8 incredible summer destinations to visit around Vancouver, according to a travel writer

What time is it? Summertime. Well, it’s coming soon anyways.

Vancouver is about to heat up and whether you’re planning a trip to the West Coast city or are a local wanting to soak up the sun, it’s time to make a plan for the warmer months.

There’s no shortage of things to do in Vancouver, but unfortunately summer is only so long, so you’ve got to pick and choose the best destinations and activities. Some of these are a little bit of a road trip away, and others are right in the city for those who don’t want to venture far.

I lived in B.C. for two years and got to explore Vancouver and more while there, so have built out this list based on my personal favourites. Have no fear, summer is almost here, and these destinations will level up the season for you.

Gulf Islands

Any list I’m making for Vancouver almost always includes a visit to an island, and for good reason. My BC ferries trips to the little islands of the coast were some of my favourite experiences while living in B.C., and I can’t recommend them enough.

I personally loved Salt Spring Island — the largest of the group of islands — but you can take your pick of Gulf Islands to explore in the summer and I’m sure you’ll have a great time on any. They all have their own unique communities but share unbelievable views, stunning beaches, and usually some adventure to be had.

A trip out to one of these island, set between the mainland and Vancouver Island, is more of a weekend getaway but well worth the journey.

Do a little research on what the different islands offer and choose what vibe you’re looking for, and then get ready for an unreal trip.

Flower farms in the Fraser Valley

Nothing says summer like wandering through a field of blooming flowers. There’s a few farms in the Fraser Valley, just outside of Vancouver, that offer just that.

Find peace in the Full Bloom Lavender Farm or beauty at the Harrison Sunflower Festival. You could even spend a day farm hopping, checking out all of the stunning blooms.

Richmond Night Market


The largest night market in North America, the Richmond Night Market officially reopens for its 2024 season on Friday April 26th! Stay tuned for more info! #richmondnightmarket#richmond#richmondbc#richmondnightmarket2024#nightmarket

North America’s Largest night market is right in the city, and makes for the perfect summer activity. Walking into the area you’ll be greeted by the delicious smells of food wafting through the air, thanks to the many food stands in the market. The worst part about going here is trying to choose what to eat, because each option looks more tasty than the last.

There’s also non-food vendors here so you can do a bit of shopping, and there’s some fun carnival games to play too. A warm summer night under the lights here with yummy food and music blasting creates an atmosphere that’s unmatched.


Clearly this is a winter destination first and foremost, but after living in Whistler of the summer I can definitely say the warmer months here are overlooked.

First there’s the mountain biking, which is just fun to watch even if you don’t participate. It means that the little village is still bustling even without the action of the ski season, making it that much more exciting to visit.

Then there’s the unbelievable hikes you can do here, from the High Note Trail at the peak of the mountain to the nearby Garibaldi Lake.

If you’re not up for an adventure then you can chill by one of the lower lakes here, which are all beautiful. Lost Lake is my favourite of the area, set back in the forest with mountain views, trails all around, and a dock to swim out to. There’s also usually a food truck or two which makes spending the whole day there that much easier.

I always tell people visiting Whistler in the summer to rent a bike and go along the paved pathway that extended throughout the town. The path will take you past the lakes, mountains, and towering trees — making for the perfect afternoon.

If you’re wanting a more luxurious getaway then definitely visit Scandinave Spa. The outdoor thermal spa is amazing in the snow, but I also love going in the summer when the cold pools are (slightly) more bearable and you can take advantage of the outdoor space more. There’s nothing more relaxing than spending the day here, set back into nature and looking out at the surrounding mountainscape.

Bowen Island

If you don’t want to take on the time intensive journey of visiting a Gulf Island then the 20 minute BC Ferries ride to Bowen Island from West Vancouver is the perfect option for you.

The quick trip is fun and picturesque, and the small community here is as wholesome as it gets. Cute cafes, small shops, and ocean views are what you’re signing up for with an afternoon here.

E.C. Manning Park

I visited this park last summer, mostly because it had one of the few campsites available to in the province, but I was throughly impressed. It’s just two hours from Vancouver and even the drive there is gorgeous. You’ll feel completely removed from the hustle and bustle of the city here and can fully immerse yourself in nature.

We camped at Lightning Lake and did the Three Falls Trail — which ended up being my favourite hike of my whole time in B.C., which is saying something. Since we only stayed two nights here so there was a lot left to the park that I didn’t explore, so I’m definitely going to make another trip some day.

Canada’s largest nude beach

One of Vancouver’s claim to fame is the bare butt-filled Wreck Beach. It’s one of the two ‘official’ nude beaches in Canada, and is a particularly wild place to spend a summer’s day.

You’ll get an eyeful here in every sense, but the beach is actually one of the most beautiful in the city. The long staircase leading down to it gives it a secluded vibe (which is appreciated given the attire), and it has uninterrupted views of the ocean and mountains. There’s large logs peppering the beach that you can settle up next to for the day, and enjoy the freedom that comes with being at Wreck.

North and West Vancouver hikes

You don’t have to go far to find an incredible hike in Vancouver, and the trails of North and West Van prove it. Go for a more low-key stroll in Lynn Canyon or take the trek up St. Mark’s Summit. A little the further out is Tunnel Bluffs, which is one of my favourite hikes decently close to the city, thanks to it’s jaw-dropping view of the sparkling ocean and unparalleled lookout spot.

Hands-down the best part about my weekend hikes across the bridge was the visit to Earnest Ice cream in North Vancouver afterwards. Grab a scoop of one of their delicious flavours and sit out on the waterfront, enjoying the sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing your hike.

The list of summer fun in Vancouver is ever-growing, but check these off and I promise you’re off to a good start. Summer 2024, here we come.

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