The west coast is full of hidden gems and wonders. Sometimes Vancouverites are so used to being in Vancouver that we don't even realize what might be right outside the city or across the border. Winter is almost over and it's never too early to start planning all your spring and summer adventures. Or why not make the most of the last bit of winter and venture out to the snow?
Check out these 12 surreal spots that are just a few hours from Vancouver. They make for the perfect day trip or weekend getaway.
Please note: driving times are approximate estimates, from Google Maps with Vancouver as the starting point.
1. Othello Tunnels // Hope, British Columbia
Road trip time from Vancouver: 1 h 15 min
Did I just stumble upon Narnia? The Othello Tunnels are a super neat nature experience that is one of a kind in BC. It's free and close to Vancouver!
2. Hatley Castle // Victoria, British Columbia
Road trip time from Vancouver: 3 h 14 min (2 hr ferry ride)
Ever wanted to be a part of the X-Men? Pretend you are for the day at this Edwardian castle that was the set for Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Aside from X-Men, Deadpool, Arrow and Smallville are among the films and television shows that have been filmed at this stunning castle.
3. Olympic Peninsula // Washington
Road trip time from Vancouver: 4 h 30 min
Looking for some stunning west coast scenery? The Olympic Peninsula is filled with beautiful lakes, waterfalls, mountains, beaches, and more! It boasts some of the most diverse terrain and weather in all of America.
4. Cheakamus River Suspension Bridge // Whistler, British Columbia
Road trip time from Vancouver: 1 h 32 min
If you love suspension bridges and snow, get the best of both worlds at the Cheakamus River's suspension bridge. You can wander around the trails but if you don't want to go for a hike, the suspension bridge is only a 5 minute walk from the parking area of Logger’s Lake. Note that the trail tends to be covered with snow from late November to April, but check snow conditions before you go to make sure.
5. Botanical Beach // Port Renfrew, British Columbia
Road trip time from Vancouver: 4 h 48 min (2 hr ferry ride)
This hidden gem has the coolest tide pools in B.C.! The pools are crystal clear, making it easy to see all the different types of marine species living within them. The beach is also stunning. This is a great place to experience the wild west coast but be extra careful because the waves and tide can be unpredictable and strong. You also might see some wildlife in the ocean, such as grey whales or orcas. Please do not disturb the wildlife or organisms in the tide pools and the environment.
6. Alexandra Bridge // Spuzzum, British Columbia
Road trip time from Vancouver: 2 h 9 min
This suspension bridge is over 150 years old. Experience old school charm at the Alexandra Bridge, which suspends over the Fraser River.
7. Sooke Potholes // Sooke, British Columbia
Road trip time from Vancouver: 3 h 40 min (2 hr ferry ride)
When it comes summertime, look no further than the Sooke Potholes Provincial Park for a unique swimming spot. The park features waterfalls and pools. The Sooke Potholes are deep, human sized potholes. But make sure to be careful!
8. Mayne Island // British Columbia
Road trip time from Vancouver: 2 h 23 min (1 hr 30 min ferry ride)
Want to be on island time? Mayne Island, home to around 1100 residents, is the perfect place for a secluded but beautiful weekend getaway. There are a ton of cool AirBnbs you can rent here—like the one pictured above and also Canada’s most popular AirBnb, a unique cob cottage.
9. Enchanted Forest // Revelstoke, British Columbia
Road trip time from Vancouver: 5 h 34 min
The Enchanted Forest is a magical forest kingdom that is home to BC’s tallest and highest treehouse.
10. Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area // Oregon
Road trip time from Vancouver: 5 h 15 min
Up to go chase some waterfalls? The Columbia River Gorge features over 90 waterfalls, as well as spectacular vistas, hiking trails and world-class windsurfing. It has been named one of Oregon’s seven wonders.
11. Ross Lake National Recreation Area // Rockport, Washington
Road trip time from Vancouver: 3 h 15 min
A wilderness paradise, Ross Lake National Recreation Area in the Northern Cascades offers hiking, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and more.
12. Whatcom Falls Park // Bellingham, Washington
Road trip time from Vancouver: 1 h 16 min
Only a little over an hour later and you're in the midst of a beautiful 241 acre park with waterfalls and swimming holes.
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