Summer In Vancouver: 34 Great Things To Do

Summer in Vancouver

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Ah, summer in Vancouver. For two short months each year, glorious sunshine and hot weather arrives in the city, and it brings a special atmosphere so that it’s hard to recognize the place you got used to in the rest of the year. Vancouver takes off its raincoat and remembers “Oh, right, I’m fabulous!”.

The sun casts a spell over the mountains, locals wear shorts and T-shirts. They flood the parks and beaches, and they swim in the still-frigid Pacific Ocean, claiming that it’s refreshing. Patios open and food trucks pop up everywhere, and seagulls are just as eager to taste their products as humans (don’t forget to protect your sandwich). There are outdoor concerts and movies under the stars. And most of the snow has melted in the high mountains.

That’s how it feels being in Vancouver in the summer, and I like it so much!

What to do in Vancouver in summer? Everything 🙂

It’s hard not to enjoy your time in Vancouver in summer, because the city has everything you could wish for: wonderful beaches, mountains, parks, lakes, waterfalls, scenic walking, biking and hiking trails, secluded bays and breathtaking views. The only thing it lacks for most of the year is what summer surely brings: sunshine! So let’s see the best summer activities in Vancouver, the rest of the blog post is all about them.

Gentle note: I won’t list all the best things to do in Vancouver in general – check out this detailed post for that -, this post focuses on the summer highlights.

Summer in Vancouver: what is summer weather like?

View from Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Surprise, but summer in Vancouver feels like summer. I wouldn’t have expected this, because it’s in Canada, after all, but Vancouver summers are hot and dry.

June doesn’t necessarily count as summer (it depends on the current year), but July and August are. Even that notorious rain stops, and for two months there’s barely any rain. The sunny, dry, warm weather might last until mid-September.

The average temperature in July is 17°C, and it’s 18°C in August, dropping to 15°C for September. The ocean never gets too warm, with 19-22°C as the average maximum water temperature and 11-13°C as the average minimum throughout the summer months. It could be refreshing on a hot day! But if you’d like to try warmer waters, look for lakes.

Best things to do in Vancouver in summer

Enjoy the Vancouver beaches

Third Beach, Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC, Canada

It’s one of the most obvious Vancouver summer activities, yet one that you can’t easily get bored of. Vancouver is home to amazing ocean beaches, and some of them are only a short walk away from downtown. Oh, a sunny summer day at the beach is hard to beat!

Walking, sunbathing, playing beach volleyball, kayaking, paddle boarding, picnicking or swimming are all great beach activities. On that note, swimming is not for everyone, because you might find the water too cold. I swam twice last summer, and both of those days were very hot. But I know that most people tolerate cold water (and cold weather) better than me. And if you’re not among them, you find heated outdoor pools by some of the beaches (read further for more info).

Cold water or not, I loved the summer vibes on Vancouver’s beaches. Spending time on them is certainly among the best summer things to do in Vancouver for locals and visitors alike.

Which are the best Vancouver beaches?

English Bay Beach is the most iconic, located right in the city, offering scenic views of the North Shore mountains, Stanley Park and English Bay. The Seawall is running behind the beach, and you find plenty of restaurants nearby.

If you continue walking (or biking) on the Stanley Park Seawall, you’ll soon reach Second Beach and Third Beach. Their names might be a bit boring (and certainly easy to memorize), but they are wonderful beaches, surrounded by nature.

Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Kitsilano Beach is more than a beach, it’s a lively neighborhood filled with bars, restaurants, shops and great outdoor spaces. Located just across from downtown Vancouver via the Burrard Bridge and also having the Seawall running behind it, it’s easily accessible by bike from downtown.

Sure, there are more beaches: Sunset Beach, Jericho Beach, Locarno Beach, Spanish Banks Beach – we’ve written about them all in detail here. Then the beaches of West Vancouver, which are actually outside of the city of Vancouver, but they’re worth visiting if you’re in the area.

Enjoy the beaches like the locals

Exploring the beaches and seeing the city while kayaking has its own magic. Vancouver Water Adventures offers boats, kayaks, jet skis and SUPs for rental. They have their main location on Granville Island, but also have a stand on Kitsilano Beach.

If you’re into beach volleyball, there’s space for nets on Sunset Beach, English Bay Beach, Kitsilano Beach and plenty of them on Locarno-Jericho-Spanish Banks beaches! Locals like playing beach volleyball on summer days, so you’ll find them busy.

Last, but surely not least, having a picnic or a barbecue party is another typical Canadian way to enjoy the beaches.

Sit out on a sunny patio

False Creek, Vancouver, BC, Canada

When the sun comes out and days are getting warmer, people flood the streets and parks in Vancouver. The rainy season is long, and it seems that everyone needs their yearly dose of sunshine, so they want to spend as much time outdoors in the summer as possible.

Hence outdoor dining and drinking is among the most popular things to do in Vancouver during summer. Lots of restaurants, breweries and bars have outdoor patios that they open for the season.

Yaletown’s Main Street is famous for the high ratio of patios. Davie Street, especially between Burrard and Denman, also becomes lively in summer. Granville Island has beautiful patios overlooking the water, like Bridges or the Vancouver Fish Company.

Granville Island, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Cactus Club English Bay is right behind English Bay Beach, it’s a scenic, iconic restaurant that gets very busy. Another one with amazing views is Grouse Mountain’s Altitude Bistro.

Spend a day in Stanley Park

Stanley Park is one of the highlights of Vancouver in any season. Yes, a park, but it’s not “just a park”. It’s the first and largest urban park in Vancouver, it has its own island and is surrounded by the Burrard Inlet and English Bay. 

Stanley Park Seawall, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Stanley Park has rainforests, beaches, lakes, cultural landmarks, wildlife, Canada’s largest aquarium, and it offers stunning views of Downtown Vancouver and the North Shore mountains. There are 27 km of paved and dirt trails in Stanley Park!

Second Beach and Third Beach are two secluded, picturesque beaches – and they’re among the best places to visit in Vancouver in summer. The quiet rainforest trails of the park offer shady getaways from the heat of summer. Biking the Stanley Park Seawall is great in any season, but it’s particularly pleasant on a summer evening.

Stanley Park Rose Garden, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Check out the best things to do in Stanley Park here.

If you prefer being guided, this is a great tour to give you a taste of the best attractions not only in Stanley Park, but also in Gastown, Chinatown and Granville Island. But you can simply rent a bike (or electronic bike) and explore at your own pace.

Have a picnic in one of the pretty parks

I was surprised how many parks Vancouver has – and how pretty they are! For most of the year you see people mainly running and walking in those parks, and it’s not hard to understand why: the weather is too chilly or wet to sit down and simply hang out. But summer is different.

Locals spend their Vancouver summer vacation in parks (when they are not on the beaches). They put down a blanket, have a picnic, bring their portable barbecues and spend half a day in the park.

Devonian Harbour Park, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Our favorite parks downtown (beyond Stanley Park, of course) are David Lam Park and George Wainborn Park, both right on the water. On the other side of False Creek there’s Charleson Park and Vanier Park, both offering spectacular views of the downtown skyline. 

Granville Island also has lots of nice green spaces, like Sutcliffe Park or Ron Basford Park.

Granville Island, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Rent a boat in Coal Harbour

One of the fun summer activities in Vancouver is renting a boat and exploring the beautiful coastline. You don’t need a boat license to do this activity, but some boating experience is recommended to navigate the busy harbor (and you’ll be issued a temporary license when renting). Coal Harbour is the most convenient location to rent.

If you have 2-3 hours, you can reach the quieter, incredibly beautiful parts of the Indian Arm. If you’re not confident driving a boat yourself, sign up for a tour. This zodiac tour lets you experience the most stunning water views: crossing False Creek, passing by the impressive stone spire of Siwash Rock, then venturing into Deep Cove where you can admire dramatic granite cliffs, Granite Falls and Silver Falls. You’ll enjoy views that are exclusively for those exploring on the water.

Coal Harbour, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Visit one of the performances of Theatre Under the Stars

The Theater Under The Stars puts on fantastic theater performances each summer on the Malkin Bowl stage in Stanley Park. Check out the current showtimes and ticket prices here! Taking your partner to one is among the most romantic things to do in the summer in Vancouver.

Enjoy a free outdoor movie

Vancouverites like camping, so no wonder that their TVs do so, too. (Okay, sorry, joking in English still doesn’t come very natural to me, after all these years. Just like cursing.) Anyway, summer brings free outdoor movie nights to several venues in Vancouver, like Canada Place, Stanley Park or downtown. They’re usually held on the weekends in July and August.

The Stanley Park Summer Cinema takes place at Second Beach, the Sunset Cinema is at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza (650 Hamilton Street) and the Summer Movie Nights are on Robson Square, in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery. You can bundle up in blankets under the stars, munch on popcorn and pretend you’re not worried about local raccoons stealing it.

Visit “Bard on the beach”, Vancouver’s Shakespeare festival

Bard on the Beach is a Shakespearean theater festival, with performances taking place in outdoor tent theaters. The Mainstage tent is open-ended, so the actors perform against the backdrop of the North Shore mountains which makes the experience even more unique.

The venue is Vanier Park, and the festival usually lasts from June until early fall. Dress warmly, because nights get chilly in Vancouver even in the summer. Taking a blanket is a great idea.

2024 dates: from June 11 until September 21.

Swim in one of the heated outdoor pools by the beach

So the ocean remains quite cold throughout the year, but Vancouver has two popular heated outdoor pools that allow you to enjoy more pleasant water with ocean views: the Kitsilano and Second Beach pools.

The heated saltwater pool in Kitsilano is close to the beach. It’s great for families, too, with a few slides and gradual entry. The 137 meters long pool is divided into three sections: a shallow area for children, lap swimming area and a casual swimming area with deep water.

The Second Beach Pool is also right next to the beach. It has a sloped entry, two small water slides and separated lanes for lap swimmers. It’s one of the most popular outdoor swimming pools in Metro Vancouver. No wonder, the views are fantastic, the location in Stanley Park is hard to beat, and you have food, picnic areas and playgrounds nearby.

New Brighton Pool is a heated outdoor pool with beautiful harbor views and views of the North Shore. There’s gradual entry for children.

Visit the Outdoor Summer Market on Robson

One of the best things to do in Vancouver in August if you like local markets is visiting the Outdoor Summer Market #onRobson. It’s held every Saturday throughout August, along Robson Street. There are local brands, organic products, handcrafted items, food trucks and live music. Just follow the music to find them. 🙂

Try fresh local food at a farmer’s market

Farmer’s markets are for those looking for quality local ingredients. They also reduce your impact and support the local community.

Vancouver has lots of farmer’s markets to choose from. You find them in downtown, the West End, False Creek, Kitsilano, Hastings Park, Mount Pleasant and Riley Park. However, most of them are open only one day a week, so check the hours before you go.

On that note, the famous Granville Island Public Market also offers lots of local goods.

Walk the Vancouver Seawall

David Lam Park, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Sure, the Stanley Park Seawall is on everyone’s list, but did you know that it’s part of the much longer Vancouver Seawall? The 28 km long Seaside Greenway stretches from Spanish Banks Beach to Canada Place, and it’s an uninterrupted waterfront pathway for pedestrians and bikers.

This walkway makes Vancouver unique in the world, and it’s a very scenic route that well deserves the love it gets from both locals and visitors. If you don’t have time to walk (or bike) the entire length of it, here are the prettiest sections:

  • (obviously) Stanley Park Seawall: views of the downtown skyline, Burrard Inlet, English Bay and the North Shore mountains
  • from Vanier Park to Science World: views of the downtown skyline
  • from David Lam Park to Sunset Beach: False Creek views and close views of the business district

False Creek, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Go kayaking in False Creek

The protected waters of False Creek are great for kayaking, and they offer wonderful views of the downtown skyline. You can even meet the local seals! And you’ll see lots of birds and fish for sure.

You can rent kayaks at Creekside Kayaks in the Olympic Village. Rental is open between mid-May and late September.

Go on a whale-watching tour

The best time of year to go whale watching in Vancouver is between May and October. Hence whale watching is one of the best Vancouver tours to choose for a summer visit, and summer is the time when orcas like hanging out in the bay, too.

The typical tour lasts 3-5 hours. This one starts from Granville Island, and the tour includes commentary from the knowledgeable crew, views of Howe Sound and the islands of the Salish Sea, and (of course!) the highlight: chance to see humpback whales, orcas, sea lions and birds.

Visit the Vancouver Greek Summerfest

One of the best things to do in Vancouver in July for foodies is visiting the Vancouver Greek Summerfest. It’s one of the many vibrant summer festivals, the celebration of Greek food, organized by the Greek community of East Vancouver. Admission is free.

Attend the Canada Day events

Another great July event in Vancouver is the Canada Day celebration on July 1st. It’s a loud  “Happy Birthday” to Canada, with fireworks, Canadian flags, lots of food, beer (and, as expected, people).

