As we approach the end of the year and the days get shorter, darker, and rainier, many Vancouverite’s thoughts turn to travel. Longtime “Raincouver” residents know that while the city isn’t short on activities to fill your days, sometimes it’s best to just get out of town. Thanks to Daily Hive, we have a list of the best places to visit when you need an escape from the winter greys.
Hit the Road
After just an hour on the beautiful Sea to Sky Highway, you’ll find yourself in the small, outdoorsy town of Squamish at the tip of Howe Sound. Since the nearby Stawamus Chief is a popular summertime hike, many Vancouverites are familiar with this area as an outdoor play destination. Squamish offers more than just outdoor activities, though. With its growing culinary scene, including some of our favourite breweries, and family-friendly seasonal options like the Polar Express, Squamish is a natural choice for a quick escape.
Drive another hour past Squamish, and you’ll hit Whistler, the world-renowned ski-paradise that’s practically in our backyard. Rain in Vancouver often means snow in the mountains, after all! Even if you don’t ski or snowboard, Whistler offers plenty of options: explore the Village or enjoy an aprés-ski (even if you didn’t ski). If you don’t drive, take one of the many busses that depart from downtown on Burrard.
The Sunshine Coast
Hey, it’s called the Sunshine Coast for a reason: Gibsons and Sechelt each get an average of 500 additional hours of annual sunshine compared to Vancouver. This weekend getaway is just a short ferry ride away, and it’s hard to beat the laidback vibe of the relatively quiet Sunshine Coast.
Mystic Beach lives up to its name: it’s one of Vancouver Island’s most beautiful beaches. The Island often sees less rain than the mainland, so it’s an ideal weekend getaway for those looking to escape the drizzle. Mystic Beach is located along the West Coast Trail and is a popular destination for campers. It’s not the most accessible spot — getting there involves a short 20-minute hike through the forest — but the trek is relatively easy to navigate, and the view is worth your trouble.
The Okanagan Valley is one of British Columbia’s most stunning regions, offering a harmonious balance of natural beauty and urban convenience. Thanks to its inland location, Okanagan winters are also much milder and less rainy than in Vancouver. Make a weekend road trip out of it and embrace the sunny, crisp winter air while exploring nearby hiking trails and doing a little winter wine-touring.
Lillooet, a beautiful town along the Fraser River, is just three and a half hours north from Vancouver. Its comparatively dry winters boast plenty of sunshine, so getting away from the rain has never been more appealing. Known for breathtaking views of nearby mountains, lakes, and rivers, Lillooet has plenty to offer the outdoor adventurer in all of us. Whether you’re interested in hiking or simply taking in the scenery from the Seton Lake Lookout, there’s something here for everyone.
Sure, we get it: Seattle’s not short on rain either. Still, despite its relative proximity, Seattle is different enough from Vancouver to offer a great weekend escape. With many distinct neighbourhoods known for their unique charm, Seattle keeps the adventurous tourist busy and entertained no matter what. Whether you choose snowshoeing near Snoqualmie Pass or watching fish fly through the air at Pike Place Market, your weekend won’t be boring. Don’t forget to visit the Fremont Troll — you definitely can’t do that in Vancouver!
The North Shore is known for its natural beauty, and Horseshoe Bay is no exception. Horseshoe Bay is just 30 minutes away from Vancouver, but this charming community at the edge of West Vancouver feels like a true escape from city life. It offers a variety of shops and stunning seaside views: try watching the ferries arrive and depart while you enjoy fish and chips at Trolls. Depending on the time of year, you may even see seals at Whytecliff Park.
Hit the Road
Vancouver’s beauty may transcend seasons, but winter’s endless rain can bring even the cheeriest Vancouverite down. Luckily for us, it’s never been easier to explore our many nearby attractions. What are you waiting for? Escape the winter blues and start exploring!