While Vancouver is famous for many things, its beauty is at the forefront. Like a winning pageant queen, Vancouver is beautiful both on the inside & out.
While exploration of her inner beauty (the city centre) is epic in its own right, she truly shines through her natural good looks.
With a backdrop of parks, beaches, mountains, and waterways, Vancity – as it’s affectionately known – is an outdoor paradise. The proximity to nature, coupled with the Vancouverite work-hard, play-hard state of mind, means you even can bike, hike, kayak, sail, and ski in one day!
Read on for our top picks of exploring Vancouver outdoors.
TAKE A HIKE
Ask any Vancouver local and they’ll tell you that forgetting your sneakers or boots is akin to forgetting your undies. Young and old regularly go on mini-hikes, alongside all-day weekend excursions.
For the fit and the bold, consider the Vancouver Stairmaster, aka the Grouse Mountain Grind. You’ll need $10 in your athleisure wear pockets for the gondola back down. For a great hike plus awesome panoramic views, take the 10km Crown Mountain trail. If ambling is more your thing, learn the city’s heritage along the Stanley Park Seawall promenade.
Surrounded by creeks, lakes, and ocean, you’ll want to plan at least one activity on the water. The most affordable opportunity for that quintessential Vancity skyline shot is via ferry or water taxi. However, if you’re willing to put the pedal to the er… ocean, BC Water Bikes offers a fun way to savour the stunning harbour vistas.
AS YOU BIKE IT
With urban bicycle lanes and legendary trails, Vancouver is a wheelie (groan) fantastic destination to explore by bike. To warm up the saddle, the one-hour flat ride along the scenic Stanley Park Seawall includes epic views of the Lions Gate Bridge.
Alternatively, pick your pace and thrills from the 20+ trails on the famed North Shore Mountains, only 45 minutes from downtown
For a more relaxed excursion, unwind at the city’s urban beaches. Visitors often claim surprise at the accessibility of perfect sandy beaches, particularly those with city skyline vistas like Jericho and the quieter Locarno Beach. Don’t miss paddle boarding at English Bay or sunset from Third Beach.
FAST TRACK FUN
It would be remiss to talk about Vancouver without mentioning the year-round outdoor playground of Grouse Mountain. Vancouver residents love to share their tales of getting from paperwork to peak in less time than it takes to cook brown rice.
With unrivalled convenience from downtown Vancouver, in winter you can reach pristine powder to ski, board or snowshoe in only 15 minutes. Magic!
If goggle marks or après ski are not your thing, Grouse Mountain also offers the Skyride Gondola, Ziplining, and the unique Eye of the Wind, a 360° wind turbine lookout tower for the ultimate in regional vistas.
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