Where are Vancouver’s best parks and places for nature? The region has dozens of city, regional and provincial parks and beaches to choose from.
PARKS, NATURE AND COVID-19
The Lower Mainland is famous for its wonderful parks and places in nature. With the current coronavirus situation, and the importance of both fresh air and maintaining physical distancing, parks have become more popular than ever. Health authorities are advising people not to travel far though, and to get exercise close to home.
To learn more about places that closed due to COVID-19, see our article about Coronavirus-related Closures & Cancellations. For a list of venues that have resumed operations, check out Vancouver, COVID-19 and Open Places.
Click the following links to skip to specific information:
Public City Parks | Regional Parks | Provincial Parks | Vancouver’s Best Beaches | Best Places for Hikes | Best Places for Camping | Vancouver’s Top Gardens | Best Public Golf Courses | Other Information
Vancouver Parks and Nature
Below are lists of the best parks and places for nature in the Lower Mainland (in alphabetical order).
Best Public City Parks
Some of the best city parks in Metro Vancouver are listed below. We include municipally-managed parks in the City of Vancouver, in Burnaby, on the North Shore, in the Tri-Cities, in Surrey and elsewhere in the Lower Mainland. Further below, in a different section, is a list of regional and provincial parks.
Municipal Parks in the City of Vancouver
- Ambleside – a picturesque park in West Vancouver with beaches, a walking path along the water and views of English Bay and Lions Gate Bridge.
- Jericho Beach – a beautiful beach but also a park with fields and walking trails too.
- John Hendry Park – a great Vancouver park in the summer that’s home to the weekly Trout Lake Farmers Market on Saturdays.
- Kitsilano – a popular park with a sandy beach, massive outdoor swimming pool, basketball and tennis courts, a children’s play area and grassy fields.
- Queen Elizabeth Park – a beautiful park perched on the hill and home to the Bloedel Conservatory.
- Stanley Park – this is the absolute best and most famous city park in the region, and one of the finest in the world. It has beaches, nature trails, a massive outdoor pool, world-class views and a seawall for walking and cycling around.
City Parks in Burnaby
- Barnet Marine Park – a waterfront park at 8181 Barnet Road just off the Barnet Highway between Burnaby and Port Moody.
- Burnaby Mountain – a mountain with parkland overlooking the region.
- Central Park – a forested park in Burnaby that’s home to Swangard Stadium.
- Deer Lake Park – a popular city park in Burnaby with walking trails around the lake. The park is also home to the Burnaby Village Museum, Burnaby Art Gallery and Shadbolt Centre for the Performing Arts.
City Parks on the North Shore
- Cates Park – a waterfront park with open grassy spaces, a large children’s play area, beaches and walking trails through the forest in North Vancouver.
- Cypress Falls Park – a park in West Vancouver with hiking trails and waterfalls in the forest.
- Deep Cove – a pretty ocean-side village that’s home to Panorama Park and the Baden Powell Trail path to nearby Quarry Rock.
- Inter River Park – a park on the North Shore with walking trails through the forest as well as soccer fields, a BMX bike park and off-leash dog areas.
- Lighthouse Park – a park in West Vancouver with a rugged coastline and views of Vancouver in the distance.
- Lynn Canyon Park – a world-class park in North Vancouver with hiking trails to Lynn Canyon suspension bridge and Rice Lake. It’s a municipal park, but more similar in style to other regional parks.
- Maplewood Flats – a conservation area run by the Wild Bird Trust of British Columbia in North Vancouver.
- Whyte Lake Park – a very non-urban park with a hiking trail at the northern edge of West Vancouver.
- Whytecliff Park – a stunning place not far from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver.
City Parks in the Tri-Cities
- Town Centre Park – an impressive park in Coquitlam with an outdoor stadium, skateboard park, children’s water park and Lafarge Lake.
- Mundy Park – a 178-hectare forested park with extensive trails in Coquitlam.
- Rocky Point Park – an exceptional park on the waterfront in Port Moody with walking and cycling trails, a pier, outdoor pool and large children’s play area and water park.
City Parks in Surrey
- Bear Creek Park – a popular park in Surrey with a miniature train for kids, an outdoor pool and attractive gardens with a duck pond.
- Elgin Heritage Park – the park in South Surrey near Crescent Beach. It’s also home to historic Stewart Farm.
- Holland Park – a park near Central City Mall that’s used for a number of events each year.
Municipal Parks Elsewhere in Metro Vancouver
- Mill Lake Park – a popular urban park in central Abbotsford.
- Minoru Park – a pleasant city park in the heart of Richmond.
- Queen’s Park – a large city park in New Westminster with forested walking trails, sports facilities and a large children’s play area.