Canada Day brings a series of events and celebrations throughout Vancouver. Canada Place is one of the main venues, with concerts, games, face painting or food. Granville Island also offers outdoor entertainment. The day ends with stunning fireworks over the water.

This is a free event, but beware, it gets very, very busy. It’s not for those who don’t like crowds.

Visit KitsFest

Blend a fitness convention with a family picnic, and throw it all on a beach – Kitsilano Beach in this particular case. Because I’m talking about KitsFest, a beach festival which focuses on sports and healthy living. Get sweaty while playing basketball, tennis, volleyball, or take part in yoga and bathtub races. This event is all about the joy of being active outdoors, which is a huge part of the locals identity.

Take a sunset cruise in Vancouver

An exclusive way of enjoying the pleasant Vancouver summer evenings is a scenic dinner cruise along the city’s gorgeous waterfront, with breathtaking scenery of Burrard Inlet and the North Shore mountains. Add delicious food from the West Coast-themed cuisine and some live music, and there you go, the perfect romantic night is ready.

This dinner cruise launches from Devonian Harbour near Stanley Park.

Visit the Richmond Night Market, Richmond

One of the best places to visit near Vancouver in summer is the Richmond Night Market. Being a diverse Asian market and the largest night market in North America, it’s a dive into great food, but also into a great cultural experience. It offers street food, shops and live entertainment.

It’s a place where the locals go, and it’s only about twenty minutes south of the downtown core. It takes place from the end of April until early October, from 7 pm to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, and from 7 pm to 11 pm on Sundays and holiday Mondays. There’s an admission price, but seniors and young kids are free to enter.

Swim in one of the amazing lakes of Metro Vancouver

Buntzen Lake, Anmore, BC, Canada

There are nice ocean beaches in Vancouver, but when I think of typical beach days, I think of the lakes.

British Columbia has over 20000 lakes, and you find dozens of them near Vancouver. Some warm up to quite enjoyable temperatures in summer, making them perfect for swimming or just playing in the water. Since the lakeshore is often sandy, with a gradual water entrance, most beaches are ideal for families with young kids, too.

There’s no lake that’s suitable for swimming in the city of Vancouver, but you find many in the Metro Vancouver area. Some of my favorites are Sasamat Lake (on a weekday), Buntzen Lake, Mystery Lake, Cabin Lake, Rolley Lake and Whonnock Lake. Cultus Lake is very popular, but a bit too busy to my taste. Read about them, and even more fabulous lakes near Vancouver in detail in this post.

Mystery Lake, Mount Seymour Provincial Park, BC, Canada

Visit The Shipyards Night Market, North Vancouver

The Richmond Night Market is not the only one near Vancouver, North Vancouver has its own: the Shipyards Night Market. It’s on Friday nights 5-10 pm, from the beginning of May until the end of September. It doesn’t only offer a great food choice, but also stunning views of the (distant) Vancouver skyline and the bay.

Go kayaking in Deep Cove, North Vancouver

Deep Cove, North Vancouver, BC, Canada

I’ve already told you about the scenic and calm waters of the Indian Arms. Deep Cove is a pretty seaside district at the eastern edge of North Vancouver, and it’s one of the best places in Canada to launch a kayak, and explore the waters of the Indian Arm.

You can rent kayaks at the Deep Cove Kayak Center, located along the waterfront walkway between Panorama Park and Deep Cove Park. This waterfront pathway is worth a stroll, anyway, as it has wonderful views of the bay, the little harbor and the mountains towering above.

Deep Cove, North Vancouver, BC, Canada

Conquer the peaks of Mount Seymour Provincial Park, North Vancouver

The North Shore mountains are the first place locals go to climb a mountain. It does offer a number of peaks, with amazing views, which are still easily reachable for the average hiker. Like the three peaks of Mount Seymour.

Mount Seymour Trail, BC, Canada

This series of peaks is a fun challenge, and you can conquer any or all 3 of them on a day hike. The trail starts at the main parking lot in Mount Seymour Provincial Park, and it’s called Mount Seymour Trail. Very well signposted and so busy on any given clear summer day that you won’t have any trouble finding it.

