Gas prices may be on the rise, but our lust for adventure never ceases. Thankfully, Vancouverites are very blessed to have many amazing road trip locations close by. When you hear the words “road trip,” you may envision endless days on the road, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.
There’s no need for eight- to 10-hour driving days with multiple stops at gas stations. We love that kind of road trip, but we also like ones that are much closer to home—and easier on the wallet. While close by, you could easily spend a fun-filled weekend away at any of these locations.
Here are 10 ideal places for a one-tank getaway. All the destinations listed below are less than 450 kilometres round-trip, making them within the driving distance of one tank of gas. So go and fill up your tank (just this once) and let’s go exploring!
This world-class mountain village is a year-round destination with something for everyone. It’s the mecca of skiing and downhill biking, but we’re going to highlight some of its more unique activities. Our favourite non-traditional activities to try in Whistler include axe throwing, playing disc golf, climbing the Via Ferrata and bungee jumping. Once you drive the picturesque Sea-to-Sky Highway, it’ll become a road trip you’ll never forget.
You don’t need to head to the Okanagan Valley to sample some of BC’s award-winning wines. Langley is a much-closer haven for wine lovers. Conveniently, Langley’s wineries are mainly grouped together in a five-block radius. Five country blocks, that is, but you could easily visit them all in a weekend. We recommend parking your car at a nearby hotel and biking from winery to winery.
If you’re looking to enjoy the lake life, head over to Cultus Lake in the Fraser Valley. Cultus Lake also has a Waterpark and an Adventure Park for kids, so there is no shortage of activities for the entire family. Rent a cabin right on the lake or pitch a tent at one of their 600 campsites. At Cultus Lake, swimming and s’mores await you.
Harrison Hot Springs
If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway, we suggest indulging in the healing hot springs at Harrison Hot Springs. There’s a lot to explore in this area, so before you hop into the healing waters, enjoy a day of hiking scenic trails and exploring nearby waterfalls. Fishing tours are also very common as Harrison Lake provides a great variety of fish including Chinook Salmon, Trout and Lake Whitefish.
If getting off-the-grid sounds like the best weekend away, Manning Park has you covered. Or rather, it has no cell coverage, so you can enjoy yourself in total peace. Manning Park’s pristine alpine environment offers amazing stargazing. Away from bright city lights and with limited light pollution, the evening views are incredible. Stare up at the Milky Way and you might spot a shooting star or two.
Chilliwack Lake covers approximately 12 square kilometres, and its park protects a rare section of old-growth forest. Boasting pristine lakes and nine mountains, you won’t run out of hiking trails anytime soon. Before you jump in the water to cool off, you should know that Chilliwack Lake’s cold, glacier-fed waters are better suited for fishing than swimming. Trout is a popular catch.
The ultimate outdoor playground, Squamish really does have it all. Whether you’re into hiking, biking, kiteboarding or rock climbing, Squamish is the place. Hike up the Stawamus Chief for stunning, panoramic views. Not a hiker? Take the Sea to Sky Gondola. Thirsty after adventuring all day? One of the many local craft breweries has just the pint you need to relax and recover.
For this road trip, we’re hopping on a ferry. A quick 20 minutes later, you’ll arrive on this quaint Island—but don’t let its small size fool you, there’s lots to do. Located in the scenic Howe Sound, Bowen Island’s forested lands are a hiking and biking paradise. Check out the famous Whale Trail where you just might spot whales off the shore.
Pemberton has more horses per capita than any other area in BC, making it the ideal place for an afternoon horseback ride. If you’re looking for the ultimate adventure, sign up for an overnight riding tour. What better way to save on gas than to park your car and saddle up for a ride to base camp? Following your horseback ride, enjoy a hearty meal around a campfire. If you’re hoping to hike, you can’t miss the iconic Joffre Lakes trail, only 30 kilometres away.
If you have yet to experience riding in an Airtram above rushing, white-water rapids, this is the place to do it. The 25-person Airtram descends 152 metres across this section of the Fraser River. Once across the gorge, you can stroll across the suspension bridge and take in the sweeping views from the observation deck. When you’re finished exploring, enjoy a sweet treat from their Fudge Factory.
Whether you’re in need of action and adventure or rest and relaxation, one of these one-tank road trips from Vancouver has you covered. You don’t need to spend hours on the road to feel like you’re far away from the city.