Best Regional Parks
If you are looking for nature, you’ll find lots of it in regional parks which are managed in most cases by Metro Vancouver. Included in this list are a couple of extra places (which are neither city or provincial parks).
- Belcarra Regional Park – near Port Moody and home to beautiful Sasamat Lake.
- Boundary Bay Regional Park – a great park near Tsawwassen that’s also a famous bird sanctuary.
- Capilano River Regional Park – home to the Cleveland Dam, nature trails and source of much of the region’s fresh drinking water in North Vancouver.
- Derby Reach Regional Park – a park along the Fraser River near Fort Langley.
- Kanaka Creek Regional Park – a long narrow park in Maple Ridge that’s home to Cliff Falls, the Bell Irving Hatchery and several kilometres of hiking trails.
- Lynn Headwaters Regional Park – home to some of the North Shore’s best hiking trails.
- Minnekhada Regional Park – a 200-hectare park with marshland and walking trails in Coquitlam.
- Pacific Spirit Regional Park – located in the UBC Endowment Lands, it has over 70 km of walking and hiking trails, not to mention clothing-optional Wreck Beach.
- Sasamat Lake – home to White Pine Beach, it’s a very popular lake located just north of Port Moody in Belcarra Rgional Park.
- Tynehead Regional Park – a 250-hectare park near the Trans-Canada Highway in Surrey.
Other Similar Places
The following places aren’t regional parks in that they aren’t managed by Metro Vancouver. They are similar in style and appearance though, which is why we include them here.
- Baden Powell Trail – a fabulous hiking trail that passes through a number of North Shore parks and includes spectacular views from Quarry Rock near Deep Cove.
- Buntzen Lake – a beautiful reservoir managed by BC Hydro that’s popular for hiking and swimming. (It’s not actually a regional park, managed by Metro Vancouver, but it’s like a regional park.)
- Pitt Lake – the lake and region just north of Pitt Meadows offers great places for walking and cycling along the dykes.
- Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary – arguably the best place to see birds in the Lower Mainland.
- Rice Lake – a beautiful lake to walk around and fish at in North Vancouver.
Best Provincial Parks
Provincial parks are amazing places for hiking, swimming and camping.
- Alice Lake – for camping, canoeing or just walking around (located near Squamish, 45 minutes north of Vancouver).
- Brackendale Eagles Provincial Park – a world-famous park for bald eagles in the winter near Squamish.
- Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park – a park with a waterfall in the Fraser Valley.
- Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park – a popular provincial park with hiking trails in the Fraser Valley.
- Cultus Lake – a popular park and campground in the Fraser Valley.
- Cypress Provincial Park – home of Cypress Mountain (the ski resort in West Vancouver), but also amazing hiking trails in the summer.
- Golden Ears Provincial Park – location of beautiful Alouette Lake and a great place for summer camping in Maple Ridge.
- Mount Seymour – a provincial park with hiking and mountain biking trails. It’s also home to the Mt. Seymour Ski Hill.
- Murrin Provincial Park – located between Britannia Beach and Squamish at the edge of the Sea to Sky Highway, it is home to tiny Browning Lake and numerous rocks and cliffs to climb.
- Nairn Falls Provincial Park – a park with a campground located near Pemberton (so just past Whistler).
- Porteau Cove – an ocean-front park in the Sea to Sky region.
- Rolley Lake Provincial Park – a great place for summer camping in Mission.
- Sasquatch Provincial Park – a picturesque beach, hiking trails and campground near Harrison Hot Springs.
- Shannon Falls Provincial Park – a park with a beautiful waterfall 45 minutes north of Vancouver.
- Stawamus Chief – for hiking and mountain climbing (located in Squamish, 45 minutes from Vancouver).
Vancouver’s Best Beaches
Best Places for Hikes
Check out Vancouver’s Best Hiking Trails for information on great hiking areas in the region.
Best Places for Camping
For a list of the region’s best campgrounds see our article about Camping in and Around Vancouver.
Vancouver’s Top Gardens
The best gardens to visit in Metro Vancouver include the following:
- Bear Creek Park (in Surrey)
- Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Classical Garden in Vancouver’s Chinatown
- UBC Botanical Garden (including Nitobe Memorial Garden)
- Stanley Park
- VanDusen Botanical Garden
- Queen Elizabeth Park
- Darts Hill Garden Park (in Surrey)
- Glades Garden (in Surrey)
Best Public Golf Courses
Check out Vancouver’s Top Golf Courses for the list of the Lower Mainland’s best public golf courses.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver Festivals & Events
- Metro Vancouver’s Top 100 Places
- The A to Z’s of Vancouver
- Outdoor Recreation in the Lower Mainland