JARED EMERLING TAKES US ON AN ADVENTURE TO VANCOUVER
Looking for adventures in the great outdoors and to grab a bit of the city life while you’re at it? The Greater Vancouver area and its incredible day trips are a one-stop-shop for anyone who likes to match outdoorsy excursions with the bustle and quirk of a thriving metropolis.
In the heart of Vancouver there is a transportation hub-meets-cultural center named Canada Way, located at the downtown harbor. If you take a cruise ship to Vancouver, this is where you’ll pull in, and what you’ll immediately find is that here, like everywhere in Vancouver, you have options. Right from Canada Way you can book a bus, seaplane, helicopter or high-speed boat to explore the land – and explore you must.
Start by getting your bearings with a bird’s eye view tour. The seaplane and helicopter trips survey the surrounding archipelago and endless green stretches of fir and cedar trees in trips that can last from 20 minutes to over an hour in the air. They’ll even fly you up north to Victoria Island area for a stroll around the artistic pageantry of the Butchart Gardens or the sweeping grounds of the parliament buildings for the afternoon.
These kinds of daytrips are key to discovering the adventures in and around greater Vancouver. An easy one is Grouse Mountain, towering behind the west end of the city. Open all year round, Grouse Mountain offers something for the thrill-seeker at any time. Skiing in the winter and zip-lining in the summer are most popular. Grouse Mountain also boasts the world’s only observation deck tucked into a wind turbine, aptly called The
Eye of the Wind. A stunning 360 degree view is well worth the extra bucks. What’s even better: Grouse is only a 25 minute trip from the center of downtown!
Venturing a little further from the
Vancouver city limits and you’ll find Squamish, a small town with some big mountains. For the best view of them, check out the Sea to Sky Gondola for $40 CAD. The exhilarating, 10 minute ride brings you up almost 3,000 feet above sea level for an unparalleled panorama of the mountains and fjords that define the Pacific Northwest. At the summit, kick back and have a bite to eat at the lodge before checking out the world famous Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge. It’s strung across two cliffs, thousands of feet in the air, and it jiggles as you walk across it: definitely not for the acrophobes out there. Mossy hiking trails or a day of backcountry skiing await you depending on when you go. No car, no worries: shuttles leave for Squamish daily from Canada Place.
Steveston Village in Richmond, BC, only about an hour away from downtown Vancouver, is the spot for another adventure: killer whale watching. The Northern Pacific is teeming with different families of orcas, not to mention humpback whales, sea lions, bald eagles, and more. The Vancouver Whale Watch company, touring the waters for almost 20 years, knows where to go to find the pods. Friendly captains and knowledgeable wildlife experts are on board to elaborate on the majestic natural world before you. On the off-chance that you miss the good stuff, Vancouver Whale Watch guarantees “come again for free until you do, for life, no expiry.” Typical trips go for $130 CAD, but spend the extra $10 dollars and go for the smaller, faster boats to really get your blood pumping.
Now that you’ve scoured the Greater Vancouver area, it’s time