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15 Outdoor Activities in Vancouver

From ocean kayaking to hiking in the mountains, Vancouver has lots of amazing outdoor activities. The city is located in beautiful British Columbia, a province famous for its breathtaking landscapes. The region attracts more than 5.7 million visitors annually and there are a variety of outdoor experiences to choose from, including camping, biking, and hiking. On sunny days, you can easily venture out to one of the many parks in Vancouver or take a trip to the beach.

People on a beach during summer in Vancouver and city buildings behind

The travel experts at Canadian Train Vacations will help you plan the perfect itinerary for a memorable Vancouver trip! So here are the 15 best outdoor things to do in Vancouver for an unforgettable West Coast experience. We have put together a detailed list to make it easy to have the best vacation possible.

1. Whistler and Sea to Sky Gondola Tour

Want to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life into someplace quiet? The Whistler and Sea to Sky Tour offers an unparalleled experience. Take in the scenic beauty of British Columbia’s fjords and mountains on the gondola. You can see the coastal mountains, Howe Sound, Whistler village, and much more. This tour is one of the best outdoor activities in Vancouver.

Why visit here?

Wander about Whistler village and view the peaks, forests, and rivers. 

  • Average time spent here: Full-day trip
  • Hours of operation: Opens at 9 am
  • Fees: Approx. $200 per adult and $100 per child

Experience: Train Across Canada

A green gondola cabin of the Sea to Sky Gondola above mountains and a fjord

2. Capilano Suspension Bridge

Swaying 230 feet (70 metres) above the Capilano River, this suspension bridge is made of cedar planks and steel cables. Located inside the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions. Capilano park has various family-friendly activities like nature and culture presentations and treetop walks. The suspension bridge is one of the best Vancouver outdoor activities.

Why visit here?

Capilano Suspension Bridge has various walking trails for all ages.

  • Average time spent here: 3-4 hours
  • Hours of operation: Varies according to season
  • Fees: $60-70 for adults

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Light coming through the trees above a long suspension bridge over the Capilano River

#Travel Tip: Free shuttle to Capilano

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If you’re looking to take a trip up to Capilano Suspension Bridge, there’s a free Shuttle that operates all year round with pick ups at Canada Place, Hyatt Regency Hotel, and the Blue Horizon Hotel.

Louise Weiss
Director of Legendary Hospitality

3. Wildplay Elements Park

Wildplay Elements Park in Maple Ridge is just outside Golden Ears Provincial Park, one of the most beautiful places in Vancouver. Wildplay Elements Park has many thrilling activities for children above 12 years. Want to get outside the city? We recommend spending the day at this place. 

Why visit here?

Wildplay Elements Park is one of the popular Vancouver outdoor activities. The outdoor course features hanging nets, zip lines, suspended ladders, axe throwing and more.

  • Average time spent here: Anything from a couple of hours to a full day
  • Hours of operation: Hours depend on the season
  • Fees: Varies, depending on activities - you can get your tickets on Wildplay’s website

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View of two people watching a friend throw an axe at a Wildplay Park
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4. Lighthouse Park

Lighthouse Park is in West Vancouver and covers an area of about 75 hectares. The lighthouse and grounds are a national historic site. You can reach this beautiful place in Vancouver via public transport or car. Lighthouse Park is one of the most photographed locations in the Lower Mainland and is a great place for picnics, nature walks and short hikes.

Why visit here?

Lighthouse Park is a rockfish protection area and the water is clear blue. It's an ideal place for a picnic.

  • Average time spent here: 4-6 hours
  • Hours of operation: 7 am to 10 pm
  • Fees: Free
A lighthouse on the rocky coastline at Lighthouse Park on a clear day

5. Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain is a year-round beautiful place in Vancouver. During the warmer months, the top of the mountain hosts unique flora and fauna. In the winter, it is very picturesque with lots of snow.  There are various dining options, including The Observatory, an elegant fine-dining restaurant with spectacular views over the city. 

Why visit here?

Grouse Mountain offers many outdoor winter activities in Vancouver - ice skating, skiing, and snowshoeing. The view from The Observatory is mesmerising.

  • Average time spent here: 2-6 hours
  • Hours of operation: 9 am to 9 pm
  • Fees: Varies

Note: The most popular way to reach the top of the mountain is by gondola. During the summer months, hiking the Grouse Grind is another way to get to the top.

