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33 EPIC Things to do in Vancouver in Summer (2024 Guide!)

33 EPIC Things to do in Vancouver in Summer (2024 Guide!)

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Vancouver is beautiful any time you visit, but it is especially gorgeous during the summer! Surrounded by dense forest and water, it becomes a hub for activity when it’s warm out.

But, not everything has to do with the outdoors – there are a ton of fun things to do in the city! Having lived here ourselves, we can tell you that Van is the place to be for a summer vacation. You can see a movie in the park, ride bikes around Stanley Park, patio-hop to check out the best breweries in Vancouver, spend time at the beach, and so much more! 

There’s a reason Vancouver is one of the must-visit places in British Columbia. To create a huge bucket list for you, I’ve compiled this blog about some of the best summer activities you won’t want to miss on your visit to Vancouver! 

Things to do in Vancouver in Summer

1. Patio-hop around the city

three friends drinking at the Cambie in Gastown, Vancouver
Enjoying happy hour drinks with a friend at The Cambie!

A summer favorite among locals in Vancouver is patio hopping! Lots of the best Vancouver restaurants, breweries, and bars open outdoor patios and it’s a great way to spend an afternoon or evening. You can start from wherever you are and patio hop spontaneously around the city, or you can plan ahead. Here are some places I recommend checking out!

The large number of craft breweries in Vancouver has become a staple of the local culture. Each brewery offers unique beer and cider selections, crafted right in the brewery you’re visiting. You can purchase samplers, called flights, and taste a selection of their drinks at once before hopping to the next. 

There are many breweries dotted all over the city, you can check out this map to see them all. In nearby Port Moody, which directly faces the beautiful Rocky Point Park, there is a cluster of five great breweries referred to as ‘Brewery Row’. This location makes for a great way to try several places without walking far between them! 

One thing to note is that most of these breweries have very limited food menus or don’t have any food on offer at all. So, I recommend eating before you begin or planning on a restaurant or bar patio visit as part of your “tour”. 

If you like people-watching, patio hopping along Davie Street is one of my favorites. Davie, especially in the West End between Burrard and Denman, is right in the heart of the city, and very lively all summer long. I recommend trying the Score on Davie, open 11 am until late weekdays and 10 am until late on weekends – its one of the most recognized and favorite downtown venues among locals. 

For iconic seaside views, on the other hand, perhaps you could patio hop along False Creek. Granville Island has several beautiful patios overlooking the water, my favorites being The Sandbar or the Vancouver Fish Company. You could then hop on a famous Aquabus, or water taxi, and hop to the fancy Ancora restaurant or have some fun at the Beach Ave Bar and Grill.

If you’re keen on some cheap drinks and a really fun atmosphere, be sure to check out The Cambie Bar & Grill in Gastown. This is one of my favorite bars in the city with a fun patio! They also often have live music. There are also lots of other great bars and restaurants in Gastown worth checking out.

In Yaletown, be sure to hit up Mainland Street. Here, you’ll find tons of bars and restaurants with patios lining the cobblestone walkway. You’ll also find most of the best restaurants in Yaletown located here.

Related Read: Visiting breweries is also one of the most popular things to do in Toronto, Canada, too!

2. Explore Stanley Park

Bike the Seawall in Stanley Park, Vancouver
Biking the Stanley Park Seawall!

While spending a few days in Vancouver, Stanley Park is a must-visit. It’s the most popular park in the city! Stanley Park is actually 405 hectares, which makes it the largest urban park in British Columbia. In fact, it’s actually larger than Central Park in New York, the most famous urban park in the world!

There is a lot to see and do in Stanley Park including visiting the Vancouver Aquarium, relaxing at Second Beach or Third Beach, swimming at the outdoor pool, learning some history at the Stanley Park Totem Poles, or drinking at Stanley Park Brewing. Stanley Park is really big and there is actually a road that runs through the park, so be sure to allow enough time!

