30 minutes down the road from Whistler lies the town of Squamish, a destination in and of itself. Squamish is unique in that it’s both mountainside and oceanfront. Its proximity makes it an ideal place to get out of the Whistler valley and enjoy a B.C. staycation. Biking, climbing, walking, boating, shopping, relaxing... you name it, Squamish has got something for you.
1. HIKE THE CHIEF
It is impossible to drive through Squamish without noticing the town’s most prominent landmark, the Stawamus Chief. Towering high above the town, The Chief a popular hiking destination that offers incredible views of both Squamish and the sprawling expanse of the Howe Sound . You'll find the trail signposted and located off Highway 99, accessible either from Shannon Falls or Stawamus Chief Provincial Park. Follow signs to the trailhead and get ready for a leg-burner!
2. VISIT A WATERFALL
Shannon Falls, just outside Squamish, is a must see when you're in town. Take a short stroll through beautiful old growth forests, where bright green moss and bracken illuminate the boardwalk. Shannon Falls tumbles down 330 metres over smooth granite, closely resembling the famous Bridalveil Falls in Yosemite. It is BC's third tallest waterfall and holds a magical mist in the air around it.
3. TAKE A BIKE RIDE
Years of trail development by an awesome community of local bikers and trail builders has earned Squamish the reputation of having Canada's best mountain bike trail network. The trails cater for all ages and abilities and are easily accessible for first timers and pros alike. If you can't get your own bike to Squamish, you can rent one in town. Corsa Cycles, Flying Spirit and Sea to Sky Adventure Company all offer mountain bike rentals. Many will also offer guided tours of the local trails, which, if you're unfamiliar with the area or relatively new to mountain biking, are a great idea!
4. HEAD OUT ON THE WATER
Rent a kayak or stand up paddleboard from Sea to Sky Adventure Co. to explore the unique waterways of the Howe Sound. Fancy making a day of it? They also offer guided tours.
If you feel like a more leisurely water activity, hop aboard with one of Squamish's local boat captains: Squamish Harbour Marine Adventures offer 2 hour cruises for as little as $85 per person.
Squamish has some awesome food options. One of our favourites is the English style chip shop, Wigan Pier. Open 12-8pm, they serve awesome fresh local seafood, deep fried and battered English style. Boasting cute decor and traditional English drinks, they make great home style pies and offer a very generous haddock and fries special.
The Howe Sound Brew Pub serves up delicious comfort food - their house cheddar and ale soup with beer bannock is to die for! For a slightly more upmarket evening, head to The Salted Vine for some Pacific Northwest style fare.
6. TAKE THE SEA TO SKY GONDOLA
Squamish has done a great job of making their main tourist attraction not too touristy. Sleek, modern and exciting - the Sea to Sky Gondola is a great experience for all. The ride up offers some awe-inspiring views as well as access to some more remote trails for those keen mountaineers. With a bar and restaurant up top, you can make an afternoon of it. This activity is awesome as it makes the spectular aerial views of Squamish accessible to everyone - regardless of ability or fitness level. Locals tip: if you go on a Saturday evening, tickets are 50% off at the ticket window! Just ask for the Sunset Saturdays price, anytime after 5pm.
7. HAVE A BEER
Craft brewing is now as much a part of the Pacific North West as flannel shirts and campfires, a fact that hasn't gone unnoticed in Squamish. Backcountry Brewing have an exceptional hazy beer selection - our personal favourite being their signature IPA, the Widowmaker. They are also quickly gaining a reputation for making the best pizzas in Squamish. Just down the road is A Frame Brewing, who brew some wonderful West Coast inspired seasonal beers, often with an unexpected fruity finish. Howe Sound Brew Pub is the third and final brewery, and plays host to a delightful pub atmosphere. Try the Hazy Daze for a refreshing summer beer, or the King Heffy for something totally different! For non beer drinkers, Geo Cider, Cliffside and Northyards are Squamish's local cideries.
8. GO DANCING
The Shady Tree pub has pool tables and a nice woodsy vibe for some late night beers (they open until midnight). Rumour has it they have the best wings in town.
The Howe Sound Brew Pub has great chill vibes and live music every weekend. The Chieftain is usually rockin' on a Friday night with their weekly kareoke.
For a local dive bar, head to Cliffside Pub. If you really wanna bust out some of your favourite dance moves, head to the Knotty Burl, the only real late night venue in Squamish. They often have DJ's and themed nights, open until 2am Thursday through Saturday!
9. GRAB COFFEE AND BREKKY
Woken up with a sore heard? Stroll down to quirky local spot Zephyr Café for a morning smoothie or hot cup of java. They serve Counterpart Coffee, which is locally roasted in Squamish. They also have a mean breakfast menu, including homemade granola, bennies and breakfast burritos.
Another local's favourite is the Crabapple Café, which serves hearty, healthy breakfasts until 3pm daily. Try the Garden Hash!
Want to reward your body with healthy, plant-based goodness after your outdoorsy weekend? Head to The Green Moustache for Banana Buckwheat Waffles and a Matcha Tea Latte.
10. GO SHOPPING!
Squamish’s main street is called Cleveland Avenue and is home to independent fashion stores, bakeries, art galleries and the Squamish Farmers Market - a great place to meet some awesome local vendors! The market is on every Saturday from 10am until 3pm, featuring everything from Pemberton grown butternut squash to craft hot sauce to Indonesian street food.
From cute independent boutiques to die hard outdoors stores, the Squamish has a lot to offer. Wild and Heart, a bohemian-style boutique cabin, has recently opened on Cleveland Ave, carrying edgy international and Canadian brands such as Stone Cold Fox and The Market Bags. Head to Be Clean Naturally Soap Shoppe to check out their hand made shampoo and conditioner bars as well as a great variety of locally made goods.