Squamish is a town in southwestern British Columbia that is famous for outdoor adventure. Named in the New York Times Top 52 Places To Visit series Squamish is an adventure travelers paradise, and there is no shortage of things to do in the self-proclaimed “outdoor recreation capital of Canada”.
Because Squamish is just a 50-minute drive from downtown Vancouver it makes the perfect day trip for visitors wanting to explore our super, natural playground.
In this blog post you’ll find all of the things we love about Squamish, BC; a full day’s worth of activities that will take you from rainforest to beach, from shoreline to mountain peaks, and from glaciers to the main street.
The Squamish River starts life high up in the mountains at the toe of the Pemberton Icefield. It flows south, growing in size and volume, as it merges with other glacier-fed tributaries on its way towards the Howe Sound and the Pacific Ocean. At the convergence of the Cheakamus and Cheekeye Rivers are the Sunwolf Riverside Cabins, tucked away in the lush green coastal temperate rainforest. Old logging maps dating back to 1910 show the location of a logging camp, called “Yapp’s Camp” on the current Sunwolf site.
Fergie’s Cafe has quickly grown to become a must-visit for any food writer, blogger, or enthusiast visiting Squamish. This little culinary gem is hidden away in an area of Squamish known as Paradise Valley (yep, you read that right) and Fergie’s Cafe shares its location with the Sunwolf Riverside Cabins, above.
Don’t be fooled by the popularity of Fergie’s Cafe, it’s not a pretentious upscale restaurant, oh no. It’s a cozy, welcoming, relaxed, turn-up-after-a-hike kind of place. And we love it. In fact, we eat here at least once a week and it’s only a 5-minute drive from the Squamish Airport.
There is a lot more to Squamish than meets the eye and a lot more than can be traveled on foot in a single day. This why, for most tourists, sightseeing by plane is growing in popularity as an affordable alternative to helicopter sightseeing.
Our Squamish Explorer sightseeing flight departs daily from Squamish Airport, ready to take you to see some of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders. From volcanic peaks to valleys carved out by ancient glaciers, to alpine lakes and towering waterfalls, the Squamish Explorer is the best way to experience the vast beauty of the Squamish wilderness.
Veggies, meat eaters, and vegans all love Locavore. Now how often can you say that about one single eatery?
The Locavore offers great food prepared by local chefs, with locally farmed meat, locally grown veg, and tasty, tasty fixings. Their food truck is permanently located at the Squamish Town Hub at 1861 Mamquam Road and was voted one of BC’s best mobile eateries by British Columbia Magazine. the Locavore a hands-down
We recommend trying the:
Herb Roasted Potatoes – add on garlic aioli
Roasted Cauliflower Salad – comes with quinoa, tahini, hummus, pita chips
Veggie Burger Kale – add bacon (a local’s favourite)
Banh Mi Rotisserie (pork or chicken) – comes with chilies, cilantro, pickled radish/carrot, baguette
It’s impossible to drive through Squamish, BC without passing by the town’s most prominent landmark, the Stawamus Chief. Standing at an impressive 702 meters tall, “The Chief” is the world’s second largest granite outcrop; a monolith of granodiorite that cooled beneath the ceiling of the early coast mountains initially formed in the early Cretaceous (approximately 100 million years ago).
This is arguably the most popular hike in Squamish. The route visits 3 peaks over 11km and can take anywhere from 3 hours to 6 hours depending on your fitness.
6. Shop local in historic downtown Squamish
Squamish’s main street is called Cleaveland Avenue and is home to boutique fashion stores, bakeries, home stores, and art galleries. In the summer this area is alive with music, farmers markets, and flowers. Squamish downtown is unique in that it’s both mountainside and oceanfront, not something you see very often, making it a great place to go for a change of pace after a busy morning of exploring.
Must visit in Squamish downtown:
Wild & Heart
Howe Sound Brewing Company
According to theclymb.com, slacklining was invented as a way for climbers to pass the time when they couldn’t be out on the rocks; so it’s not surprising that one of the North America’s most famous climbing towns has a park dedicated to slacklining.
Nexen Beach is dog-friendly and one of the best places in Squamish to go for a chance at seeing whales, seals, and the occasional dolphin. It’s also one of the only sandy beaches on the shores of the Howe Sound.
To get to Nexen Beach walk to the end of Cleaveland Avenue in downtown Squamish, past the Howe Sound Brewing Co. and left onto Vancouver Street. At the Yacht Club, turn right and follow the signs for the beach.
It’s fair to say that craft brewing is now as much a part of the west coast as hiking and flannel and Squamish is no exception. Backcountry Brewing is the newest brew pub to hit the Squamish beer scene serving up delicious seasonal ales to travelers and locals. While their beer is fantastic, their kitchen is also getting a lot of praise for their hearty salads, filling anti-pasti, and what is quickly becoming known as Squamish’s best pizza.
What you must try:
Trailbreaker Pale Ale
Safety Third IPA
Aw Nuts pizza