What is there to do in Squamish
If you have heard of Whistler, that beautiful and world famous ski town in British Columbia, then you might have heard of Squamish. Squamish is a charming, less touristy town which you will pass on your way to Whistler from Vancouver. You might be asking yourself, “why would I bother stopping in Squamish? Are there even any fun things to do in Squamish?”
If you love the outdoors, then you will love Squamish! Squamish has become more and more popular with outdoor lovers over the years as the surrounding mountains and nature are just gorgeous.
There are loads of fun activities to do in Squamish BC such as great hiking, scenic flights, gondola views and great restaurants and breweries! Squamish is known for its awesome rock climbing, because there are these huge granite boulders which make for a perfect rock climbing adventures and it is also very well known for The Chief Hike which is a hiking trail that takes you up onto the top of 3 of the granite rock faces.
We frequently drive up to Squamish to spend a day or two as there is so much to do there and its so nice to get out of the city. I have put together this list on the best things to do in Squamish so that next time you are on your way to Whistler, perhaps you can stop off in Squamish on the way. In addition to the list of fun activities, is a draft one day itinerary that you can choose to use to plan your day in Squamish.
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Where is Squamish?
Squamish is a small town in British Columbia, Canada that you will come to along the Sea to Sky Highway on your way to Whistler. It is 1 hours drive from Vancouver and it is around 50 minutes further to Whistler from Squamish. The below map shows the locations of all of the activities included in this list of fun things to do in Squamish.
Click here to open the map in Google Maps!
When is the best time to visit Squamish?
Squamish is full of fun activities all year round! In Summer, there is great hiking and mountain biking, in Winter, there are magical viewpoints and fun snow activities and the breweries and restaurants are there all year!
Tips for Visiting Squamish
😎 Bring sunscreen – you will likely be spending a lot of time in the sun
🐛 Bring bug spray if visiting in Summer – the bugs are relentless in the mountains
🐻 Bring bear spray if you are hiking
🕐 Arrive in Squamish early to make the most out of your time there
12 Fun Things to do in Squamish, BC
The best thing about spending time in Squamish, is that there is a range of activities both free and that cost money, so there is something for everyone!
1. Squamish Hiking
If you love hiking to epic viewpoints, then you will love the hikes in Squamish! There are some really crazy rock formations in Squamish that remind us a lot of Yosemite and these make for some really unique hikes. Some of our favourite hikes are:
2. Take a trip up to the Sea to Sky Gondola
If you are wanting a more relaxing day, the Sea to Sky Gondola is perfect for this! The gondola takes you up to 885m above sea level to the Summit Lodge where you can enjoy some yummy food and craft beer whilst taking in the amazing views of from the platform overlooking Howe Sound.
At the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola there is an awesome suspension bridge and some walking trails. If you are looking for something to do in Squamish in Winter, during Winter the Sea to Sky Gondola has snowshoeing, snow tubing and ski touring available.
You can book your Sea to Sky Gondola tickets here.
3. Mountain Biking
Squamish has some great mountain biking trails and is becoming more and more popular! There is a trail for everyone, from beginner trails to advanced. The Wonderland Trail is a great trail to start on for beginners or you could book in a mountain biking tour.
4. Check out the Pubs and Breweries
There is no better feeling than enjoying a nice crisp beer and a hot meal after a day of outdoor adventures. There are some great restaurants and breweries in Squamish.
Some of our favourites are:
- Backcountry Brewing
- Howe Sound Brewery
- Aframe Brewing
- The Watershed Grill – Have you heard of the Netflix show, Virgin River? The Watershed Grill is Jacks Bar!
5. Watch the sunset on Britannia Beach or at Porteau Cove
One of the most amazing things about this part of the world is that you get to enjoy both the mountains and the ocean! After a day of hiking in the mountains, why not head to the beach to enjoy the sunset with some snacks? Both of these places are also great for a bit of sunset photography!
6. Walk to Shannon Falls and have a picnic
Shannon Falls is a great stop along the Sea to Sky Highway in Shannon Falls Provincial Park. Shannon Falls is the third tallest waterfall in British Columbia. The falls are a short 1km roundtrip from the carpark. On the way to the falls you will pass a small park with picnic table and bathrooms. On a sunny day, Shannon Falls is a great place for a picnic!
7. Go on a High Ropes Adventure Course
There is a great high ropes course in Squamish called Rope Runner. This is a 2 hour long activity for the whole family and is located right in the centre of Squamish. It is best to book the course ahead of time online so ensure you get a timeslot as it is extremely popular. It also works out to be cheaper when you book tickets online as opposed to walking in.
8. Spend the Day at Alice Lake Provincial Park
Alice Lake Provincial Park has campsites for car camping and tent camping and 4 different lakes that you can hike to. The park is about a 15 minute drive from Squamish and has trails for hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, trials riders and dirt bikers! You can also rent canoes, kayak and standup paddleboards from Sea to Sky Parks.
