Vancouver is a popular Pacific Northwest destination, to be sure, but why? Because it’s the largest Canadian City on the west coast? Because lots of films and TV shows are filmed here? Because it’s a cosmopolitan city rich in diversity and culture?
Vancouver is a popular Pacific Northwest destination because of its natural beauty. Not to be confused with Vancouver Island, I can think of no other city in the world (not even Seattle!) that offers so much in the way of stunning natural scenery and outdoorsy activities. (However, I’m always open to being proven wrong, so tell me if you can think of another one!) Allow me to give you some examples:
Stanley Park and the Capilano Suspension Bridge
Of course, this tops everyone’s Vancouver list, and with good reason. There’s just so much to do here: the Aquarium, the suspension bridge, the harrowing cliff walk, and nature trails galore. The best time to come is first thing in the morning or mid-week, so you get fewer crowds.
Lynn Canyon Park
A less expensive alternative to the suspension bridge at Stanley Park is Lynn Canyon Park suspension bridge (it’s FREE!). The park also offers a swimming hole and breathtaking waterfalls.
The Sea Wall
At just over 13.5 miles, the Seawall is part of the longest uninterrupted waterfront path in the world. It covers the perimeter of Stanley Park and stretches southward on both sides into the city. There is room for all: walkers, joggers, bikers, and skaters.
Van Dusen Botanical Garden
This botanical garden has year-round events, educational programs, and even an observatory!
Pacific Spirit Park
Pacific Spirit Park Another stunning urban park with a wide variety of plants and small animals. Several trails provide a sweet respite from the weary city-goer.
This park offers easy hiking trails breathtaking views of the city, and Lions Bridge leading to North Vancouver. Get your cameras out for this hike!
English Bay Beach
Also known as First Beach, is popular with both tourists and locals, since it’s easily accessible from downtown Vancouver. With a cafe, beach/chair rentals, kayak rentals and two sand volleyball courts, what’s not to love (except for the crowds!)
Just east of North Vancouver is Deep Cove, a lovely recreational area with park and trails, restaurants, and events held throughout the year.
This is Vancouver’s premier skiing mecca. Just a 20 minute drive north of Vancouver, the views of this ski resort are nothing short of awe-inspiring. Lessons, training, and ski rentals are always available.
Tours can be booked for any time of the year, as different species of whales make their way to and from Vancouver’s surrounding waters, but the peak season is generally May – October.
Other Things to do in Vancouver, B.C.
And when you’ve had enough nature (gasp!) here are other things to do in Vancouver: