There is also Third Beach, Lost Lagoon, the start of the Lions Gate Bridge, Totem Poles, the Brockton Point Lighthouse and so much more!
PARK FACILITIES AND COVID-19
Stanley Park is still open, but some of its facilities are not.
In response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, as of March 16th, 2020, the Vancouver Park Board closed the Stanley Park Miniature Train, the park’s pitch and putt golf course, and use of park facilities for events. As of late May, however, the park’s tennis courts have reopened. The swimming pool at Second Beach though remains closed.
Also, since early April, in an attempt to limit the number of people in the area, except for the causeway connecting downtown Vancouver with the Lions Gate Bridge, all roads in the park were closed for a while to vehicle traffic. As of June 22nd, however, vehicle traffic is once again permitted, although initially just one lane. Most but not all parking spaces have also reopened.
Similar facilities at other municipal parks within the City of Vancouver, including indoor recreation centres and outdoor pools, are also closed until further notice.
For more details about the closures see the City of Vancouver‘s website.
For a list of other venues impacted by the virus pandemic see our article about COVID-19 Closures in the Lower Mainland. To learn about venues that have resumed operations, click Vancouver, COVID-19 & Open Places.
Stanley Park in Vancouver
Stanley Park has a vast natural forest, miles of shoreline, beautiful beaches, an amazing seawall, and some of the best walking trails in Vancouver.
With its 400 hectares of parkland attracting close to eight million visitors a year, it’s no wonder that Stanley Park is ranked as one of the best city parks in the world. It’s definitely an amazing place, and it’s free to explore!
Click on any of the following links to jump to a specific topic about Stanley Park, or continue reading to learn all about the world-famous green space.
Best Places in Stanley Park
Some of the best places in Stanley Park include its seawall, Prospect Point, Siwash Rock, Second and Third beaches and the park’s totem poles. Also, in the middle of Stanley Park you’ll find the Vancouver Aquarium, which is another of Vancouver’s best places to visit.
To see what’s where, click the Map of Stanley Park.
Stanley Park Drive & Video
Stanley Park is a great place to both walk and cycle around, and it’s accessible by Public Transit (e.g., city buses). Lots of people drive to the park though, and some folk even just go for a drive and admire the views from their cars.
Stanley Park Drive is the road that goes all around the outer edge of the park. Along the road you pass most of the park’s most famous landmarks, and from it you can see amazing views.
The following video was taken of a drive around Stanley Park in the spring of 2020, just before Easter. As you’ll see, the cherry blossoms were out and it was a wonderful sunny day.
The video begins on Georgia Street as we left downtown Vancouver and entered the park. We then drove around Stanley Park Drive, from the park entrance, past the Harry Jerome Statue, along the Coal Harbour waterfront, and around Brockton Point to Lumberman’s Arch before heading up the hill. Our tour didn’t take us all the way around the park. Before reaching Prospect Point we took the exit onto the Lions Gate Bridge and headed towards the North Shore.
The drive in the video only features the eastern half of Stanley Park. Another day we’ll do the other half and drive past Third Beach, Second Beach and Lost Lagoon. Whether you go all the way around the park, or just the western half or the eastern half, it makes for a wonderful drive.
Stanley Park Wildlife
Stanley Park is one of the Lower Mainland’s best places to enjoy nature and the outdoors. It’s also one of the region’s few forests where you have virtually a 0% chance of running into a bear, or cougar for that matter.
The odds of encountering a wild animal anywhere in the Lower Mainland is very small, but especially so in Stanley Park. The most ferocious critters you might see at Vancouver’s famous urban park are raccoons, and they are pretty tame unless you try to approach them. Once in a blue moon a deer finds its way into the area, and birds and squirrels are everywhere.
Stanley Park Seawall
The Stanley Park Seawall goes all around the edge of the park, making it an ideal route with breathtaking views for walking, cycling, jogging and rollerblading.
The seawall that goes around Stanley Park is approximately 9 km in length and takes two to three hours to walk around, or one to two hours to bike. It’s connected to an even larger seawall network though. From Stanley Park you can walk all along the waterfront to the Vancouver Convention Centre in one direction or to False Creek and beyond in another. The views all along are spectacular!
TIP: Most of the seawall is one-way for cyclists, so you’ll need to walk your bike if you want to go clockwise. Walkers and joggers though can generally go in both directions. If you get tired cycling or walking, you can cut across part of the park and avoid Brockton Point (which is the far eastern tip and which will shorten your route by a couple of kilometres).
To learn more about the seawall, and to see a video illustrating what you will see along the way, see our article about the Stanley Park Seawall.
PHOTO TIP: The Lions Gate Bridge is in the sun in the later afternoon for photos from Prospect Point.
For more information about the venue, click Prospect Point.
Located just off the seawall (so accessible by foot or bicycle), Siwash Rock in Stanley Park makes for a great photo, especially in the afternoon or evening.
The rock is just a short walk along the seawall to the north of Third Beach.
Though beautiful, in part because it is a bit out of the way, Siwash Rock is not necessarily a destination in itself. It is, however, an impressive sight to see while walking around the seawall.
Access to the area around Siwash Rock is either from the seawall, or via a trail down from the main Stanley Park Drive road. You can’t actually get to the rock as it’s surrounded by water. You can walk past it though, along the seawall, which goes all the way around Stanley Park.
If you don’t want to walk a great distance, you can park at Third Beach and stroll counter-clockwise along the seawall back to Siwash Rock. In that direction the walk takes only a few minutes.
The other way to see Siwash Rock is via a lookout from overhead. If driving around the park along Stanley Park Drive, shortly after Prospect Point there’s the entrance to Merilees Trail which leads to Siwash Rock.
You’ll need to park your car at the parking lot a few hundred metres before the trail’s entrance, or a few hundred metres after, and then walk back. Or, if you park at Prospect Point, there’s a 2-km trail through the trees that will take you there.
Parking Tip: If you leave your vehicle in the parking lot a little ways past the entrance to the trail to Siwash Rock, by the giant Hollow Tree, make sure you have enough parking time still remaining. You have to pay for parking at Stanley Park, but at the parking lot just past Merilees Trail there is no meter to pay at, and the closest one is almost half a kilometre back up the road!
Photo Tip: Siwash Rock can be an amazing place to take photos of the sunset.
Second Beach is perfect for young children as it’s the one with the giant (and relatively inexpensive) outdoor swimming pool and kids’ play areas. It makes for a nice pit stop while cycling around the seawall with the family.
Click Second Beach for more information.
Third Beach at Stanley Park is one of Vancouver’s best beaches and offers a great place for a swim, suntan, or break from walking or cycling the seawall. Just a short walk to the north along the seawall from Third Beach is beautiful Siwash Rock.
If needing food or refreshments, an exceptional place to go is The Teahouse just a few steps up the hill.
Stanley Park Totem Poles
Stanley Park has a world famous collection of totem poles that all tour groups will stop at for photos.
PHOTO TIP: The totem poles at Brockton Point are in the sun in the afternoon, and especially the later part.
Bright Nights at Stanley Park
During the dark month of December Stanley Park is famous for its Bright Nights Christmas Lights, which feature some three million sparkling lights and hundreds of Christmas characters and displays. This is a must see event, especially for families with children.
Admission to Bright Nights is by donation and proceeds go to supporting the BC Professional Fire Fighters Burn Fund. It’s a great cause, so give generously. Expect lots of people, and check out the Christmas Night Train.
Bright Nights at Stanley Park is well worth a visit, especially for children and people that don’t mind crowds!
Stanley Park Miniature Trains
In the middle of Stanley Park there is a wonderful miniature train attraction that’s open in the summer as well as during special holidays like Easter, Halloween and Christmas.
Click Stanley Park Miniature Railway for more information.
Stanley Park Pitch & Putt Golf
Stanley Park has a 3600-foot long 18-hole pitch and putt golf course. Each hole is between 120 and 300 feet in distance and the course is surrounded by beautiful rhododendron gardens.
Pitch & Putt Hours of Operation
The Pitch & Putt course at Stanley Park runs from the end of March until the fall. Hours of operation are 9:00 am until 8:00 pm.
Pitch & Putt Rates
Rates for the pitch and putt course are the following (although subject to change):
- Adult (age 19 – 64) – $14.25 per round or $77.50 for a monthly pass.
- Senior (age 65+) – $10.50 per round or $55.50 for a monthly pass.
- Youth (under 19 years of age) – $10.50 per round or $55.50 for a monthly pass.
Equipment can also be rented at the following rates:
- Putter – $2.00
- Wedge or Iron – $2.00
- Tee – $1.00
- Golf Ball – $2.00
For more information see the City of Vancouver‘s website about the venue.
General Stanley Park Tips
Below are some tips to help you make the most out of your visit at Stanley Park.
TIP #1: Don’t forget to pay for parking – the parking guys are fast with the fines. On the bright side, parking permits are good for throughout the park, so you can buy your ticket for the day in one part of the park and then drive to another part and not have to pay again.
TIP #2: If you plan to sit on a park bench for a while, take some nuts – the squirrels can be quite friendly if you find one.
TIP #3: An entertaining, informative and fun way to explore Stanley Park is on a walking tour. Forbidden Vancouver is a great local, family-run tour company that does guided walking tours around Stanley Park. They also do exceptional walking tours around Gastown and other parts of downtown Vancouver.
PHOTO TIP #1: There can be great sunsets from Second and Third Beaches, as well as from Siwash Rock.
PHOTO TIP #2: The City of Vancouver across the water from the south side of the park (from the Rowing Club on) is in the sun in the late afternoon (and evening in the summer).