You’ve decided to come white water rafting in British Columbia and now you want to turn your trip into a vacation of a lifetime…
When not showing people a great time on the river, we too like to explore the local area and enjoy the many fun activities to do right here in our backyard. With that in mind we’ve come up with our dream one-week itinerary for a vacation in Vancouver, Squamish and Whistler.
We hope it gives you a little bit of inspiration for your upcoming trip!
DAY 1: Arrive in Vancouver, the West Coast’s largest and most vibrant city
Vancouver is among Canada’s densest, most ethnically diverse cities. A popular filming location, it’s surrounded by mountains, and has thriving art, theatre and music scenes.
On your first evening, we suggest visiting one of the gastro-pubs in the quirky neighborhood of Gastown for dinner or trying the local sushi scene at Minami in Yaletown. From there, head for drinks at one of the bars or check out the Georgia Straight for listings on local events, shows and gigs.
DAY 2: Explore Vancouver and enjoy city life surrounded by an exciting landscape
After a good night’s sleep get up early and head to the famous Stanley Park to take in the cities nature and scenery. There is a lot to do in the park; enjoy walking or cycling the seawall to get a panoramic view of the surrounding areas, visit the Vancouver Aquarium, see the Totem poles or even take a horse drawn carriage tour.
From there, head to the bottom of Howe Street to take the Aquabus to Granville Island and enjoy some lunch from the public food market. Take some time to enjoy the boutique shopping and general good vibes the area offers.
For the afternoon the options are endless; take on the Capilano Suspension Bridge, tour around the galleries or museums, take a harbor cruise or scenic flight over the city, or just sit back, people watch and sip on a great cup of coffee! You can also visit Tourism Vancouver for more recommendations.
DAY 3: Travel the Sea-to-Sky Highway, taking in the breathtaking views
Tara O’Grady Photography
After a leisurely brunch downtown (we suggest Tuc Craft Kitchen or Medina Café), start your journey North up the Sea to Sky Highway, one of the most scenic drives in the world, and head to Squamish. This one-hour drive takes you on a spectacular journey with the ocean on one side, and mountains and waterfalls like Shannon Falls on the other.
Once you get to the small but active town of Squamish you can work off your brunch by hiking the famous Stawamus Chief. The uphill climb can be tough but the views and sense of achievement at the top are well worth it. If the “Chief” doesn’t appeal to you, don’t worry take a ride up the Sea-to-Sky Gondola instead. A fun trip with some a suspension bridge, strolls, and hikes up at the top. Squamish is the climbing capital of Canada, but it is also a mecca for mountain bikers, kayakers, kite surfers, yogis and hikers. Check out the Tourism Squamish website for more information on all these activities.
In the evening, enjoy some time at one of the local breweries for dinner and a couple of drinks. One of our favorites is Backcountry Brewing with great beer, and dare we say it, equally great pizza! Try not to stay out too late though, there’s a big day ahead of you tomorrow!
DAY 4: Ready to go Rafting? There’s a trip for everyone!
Sometimes it rains in Squamish and sometimes the sun shines, either way white-water rafting is the weather-proof activity sure to get everyone smiling!
Based out of the Executive Suites Hotel in Squamish we offer both single day and multi-day trips. Have a look at our Cheakamus Splash, Elaho Exhilarator, Scenic Float and 2-Day Expedition to find what trip suits you best. After your trip, choose to relax in the hot-spot in town, Norman Rudy’s, or head to one of the local lakes (ask your raft guide for their favorite) for a picnic on the waterside whilst watching the sun go down on an epic day.
DAY 5: Head up to Whistler, keeping your eyes peeled for bears and wildlife along the way!
Say goodbye to Squamish and hit the road for the drive to Whistler. Take in the beautiful views and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for bears on the grassy banks, but please be careful not to stop in the middle or on the side of the road when you spot them, and don’t feed them either… it’s for their own good! Stay “bear safe”!
When you get to Whistler, enjoy a walk around the village with the many shops and restaurants on the aptly named Village Stroll, and don’t miss out on a photo opportunity by the Olympic rings! Whistler is a place to let your hair down so enjoy the local nightlife or head back to your accommodation for some well-earned rest.
DAY 6: Explore Whistler and see what the skiing capital of Canada gets up to in summer!
Just because the snow is (mostly) gone and the skiers have packed up for the season it doesn’t mean that there isn’t an adventure still to be found in Whistler. Family favorite activities include zip-lining, horseback riding, biking and golfing. Check out the Tourism Whistler website for many great suggestions.
Want something off the beaten path? A favorite of ours is the hike to the train wreck near the Cheakamus river with it’s new suspension bridge, or the opportunity to relax and recuperate further north towards Pemberton in the hot springs.
DAY 7: Enjoy the local area, relax and reminisce on a wonderful vacation
The last day of a trip can be hard, especially after a week as epic as this! Take some time to reflect on the memories you’ve made, buy any last-minute gifts from the village and enjoy some good food. One of our favorite spots to relax is the Scandinave Spa which offers a traditional Scandinavian bath experience in a peaceful and natural environment, all just a short drive from Whistler village.
What a week!
There really is something for everyone in this unique corner of world and we hope this post has given you some inspiration on what to see and do. Hiring a car will allow you the luxury of following your own time schedule, but there are also shuttle services like the Squamish Connector and private options like Alpine North between these places should you wish to let someone else to the driving!
Make sure to check out our blog about where to stay in the local area too. Whether you are on a budget or wanting something more luxurious there’s an option for everyone.