Visitors on the Grouse Mountain gondola looking at the forest as they travel up the mountain

6. Vancouver Seawall

This lovely walkway is 28 kilometres long (17.5 miles) and follows the waterfront around the city. One of the most popular sections of this walk is the Stanley Park seawall.  If you wish to enjoy the beautiful shoreline of Canada, this is the perfect place for you.

Why visit here?

Walking or running the seawall is a popular outdoor activity in Vancouver. It is appropriate for all ages, and there are many restaurants or cafes along the way.

  • Time spent: 2-4 hours.
  • Timings: 9 am to 9 pm
  • Fees: Free
     
A person running on a section of the seawall in Stanley Park

7. Stanley Park

We have already mentioned one of the attractions in Stanley Park, but being one of the most beautiful places in Vancouver, it deserves its own write up. Spread over 1,000 acres (400 hectares), Stanley Park opened in 1888, and ever since then, it has been a popular outdoor activity spot in Vancouver. In addition to the seawall, the park includes an aquarium, monuments, beaches, and a lighthouse. The lush greenery and sandy beaches make Stanley Park a crowd favourite.

Why visit here?

The famous Stanley Park has engaging activities for everyone!

  • Average time spent here: 2-4 hours
  • Fees: It's free to enter the park but certain attractions, such as the aquarium, have an entrance fee

Explore: Best Luxury Train Trips in Canada

A row of colourful totem poles at Stanley Park, Vancouver

#Travel Tip: Ride on a horse-drawn carriage

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Explore Stanley park by horse-drawn carriage. It’s a beautiful and comfortable way to take in the scenery and a guide provides narration about the park's highlights along the way.

Blog Author - Hannah Poaros-Mcdermott
Hannah Poaros-McDermott
Travel Writer and Senior Content Coordinator

8. Locarno and Jericho Beaches

Want to enjoy the warm weather? Head out to some of the most beautiful beaches in Canada: Locarno and Jericho Beaches. Being further away than the other beaches, these two are less crowded. These sandy beaches have cafes and concessions stands nearby so you can relish a good meal. This beautiful place in Vancouver is perfect for all age groups.

Why visit here?

Quiet spots with lovely views.

  • Average time spent here: 2-4 hours
Two women sitting on a log at Jericho beach with Vancouver city skyline behind

9. Whistler Blackcomb

If you are a fan of skiing, Whistler Blackcomb is the place for you. Offering the best outdoor winter activities near Vancouver this place is one of the most popular ski resorts in Canada. Situated near two mountains, this location has more than 200 marked runs. The snowboarding parks are perfect for youngsters and there are beginner areas for those learning to ski. You can also try hiking and mountain biking during the summer.

Why visit here?

Whistler Blackcomb is an excellent weekend getaway. It offers some of the most fun outdoor activities in Vancouver area.

  • Average time spent here: 1-2 days
  • Fees: Varies, depending on activities

Experience: Train Trips from Vancouver 

Person in red jacket skiing down Whistler Mountain with gondola in the distance

10. Skiing or snowboarding at Cypress Mountain

Another exceptional option for all adventure-sport lovers is Cypress Mountain. It is one of the largest skiing resorts near Vancouver and has various activities for you to choose from. If you are a seasoned nordic skier, try the cross-country skiing trails. The mountain is located 30 minutes outside Vancouver and can be reached via car or public transport.

Why visit here?

Cypress Mountain has trails for people with various skill sets, thus making it a perfect fit for outdoor winter activities in Vancouver.

  • Average time spent here: 1-5 hours.
  • Hours of operation: 9 am to 10 pm
  • Fees: Variable: $130-160 for a full day lift ticket in winter (adults)
A person skiing down Cypress Mountain on a clear day with views of the ocean in the distance

11. Whale watching around the Gulf Islands

Possibly the most fun outdoor activity in Vancouver would be a whale-watching tour through the Gulf Islands. On these tours, you might see orcas, humpback whales, sea lions, seals, dolphins, and more. The guides will tell you everything about whales and their behaviours. Whale watching is also one of the best outdoor activities near Vancouver Island and there are some tour operators that depart from Victoria. This tour is popular amongst all age groups.