The path itself is steep uphill, with lots of roots and rocks, but it’s doable for anyone who has the stamina and watches their feet. Pump Peak, or the First Peak, is already a stunner. You look down on Metro Vancouver, then look at the seemingly endless mountain peaks behind you. The final ascent to the peak requires some scrambling, but the perfect 360 degrees panorama is worth it.

Mount Seymour Peak, Mount Seymour Provincial Park, BC, Canada

If you think that the First Peak was good enough, you can turn back. But let me tell you that the two remaining peaks are not “just the same”. Sure, they have similar views, but both managed to impress us very much, especially Mount Seymour Peak, the third in line.

You have to work for the views though. Getting to the next two peaks requires completing steep downhills, then steep uphills. Tim Jones Peak, or the Second Peak, is a short detour, then you continue to 1449 meters high Mount Seymour. (From then you can continue to Mount Elsay, but that’s really not for the faint hearted.)

Mount Seymour Trail, BC, Canada

The panorama from Mount Seymour Peak is fantastic, the best mountain panorama in Metro Vancouver. But expect this trail to be busy all the way to the third peak. Luckily, you have space to spread out on each peak, and an especially large area on Mount Seymour Peak.

The best time to hike is late summer. Mosquitos eat you alive in June, and they’re generally very bad for about a month after snowmelt. Hence August and September are my favorite months to explore the Mount Seymour hiking trails. (Yes, I know, mosquitos can be bad after snowmelt in the mountains in general, but of all the mountains surrounding Vancouver, they like Mount Seymour the best.)

Hike to fabulous Howe Sound views in Cypress Provincial Park, West Vancouver

Mount Strachan, BC, Canada

view from Mount Strachan

But if you think Mount Seymour is popular, you have to see the St. Marks Summit hike. Granted, the views are even better here. It’s not a 360 degrees mountain panorama, but the best view of Howe Sound. I’ve published a post solely dedicated to this iconic 11.5 km return hike, and I could only recommend doing it. Despite the crowds, and yes, ideally on a clear summer day (like everyone else), because it’s only accessible between July and October, and you need a clear day to enjoy the views.

But St. Marks Summit is not the only trail that offers wonderful views of Howe Sound. Its secret brother is Mount Strachan. It’s less than 8 km altogether, but it has quite some steep sections. The trail to Mount Strachan follows the Howe Sound Crest Trail for a while (it’s the same trail that leads to St. Marks Summit), but after the junction, it gets significantly less traffic. The summit area is large and much less crowded than St Mark’s Summit, and it has just as breathtaking views.

Mount Strachan, BC, Canada

Eagleridge Bluffs via Black Mountain Trail is a 8.9 km return hike. It takes you to several smaller lakes and to a rocky plateau with views of Vancouver and part of the Horseshoe Bay. It’s not as impressive as the aforementioned two, but it’s much easier, and it’s also a year-round trail (microspikes are recommended during winter).

But the easiest hike with views? Bowen Lookout, a 4.5 km trail, also offers views of Howe Sound. It’s not comparable to any of the peaks, but it doesn’t require as much work either. It’s a nice, easy hike that can be added to any day.

Explore countless shaded trails in the North Vancouver rainforest

Lynn Canyon Park, North Vancouver, BC, Canada

The North Shore has spectacular rainforests, and they’re among those attractions that can be enjoyed in any weather and any season. However, they’re great to escape the heat in the summer. (It can be a disadvantage, too, because you barely feel the sunshine under the giant, shady trees.) It’s never too hot in the rainforest, even on those rare days when Vancouver experiences a heat wave.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, North Vancouver, BC, Canada

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is the iconic rainforest attraction of Vancouver, with a long suspension bridge over Capilano Canyon, and several adventurous pathways through the forest.

But North Vancouver has more parks where you can enjoy the beauty of the rainforest (and for free!): Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve, Lynn Canyon Park and Lynn Headwaters Regional Park are large enough to offer a range of hiking trails, from short and easy to longer and more challenging ones. Read about our favorite trails here!

Mosquito Creek Park, North Vancouver, BC, Canada

I also loved walking in smaller parks, like Capilano River Regional Park, Hastings Creek Park, Mahon Park, Mosquito Creek Park, Heywood Park or Hunter Park. They are urban parks that still feel like the wilderness, with ancient trees and rushing creeks. North Vancouver simply has a vibe that draws you in. You can feel it on the streets, and even stronger when you enter any of the parks.

