From our beautiful beaches to our snow-capped mountains, Vancouver is an outdoor paradise, which is why the outdoor lifestyle is so important to Vancouver culture and Vancouverites, as well as a main attraction for travelers and visitors. There are few places in the world that offer such a wide variety of outdoor activities: in Vancouver, you can play at the beach, golf and hit the slopes all in the same day!
Whether you're new to Vancouver or just visiting, use this guide to Vancouver outdoor activities to find outdoor adventures for all ages.
Like hiking, kayaking is a sport many Vancouverites grew up with; for many locals, summer wouldn't be summer without at least one kayaking trip. The best spots for kayaking in Vancouver showcase the city's natural beauty: you can kayak along Vancouver beaches, around Stanley Park, and through False Creek.
Running like hiking is free and popular year-round. The best places to run in Vancouver are scenic routes that show off the best scenery in the city. These are flat paths / paved routes that are accessible to every runner, including those with jogging strollers!
Vancouver is an extremely bike-friendly city. Not only do separated lanes in downtown Vancouver make it easy for residents to commute via bike, there are lots of flat, easy, scenic routes for cycling throughout the city, including the famous Seawall around Stanley Park, seaside bicycle routes, and routes from Vancouver to New Westminster.
Hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities in Vancouver and one of the Top 10 Free Things to Do; many locals will do mini-hikes on any given day or use the weekend for longer hiking trips.
There are options for hiking in Vancouver for every skill level, from easy (and kid-friendly) to difficult. One of Vancouver's most popular hikes is the Grouse Grind (usually open mid-May through September), an intermediate hike on "nature's Stairmaster" that takes you to the top of Grouse Mountain.
Golfing in Vancouver
Vancouver golf courses offer a wide range of options for locals and visitors alike, from high-end, prestigious private clubs to scenic and challenging public courses to inexpensive, family-oriented Pitch & Putts.
Vancouver has a wealth of outdoor public pools (open from mid-May through mid-September); they're the best (read: warmest) option for swimmers who want to feel the sun on their back.
That said, if you can take a little chill (which can feel lovely on a hot summer day), you'll love swimming off Vancouver's gorgeous beaches or in picturesque lakes, like the free "swimming hole" at Lynn Canyon Park.
Like hiking, camping is both one of the most popular Vancouver outdoor activities and one of the most popular Vancouver weekend getaways; it's another way we celebrate how much we love the outdoors!
Vancouver camping season runs from mid-May through September and offers a wide variety of camping options, from backcountry camping to camping at B.C.'s fantastic provincial parks to campgrounds and RV parks near major Vancouver attractions.
Fishing in Vancouver
Fishing is a year-round activity in Vancouver, and there are lots of options for every type of fishing, from seawater to freshwater and boat fishing to fly fishing, as well as hyper-local options (like the Sanctuary Pond at Hastings Park) for taking the kids trout fishing on the weekend.
When it comes to daily Vancouver outdoor activities--the outdoor recreation many Vancouverites enjoy routinely--the best places to go are our amazing parks. Stanley Park and Queen Elizabeth Park both offer a wide variety of free or low-cost outdoor fun, including free gardens to explore, easy hiking trails, and cheap Pitch & Putt golf courses. One of the most famous Vancouver outdoor activities is walking, biking or rollerblading on Stanley Park's Seawall.
Another great park is Lynn Canyon Park, which is home to the free Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge, plus a network of hiking trails, water falls, and dense forest scenery.
At Vancouver beaches, there are paved trails for walking and biking, facilities for beach volleyball and tennis, designated areas to chase the dog, and breathtaking scenery to enjoy. You can even join the annual Bare Buns Run at Vancouver's only nude beach, Wreck Beach, for a little extra exercise!
Crossing the 230-feet-high (70 meters), 450-feet-across (137 meters) Capilano Suspension Bridge, bungy-jumping over the Nanaimo River, ziplining in Whistler, riding the Grouse Mountain Skyride--these are just a few of the options for outdoor adventures in and around Vancouver.
When it comes to Vancouver outdoor activities, snow sports are always a top attraction. Vancouver is perfectly situated for skiers and snowboarders: there are five amazing ski and snowboard resorts--including Whistler, one of the top venues in North America--just a short distance away. Many of the same resorts also offer fantastic venues for Snowshoeing in Vancouver.
Skiing and snow sports season in Vancouver typically runs from late-November through mid-April. One marker for the end of ski season is the annual World Ski & Snowboard Festival in Whistler.