My personal favorite way to explore is to bike the Stanley Park seawall. The cycle trail around the Stanley Park sea wall is 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) long and takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to cycle at a moderate pace. There are many different bicycle shops near the entrance to Stanley Park where you can rent a bike. Expect to pay around $20 CAD for an hour-and-a-half rental.

You can also join a sightseeing tour in Vancouver on a bike. This particular bicycle tour includes cycling around Stanley Park but also includes going to a few other main attractions such as Gastown, Chinatown, and taking the Aqua Ferry over to Granville Island!

And the best part? It is a full-day guided tour of Stanley Park that doesn’t cost much more than you would pay for a bicycle rental for the day! Plus, you’ll get to learn some interesting information and facts about the areas that you are visiting.

3. Hike to Quarry Rock and explore Deep Cove

A lady stands on a rock and looks out at the view on the Quarry Rock Trail in Vancouver
Not a bad view!

Quarry Rock is arguably the most popular easy hike in Vancouver. For that reason, I recommend trying to go during the week and avoiding the middle of the day.  

Starting from the cute little area in Deep Cove, North Vancouver, this out-and-back hike will take about 1.5 hours to complete. It starts with a bit of an incline and then levels out to a few moderate ups and downs throughout.

This hike is mostly through the forest and has stairs, boardwalks, and bridges to help you navigate over the streams and rocky sections. It is quiet and beautiful along the trail, with lots of forest views along the way. You’ll end up at the lookout point, Quarry Rock, which overlooks the Indian Arm inlet. The views are stunning so get your camera ready!

When you’re ready to head back, turn around and retrace your steps back to the quaint town of Deep Cove. The best part of this hike? The post-hike treats at Honey Doughnuts, who are Vancouver famous – you won’t be disappointed!

Getting there: Deep Cove is a short drive from Vancouver’s downtown area but parking is very limited so it’s best to take the bus. Bus 211 is the direct bus from Burrard Station which takes to Deep Cove with no transfers.

4. Go to a summer market 

Bailey with some food at the Richmond Night Market, Vancouver
Crayfish fried chicken taco at the Richmond Night Market!
Arial view of the Richmond Night Market
The Richmond Night Market is huge!

Exploring a summer market can be a lot of fun and a great way to meet locals and engage with the culture! 

The largest market in the Vancouver area is the Richmond Night Market, located close to the Bridgeport SkyTrain Station in Richmond, about twenty minutes south of the downtown core. It is a hugely popular, sprawling, and diverse Asian market, with lots of authentic food, a huge variety of shopping, and a fun, festive atmosphere. 

They are open from the end of April through to early October and are open from 7 pm to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, and from 7 pm to 11 pm on Sundays and holiday Mondays. They do have free parking available but it fills up quickly. There is also a gate admission price, but it is only $7 CAD, with seniors and young children receiving free admission. 

Or opt for the $35 CAD Zoom Pass that allows you 6 entries and the ability to skip the general admission line. It works for multiple entries and multiple people, depending on how you split up the pass.  

Ladies cook at the The Greek Festival in downtown Vancouver!
Yummy! The Greek Festival in downtown Vancouver!

A farmer’s market is a great place to get quality local ingredients, reduce your impact, and support the local community, and Vancouver has many to choose from! Ensure that you look through this list of open farmer’s markets and their hours before you go, as many of them are only open one day a week, and all have limited hours. The locations are all around the city, though, from False Creek, the West End, and Kitsilano, to Hastings Park, Mount Pleasant, and Riley Park. 

If you want to find fresh and delicious seafood, I highly recommend a trip to the Fisherman’s Wharf. From anywhere on Granville Island, simply walk down to the water and you’ll find a sign directing you to the Fisherman’s Wharf. If you’re there at the right time you can meet the fishermen right on their boats and purchase that morning’s catch right from them. Typically the boats arrive at or near noon and stay for a few hours, or until they are sold out, so arrive in the early afternoon and you won’t miss them!

