The University of British Columbia doesn’t seem like the first choice for a day trip in Vancouver, but don’t be confused by its academia. The campus is beautiful, with stunning views over the harbour (or harbor, or something). On a hot day the flowers surge with color, the ocean sparkles in the distance, and the air is filled with a warm, gentle breeze.
It is a nice bike ride to the campus from downtown, mostly along bike paths. As you follow the harbour around the coast, there are many places to stop and admire the view. Be warned, there is a bit of a climb to get up to the campus and depending on your fitness level this may or may not be a pleasant experience. Once you are at the campus there are wide walkways where you can look around the old (and new) buildings.
If it is a nice day, you can brave Wreck Beach. I mean brave quite literally. This is not a destination intended for the faint of heart. If you struggled to bike up the hill to UBC, then do not venture down the steps to the depths of hell (to get to the beach). However, that isn’t the worst part. The worst part (or perhaps best, depending on your inclinations) is when you come to realize it is a nudist beach. On a hot summers day, the beach has all sort of clientele, but be warned, if you are visiting the beach in the colder months only the hardcore nude enthusiasts remain, and well, this can be a scary sight. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
There are also the Botanical Gardens, which are worth a visit. A variety of museums are scattered among the area. If you want to get a feel for the history of civilization, then the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) has it all. It can take a few hours to really see everything and make you feel like you’ve got value for money, so make sure you have the time (and energy) to take it all in.
There are some nice forest bike trails around the area too, so if you’ve had fun biking so far, you can continue with some easy mountain biking. This is not recommended if you are on a road bike. The trails are made of gravel and tree roots. Neither go well with spindly road bike tires.
If all this sounds like too much effort, then just a stroll around the campus can be a nice day out. There are large bean bags in the middle of the campus, which allow for a lazy day stretched out and soaking it all in.