Capilano River Regional Park, North Vancouver, BC, Canada

Snorkel with seals in Howe Sound

You can often spot seals in the water as you walk on the beaches or waterfront walkways in Vancouver. But how about snorkeling with them?

Here’s a boat tour that takes you close to the Pam Rocks seal colony in Howe Sound. Kayak, wetsuit and snorkel gear are provided, so you can choose your preferred way to get closer to the friendly seals. Sightseeing-only option is available if you don’t want to get wet.

This is an eco-friendly tour, led by professional guides who supervise you in the water. It starts from Horseshoe Bay.

Watch a movie in a drive-in cinema in Langley

Here’s a romantic retro night idea for you: the Twilight drive-in cinema! It’s the only drive-in cinema in Metro Vancouver, it shows two films every week and is open every day in the summer.

Best day trips from Vancouver in summer

Shannon Falls Pools Trail, BC, Canada

Summer is the best time of the year for Vancouver day trips. It’s hiking season in the wonderful mountains that surround the city, and warm summer days are also ideal for boat and kayak trips in the bays or on the countless lakes of British Columbia. One just feels more like being outside and taking a road trip when the sun shines, anyway, and there’s no sudden snow storm to worry about.

Sea to Sky Highway

One of the best day trips from Vancouver in any season is the drive to Whistler on the Sea to Sky Highway. This is a scenic drive with amazing mountains and ocean views, offering beautiful stops and hikes along the way – some of which are available in the summer only. Which are the best stops and short hikes that fit into a day trip? This post is exactly about that.


Squamish is about halfway between Vancouver and Whistler along the Sea to sky Highway, and it’s a great destination on its own. Hiking and rock climbing are the most popular outdoor activities, and there are lots of opportunities for both beginners and more experienced hikers and climbers. You can also go rafting, sailing or fly fishing.

Squamish, BC, Canada

Here you find our favorite hikes in Squamish. If you’d like to take a short, scenic walk, drive to The Spit. Al’s Habrich Ridge Trail is a perfect choice if you’re looking for a trail that requires medium effort and delivers outstanding views. Jurassic Ridge Trail is short, very steep and has amazing views of Howe Sound.

High elevations become snow free roughly from mid-June and remain so until mid-October, so that’s the best time to hit the high mountain trails.


The peak season to visit Whistler is winter (for skiing and snowboarding) and summer (for hiking). It’s an adorable, scenic mountain village that has a lively, pedestrianized city center and tons of cafes and restaurants. But the highlight is the mountains and lakes, of course.

Iceberg Lake Trail, Whistler, BC, Canada

Iceberg Lake Trail from Whistler

Whistler has five lakes – Alpha Lake, Nita Lake, Alta Lake, Lost Lake, Green Lake – and an endless number of hiking trails. Whistler Train Wreck, Parkhurst Ghost Town or the Lava Lake Loop are among the easiest hikes, but our favorites are the wonderful alpine lakes: Rainbow Lake, Iceberg Lake or Wedgemount Lake.

If you don’t want to rent a car, you can still join an organized day tour, like this small group tour that also includes the Sea to Sky Gondola and Shannon Falls.

Garibaldi Provincial Park

Garibaldi Provincial Park can be accessed from the Sea to Sky Highway, as well, and it’s home to the famous Garibaldi Lake. But it offers much more.

Panorama Ridge Trail, Garibaldi Provincial Park, BC, Canada

It’s a stunning park to experience untouched wilderness in the high mountains. It has dramatic mountain peaks, snow-capped until late summer, incredibly baby blue glacial lakes and scenic ridges. But the hikes here are not easy. Being a 18 km round-trip trail with 975 meters elevation gain, Garibaldi Lake Trail is the easiest one.

Then there’s Black Tusk and Panorama Ridge, if you continue beyond Garibaldi Lake. Elfin Lakes and Wedgemount Lake are accessible from different areas of Garibaldi Provincial Park. One thing is true for all of them though: they are paradise for mountain lovers, and no doubt, they are worth the effort.

Golden Ears Provincial Park

Alouette Lake, Golden Ears Provincial Park, BC, Canada

Golden Ears Provincial Park is another park to experience nature at its wildest and most beautiful, yet it’s only an hour drive away from Vancouver. Hiking, camping, horse riding and boating are the most popular summer activities there.

Alouette Lake is a large, beautiful lake with several beaches, a boat launch at the south end of Alouette Lake and boat accessible camping on the lakeshore.

