With its mountains, abundance of nature, beaches, world-class parks and recreational opportunities, Vancouver is paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.
The region has some of the best mountain biking, skiing, hiking, boating and other outdoor activities on the planet.
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 all 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, where you get to slide down a cable from mountain peak to mountain peak at up to 80 km an hour. The place to do this is at Grouse Mountain. Click Grouse Ziplining for details.
Outdoors in Spring, Summer and Fall
Some of the Lower Mainland’s top destinations for outdoor recreation include the region’s parks, 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, including 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.
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, and 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, with its mountains, parks, ocean, and access to the Sea-to-Sky region and Whistler. People flock from all over the world to experience the great outdoors in Metro Vancouver, and the North Shore is definitely a driving source behind that attraction.
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.
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, then 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. They are very interesting and most enjoyable.