There is a network of trails and lookout points at Lighthouse Park, but you’ll definitely get the best view of the historic 1912 lighthouse at West Beach. Climb on the rocks to inch your way closer to Burrard Inlet and take in the breathtaking scenery. The views are so stunning you’ll feel like you stepped into a Group of Seven painting.
Whytecliff Park, West Vancouver
Pack a picnic and bring a camera when you visit Whytecliff. You’ll want to spend as long as you can at this West Vancouver park in the Howe Sound area. The iconic Whyte Island, a backdrop to many engagement photo shoots, is accessible during low tide. For the more adventurous, there are locally known spots for cliff jumping and scuba diving. You can even make it a night trip; it’s a great location for stargazing.
Deep Cove, North Vancouver
Deep Cove is a quaint little village with something for everyone. The Quarry Rock trail is a popular hiking route. For a water adventure, kayaks are available for rent at the end of the main street, Gallant Avenue. Or grab one of Honey’s famous homemade doughnuts and walk down to the water to take in the majestic West Coast scenery.
Though CRAB Park is located centrally in downtown, it’s still not on the radar for many locals. You get an amazing view of the North Shore and can watch container ships come and go. CRAB Park is close to Gastown but requires a little navigation. Have your Google maps in hand or walk in from the Main Street overpass.
Forget the crowds at English Bay. Sunset Beach is just minutes away from the popular summer destination with a view that’s just as beautiful. Relax as rollerbladers and cyclists zoom toward Stanley Park. There’s also a large inclined grassy area that’s perfect for reading a book and people-watching. As its name suggests, Sunset Beach is definitely a great place to watch the sun go down on the grand Burrard Street Bridge.
Better known to the community by its focal point, Trout Lake, John Hendry Park is a stone’s throw away from Commercial Drive and one of East Van’s little gems. Hate running around the track or on a treadmill? Take a jog around the lake and enjoy the changing scenery. Don’t forget to walk out onto the docks to get a closer view of the ducks.
Iona Beach, Richmond
Just a few minutes away from MacDonald Beach is Iona Beach Regional Park. Many people come for the Iona jetty, a long pier stretching out into the sea. It’s well worth the 2.5-hour trip to the tip and back; you might be lucky enough to spot sea lions, harbour seals and whales! Otherwise, be on the lookout for wildlife in the marsh edges and ponds, like the rare yellow-headed blackbird during the summer.
Macdonald Beach Park, Richmond
Just over the Arthur Laing Bridge, Macdonald Beach Park is the most convenient outdoors open space in Richmond if you’re coming from Vancouver. Walk along the beach to enjoy calm views of South Vancouver while looking over the Fraser River. Bring your dog too: the off-leash dog park and beach is a heaven for pups.
Explore Vancouver's beauty with these perfect little escapes
Vancouver consistently ranks as one of the world’s top cities for good reason: it's surrounded by water, mountains and plenty of pristine nature.
But when we get wrapped up in our daily lives, it’s easy to make excuses for not going on that hike or scheduling that weekend trip to Whistler. The truth is there are many pockets in the city that offer quick access to a nature getaway. Instead of making an outdoors trip a bigger deal than it is, try fitting in some bite-sized chunks of nature.
Here are eight often under explored parks and beaches that make the perfect (quick) escapes...
Marketer by day, writer by night, what Miranda loves best is working with the written word. Her writing has appeared in The Georgia Straight, Huffington Post, and Vitamin Daily. She also runs Style by Fire—a Vancouver fashion events and retail news blog. When not working, you’ll find Miranda practicing handstands, obsessing about retail design, and figuring out what to do next with her hair.