The United States is home to some amazing cities and stunning scenery, with the likes of New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco standing out as a few of the country’s best places to visit. Seattle is another excellent example. Situated on the Puget Sound, Seattle is the biggest city in the Pacific Northwest. It's surrounded by stunning scenery, including towering mountains, shimmering waters, and endless forests.
Nicknamed the Emerald City, Seattle is also a prime location for trips over the border into Canada. It’s one of the top United States’ gateways into Canada and has good transport connections with Canadian cities like Vancouver and Victoria. It's no surprise, therefore, that many people who visit Seattle choose to organize day trips up to Vancouver, British Columbia.
Just like Seattle, Vancouver is a historic seaport city with a lot to offer. It's one of the most diverse and economically prosperous cities in Canada, and one of the country's most scenic locations too, being surrounded by mountains and water. The beauty of Vancouver has made it a popular filming site for movies and TV shows, and the city is home to some great sites of interest like Stanley Park, the Gastown District, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and the Granville Island shopping district. Here’s how to plan your Vancouver day trip from Seattle.
Getting to Vancouver from Seattle
If you're planning on traveling to Vancouver for a day trip, you've actually got quite a few different options available to you in terms of how you travel. The cities are only a few hours apart, but you do need to remember that you'll be crossing over the United States - Canada border on the way, so will have to bring along a passport and you may get delayed depending on how busy the border happens to be at the time. For day trips to Vancouver, you can choose between the car, bus, or train.
Getting to Vancouver from Seattle by Car
Driving to Vancouver from Seattle is probably the fastest way to get there, and you can make the whole journey in under three hours on a good day. You'll be driving for about 140 miles in total along the I-5 and then over the border onto the BC-99 to Vancouver.
It's an easy drive and an enjoyable one, but you do have to take into account the border crossings. There are several crossings to choose from and it’s a good idea to tune into the radio as you approach to find out which one is least busy.
Getting to Vancouver from Seattle by Bus
Bus is generally regarded as the cheapest and most convenient option for people looking to make the journey from Seattle to Vancouver. You can get some really good prices on Greyhound bus tickets for this journey, and you won't have the same sorts of comforts and luxuries as you would on an Amtrak train, but you'll still be able to admire some lovely views en route.
All in all, the journey to Vancouver from Seattle by bus will take up to four hours, depending on traffic conditions, and it'll follow the same basic route as one would take when driving. If you’re looking for the cheapest way to get to Vancouver, this is the way to go.
Getting to Vancouver from Seattle by Train
Many people who have done day trips to Vancouver from Seattle, or vice versa, in the past would argue that the train is the very best way to make this journey. It's a highly scenic train ride, passing by some glorious scenery and letting passengers enjoy some magical views along the way.
Plus, if you book your tickets in advance for the Seattle to Vancouver trains, you can get a really good price. Amtrak runs its Cascades service from Seattle to Vancouver every day, arriving at Pacific Central Station about four hours after leaving Seattle. It’s a long trip, but a beautiful one.
Important Information and Things to Do in Vancouver
- Getting Around Vancouver - Vancouver is a great city to choose for a day trip as a lot of the main sights and highlights are located within walking distance of one another. This means that you can arrive in the city and then get around on foot, seeing most of the things you want to see without needing to pay for any public transport. If you do need to go a little further, you can take advantage of the city's SkyTrain and buses to get around.
- Best Time to Visit Vancouver - Vancouver is a popular city to visit at any time of year. Whether you're visiting in winter or summer, there's plenty to do in and around Vancouver, so you can enjoy a day trip whenever you like. Vancouver is busiest during the summer months, but even in July and August, it's not too hectic. If you'd like to visit during a festival or special time of year, you can plan your day trip in conjunction with key events like the Vancouver International Film Festival, the Cherry Blossom Festival, or the Celebration of Light.
- Things to Do in Vancouver - If you're heading to Vancouver for a day trip and want to make the most of the time you have in the city, some of the top sights you'll want to check out include Stanley Park, Granville Island, the Vancouver Aquarium, Gastown, English Bay Beach, and the Vancouver Art Gallery. Head to Robson Street for some great shopping and be sure to dine at one of the city’s many highly-rated restaurants too.