure you enjoyed this season doesn’t need to end. There are many fabulous getaways you can make near Vancouver this fall. Whether you have two nights or two weeks, check out these B.C. gems.
Sea-to-Sky Country and Whistler
Nothing says epic west coast like the Sea-to-Sky highway. This gorgeous, 163-kilometre coastal drive winds from Vancouver to Pemberton and doesn’t skimp on stunning water views and epic mountain surroundings. Head up to Whistler for a classic weekend getaway, resort-style, where you’ll have many hiking and biking trails, attractions, restaurants, and shops on your doorstep, including gorgeous sightseeing from the Peak 2 Peak Gondola. Or, for something a bit more rustic, stop by the quiet, laid-back towns of Squamish, about halfway between Vancouver and the mountain village, or Pemberton, about 30 km north of Whistler.
Wherever this route takes you though, the stunning views from Porteau Cove Provincial Park deserve a pit stop, and you may even catch some scuba divers while you’re there. Be sure to make time for the Sea to Sky Gondola, about 60 kilometres north of Vancouver near Squamish. There, you can relish in the Howe Sound views from several hiking trails and experience the unique 100-metre-long Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge.
Just a quick (and pretty) 40-minute ferry sailing northwest of Vancouver, BC’s Sunshine Coast is super accessible and offers plenty to do, whether you’re looking for a quick overnight, extended weekend, or longer getaway. You’ll love the artsy, laid-back beach towns, open water, and gorgeous forests, not to mention a scenic 180 km drive up the coast.
From mountain biking in the wilderness of Mt. Elphinstone, hiking Powell River, or fishing or walking Davis Bay beach, to camping in Porpoise Bay Provincial Park, kayaking or rowing Sechelt Inlet or Desolation Sound, or enjoying the warm waters of Savary Island – there is truly something for everyone on the coast.
If you’ve got a bit more time to get away, the arid, warm Okanagan Valley climate is perfect this time of year. About 400 km west of the city, the region and its 13 towns offer stunning views and a variety of things to do. For example, the area is known for its 180+ wineries with their rolling vineyards and award-winning wines that come out of them.
But, if wine just isn’t your thing, there’s plenty more to see and do depending on the weather and your mood. Boat Lake Okanagan, take in Penticton’s huge farmer’s market, or float down the town’s river channel in a tube. Got more time? Hop on a bike to cycle the scenic 650 km Kettle Valley Rail Trail or, if it’s later fall, enjoy some fresh powder at a local ski resort like Big White.
The Gulf Islands
Lesser-explored than Victoria and Vancouver Island (which are also worth visiting), the picturesque rolling hills, ocean views, and inviting orchards and vineyards of BC’s quaint Gulf Islands are true gems connected to the mainland via a ferry or floatplane. In fact, the journey is almost worth the trip just on its own.
If you’re craving some r’ n r, this is the area for you. From the artisan galleries and Saturday farmer’s market on Salt Spring, or the stunning beaches and kayaking on Pender or Mayne, to the quaint village charm of Bowen*, each island offers up its own personality and farm-to-table flavor.
* While not technically a Gulf Island, Bowen Island is just a 20-minute ferry sailing from the Lower Mainland.
Images courtesy of Destination BC, Reuben Krabbe, Robb Thompson, Dolf Vermeulen, and BC Ale Trail.
Looking for more Canadian travel ideas? Visit our Canadian Travel Guide for ideas across the country.
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