12 Secret Places You Never Knew Existed Just A Few Hours From Vancouver
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. Whether it's to a snowy peak or a sandy beach, it's never a bad time to plan your next adventure.
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, BC
Road trip time from Vancouver: 2 hours
Did I just stumble upon Narnia? The Othello Tunnels are a super neat nature experience that is one-of-a-kind in B.C. It's free and close to Vancouver!
2. Hatley Castle, Victoria, BC
Road trip time from Vancouver: 3 hours 14 minutes (two-hour 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. 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 hours 30 minutes
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, BC
Road trip time from Vancouver: 1 hour 32 minutes
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 five-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.
5. Botanical Beach, Port Renfrew, BC
Road trip time from Vancouver: 4 hours 48 minutes (two-hour 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. This is a great place to experience the wild West Coast but be extra careful because the waves and tide can be strong and unpredictable. You also might see some wildlife in the ocean, such as grey whales or orcas.
6. Alexandra Bridge, Spuzzum, BC
Road trip time from Vancouver: 2 hours 25 minutes
This suspension bridge was built back in the early 1900s. Experience old-school charm at the Alexandra Bridge, which suspends over the Fraser River.
7. Sooke Potholes, Sooke, BC
Road trip time from Vancouver: 4 hours 15 minutes (two-hour 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, BC
Road trip time from Vancouver: 2 hours 15 minutes (1.5-hour ferry ride)
Mayne Island, home to around 1,100 residents, is the perfect place for a secluded but beautiful weekend getaway. There are a ton of cool Airbnbs you can rent here — and also one of Canada’s most popular choices, a unique cob cottage.
9. Enchanted Forest, Revelstoke, BC
Road trip time from Vancouver: 5 hours 39 minutes
The Enchanted Forest is a magical forest kingdom that is home to B.C.'s tallest and highest treehouse. With over 350 folk art figures and a massive cedar stump house, wandering along the main trail is like stepping into another world.
10. Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Hood River, Oregon
Road trip time from Vancouver: 6 hours
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: 2 hours 35 minutes
A wilderness paradise, Ross Lake National Recreation Area offers hiking, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and more. It's also one of the most accessible parts of the North Cascades, so you can enjoy all the beautiful views without all the hassle.
12. Whatcom Falls Park, Bellingham, Washington
Road trip time from Vancouver: 1 hour 18 minutes
Only a little over an hour later and you're in the midst of a beautiful 241-acre park with waterfalls and swimming holes. There's even a super picturesque moss-covered bridge that was built in 1939.
Before you get going, check ourso you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your trip.