Are you planning a trip to British Columbia this fall? If so, make sure you set aside a day to get out of the city and check out one of these fantastic fall day trips from Vancouver!
An hour and a half outside of downtown Vancouver lies Cultus Lake. Cultus Lake is the perfect destination for an early fall day trip from the city. With the summer crowds gone and all the facilities still open in September, you will be able to enjoy everything Cultus Lake has to offer without fighting for parking space.
A hike up Teapot Hill will give you a great view of Cultus Lake and is must do if you are in the area. I also suggest, taking a stroll along the lake’s waterfront pathway from the main parking area. From this pathway, you will be treated to views of the lake and views of the diversely designed cottages in Cultus Lake village.
Where to Eat
For lunch or dinner, you cannot go wrong with a home-made pizza from Beethoven’s Pizza. Located in Cultus Lake’s main shopping area, and across from the water slides, the restaurant provides diners with a huge outdoor eating area and extensive menu. I highly suggest the New York pizza, which is covered in sausage, fresh vegetables, and high-quality cheese.
If you are craving a cool treat after your meal at Beethoven’s head into the neighboring ice-cream and coffee shop; Café Vanilla. The gelato and sorbet served here are soft, creamy, and vibrantly flavored.
Harrison Hot Springs
An hour and a half outside of downtown Vancouver reside Harrison Hot Springs. Harrison Hot Springs is lovely all year round but, is particularly beautiful when the trees have changed into their fall colors. On a nice day in mid-October, this lakeside town is a great place to spend an afternoon.
No matter how adventurous you are Harrison Hot Springs can provide an outdoor activity for you. From an easy stroll to the Hot Spring proper, to a gentle hike to Whirl Pool Point, to a steep hike up the Harrison Grind, or a kayak on the lake, Harrison Hot Springs does not disappoint on a sunny day. Another popular activity in town is to rent a four-seater bicycle and tour the area by paddle power.
Once you have had your fill of the outdoors poke into the shops around town. From cafes and clothing stores to artisan boutiques, Harrison Hot Springs has a little bit of everything for everyone.
Where to Eat
For lunch or dinner, the best option in Harrison is the Black Forest Restaurant. Serving up traditional German fare in a tailor-made building, the restaurant whisks you to another country for your meal. On a good weather day, you can even dine outdoors with a view of the lake.
Manning Provincial Park
Two and a half hours outside of downtown Vancouver lies Manning Provincial Park. If you are looking to spend a day in rustic nature this is the place to be.
Manning Park has a hike for every ability. From the easy and flat Lightning Lakes Loop to the moderate Heather Meadows, to the strenuous Mt. Frosty. All the hikes in the park are well marked and trail maps can be picked up at the Manning Park Resort general store.
If water sports are your thing you can also rent canoes, kayaks, and stand up paddle boards from Manning Park Resort and tour the Lightning Lakes chain by paddle.
Where to Eat
Dining options are limited to one restaurant in the Manning Park Resort. For this reason, I suggest bringing a picnic meal with you. A great place to set up your blanket is the Lightning Lakes Day Use Area.
An hour outside of Vancouver sits British Columbia’s outdoor adventure capital Squamish. From hiking to biking, to rock climbing and paddle sports, Squamish is an adventure junkie’s playground.
If you are an experienced hiker the top three hikes in this area are the Stawamus Chief, Elfin Lakes, and the Sea to Summit Trail. For those less experienced hikers, I suggest taking a ride up the Sea to Sky Gondola and exploring the easy loop trails and viewpoints from their main lodge.
Where to Eat
If you are a beer lover make sure you check out the Howe Sound Brew Pub. With their own brand of beer made on premise and their hardy-fresh meals, the Brew Pub is an excellent place to replenish the calories you have lost during your adventurous day in Squamish.
A short 45-minute drive from Vancouver lies historic Fort Langley. The birthplace of British Columbia, Fort Langley is a history lover’s dream. The town resides beside the Fraser River and offers tree lined streets filled with antique stores, art galleries, and cute cafés.
If you are a history buff make sure you check out a few of Fort Langley’s museums. The best and most prominent one is the Fort. Located on the eastern edge of town the Fort offers visitors a glimpse into the establishment of Fort Langley and British Columbia’s First Nations People. Other museums on offer include the British Columbia Farm Machinery Museum and the Langley Centennial Museum. Both of which, are located a short walk from the Fort.
Next, if you are an art or antique fanatic, Fort Langley is full of small boutique galleries and antique stores. A few of my favorites include Country Lane Antiques, the Village Antiques Mall, the Fort Langley Artists Collective, and the Birthplace of BC Gallery.
Finally, if you have come into Fort Langley for a bit of a walk there are two easy trails that offer stunning views of the Fraser River. The first, and most popular, is the Fort to Fort trail that runs along the south side of the river. Second is a trail on Brae Island that runs along the North side of the river; it takes you to a wonderful view at Travistock Point.
Where to Eat
Recently, Fort Langley has exploded with dining options but, two original standbys that serve up local fresh food are Wendel’s Book Store & Café and the Lampliter Gallery Café. I would suggest Wendel’s for breakfast or lunch and the Lampliter for a late lunch or dinner. Reservations at the Lampliter are recommended and make sure you head into Wendel’s early as tables fill up quickly.
The best and easiest way to get to any these fantastic fall destinations is by rental car from Vancouver. Just remember booking a reliable airport transfer in Vancouver before departure as this will help you save tons. Public transport is either unavailable or inconvenient to take to these locations.
On the other hand, public transport is either unavailable or inconvenient to take to these locations.
This article was written by Sarah, creator of Balancing Wanderlust.
Have you spent time in Vancouver, British Columbia? Where did you go if you ventured outside of the city? Comment below.