Length of stay: 2 days
Visited: April 2022

Vancouver is one of the most picturesque cities in Canada. It is situated by the ocean, surrounded by mountains and is covered in greenery. It also has a mild climate all year round. If you can tolerate the rain, it’s the perfect place to enjoy city living at the edge of nature.

Day 1: Gardens and Viewpoints

We woke up super early to catch our flight from Toronto to Vancouver. This was our first time flying since the start of the pandemic and it felt weird being back at the airport. The amount of time spent waiting in lines was still about the same. After a five hour flight, we arrived in Vancouver just after 9a.m.

We picked up our rental car and were ready to see the sights. We were quick to understand why the west coast it’s commonly referred to as the wet coast as it was lightly raining outside. Not to worry as we came prepared with our rain jackets, rain pants and umbrella. We started at the VanDusen Botanical Garden, which features an extensive collection of trees, plants and flowers.

Spring was in full force in Vancouver. All the trees were budding, the grass was green and the spring flowers were starting to bloom. Even though it was lightly raining, it was quite pleasant outside. If anything, it probably helped keep the crowds away. We strolled through the various gardens which included native plants from British Columbia and from all over the world.

By the time we finished, the rain had subsided. After eating a quick snack in the car, we headed to the nearby Queen Elizabeth Park to enjoy more of the spring blossoms (for free this time). We parked along the street and walked through the park which is situated on top of Little Mountain, the highest point in Vancouver. Its main attraction is its beautiful gardens which are located in a former quarry. The landscaping was exceptional.

The Queen Elizabeth Park also contains the Bloedel Conservatory, which houses several exotic birds, plants and flowers.

Since the clouds were clearing, we drove to West Vancouver to go for a hike at Lighthouse Park. There’s a whole network of trails here that connect to form a shorter or longer route depending on how much time you want to spend hiking. We first hiked along the Beacon Lane Trail. The path is wide and paved and leads to an overlook of the Point Atkinson Lighthouse. Except the views weren’t the greatest.

Another hiker told us that the path continues to the rocky shore for a better view of the lighthouse. So that’s what we did. We followed along the West Beach Trail which leads to a scenic overlook of the lighthouse and rocky shoreline.

From there we hiked along the Shore Pine Trail, which follows the coastline through the forest and features a few scenic overlooks of the water. Let’s be real though, the entire trail was one big scenic viewpoint as the trees themselves were spectacular. Since the park’s forest has never logged, many of the trees are over 100 years old. The trail connects with the Juniper Loop, which we followed for a few hundred metres to get back to the parking lot.

We then drove to Whytecliff Park to enjoy more of the scenery and views of the ocean. This spot is apparently popular for shore diving and we even saw a few people in dry suits in the water. We went for a short stroll along the beach and just soaked in the views.

Afterwards we visited the Cleveland Dam. It was built in 1954 to create a dependable source of clean drinking water for Vancouver. While there are a few trails in the area, we were getting tired. Plus we still had one last activity on our itinerary for the day. We just walked along the bridge to see the dam.

Our last stop of the day was at the Capilano Suspension Bridge, which features a few adventurous trails through the forest and a 140 metre suspension bridge over the Capilano River. We purchased tickets in advance for one of the last time slots in the day in an effort to avoid the crowds.

The initial suspension bridge was built in 1889 by Scottish businessman George Grant Mackay, who also purchased 6,000 acres on either side of the Capilano River. The bridge and part of the land has changed hands a few times over the years and underwent several improvements. Despite these improvements, the suspension bridge still sways. It was a good preview for the other trails.

Once we crossed the bridge, we headed to the Treetop Adventure which contains a series of seven suspension bridges attached to eight very old and very wide Douglas-firs. There are also viewing platforms that wrap around each tree to provide views into the forest below.

We then walked along the Nature’s Edge Boardwalk which loops through the ancient forest. There are a few signs along the way that provided more information about the types of trees found in the forest.

We crossed the suspension bridge again to check out the last trail in the park, the Cliffwalk. The narrow path extends along the edge of a granite cliff above the Capilano River and provides nice views of the surrounding area.

And with that we were done for the day … or rather mostly done for the day. We planned to visit K’s uncle and aunt who live in North Vancouver for dinner.

Day 2: Stanley Park

The nice thing about having a long day yesterday was that we slept really well that night. We woke up bright and early and had no issues adjusting to the time change. After eating breakfast, we headed out to Stanley Park. The forecast was calling for nice weather so we were eager to start exploring.