Along Robson Street, downtown Vancouver, there’s an upscale, pop-up market called the Outdoor Summer Market #onRobson. It includes a curated list of vendors, some of which are food, while others carry a variety of wares from different local brands and artisans. It can be found somewhere near 700 Robson Street each Saturday in August, and while they move a few blocks on different days, they have food trucks and live music present, so they’re never difficult to find.

Lastly, is the huge range of cultural markets/festivals that are usually on. One of my favorites is the Vancouver Greek Summerfest (pictured above.) This is held in July over two weekends and is a really cool event to attend!

Related Read: If you’re up for a trip to Vancouver Island, the majestic trees in Cathedral Grove are beautiful to see in the summer!

5. Visit Granville Island

Bailey eats a hotdog at the Granville Island Public Market
Bailey walks around Granville Island
Exploring Granville!

No trip to Vancouver in the summer is complete without checking out Granville Island. For first-time visitors, Granville Island is an island accessed by either boat or car right in the downtown area. There is so much to see and do on Granville Island but my favorite is the bustling market!

The market offers really fresh produce, meat, fish, souvenirs, as well as many stalls where you can have a delicious meal. There is literally so much food at the Granville Island Markets; it’s a great place to go for lunch!

Other things to do on Granville Island include shopping, watching street performers, going to the kid’s markets, or even checking out Granville Island Brewing.

To really explore the market to its fullest I’d recommend checking out this VIP access guided tour especially if it’s your first time visiting. You’ll be shown around the market in a small group and get to taste at least 20 delights from the market’s best spots! This tour costs $186 CAD and is thought to be one of the best culinary experiences on Granville Island!

To get here, you can book a Granville Island tour or take a taxi or bus.

However, the most popular (and most fun) way to get to Granville is riding the Aquabus Ferry from the city center.

The ferry runs continually throughout the day and will pick you up from a couple of different stops in the city and take you right to Granville Island. The ferry costs around $5 CAD and only accepts cash unless you buy your tickets online and the price will vary depending on the departure dock. Not only is it a method of public transport – it’s a fun thing to do on its own!

6. Visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge

Capilano Suspension Bridge
Capilano Suspension Bridge!

Visiting the Capilano Suspension Bridge is another iconic summer activity in Vancouver. The Capilano Suspension Bridge is located only a 20-minute drive from Vancouver city center.

The Capilano Suspension Bridge is the name of the entire area (including the huge bridge). Here, you can explore various trails through the forest and read information boards about the area. You’ll also embark on a treetop walk including crossing various hanging bridges. There’s also a pretty cool (and scary if you’re afraid of heights) glass-floor lookout.

This is one of the most popular things to do in Vancouver in summer (or any season really!). To help control the flow of traffic, tickets must be purchased in advance and you will select a time slot for entry, within a 30-minute window. I recommend getting there early so there are fewer people!

You only need an hour or two to explore but the entrance fee is rather expensive at $66 CAD for adults. But, they have lots of other fun activities so it’s more than just a suspension bridge! To sweeten the deal they run a free shuttle from downtown, so you don’t have to worry about getting there if you don’t have a car.

If you still aren’t sure if you’d like to visit, you can read our honest review of the Capilano Suspension Bridge to see if it’s worth it. But just know – a visit to the Capilano Suspension Bridge is not only fun but also romantic and the perfect activity for couples or anybody on a Vancouver honeymoon.

7. Rent a boat in Coal Harbor

A group of friends go boating in Vancouver Harbor
Off we go! This is a really fun day out!

One of the best things to do with friends in Vancouver during summer is to rent a boat in Coal Harbor. I did this one summer and had so much fun exploring Indian Arm. The coastline around Vancouver is so beautiful and we even stopped for a swim – although the water is really cold!

