The beautiful turquoise Joffre Lakes are just outside Pemberton, British Columbia, about a 2.5 hour drive from Vancouver. It was a tough walk to the top (about 3 hours) for an incredibly unfit person like me, but the three lakes are absolutely gorgeous and well worth the hike. You can also camp at the last lake, but there’s no way in hell you’ll catch me lugging tents and such up that hill.
Bowen Island is a small island about 2 hours drive/ferry from Vancouver, with lovely cafes, shops and some great hikes. It’s a nice ferry ride over and the basic trek from the ferry terminal to Killarney Lake was great for me (there are three mountains to choose from though if you want something more challenging).
Grouse Mountain is one of the closest places to ski in Vancouver, and is about an hour on the bus out of town. There was still snow up there in April, and it was a beautiful and very peaceful place to spend some time. I loved the cold and the eerie emptiness up there.
Downtown is grittier than I thought it would be, and these graffiti alleyways are everywhere. Here you can see the Lookout above the Harbour Centre.
Mystery Lake is a short 50 minute drive from downtown, and another easy half hour walk. It’s just a quiet oasis on Mt Seymour and would be a great place to swim summer (but too cold now!). You can also go skiing at Mt Seymour too, so I’d be curious to see this place in the winter.