Vancouver is an immensely popular vacation destination because of its greenery. Mostly filled with mountain regions, Vancouver offers acres of forestry and parks that people love to explore.
Vancouver has more than 230 parks. Each is unique. Lush rainforest, quiet trails, magnificent ocean vistas, sandy beaches, shaded playgrounds and noisy skate parks. Whether you
are here for the first time, or the hundredth — welcome! Discover the magic of nature.
Parks and recreation in Vancouver has a long and colorful history. Since time immemorial, home to Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, the City of Vancouver was founded in 1886. Stanley Park was dedicated two years later, in 1888. Already, residents showed a love of outdoor public space and recreational pursuits that would later become known as the “west coast lifestyle.”
Today, Vancouver’s Board of Parks and Recreation is responsible for a rich inventory of green space and amenities—more than 230 parks, 24 community centers, as well as numerous beaches, tennis courts, playing fields, skate parks, ice rinks, fitness centres and food concessions.
Four million visitors can’t be wrong. That’s how many people walk, jog, blade or cycle Vancouver’s world famous seawall every year. Originally built around Stanley Park (9 km) the seawall now connects Canada Place with Kitsilano Beach and beyond. At 26 km, it is the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront walkway. Most of the seawall path is divided between walkers and rollerbladers/cyclists. In Stanley Park the cycle path is one-way (counterclockwise).
The Park Board has three 18-hole championship golf courses and three pitch & putt courses offering year-round golfing opportunities for every level.
18-hole golf courses
Book online at vancouver.ca/golf
Or use the app VANGOLF
- Fraserview 7800 Vivian Dr. 604.257.6923
- Langara 6706 Alberta St. 604.713.1816
- McCleery 7188 MacDonald St. 604.257.8191
Pitch & putt courses (summer only)
reservations not required
- Queen Elizabeth park enter off 37th Ave. 604.874.8336
- Rupert park 3402 Charles St. 604.681.8847
- Stanley park Park Dr. near Beach Ave. 604.257.8364
Sand and Surf
Spanish Banks, Locarno, Jericho, Kitsilano, English Bay. To some, these names speak of our history. To others, they mean summer: 18 km of sand, beach vollyball and barbecues. From Victoria Day weekend in late May to Labour Day in early September our 1 1 beaches are open and staffed by lifeguards. Bring a picnic or take-out from the beach concession and soak up the views. Don’t forget sunscreen!
Looking for water activities to enjoy when visiting our beaches? Contact our watersport partners:
Vancouver water adventures
604.616.7453 | creeksidekayaks.ca
604.688.2382 | dragonzone.ca
Ericho sailing centre
604.224.4177 | jsca.bc.ca
Kitsilano yacht club
Royal Vancouver yacht club
Vancouver rowing club
Quick bites Park Board-run concession stands can be found at beaches, outdoor pools and attractions and offer everything from a cup of coffee to fresh fruit or a gourmet panini sandwich. Most operate seasonally, weather permitting. Vancouver’s street food vendors serve a wide variety of cuisines such as pulled pork, dim sum and croissants. Park food carts open for business each summer.
Pack your own or buy take out from a concession stand and dine al fresco. Barbecues should be off the ground and coals disposed of properly. Groups of 50 or more are welcome to reserve at large picnic sites.
Visit vancouver.ca/parks for rates and booking information.
Enjoy stunning views and delicious meals in our parks. Each restaurant offers a uniquedining experience. Reservations are recommended.
Get active, have fun!
Located conveniently across the city, our community centres, indoor and outdoor pools, ice rinks, fitness centres, and skate parks offer countless ways for people of all ages, incomes, interests and abilities to stay healthy and active.
Vancouver’s parks have a never-ending supply of things to see and do, no matter your age. There are more than 160 playgrounds, almost 150 playing fields, a dozen spray parks, and 13 indoor and outdoor pools.
Ride one of Vancouver’s most popular attractions, Stanley Park Train - the train travels a 2 km winding journey amongst the Stanley Park Forest highlighting the flora and fauna of the park. Open all summer and for special events including Easter, Halloween and Christmas. Kids of all sizes welcome, including the adult ones!
Phone: 604-257-8531 Website: stanleyparkrailway.ca
Facebook: Stanley Park Railway Instagram: stanleyparkrailway (@StanleyParkRailway)
Below are other parks to visit
(photo from Google Images by R.Windsor)
1. Queen Elizabeth Park
This park offers awe-inspiring views. It is known as the horticultural jewel of Vancouver because of its beautiful backdrop most preferred in prenup photoshoots.
Measuring a total of 52 hectares, you will be amazed by the wide collection of native and exotic trees in the area. There is also so much to see and do for children and adults alike.
There are areas dedicated to recreational activities like tennis, pitch & putt and lawn bowling. It is also a nice place for stargazing or a picnic.