Why visit here?

This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see whales.

  • Average time spent: 3-5 hours
  • Fees: Depends on the tour operator but average around $150
An orca half out of the water with mountain range in distance

12. Kayaking at Deep Cove

Deep Cove is a stunning waterfront village in North Vancouver. Kayaking is a popular activity and if you are a beginner, you can take a lesson or enjoy a guided paddle. There are opportunities to take courses if you want to up your skill level. You can kayak up the Indian Arm and explore Canada's southernmost fjord. In addition to kayaking, you can also try paddleboarding and hiking in this area.  

Why visit here?

You can go kayaking and enjoy a day out on the water with captivating scenery.

  • Average time spent here: 3-5 hours
  • Season: May to September only
  • Fees: Depends on tour operator
Kayaks and swimmers next to a red lifeguard chair on Deep Cove beach in summer

13. Lynn Canyon Park and Suspension Bridge

Located in North Vancouver, Lynn Canyon Park and Suspension Bridge opened in 1912. This place offers some fun outdoor activities in Vancouver that you should try in the summer. Lynn Canyon Park has various hiking and nature walk trails. Whether a beginner or a seasoned hiker, you can find a hiking trail that meets your skillset. Some of the trails lead you to gorgeous waterfalls and popular swimming holes. 

Why visit here?

Lynn Canyon Park and Suspension Bridge offers beautiful scenery. You can walk through the forest and enjoy the park in any weather.

  • Average time spent here: 2-8 hours
  • Hours of operation: 7 am to 8 pm
  • Fees: Free
View along the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge in the forest

14. Whitewater rafting near Squamish

Calling all the adventurous water sports lovers out there! Whitewater rafting makes it to our list of best outdoor things to do in Vancouver for all the right reasons. Cheakamus River is perfect for river rafting and is near Squamish, about an hour away from Vancouver. You can choose from various river rafting experiences. There are family friendly floats down the river which include Class 2 rapids and then there are other trips that go over thrilling Class 3-4 rapids.

Why visit here?

Whitewater rafting is an unforgettable experience and can be a day trip from Vancouver.

  • Average time spent here: 1-4 hours for half day or 5-7 hours for full-day tours
  • Fees: Varies (depending on your package)
Close up rear view of people whitewater rafting down a river in Squamish

15. Mountain biking at Mount Fromme

Situated on the northern shores of Vancouver, Mt. Fromme is a cycling lovers' paradise. With numerous options like single-track, double-track, and freestyle trails, this place offers everything from classic to technical mountain biking trails. Try easy trails if you are a novice bike rider. This Vancouver outdoor activity is a one-of-a-kind experience.

Why visit here?

Mount Fromme has exciting biking trails for all skill levels.

  • Season: Summer, fall, and spring
  • Fees: Free
POV of a mountain biker riding through the lush forest in North Vancouver with family

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of outdoor activities in Vancouver. While we have mentioned the best outdoor activities in Vancouver, there are many more you can try. If you are looking to travel to Canada, reach out to one of the local travel experts at Canadian Train Vacations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are good outdoor activities in Vancouver?

Vancouver offers a range of outdoor activities like river rafting, hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, snowboarding, and skiing.

What is the most beautiful part of Vancouver?

Vancouver is famous for its parks and beaches. Stanley Park, Locarno and Jericho Beaches, Lynn Canyon Park, and Lighthouse Park are the most beautiful places in Vancouver.

What are fun activities in Vancouver?

Some fun outdoor activities in Vancouver are whale watching, hiking, walking the seawall, and taking a tour to Whistler.

What's Vancouver famous for?

Vancouver is famous for its breathtaking beauty. From beaches to mountains, Vancouver has it all.

How many days in Vancouver is enough?

You can explore the highlights of Vancouver in 2-5 days. However, if you want to dive deep into the local cuisine, culture, and nature, you should spend 6-8 days in Vancouver.

What is the best month to visit Vancouver?

The summer months, like July, August, and September, offer beautiful weather and are the peak tourist months in Vancouver.

About the author: Louise Weiss is Director of Legendary Hospitality with Fresh Tracks Canada. Having worked in the Canadian travel industry for more than 25 years, she enjoys sharing her local expertise with visitors. She is based in North Vancouver and has spent time... Read more

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