We parked near Coal Harbour and walked along the seawall towards Stanley Park. The path was wide, paved and provided nice views in every direction. We had mountains to the right, skyscrapers to the left, and the ocean straight ahead.

We continued along the seawall and after a couple of kilometres, we had reached Stanley Park, an urban forest that is nestled at the western tip of downtown Vancouver that contains several trails that wind through the ancient rainforest. We planned to walk the entire stretch of the seawall around the outer perimeter of the park, which is about 9km in length. The path is paved and mainly flat and provides fabulous views of the Vancouver skyline, Lions Gate Bridge and a few sandy beaches.

Along the way we passed a few points of interest, including: a display of totem poles, the Brock Point Lighthouse, Girl in a Wetsuit statue, Prospect Point and Siwash Rock.

Our game plan was to walk along the entire seawall, however we came across a few of these detour signs as we neared the Lions Gate Bridge and it looked like part of the path along the seawall was blocked off. A section of the seawall was damaged back in January 2022 during a storm and was temporarily closed. When we checked the city’s website it mentioned that there were no closures in Stanley Park, but we noticed that everyone else was taking the detour, so we followed the crowds.

While the seawall was paved and flat, the detour path was the complete opposite. There were steep hills (as in multiple ups and downs) and we were huffing and a puffing. The path winds through the dense forest, which provided some protection from the sun. Eventually the detour connects back with the seawall at the Third Beach. We followed this the rest of the way to Sunset Beach.

From Sunset Beach, we walked through the downtown and admired all the skyscrapers, many of which had trees, bushes and other greenery planted on the rooftops and terraces. Since we still had some free time, we decided to check out the Vancouver Art Gallery, which was a bit underwhelming.

We continued meandering around downtown and walked through the Gastown neighbourhood and Canada Place to get back to where we parked.

We then returned to K’s aunt and uncle’s place for another family dinner. The next morning we planned to take the ferry across to Vancouver Island.


92 thoughts on “Vancouver

  1. kagould17 says:

    You managed to squeeze a lot into 2 days Linda. Glad the weather cooperated on the 2nd day, but we never let the rain stop us in Vancouver. Thanks for sharing. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I was pleasantly surprised at how much there is to see and do in and around Vancouver. Two days was not nearly enough time, but we certainly made the most of it while also managing to visit some of my husband’s family.

  2. Pepper says:

    I enjoy reading and experiencing your travels through your images so much. Thinking I need hide in one of your suitcases next time. 😂

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment. Writing about our adventures has been a good way to go through my pictures and try to organize them and pick out some of my favourites. As it happens, I actually need to get a new suitcase. Maybe I’ll opt for a larger one :p

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Agreed, Victoria is also very beautiful. Both cities have done a remarkable job with the waterfront and making it very pedestrian friendly with all those walking paths and parks.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words and for commenting. Vancouver has done an amazing job of incorporating greenery within the city. It was also nice how there’s a long walking path that follows the coastline. The entire city is very walkable.

  3. wetanddustyroads says:

    Beautiful gardens – spring certainly is a lovely season in Vancouver! Great view of the lighthouse on your hike … wow, and trees a 100 years and older, must be lovely to see! Oh, please blindfold me on the suspension bridge 😉 … we have done a treetop adventure in Rotorua in New Zealand (which was quite fun, but tested my jelly legs)!
    I like your photo’s of the totem poles and the girl statue on the rock … all in all, I think I like your second day more (the first one was way too adventurous to my taste) 😅. You have taken so many beautiful pictures of your visit – thank you for sharing.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment. It was nice to catch a sneak peak of spring during our visit to Vancouver. I love how the city has incorporated so many plants and trees in and among the towering skyscrapers. Even though it’s a busy city, there’s still a sense of nature nearby. It’s incredible just how old some of the trees out west are. I’ve never seen trees so big before. The suspension bridge was pretty trippy. I wasn’t a fan of all the swaying. The rest of the treetop activities were pretty sturdy though.

  4. Little Miss Traveller says:

    What a great post bringing back memories of our own visit to Vancouver over 20 years ago when our sons were small. We hired a car from Seattle and drove up the coast, across to Vancouver Island and then took another ferry to Vancouver itself. Your post brings back happy memories for us Linda.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Glad to hear that you have such fond memories of your time out west. Even though it’s rainy, it’s such a beautiful area and I love how lush and green everything is. It’s also amazing just how old and huge some of the trees are. I’ve never been to Seattle before, but it’s on my list. Take care. Linda

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      You will not be disappointed. The scenery is simply stunning with all those mossy forests, snow capped mountains and rugged coastlines. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s been great being able to travel again and to explore more of Canada. While winter was lingering in Ontario, it was nice to get a sneak peak of spring in Vancouver. One of my favourite things about the city was just how close it is to nature and that there’s so many great hiking trails. Hopefully you’re able to return to visit your family. Seems like a great excuse for a visit!