When roaming the grounds of Queen Elizabeth park, be sure not to miss the roses, sculptures and other amazing views like the Bloedel Conservatory where you can see the dancing waters.
(photo from bcparks.ca)
2. Golden Ears Provincial Park
The Golden Ears Provincial Park is one of the largest parks in the province that never runs out of recreational opportunities to offer to visitors. With its extensive trails system, those who love horseback riding or hiking will have fun in this park.
If you want to take part in water-based activities, Alouette Lake is also worthy of exploration. The lake is a perfect spot for windsurfing, water-skiing, boating, fishing, and canoeing.
You can also find three large campgrounds in Golden Ears.
(photo from Google images by Y.David)
3. John Hendry Park (Trout Lake)
John Hendry Park is notable for being one of the popular skating spots in Vancouver. The park is open for lake activities all year-round.
Visitors can swim, ice skate or go fishing in this East Vancouver Park. If you visit it in the summer, you will also enjoy the park's live outdoor concert series, farmers' market and sandy beaches.
The park has more to offer even on autumn days as it boasts colorful foliage, which will make your afternoon stroll even more worth remembering.
(photo from vancouvertrails.com)
4. Pacific Spirit Regional Park
This gorgeous park is known as a hiker's paradise because of the trails that will satisfy your thirst for outdoor adventure. It was established in 1989 and was originally part of the University Endowment Lands.
The park, covering 763 hectares, offers a richly dense forest. Visitors with different interests frequent this popular park because it has a lot of special places to explore such as Wreck Beach, Camosun Bog, and Lily of the Valley grove.
It is also blessed with flora and fauna with wide varieties of trees including Douglas Fir, Sitka Spruce, Hemlock and Cedar.
(photo from vancouver.ca)
5. Arbutus Greenway
There is so much to love about Arbutus Greenway as it consists of an all-water surface for biking, walking and jogging. You can also enjoy coffee or lunch with your friends as the area is filled with cafes and restaurants.
It is also near the commercial district where West Broadway, Granville Island, West 4th Avenue, Arbutus Ridge, Kerrisdale Village, West 57th Avenue and Marpole Village can be found.
Since the park is totally car-free, you can also bring your furry friends for a run or to frolic at the beach.
(photo from vancouver.ca)
6. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
The park is known as a peaceful base because of its ambiance. It is a full-scale Chinese garden that gives you a sneak peek of Chinese heritage with its koi ponds and painstakingly crafted Chinese pottery.
The garden also has objects and stories ideal for children. You can arrange tours with the staff if you want to explore the local Chinatown community.
You can discover the culture and history of Chinatown in Vancouver as well.
(photo from Google images by T. Duong)
7. Stanley Park
Stanley Park is considered the largest urban park in Vancouver. Though it is known for its urban landscape, it fairly preserved its green oasis, which continues to attract visitors.
It has a 400-hectare West Coast rainforest where you will enjoy the view of the mountains, water and tall trees. If you like to explore the park further, you will also be enamored by the beautiful beaches and historical landmarks.
There is an option to explore the park on your own or join a tour. If you want to relax, you can visit the Aquarium or take a stroll by the sandy beach.
The park also offers an opportunity to play a game of pitch and putt or ride the train. Be sure not to miss the famous monuments, landmarks and gorgeous gardens.
(photo from granvilleisland.com)
8. Granville Island Water Park
Granville Island Water Park is the continent's largest water park. Kids can enjoy squealing through mock rivers and spouts of water.
It consists of an adjacent playground and yellow water slide that the whole family should not miss. Aside from exploring the Water Park, you can also shop at the public market or feed the geese.
The park with its wide range of activities is an ideal destination when touring with family.
(photo from Google images by J.Spinoza)
9. Harbour Green Park
The lawn of green grass is one of the prominent features of Harbour Green Park. Anyone who is looking for a place to relax should visit this park for its scenery.
Known for being a lush urban paradise, Harbour Green park is great for family picnics. The long stretch of benches are perfect for an afternoon sightseeing with friends and family.
You can also stop for a quick snack on the Seawall or walk through downtown.
(photo from trover.com)
10. Lynn Canyon Park
Lynn Canyon boasts 617 acres of forest and has been a favorite destination among local residents and tourists. It is one of the most sought after locations for hiking, family picnic or even a refreshing swim.
It is not only a park but an ecology centre as well. With a wealth of historical information to showcase, many visitors are drawn to this amazing park. When visiting Lynn Canyon Park, be sure to explore its hidden gems such as the waterfalls, hiking trails, natural swimming pool and suspension bridge.
The hiking and walking trails are also connected to other parks such as Rice Lake, Inter River Park and Lynn Headwaters.
* Some text and photos from Vancouver.ca/parks