Sightseeing options take you from city to nature, and across air, land and sea!
Summer in Vancouver brings warm sunshine, cool ocean breezes and a wide array of outdoor activities and cultural festivals. Locals and visitors take to the streets, beaches, waterways and nearby mountains to explore the destination’s stunning natural surroundings. It’s one of few cities where locals and tourists gravitate toward the same experiences – whether exploring artsy Granville Island, biking the Stanley Park seawall or tackling the Grouse Grind, it’s almost impossible not to make new friends or have an experience that instils a feeling of kinship with this friendly, welcoming city. In summer, the city’s distinctive beaches and outdoor pools become focal points for the city – from boardwalk-style English Bay Beach and yoga-cool Kitsilano Beach, there’s a sandy haven for everyone.
Relax on Vancouver's Beaches
Which way to the beach? Well, in Vancouver you can find one everywhere you turn. Whether you're looking for a stretch of sand to spread out and relax on with a good book, an outdoor court to spike a volleyball, or a sandy catwalk to strut your stuff, Vancouver's got it. Some of the city’s best beaches are included below.
At Vancouver’s version of Venice Beach, buff and bronzed bodies make their rounds among the mix of joggers, stroller-pushing families, and everyday sun-worshippers. Grassy patches are perfect for tossing the disc, the tennis courts are always popular, and the beach attracts volleyball players from all over the city. The adjacent Kitsilano Pool offers the chance to swim laps in the city’s only outdoor, heated, salt-water pool, all with a wrap-around view of the city, ocean and mountains.
When all the elements are right, fishing and a picnic at the Jericho Beach pier makes for a perfect evening. Enjoy the long, sandy stretch with stunning views of the North Shore Mountains and the downtown core. It's also a great spot for sailing, windsurfing, sea kayaking and beach volleyball.
The least crowded of Vancouver's beaches, this stretch of sand is named to commemorate its discovery by Spanish explorers in 1792. Located right by the University of British Columbia, it’s a wonderful retreat for those who wish to escape from the pace of city life. Skimmers alert: this is the perfect place for skim boarding once you learn the optimal tidal conditions.
West End Beaches
At the southern edge of the West End neighborhood, no more than a 30-minute walk from the downtown core, you’ll find two beautiful urban waterfronts - English Bay and Sunset Beach. A jumping off point for rollerblading adventures, strolling for ice cream, and picnics, and the place to lay down your blanket during the Celebration of Light international fireworks held at the end of July. Kids will love English Bay’s floating slide and parents will appreciate the full-time lifeguard.
Stanley Park Beaches
A quick stroll into Stanley Park from English Bay, Second Beach is also home to an immense, heated outdoor pool, complete with a slide for the kids. Further north along the seawall lies secluded Third Beach. Locals tote grills and coolers to this spot, a popular place for summer evening barbecues and sunset watching.
Spend an afternoon in Stanley Park
At the north end of Vancouver’s downtown peninsula, the 400-hectare (1,000-acre) Stanley Park is the city’s beloved green heart complete with temperate rainforest, cricket pitches, rose gardens, totem poles and beaches. Hit one of dozens of marked trails and roam freely or rent a bike to pedal the seawall which encompasses the park. Recognized as one of the world’s greatest urban parks, it’s a big hit with kids - visit Second Beach pool, a water park, miniature railway and more.
Explore the Public Market at Granville Island
Culinary adventurers gravitate toward this bustling culinary centre to sample artisan products and multicultural influences. At the island’s heart is the bustling Granville Island Public Market, where exotic produce and gourmet ingredients are sold alongside global dishes and local specialties. Sample your way through this Aladdin’s den of culinary treasures on a tasting tour or wander the massive space on your own and pick-up fixings for an al fresco picnic – the nearby docks are always lively with visitors and buskers.
Be adventurous on the North Shore
Just across the water from Vancouver’s downtown peninsula, at the foot of the Coast Mountains, is a green suburb that beckons with outdoor adventure. Look down at the rushing river as you cross Capilano Suspension Bridge Park’s swaying bridge, and make time to enjoy the rainforest nature trails, totem pole collection, the Treetops Adventure and Cliffwalk, a heart-stopping, cliff-side journey across a series of cantilevered and suspended walkways.
A little further up the slope, Grouse Mountain offers the ultimate mountain-top playground, and the fun begins on a thrilling gondola ascent to the summit. At the top, you’ll be greeted by jaw-dropping views, an entertaining lumberjack show and – everyone’s favourite – Grinder and Coola, the mountain’s resident rescued grizzly bears. The mountain’s ziplines guarantee an adrenaline rush, as does a trip up Eye of the Wind, the world’s first commercial wind turbine.