  5. Angie says:

    Stunning photos! Thank you for the tour 🙂 My little family and I will be heading to Vancouver (Crescent Beach) for a week soon and there are so many places I would love to take them. Stanley Park and the suspension bridge were on my list. The Bloedel Conservatory is now on that list as well!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words and for commenting. That’s exciting that you’ll be heading to Vancouver soon! There’s a nice range of activities and attractions and I love how nature has been integrated within and amongst the city. Safe travels and enjoy your vacation.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Some people like to get some rest and relaxation while on holidays, but we are not those people. There’s just so much to see and explore in and around Vancouver. And yes, waterproof everything is a must on the wet coast. We had more days of sun than rain, so overall I think we were pretty lucky with the weather.

  6. ourcrossings says:

    You did manage to see quite a lot in two days, Linda 🙂 I have to say that Vancouver is a beautiful city set in one of the most beautiful natural settings in Canada let alone the world.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. They did such an amazing job of incorporating nature in and around the city. I also loved that much of the shoreline consists of parks and paths for all to enjoy the beautiful views. Even though it’s a big city, it never felt very busy.

  7. Ab says:

    Wow, what an action packed two days, Linda. You and K are such efficient travelers. I’m tired after reading your recap. 😆

    Vancouver was my very first stop in Canada when my family immigrated to Canada in 1989. We stayed at a family friends for a week. I remember being amazed that at 7 pm it was still light out cuz the sun sets at the same time around 6 pm where I came from as we were right near the equator.

    I remember visiting a suspension bridge, probably the one you visited too. And seeing totem poles.

    The gardens, conservatory and hiking trails you did look wonderful and so well maintained.

    Vancouver is on our wish list to visit one day with T. It’ll be nice to revisit it with adult eyes too.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Oh I know. It’s hard to believe how much we crammed in there, especially on the first day given that we woke up early and then had to deal with the time change. We clearly were having a good time in Vancouver and didn’t want it to end. I just love how the city is very walkable and that they’ve done such an amazing job of incorporating nature and greenery in and around all the tall skyscrapers. Toronto can learn some lessons!

      That’s neat that Vancouver was your first stop when your family came to Canada. You should totally visit again. It’s very family friendly and there’s a bit of something here for everyone. Plus it’s nice that you already have some history with the city.

  8. Rose says:

    This looks like so much fun! We’ve been hoping to visit that area for the last couple years, but have been deterred each time we made plans. I’ll keep hoping that sometime in the next year, I’ll get to go. Spring looks like the perfect season to visit.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Vancouver is one of those cities that we’ve been meaning to visit, but kept putting it off too as flight prices were always so ridiculously expensive. Near the beginning of the year we looked into flying somewhere, but wanted to stay within Canada because of all the travel restrictions, and Vancouver seemed like the best bet. We even scored a sweet deal on our tickets. Seems like it was meant to be. Hopefully you’re able to visit soon. The spring was exceptionally beautiful in Vancouver and I would highly recommend visiting then.

  9. NortheastAllie says:

    Wow Vancouver looks so beautiful, and it is really neat to see the beautiful nature settings there as well. The Nature’s Edge Boardwalk looks like a lot of fun and seems like it immerses you into the forest!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Vancouver has done such a fantastic job of incorporating nature within the city. I love how green everything is, even amongst all the tall towering skyscrapers. The entrance into the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, which included the Nature’s Edge Boardwalk, was a bit steep, but we enjoyed the experience.

  10. Linda K says:

    You certainly packed in a lot with your few days in Vancouver! Some people that live here or close by here haven’t seen what you have seen! You got some sunny days so that’s great as we’ve had a horrible spring this year! Love that you went to Van Dusen Garden…it’s a favourite place of mine…so pretty 🙂 Glad you enjoyed your visit here!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We had a wonderful time in Vancouver. I love how green the city is and that it’s been designed in and around nature. It was nice to visit in the spring when everything was in bloom. I can see why the Van Dusen is one of your favourite places. It’s stunning. We lucked out with the weather during our trip. We had more days of sun than rain. I just wish we could have stayed for longer.

