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Day trips are fun. Right? You know what’s also fun? Get out of your bubble. Here you see, uh, pretty much everyone who thinks the Lower Mainland ends at Boundary and Kingsway. And so here’s a list of our favorite neighborhoods outside of Vancouver’s city limits to take a day trip.
(North) Port Coquitlam
You can’t really get more “off the beaten path” in Metro Vancouver than the north side of Port Coquitlam. Not only is it tucked away by its big spoon from a neighbor to the north and west, but it’s literally on the wrong side of the tracks—at least as far as access to Highway 1 is concerned.
But that’s why it’s worth a visit in the first place. Those looking for some peace and quiet in nature away from the hustle and bustle of North Vancouver can walk the PoCo’s creek trails, make the trek to Crystal Falls, or head to the High Knoll for a hike with a view. (Yes, we know Minnekhada Park is technically in Coquitlam. No, we’re not giving up our claim to it, either way.)
If the walk causes hunger, the food in the area is fantastic—special shoutouts to Pappa Leo’s Pizza and Orange Kitchen + Bar—and the newly developed Fremont Village now has its own small brewery tour, featuring Tinhouse Brewing Co., Northpaw Brew Co. and Provincial Cocktails all just steps away from each other.
It may not be as noisy as Port Moody’s Brewer’s Row, but it gets the job done.
Not too shabby for the middle child of the Tri-Cities. –Chandler Walter
Hi, it’s me, the person who thinks the Lower Mainland ends at Boundary and Kingsway.
In my defense, I don’t drive. Most of my excursions outside of Vancouver go to the Metrotown mall, Richmond IKEA, or panic attacks at the Point Roberts border crossing as I try to persuade a stone-faced official not to throw me out of the country. (Just immigrant stuff!)
I’ll pick a place you can get to on fairly reliable public transportation: Steveston, a gem in the southeastern corner of Richmond served by the 401 and 407. The neighborhood exudes small-town charm: the picture-perfect Main Street does too. serving as countless Hollywood North productions, the bustling fishing port carries on the long tradition of salmon fishing on the West Coast; the promenade is a perfect stroll; and historic sites like Britannia Shipyards and the Gulf of Georgia Cannery offer more cerebral attractions, perfect for spending long afternoons with visiting family. If you wait for spring to return, the cherry blossoms are beautiful and Richmond has an entire festival dedicated to the Akebono flowers in Garry Point Park.
Have you probably been to Steveston? Yes. But is it worth going back? Always. – VS Wells
I am not, nor have I ever been, a Gilmore Girls fan, but I’ve seen enough of it because my sister used to be obsessed with it. The one thing that has always stayed with me was the cozy village vibes where the eponymous Girls lived. Something about it—the cordial neighbors, the movie set look of the storefronts, the small town charm. Mmmmm yes, warm me up That blanket.
Fort Langley is that blanket. This is the place! Not literally of course—Gilmore Girls was filmed in Burbank—but it has the same feeling, like walking on a movie set. It has antique shops and ice cream and a restaurant in an old cabin and an excellent bookstore on the corner of an old building that, again, feels like a movie set. Then walk a few minutes east of there and you have the original settlement of Fort Langley, a National Historic Site reminiscent of another movie set, The witchwith (we assume) much less horror.
Best of all are the parks bordering the village, including Derby Reach, with an easy walking track that takes about an hour and ends at an old farmhouse and barn, if that’s what you’re into. – Stephen Smysnuck
White Rock Promedade
Hit on a good day – that is. when the sun shines and the world walks in flip-flops, the White Rock Promenade is curiously disorienting. The location says Canadian West Coast (or, more accurately, Cascadia, since you can almost skip a 3 Dogs Brewing bottle cap and cross Semiahmoo Park.) But the combination of the rolling hills leading to water, blocks and blocks tourists – focused on shopping and dining, and the longest pier on the Great White North give the whole place an air that is somehow Southern California. Or European. Or, well, any place where you can stroll along a majestic stretch of sea, have a pint, and then keep walking until it’s time for a cocktail by the water, feeling like you’re somewhere other than here. (This summer alone, locals saw the boardwalk perform on film shoots for Los Angeles and Southern Italy, with little clothing required except for a few palm trees.) The big attraction, of course, is the 1,500-foot White Rock Pier, built in 1914 , restored in 1977 and rebuilt after a perfect storm in 2018 caused significant damage. Who needs the Brighton Palace Pier in the UK, the Busselton Jetty in Australia or the Atlantic City promenade? Okay, the truth is, all of those things are indescribably awesome, not to mention weirdly exotic, even if you live there. But so is the White Rock Promenade, especially when the sun is shining.