Spirea Trail, Golden Ears Provincial Park, BC, Canada

Spirea Nature Trail takes you through a rainforest that feels like an enchanted forest from the fairy tales.

North Beach Trail is a short and easy walk to a beach on the shore of Alouette Lake, and it offers fantastic mountain and river views on the way.

North Beach Trail, Golden Ears Provincial Park, BC, Canada

Gold Creek Falls is a beloved family-friendly trail that features pretty rainforest and an impressive waterfall. East Canyon and West Canyon Trail is a full day hike that allows you to explore beyond Gold Creek Falls. And those looking for challenges find plenty of peaks, like Alouette Mountain, Evans Peak or the Golden Ears summit.


Victoria is the provincial capital of BC, and it’s a good excuse for a quick getaway to Vancouver Island. It has more “old England charm” than any other Canadian cities, and the Inner Harbour is one of the most scenic harbors in the world.

Enjoy the walkable historical center, find the prettiest buildings as you stroll the area between Chatham Street, Humboldt Street, Douglas Street and the Fisherman’s Wharf. Have an afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel, visit the Parliament Buildings and the Butchart Gardens, a stunning themed garden, with over 900 different plants.

Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Is Victoria worth visiting on a day trip from Vancouver though? If you choose to drive and take the ferry, it’s about a 2.5 hours journey one-way. Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend it as a day trip. 

But there’s another – more expensive and much more scenic – way to get to Victoria: by seaplane! It takes about half an hour and offers a fantastic bird eye view of Vancouver, the Burrard Inlet and the islands of the Salish Sea. Combine sightseeing in Victoria with a seaplane ride there and back, and you’ll get a truly unforgettable day.


Tonquin Trail, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Victoria might be visited on a day trip even if you get there by ferry, but Tofino, located on a much more remote tip of Vancouver Island, requires the seaplane for a feasible day trip. It’s a luxurious experience, with a matching price tag.

You’ll fly over the Salish Sea and Vancouver Island, then land in the adorable coastal town of Tofino. We have an entire post about the best things to do in Tofino – not surprisingly, they include coastal trails and fabulous canoe routes. Tofino owns one of the most breathtaking stretches of coastline in BC, and it’s a great place to take a surf lesson, too.

What to wear in Vancouver in summer?

It’s a proper summer, yes, I was serious. Shorts, T-shirts, flip-flops, sandals – that’s what I usually wear in Vancouver in July and August. But usually doesn’t mean every day. A rain jacket, long sleeve pants, a light sweater and a pair of waterproof shoes are mandatory items on any Vancouver packing list, even for the summer.

June and September require more caution. Before the heat of the summer arrives (or after it has gone), days get significantly more chilly, and if you add some wind, drizzle and rain, well, you better be prepared with warmer layers and waterproof outer layers.

Capilano River Regional Park, North Vancouver, BC, Canada

If you go hiking, especially on high mountain trails, be prepared for harsher weather. Have a wind jacket, an extra layer and waterproof hiking boots. You might need to cross snow fields, and snowmelt could cause flooding and make trails muddy. It can get warm during the day, but mornings and nights are chilly.

Where to stay in Vancouver?

Luxury stay: OPUS Vancouver

OPUS Vancouver is a 5 star boutique hotel in Yaletown, in the heart of Vancouver Downtown. The location is excellent, only a few minutes away from the Seawall and walking distance from most attractions in the downtown.

The interior is an attraction on its own: elegant design, bright and vibrant colors, beautiful artwork. It offers an on-site restaurant and fitness center, and luxuries like a heated bathroom floor or a work desk in each room.

Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Mid-range stay: O Canada House Bed & Breakfast

O Canada House Bed & Breakfast is a stylish bed and breakfast in Vancouver’s West End. It’s about 10 minutes walk from Robson Square and 15 minutes walk from Sunset Beach, great for being close to both city life and beaches.

The décor is Victorian, home-made breakfast is included, and guests have access to snacks, coffee, tea and juice all day. It’s a cozy home away from home.

Budget stay: Samesun Hostel

Samesun Hostel offers 4, 6, and 8 bed dorms, each with a females-only option, and also private rooms with an ensuite or shared bathroom. The location is great, on the northwestern edge of Yaletown.

Breakfast is included in the room rates, and there’s a shared kitchen, laundry, bar and restaurant on site. They have a ticket service desk with discounts on tickets for Vancouver Canucks games.