  11. salsaworldtraveler says:

    Your post helps to make up for the aborted family reunion we had planned in Vancouver this summer. You’ve laid out a great itinerary for when I finally get to visit this wonderful city.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      That’s too bad that you had to postpone your family reunion and visit to Vancouver. Hopefully you’re able to reschedule soon. It’s such an amazing city and it’s neat that it’s built in and around nature. It gives you the best of both worlds.

  12. leightontravels says:

    Vancouver is gorgeous and in such a beautiful natural setting. As others have mentioned, two action packed days amounting to a great itinerary for anyone visiting the city for the first time. Nature’s Edge Boardwalk looks amazing, I would certainly be doing that.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I can totally see myself living on the west coast. It’s a nice balance between city life and being so close to nature. The Nature’s Edge Boardwalk was pretty fun, along with the other treetop adventures. Admission was kind of steep, but we figured we’re on holidays so why not treat ourselves.

  13. alisendopf says:

    The gardens look amazing. We were still under snow in April yet Vancouver was blooming. Are we all living in the same country? 🤣

    I’ve always wanted to do that suspension bridge but never made the time to stop. I’m usually on my way somewhere else. It definitely looks like it was worth the time and effort.

    Well done jam-packed weekend away!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Winter seemed to linger a bit longer than usual in Ontario too. It was nice to visit Vancouver to enjoy the nicer weather and get a sneak peak of spring. I couldn’t believe how green everything was and just how huge some of the trees are.

      The Capilano Suspension Bridge was a fun experience, but it was also outrageously expensive. We paid just over $60 …per person. I don’t think it was entirely worth the price, but it was still neat to see.

      • alisendopf says:

        Ah, so maybe that’s why I never stopped there…. 🤣

        My husband is a pilot and flies to Vancouver and Victoria a lot. He kept wanting to move there because of the early spring. I asked him to fly there a lot in the winter. That put a ‘damper’ on his desire to be there full time.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Ha. They don’t call it the wet coast for nothing. Vancouver and Victoria are very beautiful cities though and I just love how they’ve done a fabulous job of incorporating nature within the city. Plus, it’s not far of a drive to leave the city to find some great hiking trails. I would love to return to hike the West Coast Trail someday.

  14. Christie says:

    I see the places looked quite empty, especially the suspension bridge and the Cliffwalk. It was soo crowdy when we visited them, back in 2016. Nice you could get a sneak peak of spring, while we were having more snow around🙂

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We lucked out and managed to visit Vancouver before the crowds and all the airport issues. I booked our tickets for the Capilano Suspension Bridge for one of the last time slots in the day as I heard that this place gets packed. And yes, it was lovely to get a preview for Spring in Vancouver. Thankfully we had pretty decent weather to enjoy being outdoors.

  15. Darlene says:

    I lived and worked in Vancouver for 25 years so thanks for these pictures of home. You visited some of my favourite places, especially Whytecliff Park and Van Dusen Gardens. It is such a lovely city, even when it rains. Excited to hear about your trip to Victoria.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Vancouver is one of the nicest cities that I’ve visited. They’ve done an exceptional job of building in and around nature. It’s too bad housing is insane otherwise I would totally consider moving there, even with all the rain.

  16. travelling_han says:

    Vancouver looks AMAZING! I can’t wait to visit one day – hopefully in the next few years. the suspension bridge looks awesome, as does all of it – a great balance between city exploring and getting out in to nature.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Vancouver is such a beautiful city, especially in the spring when all the flowers are blooming. They’ve done an amazing job of building in and around nature and making the shoreline for the people. Hopefully you’re able to visit soon. You’ll love it there.

  17. Third Culture Kid says:

    I was Googling Stanley Park in Calgary and I forgot to add Calgary on the end of it and it came up with the Vancouver one. I guess it goes to show how popular the Calgary one is lol. Thanks for showing some things about Vancouver that people don’t typically show!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Ha. I didn’t realize that there was a Stanley Park in Calgary. The one in Vancouver is pretty amazing. It’s a great way to incorporate nature within the city instead of paving it over for more condos and parking lots. Given how busy it is and the high demand for green spaces, I’m surprised more of these urban parks don’t exist.

      • Third Culture Kid says:

        More city greenspaces are needed! The difference in my mental health moving to Calgary, where green spaces are far more accessible and nature is so close after living in London and then SF for 20 years is amazing!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        I couldn’t agree more. I have zero regrets about moving out of Toronto and to a smaller town which is closer to more trails and parks. Heck, even having a backyard has been a total game changer.

