The Getaway
15 Things to Do in Squamish

Welcome to the adventure capital of Canada, where you can pursue pretty much any outdoor sport you like. Ready to shred? You'll find an epic single track in Cowichan. Or perhaps you want to go with the flow? River tubing, windsurfing, and SUPing are all possible in and around the Cowichan River. This area affords you the luxury of more stationary exploits, too, from eagle and whale watching to Scandinavian hydrotherapy sessions. Plunge right in, why don't you?

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01 Sea to Sky Gondola

View of an Empty Cable Car with a Magnificent Mountain and Sea Scenery in Background

The Sea to Sky Gondola offers breathtaking views in private cable cars. When you get to the top, you can make your way along the suspension bridge overlooking Howe Sound. Visitors can access hiking trails and dining options too. Purchase a single pass or paya little more for a season pass—all the more reason to return on your next holiday. The best times to visit are on a clear day, either in the morning or late afternoon when the crowds are thinner. Look out for seasonal and special events such as Easter Egg hunts and baby-friendly social hikes.

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02 Rock climbing and bouldering

A fit and attractive girl climbs a granite rock in Squamish British Columbia Canada.

Squamish is home to world-renowned climbing spots, such as the Stawamus Chief and Smoke Bluffs. Various service providers offer rock climbing courses for first-timers if you're looking to get into climbing but have no idea where to start. More experienced climbers can rent gear from places like Climb On Equipment.

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03 Hiking trails

 Mystical View of the Trail in Rain Forest during a foggy and rainy Fall Season. Alice Lake Provincial Park, Squamish, North of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Squamish's best hiking trails include the easy Four Lakes Trail and the challenging ascent of the Stawamus Chief. Multi-day hikes around Elfin Lakes are popular too. If you're hiking in remote parts of Squamish Valley, keep bear safety guidelines in mind, wear boots with ankle support, and pack the ten essentials. These include a multi-tool including a knife, a headlamp, navigational tools other than your phone, sun protection, insulation for weather changes, a first aid kit, fire starters, nutrition, hydration and water treatment supplies, and an emergency shelter.

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04 Mountain biking

Mountain bikers flock to Squamish, too. There's an extensive network of mountain biking trails in the region, suitable for all skill levels—more than 186 miles, to be precise, and Diamond Head has some of the best trails. Have your share of pedal-powered fun by renting bikes from one of the many local spots or going on a guided MTB tour with the likes of Dialed in Cycling. Local biking events include but are not limited to Tour de Squamish and RideLab, a mountain biking festival for women.

05 Eagle watching

Soaring Bald Eagle near Squamish British Columbia

The best time to see Squamish's famous bald eagles is between October and the first half of January. Eagle Run Vista Point is your first port of call, followed by Tenderfoot Creek Hatchery. Leave your drone at home, but don't forget your binoculars and dog leash if you're traveling with your fur baby. Squamish doesn't currently offer guided eagle viewing.

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06 Water sports: Kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding

Adventurous Girl Paddle Boarding on Levette Lake with famous Tantalus Mountain Range in the background. Taken in Squamish, North of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

If your outdoor pursuits lean more toward the water, you can rent kayaks and paddleboards to explore Squamish's rivers and Howe Sound. Take a canoe down to Alice Lake or Brohm Lakes, or go sea kayaking at Porteau Cove. Wear a life jacket even if you're a confident paddler, check the tides and weather, pack something to eat and drink in a dry bag, and never paddle in the ocean alone.

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07 Shannon Falls Provincial Park

Shannon Falls - the third highest falls in British Columbia, Canada.

Shannon Falls is a must-see if you're traveling through this section of the Sea to Sky Highway. Watch as the water drops 1,105 feet, and when you're done, enjoy this beloved picnic spot. The lower lookout is wheelchair accessible, as are the bathrooms, and the trails are stroller-friendly too. Thrill seekers can try rappelling next to the falls with Mountain Skills Academy & Adventures.

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08 Squamish Adventure Centre

Looking for a one-stop shop to get all your adrenaline junkie-adjacent info? Squamish Adventure Centre is smack dab in the middle of Sea to Sky country and is THE place to book tours, rent equipment, and find out just what's on offer, from accommodation to dining options. Bonus points for the lovely art on display. The building's excellent design won't be lost on you either—it's made from locally sourced Douglas fir timber.

Opened in 2005 in the heart of Sea to Sky country, Squamish Adventure Centre is the place for small meetings, relaxing, refreshment and information about Josef Hanus / Shutterstock.com

09 Squamish Farmers' Market

We don't know about you, but we love a good farmers' market, and the one in Squamish fits the bill. This downtown market backgrounded by mountains takes place on Saturdays from 10 am until 2 pm. Vendors sell hot food, handmade crafts, delicious pantry items, lifestyle products, and a cornucopia of rainbow-colored fresh produce and baked items. Carry money because your mouth will water, and we'd be remiss not to warn you.

10 Wind sports: Kiteboarding and windsurfing

The word Squamish comes from an Indigenous term meaning "Mother of the Wind," and you can expect the mother of all wind and kite surfing and wing foiling getaways in Howe Sound. Squamish Watersports can hook you up with a shuttle, lessons, wetsuit rentals, and other amenities so you can join the throngs of colorful adrenaline junkies and have a safe and positive experience. It's time to sail away!

thletes compete in the Kiteboarding Racing Championship in Squamish, BC, Canada, ON August 4, 2012. Sergei Bachlakov / Shutterstock.com

11 Squamish Estuary and wildlife viewing

Black Bear in Forest - British Columbia, Canada. Black Bear in His Habitat. Canadian Wildlife Photography Collection.

The Squamish Estuary isn't just a hub for outdoor sports. It's a protected area offering exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities. Bears, bobcats, birds, and other beauties roam this wetland habitat, and you can take it all in via flat walking trails accessible not far from Main Street. Follow the signs, never veer off the trails, and follow "Leave No Trace" principles. Birders can check off black-capped Chickadees, Barrow's Goldeyes, and many more species.

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12 Via Ferrata Climbing Experience

When the fear factor stands between you and your bucket list experiences, it's time to find solutions. Via Ferrata is one such workaround, appealing to those looking for a pulse-racing but secure climbing experience. Over an hour and a half, you'll use a lanyard system to climb ladders all the way to the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola. Would-be participants 18 or younger need a guardian's signature to do so. You'll need a lift ticket, which you can buy as part of a package if you don't already have one.

13 Cultural and historical sites

Squamish is cultured; of this, there is no doubt. One need only look at the Squamish Arts Instagram page to see the breadth of artistic talent in this nook of the world. To shop some of these works and support local makers, head to Bespoke Market to find paper products, ceramics, jewelry, and other crafts. Then pop into the inclusive Brackendale Art Gallery to see what's new. The venue hosts art shows, music performances, and workshops. Finally, engage with the self-guided Cultural Journey Route for Indigenous oral history perspectives.

14 Outdoor spas and wellness

For one of the best spa experiences in the region, look no further than AIKA, an establishment with a rare 5-star collective review after hundreds of ratings. AIKA treats clients to Nordic sauna culture, and visitors leave this woodland sanctuary feeling fortified. For yoga with a view, KIND's geodesic studio will give you all the forest feels.

15 Railway Museum of British Columbia

Train stans, assemble! The Railway Museum of British Columbia is an immersive locomotive heaven with vintage passenger cars to admire and a mini train for little ones to board. Interactive exhibits and artifacts paint a compelling picture of yesteryear, and seasonal events entertain families during the holidays.

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