This year, my Mom and I decided to take a little vacation together and road trip to Vancouver, British Columbia, our neighboring province. Now, we may be neighbours…but Canada is a big country, and driving to Vancouver is no short drive from Edmonton.
We had a 12 hour road trip ahead of us, and we stopped a few times on the way for pee breaks and some snacks. The trip may be long but I will say, it is such a beautiful drive. Windy roads, rocky mountains, beautiful lakes. You definitely have a lot see.
We didn’t really have a game plan, there was only a few things we knew we wanted to do. My sister moved to Courtenay, BC (which is on Vancouver Island), so we were planning to take the ferry down and visit her for a few days, and we wanted to explore downtown and do a hike/trail walk. That was about it.
I personally love not having intense game plans while travelling because it leads to some pretty adventurous and pretty amazing days at times. I think its important to know what you want to do and push yourself to explore places outside the tourist spots.
Some of highlights of our trip:
New Westminster: This is a little area outside Vancouver that feels like a little city on its own. It’s more modern and relaxed vibe, but with steep hills and quirky shops, It holds the artsy vibe Vancouver brings. Lots of filming for TV shows happens in this area as well, so that is seen a lot in the area
Macleod’s Book Shop: I read about this place online, and I’m a sucker for a good book store, so I wanted to check it out. It was absolutely unreal. I felt like I was in Harry Potter, the store was scattered with books from the floor all the way to the ceiling. Books were towering over you as you went through the store!! Shockingly, the books are all in an order. They had a system and they made sense. There was everything you could possibly think of there, even books from the 1800’s. I had to buy something while I was there, so I bought a set of J. R.R. Tolkien ‘s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.
Downtown Vancouver: If anyone has been or even looked into Vancouver, you definitely hear about their downtown. Next to the ocean, the grey/white skyscrapers surround you, and it is such a nice vibe. Davies Village is the well-known LGBTQ+ area, and is packed with uniqueness. Robson Street is where you want to get all your shopping done.
Granville Island: Just past downtown under one of the bridges is Granville Island. This place is like a daily festival vibe. From cool toy stores to art stores to chocolate shops, Granville Island is a fun place to be. Live music is normally played as you walk around, and it is also where they brew the famous Granville Island beer.
Stanley Park: Stanley Park lies between North Vancouver and Downtown Vancouver, and it is one of the most beautiful parks ever. It is huge and very easy to get lost exploring the area. There is a rose garden, The Aquarium, and there are a few random restaurants and teahouses through the park. The most popular thing to do is to bike or walk around the entire outside of the park, as you see the ocean on the west side and on the east side see a beautiful skyline of downtown Vancouver. I’d definitely plan a visit for sunset.
Lynn Canyon Park: Located in North Vancouver, Lynn Canyon Park has a ton of walking trails to do, which can lead to bigger hikes in the area. Be careful of wildlife though as bears can be in the area, but its absolutely breathtaking to see.
Richmond Night Market: This market is held every weekend in the summer… and it is HUGE. It is almost like a mini carnival, there are over 500+ food booths and 200+ retail booths. Some of the food booths have SUCH creative items, such as churro’s in ice cream served in a blow up flamingo, or light bulb sodas. It was one of the best things we did on the trip.
Vancouver is one of my favourite cities in the world. Its gorgeous, there is always something going on, and the artsy/relaxed vibe of the city is something I personally love. For me, its always been hard to decide if I love mountains or beaches more, but in Vancouver it’s the best of both worlds as the ocean is right there and everywhere you look is mountains in the horizon.
We did a few other things as well, Like Cathedral Grove on the Island (which I highly recommend seeing), explored Fort Langley, West Vancouver and a bunch of other random places. We also met some incredible people (shout out to Cale if you’re reading!!) If anyone has questions or wants some tips to Vancouver or wants to plan a visit feel free to comment and I’ll do my best to answer! Thanks for reading 🙂