Squamish is a community of about 17,000. There isn’t a lot to see in the town itself, but there are exceptional places to visit and outdoor recreational things to do in the area.
Squamish calls itself the “Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada”, and for good reason. The region is world famous for mountain biking and hiking, as well as both snowmobiling and back-country skiing in the winter. The town is also well-known in the summer for wind and kite surfing around Squamish Spit.
What to See in Squamish
Driving from Vancouver, just before you reach Squamish, there is beautiful Shannon Falls (which is great for photos, a walk and picnics) and Stawamus Chief (which is a giant granite rock mountain that’s excellent for climbing, with routes for experts as well as for regular folk who want a challenge).
The waterfalls are a sight to see, being one of BC’s highest, and the view from the top of the Stawamus Chief is absolutely stunning and well worth the climb (from the easier back route, not the one straight up the cliffs at the front). Right close by too is the Sea to Sky Gondola, in case you don’t want to walk up to see the views.
One interesting tourist attraction that’s more or less right in Squamish is the West Coast Railway Heritage Park. This is Western Canada’s largest collection of heritage trains and railway equipment, so a good place to visit if you like trains and history.
Another place with historical buildings and interesting large-scale pieces of equipment is the Britannia Mine Museum. It’s just a few minutes away (back towards Vancouver) and includes a train ride underground into the mine.
If you like the outdoors, or if you’re on your way somewhere up the Sea to Sky Highway, then Squamish and its surrounding area is a good place to visit (if not to stay, then at least for a coffee and fill up of gas).
Excellent campgrounds not too far away include Paradise Valley (on the Cheakamus River towards Brackendale), Alice Lake Provincial Park (which is also popular for canoeing, swimming and fishing) and Porteau Cove (which is right on the ocean).
If you are in the Squamish area between mid-November and mid-February and you like bird watching, then check out Brackendale Eagles Provincial Park which is world famous for bald eagles in the winter.
Squamish Calendar of Events
- Canada Day – July 1st in Squamish features a short morning parade and then live music, a beer garden and festival activities until late at night.
- KiteClash – the Canadian Freestyle Kiteboarding Championships at Squamish Spit in early July.
- Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival – a community festival celebrating the local logging industry during the first few days of August over the BC Day Long Weekend.
- Squamish Farmers Market – a great weekly farmers market that takes place at the corner of Cleveland Avenue and Victoria on Saturdays from 10 am until 3 pm from April until October.
- Squamish Street Market – a once-a-month summer all-day Sunday market on Cleveland Avenue in the summer.
- Squamish Wind Festival – an arts festival in late July.
- The Polar Express – a special Christmas-themed event based on the animated movie The Polar Express at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park in late November and December.