Vancouver is a spectacular city that is endowed by its natural surroundings. When one visits this part of the world they must explore further then just the urban center to experience what makes this Pacific Northwest gem so unique. To venture beyond the city limits, and sometimes even within, it is more practical if not absolutely necessary to have independent and flexible transportation like a rental car equipped with GPS to get to the sites when and how you want to see them.
Here are a few sites that get you outside the city limits into what makes Vancouver a truly spectacular and unique part of the world. Having the freedom to visit these places independently at your own convenience with a rental vehicle will make it a unique experience you will never forget.
Just a 40-minute ferry ride away from the mainland of Vancouver and you will be transported to the quaint costal communities that make up the Sunshine Coast. It is a long day trip and can easily be turned into a few nights stay at one of the many B&B’s, hotels or resorts. Besides the stunning coastal communities, the area offers many outdoor activities, adventures, as well as arts and cultural experiences.
Sea to Sky Highway
Highway 99 between Vancouver and Whistler is known as the Sea to Sky highway. It is aptly named as it takes you from sea level in Vancouver to the highs of Whistler Village. There are spectacular nature and stunning views as you wind along the fjord into the high mountain peaks. Along the way there are many interesting stops along the way such as beautiful Shannon Falls, world class rock climbing at Squamish, the historical BC Mining Museum and much more. If you arrive in the summer season there are endless activities in and around the village and in the winter, well… The road ha been recently renovated for the 2010 Olympic Games so it no longer hold its reputation of hazards and danger that it once did. It is surely one of the most beautiful stretches of pavement in the world and a great day trip or journey to and from a stay in Whistler.
The large island off the coats of mainland British Columbia that actually shelters Vancouver harbour from the open ocean is a must see when visiting the area. It is a 90 min ferry ride across the Georgia Straight from Vancouver to Victoria and there is always a chance that you will come across local wildlife on the way. Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia and the largest city on the island located at the southern tip. It has parliamentary buildings and beautiful historical sites with many restaurants and activities along the water. Campbell River, Quallicum and Cowichan are all beautiful stops at are unique and show the island community lifestyle with echoes from the past. The gem of the Island is no doubt Tafino and Ucuelet of the west side on the open Pacific Ocean. The drive through the island to get there is very special and will take you through some of the ancient old growth rainforests of the region. When you arrive you have the open ocean and vast beaches to enjoy on a surfboard or beach towel. The area is also known for world-class storm and whale watching. It can be a day trip to the island to visit on spot, Victoria for example, but there is enough to see and do to make a multi-day adventure packed full of outdoor activities, historical visits, natural sites and island lifestyle enjoyment.
These are just a few spots to visit that are close to Vancouver center but will take you further into the surrounding natural coastal beauty of the area. It will require you to get into a vehicle to take full advantage of the stops along the way and to give you the most flexibility and control of your trip. Renting a vehicle with GPS for a local car rental company such as Pacific Car Rentals, is the perfect way to get your self to these more ‘remote’ places that are a must see for anyone spending some time in Vancouver. You really do not want to miss out on the natural beauty that makes Vancouver such a spectacular place to live and visit.
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