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Your Guide to The Best Parks In Vancouver, British Columbia

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Vancouver ’s Parks & Recreation: Canada’s coolest city is a park-lover’s paradise. I’ll show you 6 of the best:

In This Vancouver Article You Will Discover:

  • The Best Parks in Vancouver, British Columbia
  • How to Access Each Park
  • What To Expect When You Arrive

Stanley Park

No roundup of Vancouver-area parks would be complete without mentioning the crown jewel: Stanley Park. One of North America’s most stunning urban green spaces, Stanley Park offers 400 hectares of pristine parkland, including a 10-km seawall loop perfect for joggers, inline skaters, walkers and cyclists. Walk beneath the Lion’s Gate Bridge, admire the ocean views, watch the tankers and cruise ships pass by a stone’s throw away, marvel at the rock formations (especially famous Siwash Rock), see the illuminated Olympic Rings and generally pass the day away. Beyond walking tours, Stanley Park is home to the famous Vancouver Aquarium, Lost Lagoon (pictured above), dozens of sculptures and monuments, four restaurants and so much more.

Simply put, if you visit Vancouver — you must visit Stanley Park.

The park is located less than one kilometre west of Downtown, follow West Georgia Street towards Lion’s Gate Bridge.

Iona Beach

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Iona Beach Park has scenic beaches and a great seaside trail system.

Iona Beach, in Richmond, is so close to the Vancouver International Airport you can practically walk from your flight. But don’t – or you won’t have the energy left to explore the lengthy paths and walkways of this seaside park.

Iona Beach offers beautiful sunset views and stargazing (as it’s away from the city lights) but the ultimate draw is the amazing four-kilometre long jetty that leads from the main parking lot out into the Strait of Georgia.

This wonderful path allows one to watch planes land at the airport, enjoy the expansive ocean views and take in the beauty of the nearby UBC Endowment Grounds as you stroll along a manmade jetty that leads four kilometers into the sea from Iona Beach. To find this park, head north and west of Vancouver International Airport. Get onto Grant McConachie Way, follow Grant McConachie Way westward to Templeton Street and then turn north onto Templeton Street. Follow Templeton Street as it turns west and becomes Ferguson Road. Follow Ferguson Road westward to the end; it goes directly to Iona Beach Regional Park.

Crescent Park

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Surrey’s Crescent Park is a great picnic and recreation location.

Crescent Park, in Surrey, is a nature-lover’s paradise. This secluded, forested park offers great bird watching — watch for the ducks and kingfishers — nature hikes (a nice 3.8-km walk takes you past a pond), towering trees, softball fields and more — and is located near the ocean and close to scenic White Rock.

Park amenities include a softball diamond, soccer field, picnic tables, duck pond, shelters and an extensive walking trail system.

To find the park, turn west off the King George Highway onto Crescent Road.  From Crescent Road, either turn south on 132 Street and into the parking are near 26 Avenue, or proceed further west on Crescent Road and turn into the parking area just before 128 Street.

Queen Elizabeth Park

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Queen Elizabeth Park is one of Vancouver’s most scenic, best-kept parks.

Vancouver’s second most visited park, Queen Elizabeth Park is dubbed “the horticultural gem” of the city. And for good reason — the gardens within are breathtaking and world class. Beyond the flowers, the park offers pitch-and-putt golf, tennis, lawn bowling, disc golf an outdoor arboretum and the pay-access indoor Bloedel Floral Conservatory.

But the real draw is the seasonally changing and beautifully planted Quarry Gardens.

This park, located south of City Hall and accessed easily from Cambie Street, is also popular for weddings and special events. You can even enjoy fine dining at the delicious Seasons in the Park restaurant. Access Queen Elizabeth Park at 33rd Avenue and Cambie Street.

Pacific Spirit Park/UBC Endowment Lands

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Pacific Spirit Park offers jogging trails, beach access and more.

Pacific Spirit Park and the UBC Endowment Lands are a beach-lovers dream — and a forest lover’s dream! It’s got something for everyone… even those who prefer to experience outdoors sans clothes… but we’ll get to that in a moment. Pacific Spirit Park rings the University of Vancouver campus, from Spanish Banks (arguable the best beach in Vancouver) and leading around to Point Grey.

The park offers lookouts, walking trails and secluded beaches — most of which are “clothing optional,” but if you’re shy, no matter. It’s optional…

But what it means is that the crowds tend to shy away, so if you’re free of mind, Pacific Spirit Park and the UBC Endowment Lands have some of the most private and quiet seaside walks around. In fact, these parks have 73 km of walking trails, plus 50 km of horseback riding trails and 50 km of cycling trails. And it’s dog friendly! Access the park from NW Marine Drive — which is accessed easily by following 4th Ave West towards UBC, or drive west along 41st Avenue until you hit the tall trees to access great walking/jogging/cycling trails in the UBC Endowment Lands.

Lynn Canyon Park

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Lynn Canyon, in North Vancouver, is a wonderful rainforest experience.

North Vancouver’s Lynn Canyon Park is a real taste of nature, not far from the city. This 250-hectare park consists of pristine coastal temperate rainforest, all accessed by a well-maintained series of walking and hiking trails (of varying difficulties).

Attractions include the famous 30 Foot Pool, a crystal clear river pool that is popular is summer, and Twin Falls, both formed from the mountain-fresh Lynn Creek.

But the real draw is the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge. While not as famous as its counterpart, the Capilano Suspension Bridge, the Lynn Canyon Bridge offers just as many dizzying thrills — and it’s free (unlike Capilano). Marvel at Lynn Creek from 20 storeys above! Hope you’re not afraid of heights… Access Lynn Canyon from Downtown Vancouver by taking Highway 1 (Trans-Canada), and exiting onto Lynn Valley Road. Continue, and then turn right on Peters Road until you reach the park entrance.

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About the author: David Webb is a Vancouver, BC-based travel writer, photographer and magazine editor.

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