It costs around $200 CAD for a two-hour rental in the speed boat pictured above and you can fit up to 6 people on board. You can bring a cooler with drinks and some music but be sure to pack sunscreen. Although you don’t need a boat license to do this activity, every rental comes with one temporary license for the driver, some experience is recommended.

You can rent the boat for as little as 1 hour, however, I wouldn’t recommend getting one for any less than 2 hours. Without more time, you simply can’t get out of the busy harbor and into the quieter, more beautiful parts of Indian Arm.

We rented from Coal Harbour Boat Rentals and had a good experience with this company. In the middle of summer, be sure to book your rental in advance – especially on weekends!

Overall renting a boat in Coal Harbor was a fun afternoon and an activity in Vancouver I really recommend.

8. Sunset Harbour Dinner Cruise

Bailey and Daniel on a sunset cruise in Vancouver, BC
The views were spectacular!
Bailey with a bottle of wine oin a sunset cruise in Vancouver, BC
I got a little too close to the wine!

Doesn’t a sunset cruise in Vancouver just sound fantastic? Nothing quite says you’re on holiday like dinner, drinks, and a magical Vancouver sunset, all while out on the water!

A cruise on the harbor is fun on its own (and there are many different types of cruises to choose from in Vancouver), but to me, this sunset cruise, complete with dinner and drinks, was my favorite. I loved the cruise so much that I decided to take my mom the last time she visited Vancouver.

The cruise set sail from the wharf near Coal Harbour during the summer months only. We first headed under the Lions Gate Bridge and out to Kitsilano. As the sun began to set, we enjoyed a delicious buffet dinner complete with local salmon, roast beef, vegetables, salads, and more. Honestly, it was a fantastic dinner. Chocolate cake and cheesecake for dessert was also the perfect way to finish it all off.

We washed it down with a few too many wines, and by the time the cruise was over, we had made some beautiful memories with even better views. Oh, and did I mention the live music on board?

The sunset cruise cost us $211 CAD, and considering the dinner was included and the service fee, the sunset cruise was good value. It does have limited spaces, so be sure to book in advance so you don’t miss out.

9. Go rock climbing

A man rock climbs in Canada

For an adrenaline-inducing adventure, try rock climbing while you’re in Vancouver in the summertime. The busy city is nestled between the towering mountains and the coast, meaning that there are many breathtaking trails, hikes, and, best of all, climbing spots! 

Less than half an hour from the downtown core, West Vancouver boasts two of the most iconic climbing destinations. 

First, Cypress Falls Park and Lighthouse Park are easily found by following signs off exit 4 of the Hwy 1/BC-99 N, and are less than half an hour from downtown Vancouver.

Cypress Falls is a large trail system that offers several very popular climbing routes, including a few boulders. It’s highly recommended to go in the mid to late summer when it hasn’t rained in at least a week. Even if the rocks aren’t safe to climb when you are there, it is still a beautiful place to explore. 

At Lighthouse Park, the view from the seaside cliff is absolutely stunning. It’s a smaller park, where the climbing buffs are a 10-minute walk from the parking area. The boulders can be a little bit busy, especially around sunset. 

If you can drive a few hours from Vancouver, some world-famous climbs can be found up the Sea to Sky Highway (also known as BC-99), in Squamish and Whistler. The highway itself is one-of-a-kind and may be worth your time if you haven’t driven through the Rocky Mountains before. 

More information, classes, and guided adventures can be found on the Mountain Skill Academy website

10. Ride the Sea to Sky Gondola

The Sea to Sky Gondola travels up the mountain near Squamish in BC, Canada
On the way up!
Bailey stands on a viewing platform at the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola with a mountain backdrop in Squamish, BC

We absolutely loved visiting the Sea to Sky Gondola located just outside of Vancouver on the road near Squamish. The views were out of this world and the gondola ride was very affordable considering how far up the mountain it took us! For only $71 CAD you can catch the gondola up to a ridge next to Mount Habrich.