  18. annemariedemyen says:

    I have been out there twice – once to Vancouver and once to Victoria Island. Both trips were in July and I was so cold – especially on the island. We did spend time in Kamloop on the way to Victoria and the weather there was gorgeous. I never planned to go back to Vancouver but you may have changed my mind with your photos of the Capilano Bridge area. I love suspension bridges, but we didn’t get a chance to go there the last time we were in Vancouver.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’m not a fan of the rain, so I was a bit worried about our trip to Vancouver and Vancouver Island. We had more days of sun than rain though and thankfully we weren’t camping as it did get pretty chilly in the evenings and mornings. I just loved how lush and green everything was. Vancouver is definitely one of the most scenic cities that I’ve visited and I appreciated how close to nature it is. I’m also a huge fan of suspension bridges so I couldn’t pass up a visit to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, even if the tickets were outrageously expensive!

      • annemariedemyen says:

        Sometimes outrageously expensive is worth it. We stayed in a hotel that was likewise while we were there and it definitely wasn’t. I had booked it for our anniversary and it was so Harris and tacky it was funny. Dan had to go buy some cleanser so I could scrub the jet tub before I used it. 🤣. We did have an amazing time at Granville Island and White Rock Beach. And visiting my sister and her family and Dan’s Aunt and cousins.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        For sure. It’s all part of the experience. That’s too funny that Dan bought some cleaning products so you guys could use the jet tub. It makes for a funny story afterwards and I’m sure it was a memorable experience. We didn’t have enough time to visit Granville Island, but it’ll for sure be on my list for next time.

      • annemariedemyen says:

        We aren’t even bad. My sister made her husband take apart the air-conditioner in their room one time so she could clean it because it was so dusty, it was hell on her asthma. 🤣

  19. Diana says:

    I love Vancouver! Though I was only there for 1 day so you saw much mom than I did. The suspension bridge and the lighthouse are lovely!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Vancouver is pretty amazing, isn’t it? If it weren’t so darn expensive or rainy all the time, I would totally consider moving there. The scenery is stunning and I just love how you don’t have to drive far to be out in nature.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Vancouver is a very beautiful city. There’s just something so peaceful about being by the water. Plus, the views of the mountains aren’t so bad either. Hopefully you’re able to visit someday.

  20. Josy A says:

    Oh yay, you came to our neck of the woods! If you come back here again, I’d love to hike with you, or show you some of the Provincial Parks on this side of Canada!! <3 (We live just down the road from Queen Elizabeth park, near all the tasty food…)

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I am in love with the west coast. The scenery is unbelievably beautiful and I still can’t get over just how huge some of the trees are on Vancouver Island. The timing of our trip worked out well. We had fabulous weather and we managed to visit before the airports became rammed. I have a feeling we’ll be back someday soon. I would totally be game to go for a hike!

      • Josy A says:

        Yaaay! I need to go to the island and see Cathedral grove and the giant trees too! It is always sooo cool to see them (and the forest around old growth is just so gorgeous, mossy and just full of life!)

        I am so glad you had a great time!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Cathedral Grove is gorgeous. It’s looks very enchanting with all those giant trees and moss draped everywhere. I would love to return to hike the West Coast Trail.

  21. rkrontheroad says:

    I haven’t spent more than a day at a time (twice) in Vancouver, not hardly enough time! You have gotten around to some beautiful spots. The lighthouse view is classic. I’d love to see the totem park.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We were only in Vancouver for two days, which also didn’t seem like enough time. I’m glad we had such fabulous weather to enjoy some of the highlights. I’m such a fan of lighthouses and couldn’t resist visiting this one since it also involved a hike through an old growth forest. It did not disappoint.

  22. Janet says:

    What a lovely trip. My husband and I have been twice to Vancouver. We enjoyed it both times. Such a pretty area. Great photos of the bridge. Yikes, another scary one. LOL

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We were lucky and had such fabulous weather when we were out west. The scenery is spectacular, especially in the rainforest with all those tall trees and moss growing everywhere. I can see why you returned for a second trip. And yes, the Capilano Suspension Bridge looked cool, but it was a bit sketchy how it swayed.

  23. littlelilly says:

    Many thanks, Linda and K for sharing this wonderful post! The old trees and garden must be lovely to see. It seemed like you had an incredibly amazing time at Vancouver! Looking forward to your next post.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment. It’s amazing how old some of the trees are along the west coast. We had a wonderful time in Vancouver and I love how nature has been woven in among the city.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      That’s very exciting!! I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic time there. The city has done an amazing job with the waterfront and incorporating a lot of greenery within and around the skyscrapers. Safe travels!

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