After an incredible two week trip in Vancouver, we were reminded, yet again, how jaw-dropping the West Coast really is. There really never is enough time to soak in the beauty of B.C., but OH BABY, did we soak in as much as we could.
If you’re coming on a West Coast Best Coast or Vancouver Island Adventure tour with FML Adventures this summer (which, let’s be real, you should be), then that means you’re either starting or finishing in Vancouver.
We HIGHLY recommend you either arrive a couple of days ahead of your trip or extend your getaway a little bit longer to discover all the beauty Vancouver has to offer.
So let’s dive right into the absolute must-sees and do’s to make the most of your time in Vancity.
This 11km roundtrip Tunnel Bluffs hike was a massive highlight for FML, with truly unbelievable views. The hike starts with a steep 2km uphill trek, but then flattens out for a leisurely & enjoyable 3.5km to the viewpoint. The trail features some beautiful natural bridges and streams, lush BC forests, and a touch of a ropes course. Oh, and the cherry on top: a view over Howe Sound that will blow your mind.
Finding the trailhead can be tricky, but we started at the Sunset Drive trailhead in Lions Bay (pay parking in effect) and recommend you head out on a weekday or very early morning on a weekend to snag yourself a parking spot.
P.S. All Trails stated that the hike was 7km round trip, which may be the case if you start the hike from the Tunnel Bluffs parking off the highway. If you start from Lions Bay, you’re looking at a delicious 11km!
Good ol’ Stawamus Chief! Hiking the Chief is an absolute must when in Vancouver, especially if you’re a sucker for good views and a good burn. This 6km roundtrip hike features steep steps all the way up, a series of exhilarating chains & ladders, crisp B.C. air. Let’s not forget the incredible views of Howe Sound and Squamish from above. The hike up is tough but the views are beyond rewarding.
Bonus: You get to experience the beauty of the Sea to Sky Highway on your way there and back.
Lynn Canyon Park
If you’re staying in the Vancouver or North Vancouver area, you are likely near Lynn Canyon Park. Featuring a stunning forest, running streams, and all the crisp BC air your lungs are craving, Lynn Canyon offers visitors the perfect light and scenic walk. A perfect way to soak in B.C.’s beauty without breaking too much of a sweat.
Please note: The Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is currently closed. Click here for updates
Bike around Stanley Park’s SeaWall
Full of Cherry Blossom trees, good vibes and a “sea-wall”, Stanley Park is the perfect place for a bike ride. We recommend renting bikes from Spokes (conveniently located right at the entrance of Stanley Park) or grabbing a Mobi Bike from a Mobi Bike Station. The bike ride along Stanley Park’s SeaWall takes roughly 30 minutes to an hour, so try to plan to end at English Bay in time for sunset!
Kayak around Deep Cove
Deep Cove is an absolute gem, and kayaking around said-gem is always a true highlight when in Vancouver. You can rent kayaks from Deep Cove Kayak and embark on the most peaceful and relaxing 2-hour kayak ride of your life. Surrounded by B.C.’s ocean, forests, mountains, beautiful homes, and seals, there’s truly no better place to go for a ‘yak ride.
BONUS: This is the perfect hangover cure.
Drive the Sea to Sky
Have you ever driven along Ontario’s 401 and thought, “What a time to be alive?”
Yeah - neither have we.
The Sea to Sky highway, on the other hand, will blow your mind over and over again. With twists and turns along Howe Sound and B.C.’s beautiful mountain ranges, taking a drive along the Sea to Sky makes for the perfect day trip. The drive from Vancouver to Whistler features beautiful scenery with perfect pit-stops that are guaranteed to make you fall in love with B.C.
On the way, take a quick walk along Browning Lake in Murrin Provincial Park, pull over and visit Shannon Falls or Brandywine Falls, take a gondola ride up the Sea to Sky gondola for delicious views from above, or simply pull over wherever your little heart desires and admire the landscapes that surround you.
Catch a West Coast Sunset
Wreck Beach or Tower Beach
Sunset season is upon us and Vancouver is full of places to sit back, chill out and enjoy nature’s entertainment. English Bay Beach & Kitsilano “Kits” Beach will forever be unreal sunset spots, but if you opt to travel a little bit more West and the beautiful beaches by UBC’s campus (Wreck Beach & Tower Beach) are just as stunning. Both are clothing-optional beaches and both require workouts to get to and from. But, WOW, the views and the vibes are epic. We highly recommend spending some good ol’ quality time at these beaches if you’re into beautiful scenery, mountains, oceans, seals & sunsets.
Catch a sunset at Horseshoe Bay and watch the B.C. ferries zoom in and out of the marina while the sun sets behind the mountains of Howe Sound. There’s an insta-famous platform here (that is nearly impossible to secure a seat at because it’s THAT popular), but we found that Google Maps-ing “Sunset Point” in Horseshoe Bay took us exactly where we needed to be. So, get cozy on some rocks overlooking Howe Sound, and chill for hours on end, watching ferries, boats & of course, the beautiful sunset.
Here’s a quick refresher so you don’t miss a single must-see or do while visiting Vancouver:
Tunnel Bluffs Hike
Stawamus Chief Hike
Lynn Canyon Hike
Biking around Stanley Park’s SeaWall
Kayaking at Deep Cove
Driving along the Sea to Sky Highway
Soaking in a beautiful West Coast sunset at Wreck Beach, Tower Beach or Horseshoe Bay
This trip was all about working hard and playing harder for FML, and we absolutely seized the most of every, single, day. Vancouver has so much to offer visitors - whether it’s raining or not - and it’s up to you to get out and explore.
And if you’re ready to discover the highlights & hidden gems of Canada’s west coast without the hassle of planning your own trip, we’ve got you covered. Join our West Coast Best Coast or Vancouver Island Adventure tours this summer and see and do all the musts in Vancouver and more.