The Sea to Sky Gondola is located in Squamish about a 45-minute drive from Vancouver. It’s one of three gondolas in the Vancouver area and totally worth the trip! The drive itself is very scenic and a worthwhile activity on its own. Also, Squamish is considered one of the best places to visit from Vancouver.

If you don’t have your own transport, there are also day tours available from Vancouver. This tour from Vancouver includes transport to and from the Sea to Sky Gondola (as well as your gondola ticket) before continuing to Whistler and the stunning Brandywine Falls. It’s an epic day trip that any mountain lover will enjoy.

Related Read: Heading to Whistler for a few days? Check out our blog about where to stay in Whistler!

11. Take a Zodiac boat tour to Bowen Island

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie while on a zodiac tour to Bowen Island from Vancouver
Exploring on a zodiac tour!

Being surrounded by water, there’s no better thing to do in Vancouver in summer than take a boat tour! We took a Zodiac boat tour on our last visit, and I can’t believe we didn’t do it sooner. Zodiac boats are large inflatable boats that are used for nature excursions, so they are more durable than your average inflatable boat.

We joined this Zodiac boat tour out to Bowen Island, which is on the other side of the Burrard Inlet. It took off at the golden hour, so the views of the Lions Gate Bridge and Siwash Rock were simply goregous. Once we got to Bowen Island, we were treated to dinner at Doc Morgan’s and had some amazing homemade pizza. However, the best part was watching the sunset and strolling around Bowen Island’s quaint shop area!

The boat tour, expert commentary from your guide, and dinner are included, but if you want to get a cocktail or beer at dinner be sure to bring some extra money. This tour lasts for 3 hours and is a great night out in Van! It only runs from mid-May through September, so summer truly is the best time to enjoy this activity.

12. Check out local craft breweries

Drinking craft beer at Port Moody, Vancouver
Craft beer in Vancouver!

Craft breweries are popping up all over Vancouver! It’s safe to say the craft beer scene is here to stay and that’s something I can really get behind. There are several different breweries around Vancouver that you can visit, but of course, I have my favorites.

One of my favorites is Granville Island Brewing. Not only are they the closest brewery to where I lived in Vancouver but the beer is delicious! Granville Island Brewing is located on Granville Island (a must-visit place in Vancouver) and they offer a vibrant bar as well as in-depth brewery tours.

Tours in the brewery run every day throughout the summer and cost $12 CAD per person. This fee not only covers your guided tour of the brewery but also a tasting flight of beer at the end!

Another great brewery to visit in downtown Vancouver is Steamworks Brewpub in Gastown. These guys always have the best seasonal beers – I’m still drooling over the Cucumber-flavored beer I had last summer (bring it back!).

If you don’t mind getting a little bit out of the city center you can head to Port Moody. Near Rocky Point Park you’ll find five different craft breweries all next to each other in a place called “Brewers Road” – the perfect for your own self-guided brewery tour. I personally love visiting Twin Sails Brewing, they always have plenty of creative brews on tap.

For real beer lovers though, you need to go to more than just one brewery, so that’s where brewery tours in Vancouver can really come in handy. This behind-the-scenes craft beer tour will take you to a handful of different breweries around the city where you can try tons of local beer. At each brewery, you will get a behind-the-scenes look at how the beer is made – a super cool tour if you ask me! Plus, it includes transport so you can drink as much as you want without having to worry about a designated driver.

13. Attend a summer event 

Canada Day fireworks in Vancouver
Canada Day fireworks in Vancouver!

Vancouver is a city that loves to celebrate, and if you’re here for any of these summer events, be sure to check them out!

On Canada Day, July 1st, there are many different events and celebrations all over the city. Canada Place hosts the second-largest event in the country, with outdoor entertainment, like concerts, games, face painting, and demonstrations, and a similar event occurs on Granville Island. There are also amazing fireworks over the water after dark, which can be seen from anywhere with a view over the Vancouver harbor, like the eastern side of Stanley Park, Canada Place, Coal Harbor, Gastown, or even the Lonsdale Quay area in North Vancouver. 

