FieldLulu Island Winery

Celebrate the best Metro Vancouver has to offer with these easily accessible day trips that will appeal to outdoorsy types, foodies and the frugal

Vancouver isn’t exactly known for its affordability, and Vancouverites are always looking for the best ways to experience the city on the cheap.

To help you start the summer on a frugal and fun note, we’ve rounded up free and affordable activities that you can get to from Vancouver on only $5 worth of gas, based on the fuel economy of a Toyota Prius c, or slightly more in a traditional gasoline engine vehicle.

Hybrid cars like the Prius c use almost 50 per cent less gas than their non-hybrid alternatives and have significantly lower associated lifetime costs, meaning you can drive further for longer (and for less!). Some of the items on the list are still within the $5 range of a gasoline engine vehicle, but you might have to spend a little more to reach the furthest destinations.

For consistency’s sake, we’ve selected Vancouver City Hall as our starting point and have limited our range to a 75-km round-trip, or the equivalent of $5 of gas in a Prius c...


1. Doughnuts in Deep Cove

DoughnutsHoney Doughnuts

Distance: 40 km round trip

Honey Doughnuts & Goodies in Deep Cove has built a solid reputation on their melt-in-your-mouth, next-level delicious doughnuts. Owners Ashifa and Ashak pride themselves on their homemade baked goods, brunch and sandwiches, which you can enjoy while gazing at the outstanding natural beauty of the Deep Cove area. Honey's is the perfect spot to grab lunch or a treat after a hike up to Quarry Rock.


2. Wildlife on Westham Island

RiverRuth Hartnup

Distance: 63 km round trip

Where’s Westham Island, you ask? It’s a tiny blip on the map just off Delta, jutting into the Fraser River and providing a home to the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary. The area has a network of trails accessible to visitors, allowing guests to experience watching flocks of wild birds that inhabit the area. The reserve is home to over 15,000 ducks and also provides refuge to at-risk species like barn owls and the Western painted turtle. Guests are welcome between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. and admission is only $5.


3. Wine tasting in Richmond

FieldLulu Island Winery

Distance: 30 km round trip

When one thinks of wine tasting in B.C., they’ll usually conjure up images of the Okanagan Valley—plus the eight-hour drive to get there. But there are award-winning wineries just a short drive away from the city. Lulu Island Winery’s owners started as fruit and icewine makers, but recently expanded their facilities to making table wines. The team at the winery offers free wine tastings every day until 6:30 p.m. (bring a designated driver!), and you can also book complete winery tours.


4. Mysteries on Mount Seymour

SeymourRuth Hartnup

Distance: 52 km round trip

Mystery Lake at Mount Seymour is a scenic, dog-friendly lake that offers hiking, swimming and picnicking, all easily walkable from the parking lot. Stop by your local farmer’s market, visit the Granville Island Market, or simply raid your own pantry to pack an enviable snack platter. Then all that’s left is to hit the road!


5. Coffee in Lions Bay

cliffGavin Schaefer

Distance: 68 km round trip

Lions Bay is one of the smallest municipalities in all of B.C. with a population of just over 1,300. Although tiny, the area is spectacularly scenic, with three perfect beaches where you can swim, relax and float. Your visit isn’t complete without a stop at Lions Bay General Store Cafe to grab coffee or brunch.


6. Shopping in New Westminster

PatioRiver Market

Distance: 40 km round trip

There’s an abundance of shops to see in New Westminster, but if you’re looking for a unique experience, visit River Market. It’s ideal for window-shoppers and visitors, with plenty to see, smell and taste. There are florists, handmade crafts, tea shops, antique stores and a wide range of restaurants. Plus, it’s within walking distance of the main drag.


7. Boating on Buntzen Lake

buntzenJenny Lee Silver

Distance: 71 km round trip

Buntzen Lake is accessible via Anmore and is an awesome area to explore for lovers of nature and history. Free parking is available from 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. all summer long. The region is owned by BC Hydro and was formerly the first hydroelectric power supplier to the city of Vancouver. Today, it’s home to over 10 hiking trails and a popular boating destination.