Words and photography by Jim Bamboulis
Vancouver is a lovely city not only for its attractions but its walkability. For those with the motivation and energy, meandering through Gastown, heading to Yaletown, diverting to English Bay and exploring Stanley Park makes for an epic walking adventure. It also far surpasses your daily 10,000 step quota.
But this article focuses on what you can explore outside of the city. If you’ve got wheels, want to see more, and get a deeper feel of the charm and beauty of Greater Vancouver all while saving some mullah along the way, then this article is one that you’ll want to read and share. Here are six day trips from Vancity for those who’s been there, done that but are back for more.
Driving into White Rock about an hour southeast of Vancouver, you can’t help but feel as if you’ve entered a cross between San Francisco and San Luis Obispo. Coastal, White Rock is home to a beautiful 2.5km seaside promenade, cute boutique shops, cafes and restaurants along Marine Drive, the longest pier in Canada with a sprinkle of seemingly hundreds of rust-free vintage cars everywhere.
The “white rock” itself stands four meters high and weighs nearly 500 tonnes. Likely a glacial deposit from thousands of years ago, the Semiahmoo First Nation know it as P’Quals. Legend has it that the rock marks the landing spot of a stone that was hurled across the strait by a young chief. Where it landed would be the spot he and his bride would settle and make a home together. Their descendants became the Semiahmoo First Nation.
This is the type of place where the sunrise beckons you in the morning, coffee, food and shopping keep you busy during the day, the expansive 8km long sandy, warm beach keeps you baking and building sandcastles and a comfortable evening stroll round out what is a perfect day in this beautiful resort town.
Located on the easternmost part of North Vancouver, “The Cove” as it’s affectionately known to locals is quite literally, a cute button of a place. With Mount Seymour steps away, Deep Cove also faces Indian Arm, making it a popular place for everything from hiking and mountain biking to skiing and water sports. Park the car and take the challenging Baden-Powell Trail that takes you about 2km to Quarry Rock, a lookout point that gives you a breathtaking view of the town and the bay.
After burning off the calories, put them back on by stopping at Honey Doughnuts and Goodies. Stop in for breakfast, lunch or even a coffee. Or, skip all that and go straight for the sweets. From scones and cinnamon buns to muffins and donuts, this place has a lineup for a very good reason. The pastries here are ridiculously good.
Lynn Canyon Park
For over 100 years, this 617 acre forest has attracted everyone from everywhere. It has everything from a suspension bridge that sways 50 meters above the canyon, walking and hiking trails and several popular swimming holes with high enough cliff jumps to make even the most courageous person think twice about jumping.
Twin Falls is one of the hiking trails that gives you a beautiful sense of the forest around you and the natural beauty that awaits.
Biologically rich, Lighthouse Park is a perfect example of a remaining old growth coastal forest. Douglas firs and Western red cedars dominate the eye line as does of course the lighthouse and light station grounds at Point Atkinson. A National Historic Site of Canada, it is one of the most photographed landmarks in the Vancouver area.
Although the trails are relatively short, be sure to wear solid hiking shoes in order to get down to the rock and beach areas. The signage isn’t very good but when you hit the main trail into the park, walk for about 10 minutes, you should reach the lighthouse point. There, take a right and follow the narrow path to an opening that will lead you to the bay with outstanding views of the natural rock in the area, the bay and the lighthouse itself.
Located just west of beautiful Horseshoe Bay, Whytecliff Park is a stunning 15+ hectare park that features everything from diving to picnicking. Dip your feet into Howe sound while surrounded by rugged coastline, spectacular views of colourful mountains and boats floating on turquoise waters. Home to more than 200 marine animal species, it is also one of the first Marine Protected Areas in Canada where you’re bound to catch a glimpse of sea lions sunbathing on the beach during summer.
Wait until low tide, strap on a pair of sturdy shoes and attempt to walk across the rocks and up Whyte Island. Find your grooves and balance yourself going both up and down this gentle monster of a rock mountain. While on top, take in the views of the surrounding beauty.
Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park
Just east of Chilliwack, about 2 hours from Vancouver, Bridal Veil Falls PP is a small, beautiful, rainforest-like park that features a 60 metre tall beauty of a waterfall that graces a smooth rock face creating a “veil-like” effect.
Round trip, the 0.8km loop trail should take you about 30 minutes but if you do what others do and actually attempt to climb the slippery, often muddy rock to test your limitations and reach the graceful base of the waterfall, all for the ‘gram, then it will definitely take longer.
Hey y’all. I’m Jim. That kid went on to spend 16 years in the broadcast media world before starting up Travel Mammal, a site dedicated to working with brands to promote travel, food, and cultural experiences.
I’ve created content and collaborated with everyone from Chevrolet, Lonely Planet, Trivago, Nevada Tourism and The Weather Network to New Brunswick Tourism, Yellow Pages, Tourism Toronto, and Airbnb. Safe travels, y’all.
I’d like to thank Chevrolet Canada for supplying the vehicle for our travels around Vancouver. Bright and beautiful, #TheNewBlazer in cherry red gave us the chance to #FindNewRoads, including the one that led us to this year-round gem of a city!