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Outdoor Recreation in Vancouver

Snowmobiling in Whistler

Vancouver is paradise for outdoor enthusiasts thanks to its mountains, abundance of nature, beaches, world-class parks and recreational opportunities.

The region has some of the best mountain biking, skiing, hiking, boating and other outdoor activities anywhere in the world.


Click on the following links to skip to specific information:

Best Year-Round Outdoor Activities | Outdoors in Spring, Summer and Fall | Best Outdoor Places in Winter | Best Places in Nature | Romantic Walks and Restaurants | Camping in the Lower Mainland | Other Information


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Vancouver’s Best Places for Outdoor Recreation

Depending on the time of year, different regions are the best places for outdoor recreational activities in the Lower Mainland.


Best Year-Round Outdoor Activities

Metro Vancouver is a Mecca for outdoor recreational activities. With its ocean and mountains, the region is an outdoor paradise.

Some of the Lower Mainland’s best places for outdoor recreation are its parks. See Vancouver Outdoors in the Spring, Summer and Fall below for details. Those three seasons are the best times to be outdoors, unless you’re looking for snow.

If you don’t mind the expense, one special outdoor activity that happens year-round is ziplining. With it you get to slide down cables from mountain peak to mountain peak at up to 80 kilometres an hour. One place to do this is at Grouse Mountain.

Other amazing places for ziplining and/or ropes course adventures include WildPlay in Maple Ridge and both the Aerial Obstacle Course and Superfly Ziplines in Whistler. (TIP: With WildPlay, if you use the promo code VBP15, you can save 15% on the price of admission!)


Maple Ridge WildPlay Ropes Course
WildPlay in Maple Ridge


Outdoors in Spring, Summer and Fall

Some of the Lower Mainland’s top destinations for outdoor recreation include the region’s parks. That’s where you’ll find opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, climbing, canoeing and kayaking. For hiking location recommendations specifically, click Vancouver’s Best Hiking Trails.

Places to enjoy the sun include Metro Vancouver’s many top beaches, such as English Bay, Kitsilano, Jericho, Spanish Banks, Stanley Park (Second and Third Beaches) and Ambleside (in West Vancouver).

For people who like to swing a club, check out Vancouver’s Top Golf Courses for the list of the Lower Mainland’s best public golf locations.

Deep Cove on the North Shore is an excellent place for kayaking, with its calm beautiful bay and availability of boat rentals.

Whale Watching is a popular outdoor activity. It doesn’t involve any exercise, and in some cases the main passenger areas are all indoors, but it is fun and it does involve exploring and seeing nature. One of the best companies to go on a tour with is Prince of Whales. It operates out of Granville Island and the company gets very good reviews.

Outdoor Swimming Pools are great places to hang out at in the summer on hot days. The Lower Mainland has over 20 of them! For exciting wet fun, there is also Whitewater Rafting at various venues including in Whistler.

To learn more about things to do in the above seasons, check out our articles about Summer Activities and Fall Activities.



OHM Electric Bikes is the oldest e-bike manufacturer in Canada. Its products are designed and assembled on the North Shore. We bought a bike from them and are very happy!


OHM Bikes


Whale Watching Boat by Brocton Point
A Whale Watching Boat by Brocton Point


Best Outdoor Places in Winter

Year-round, but especially in winter, Vancouver’s Olympic-class ski hills are some of the best places anywhere for outdoor activities.  These include Cypress, Grouse Mountain and Mt. Seymour, plus Whistler-Blackcomb slightly further afield. These mountains are all great places for downhill skiing and snowboarding. Some also offer skating, tubing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

Probably the most famous part of Metro Vancouver for outdoor recreation is the North Shore. It’s a region with mountains, parks, ocean, and access to the Sea-to-Sky Corridor and Whistler.  People flock from near and far to experience the great outdoors in Metro Vancouver, and the North Shore is definitely a driving source behind that attraction.

For more information about things to do in Vancouver’s coldest months, see our article about Lower Mainland Winter Activities.

Other articles that might be of interest include the following:

In addition to skiing and snowboarding, another popular winter sport is snowmobiling. It can be done in places like Whistler. The Adventure Group offers snowmobiling tours that start less than a 15-minute drive from Whistler Village. Click Snowmobiling in Whistler for details.



If you’re looking for a place to buy or rent electric bikes, we recommend Reckless Shipyards in North Vancouver. That’s where we got one of our e-bikes. We’re loving the bike so far!


Reckless Shipyards E-Bikes


Mountain Biking in the Lower Mainland


Best Places in Nature

You don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy outdoor recreation in the Lower Mainland. There are so many wonderful parks and areas of wilderness to enjoy. See our article about Vancouver’s Best Parks & Nature to see some of our favourite spots to explore.


Vancouver View from Lighthouse Park
Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver


Romantic Walks and Restaurants

Looking for a romantic place to spend time with your sweetheart before enjoying dinner for two at one of the Lower Mainland’s Top Restaurants? Check out Romantic Vancouver Outdoor Places to Walk.

Restaurants aren’t places for serious hard-core outdoor activities, like downhill skiing, cliff climbing or mountain biking, but if you are looking for a nice place outdoors for a stroll and then a meal, this is where you’ll find some good suggestions.

Also, if wanting an extra special walking experience, then take a guided tour around downtown Vancouver with Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours. The tours are very interesting and most enjoyable.


Camping in the Lower Mainland

There are lots of places to go camping in the Lower Mainland. From Sasquatch Park and Cultus Lake in the Fraser Valley, to Nairn Falls up past Whistler, the region is home to some amazing campgrounds.

For a list of some of our favourite places, check out Camping Around Vancouver.


RV Camping
Camping in the Lower Mainland


Other Information

Other articles that might be of interest include the following:

To learn about things to do in other nearby BC communities, see the websites VictoriasBestPlaces.com and WhatToDoInWhistler.ca.