Even though record-breaking gas prices continue to hammer Metro Vancouver, it doesn’t mean you can’t find a cheap destination for a summer road trip.
Vancouver is surrounded by many beautiful places for a quick road trip. Whether it’s south of the border or somewhere else in BC there are plenty of options.
Canada Drives and Daily Hive put together a handy list of potential road-trip spots that you can get to from Vancouver in under three hours.
Canada Drives CEO Cody Green shared some tips with Daily Hive on the best time to leave town, and things to watch out for when it comes to summer road trips.
“Road trips are a quintessential part of Canadian summers and while gas prices remain high, drivers don’t have to compromise summer plans. Checking your car’s air filters and tire pressure before you hit the road can help you save on fuel,” said Green.
He also mentioned that there are a lot of resources out there to help you find the best deal on gas prior to heading out on a road trip like GasWizard.
If you want to avoid traffic jams or delays, along with potential increases in the cost of fuel, Green suggests leaving earlier in the day or earlier in the week if possible.
Here are some of the best places to take a road trip to that will take you less than three hours to get to.
Just north of Whistler lies Pemberton, BC.
From agri-tourism, to activities that put you in the sky, or something a little more active like a hike or mountain biking, Pemberton has a lot to offer.
It’s the perfect time of year to visit Pemberton.
Length of drive: Approximately 2.5 hours.
If you’ve never stopped off at Squamish on your way to Whistler, you’re missing out.
The cute little town of Squamish is a beautiful natural wonder during the spring and summer seasons.
Like Pemberton, Squamish features a variety of both active and more casual and relaxing attractions. It also has many lovely local restaurants and pubs that are uniquely Squamish.
Length of drive: Approximately 1 hour.
Prior to the pandemic, cross-border travel to places like Seattle and Portland was all the rage. Border testing requirements and other pandemic-related realities made it more difficult to travel to the states.
Now that things have eased up, it’s the perfect time to visit Seattle.
Length of drive: Approximately 2.75 hours.
Weekend trips to Bellis Fair in Bellingham, Washington, were almost a tradition for many Vancouverites once upon a time.
If you’re craving a bite-sized road trip for a quick little shopping spree, Bellingham is a great option. Aside from Bellis Fair, there’s a lot of natural beauty to find within Bellingham.
Length of drive: Approximately 1.5 hours.
When you visit the Bowen Island tourism website, you’re greeted with a message from Lonely Planet.
“One of the best days out you can have from Vancouver.”
Within the time span of one day, you can play some golf, take part in some cycling surrounded by beautiful nature, and hit up some of Bowen Island’s lovely trails.
Length of drive: Approximately 1.5 hours
Even though there’s a ferry involved, you could still technically consider travelling to Victoria a road trip.
The Vancouver Island city, which also happens to be BC’s capital, is a nice play to unwind after the hustle and bustle of Vancouver.
If you just needed a little break, Victoria is a great place to do it.
Length of drive: 1.5 hours to the ferry
Located in the Harrison River Valley, Harrison Hot Springs has been known as the “healing place” to the local Indigenous community.
If your body and mind need some healing, jump into Harrison Hot Springs.
Length of drive: 1.5 hours
Salt Spring Tourism calls Salt Spring Island a “place of refuge, restoration, adventure, and creativity.”
From arts and culture to adventures in nature, to good eats and shopping, you likely won’t be missing the city on a trip to the island.
Length of drive: 2.5 hours
Slightly more out of the way is Cascade Falls, technically located in Mission, BC.
It features a 30m drop waterfall along with a suspension bridge, which Tourism Mission suggests is the “ideal selfie spot!”
Cascade Falls is part of a 22-hectare park east of Mission.
Length of drive: A little under 2 hours.
Have you ever visited an active volcano? If not, Mount Baker may be calling your name.
While it is technically an active volcano, there hasn’t been a major eruption since 1843. It’s currently not showing any signs of major volcanic activity, but it likely will again one day in the future.
Till then, there are lots of beauty to explore in the area.
Length of drive: 2 hours