For hiking, I recommend the Four Lakes Trail which is 6km and takes you past all 4 lakes. Look out for Box Turtles at Alice Lake and Stump Lake!
9. Go Rock Climbing
Squamish has the most amazing granite cliffs which are great for rock climbing. People visit from all over the world to go rock climbing in Squamish. The Stawamus Chief is a famous place to go rock climbing for advanced climbers or if you are a beginner or have never climbed before, you could book a rock climbing tour.
10. Take a Scenic Flight
Squamish is beautiful from the ground, but from the air it is magnificent. Book in a scenic flight so that you can see the insanely beautiful landscape from a birds eye view. This guided flight will take you from Squamish over the beautiful Garibaldi Provincial Park. Here you will see stunning glacial lakes, rivers and forests as well as huge mountain peaks alongside unique volcanic formations. The flight will also take you past popular hiking sites such as Garibaldi Lake and Black Tusk Mountain.
Make sure you book your scenic flight ahead of time so that you can guarantee a spot!
11. Visit Brackendale Eagles Provincial Park
Brackendale Eagles Provincial Park is a really special park and one that we only heard about very recently! It is 755-hectares and was created to protect a bald eagle habitat for feeding, perching, and roosting.
Because the park was created to protect the eagles, it is closed to the public between October and March every year. This allows the eagles to feed and rest during the harsh winter season. Outside of these months, we recommend visiting the Eagle Run Viewing Shelter which is one of the best places to see the eagles from. The best time to see the eagles is in the morning. There are also lots of other areas to see the eagles from. You can get a map and more information on these spots from the Squamish Adventure Centre.
12. Have a go at the Squamish via Ferrata
Join a tour at the Sea to Sky Gondola to experience the thrill of safely rock climbing using a fixed cable system. On this tour, you will see incredible views of Howe Sound and the snow capped Sky Pilot Mountain. While under the instruction of the tour leader, you will navigate across bridges, a catwalk and granite.
Book your tour online to ensure you get a spot!
Things to do in Squamish without a car
If you don’t have a car but are wanting to spend time in Squamish, a tour is a great way to see the sights and join in on the fun activities! Check out one of these tours by GetYourGuide!
Where to Stay in Squamish
There are lots of options for places to stay in Squamish but the below are some of our suggestions.
- Executive Suites Hotel and Resort, Squamish
- Squamish Adventure Inn – a really great option if you are on a budget
- Sandman Hotel and Suites Squamish
Are there bears in Squamish?
There are black bears and grizzly bears in Squamish, however grizzlys are less common. Whenever you are outside hiking in and around Squamish you should carry bear spray with you and be familiar with bear safety. If you need a reminder on bear safety, check out this guide on Hello BC.
How to Spend a Day in Squamish – Itinerary
We have been to Squamish many times but if we only had one day there, this is how we would spend it. Hopefully this helps inspire you with your own Squamish itinerary. ?
Fuel up for your day of fun with breakfast at the Crabapple Cafe. The food here is to die for and has amazing Eggs Benedict and Maple Syrup Pancakes! They also have lots of vegan and vegetarian options.
Go for a hike
Hike to Slahanay Peak and get some amazing photos! We love this hike as it is not as well known as others such as The Chief which is probably the most popular and famous hike in Squamish. Can you spot Dave in the photo below?
Alternatively, if you would prefer a shorter hike, the Murrin Loop Trail is a perfect option. The views of Howe Sound from Quercus Viewpoint are awesome!
Relax and reward yourself at Backcountry Brewing
We love the fact that Squamish has such great breweries and restaurants because there is no better way to end a hike. After your hike you absolutely need to stop in for lunch and a beer at Backcountry Brewing. I love this place! My favourite beer is the Trailbreaker Pale Ale and both Dave and I are obsessed with both the Prosciutto & Fig Pizza and the Forager Pizza.
Check out Porteau Cove or Britannia Beach for sunset
If you have time before heading back to the city, stop by Porteau Cove or Britannia Beach to watch the sunset. The sunsets here are amazing and its so worth the stop! Bring a picnic rug and a blanket and just chill out for a while and enjoy being outside.
Personally, we think Squamish is so underrated and will likely get more and more popular in the next few years. It is a beautiful area and a great alternative to Whistler as it is so much more convenient to reach from Vancouver. We will continue to adventure in Squamish again and again.
You might also enjoy:
- The Chief Hike in Squamish – Hike to 3 Epic Peaks
- Hiking the Murrin Loop Trail for an Epic Sunset
- The Most Insane Places to Watch the Sunset in Squamish
- 11 Best Hikes Near Squamish (including Easy Trails)
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