Vancouverites tend to stick around the city more than people from other major Canadian centres. Perhaps this is due to the diverse options for entertainment – restaurants and microbreweries, shopping and shows, hiking and sailing. Maybe it’s because many locals don’t own cars (being spoiled with excellent public transit and car sharing services). However, it’s always nice to get away, so we’re saying pack up your Evo and hit the road in search of new horizons. We’ve got four great recommendations here.
Ross Lake, British Columbia (Driving distance: 210 km)
Though Ross Lake primarily lies within Washington’s North Cascades National Park, we must admit that we prefer the British Columbia side. Nestled in the southern tip of the province near Skagit Valley Provincial Park, Ross Lake offers the relief of an interior lake getaway without requiring much of a drive. Camping, hiking, kayaking… what more could you want with views like this? Get there before winter hits.
Seattle, Washington (Driving distance: 229 km)
Seattle will never leave our list of favourite Vancouver roadtrips. The city is gorgeous, friendly, and urban (but not too urban). Just be sure to mind the exchange rate when booking accommodations to avoid an unwanted surprise! Be a tourist and hit up Pike Place Market and drink tons of coffee (Starbucks, among other well-known coffee houses, was founded there). Get tickets to a Seahawks or Mariners game. Release your inner rock star at the EMP. On the drive, back, be sure to leave some time to stop in Bellingham. Village Books rivals Portland’s Powell Books and Trader Joe’s is always fun for a quick grocery shop. If you aren’t trying to get back to the city for dinner, go to El Rinconcito to enjoy Washington’s famous Tex Mex.
Squamish, British Columbia (Driving distance: 63 km)
We’re heard it a few times now: Squamish is the new Whistler. Or as some Albertans would say, Whistler is to Banff as Squamish is to Canmore. Prefer a more low-key mountain experience? Squamish is for you. With the new Sea to Sky Gondola recently opened, you’ve got a solid reason to do some hiking. Head to Zephyr Cafe for a great local lunch spot (their patio is open until late September!), and make time for at least one brunch at Fergie’s. Take a book and enjoy wandering town, or head for a leisurely hike along the Chief with a picnic in your backpack.
Revelstoke, British Columbia (Driving distance: 565 km)
Vancouverites are notorious for ignoring the glory of interior mountains. Whistler may be world-renowned as a ski destination (and Vancouver 2010 didn’t hurt its global reputation), but Revelstoke is worth noting. Still largely unencumbered by commercial appeal, Revelstoke still feels like a small town; it just happens to have a bunch of hotels dotting its perimeter. Check out The Cabin for bowling and apres ski, or try Kawakubo for sushi. Vacation rentals are rare, but they’re there – book early to claim your cozy mountain cottage.