The only festivities that come close to matching Canada Day’s happen during Pride Week. In support, recognition, love, and many rainbows, the city lights up with the LGBTQIA2+ community. Hosted by the Vancouver Pride Society, it occurs the week leading up to BC Day, the first Monday of August. Sunset Beach, a short walk up the coast from English Bay Beach, is the focal point of most of the week, with markets, performers, costumes, and concerts. It is a wonderful, inclusive event, and I definitely recommend attending, no matter who you are! 

The biggest and most extravagant parade of the year, the Vancouver Pride Parade is on the last Sunday and often lasts almost two hours, and starts at noon at Thurlow and Robson. The parade then proceeds west on Robson, south on Denman, then east on Beach Ave, ending at Sunset Beach. I recommend using public transport and arriving on the parade route early to secure a good spot, as hundreds of thousands of people attend, making traffic and parking in downtown Vancouver very difficult. 

In the summer, Vancouver and surrounding cities also celebrate Car-Free days, when specific streets are blocked to vehicle traffic, and the community is welcomed onto the street for games, entertainment, shopping, and food trucks. In Vancouver, there are Car-Free days on Denman, Main Street, Commercial Drive, and Kitsilano throughout the summer, some on Father’s Day in June, and others in August. Check the Car-Free Days website in the summer for details and locations!

14. Snorkel and kayak in Howe Sound

A a boat tour in Howe Sound, Vancouver
In Howe Sound with Sea Dragon Charters! Photo credit: Sea Dragon Charters

If you want to be right on the water, Howe Sound is perfect! There are kayak or canoe rentals, and guided tours, and it’s less busy than the famously bustling Burrard Inlet, meaning that you will see much more wildlife! 

Unless you have a boat of your own, you’ll need a tour to snorkel or kayak on the Howe Sound! This five-hour boat tour with Sea Dragon Charters promises that you will be among the harbor seals. They include all equipment including a wetsuit for the cold water and don’t require any previous experience kayaking or snorkeling, just that you know how to swim.

The seals are very friendly and they will likely want to come over and check you out. Don’t be scared though, so long as you let the seals have space they are very gentle. There is also a sightseeing option available if you want to stay dry, but with sea lions in the water, why would you want to do that?!

Sightseeing only tours are $110 CAD and snorkeling/kayaking tours are $160 CAD. Both are fantastic ways to experience Howe Sound, in my opinion!

15. Drive the Sea to Sky Highway

View out the window of a car on the Sea to Sky highway outside of Vancouver at sunset
The Sea to Sky Highway!
Daniel and Bailey take a self at Shannon Falls on the Sea to Sky Highway
Shannon Falls!

The Sea to Sky Highway is one of the most scenic road trips in Canada. The most popular section travels from Vancouver to Whistler and along the way, there are plenty of breathtaking places to stop. Over the 120-kilometer (75 miles) trip, there are over 15 places I recommend checking out, however, those short on time shouldn’t miss these highlights:

Shanon Falls: This is the perfect pit stop to have a snack, stretch your legs, and check out some magnificent waterfalls! Shannon Falls is located just south of Squamish, where there is an easy, relatively flat trail to the falls lookout. There is also a paved trail to be accessible for all visitors. The Falls are pretty spectacular at 335 meters (1,099 feet) tall! The ideal time to go is the late spring and summer when winter snow on the neighboring mountains has melted and the falls are at their most powerful.

Stawamus Chief: If you’re looking for an iconic, Instagram-worthy hike to do in the area, the Stawamus Chief has got to be your top choice. It’s very popular with locals and tourists alike. The hike is rated intermediate, but depending on the route you go, it can be longer or shorter (2.5 hours on average).

Brandywine Falls: Not to be outdone by Shannon Falls is the other must-see waterfall on this list: the stunning 70-meter (230-foot) Brandywine Falls. It can be seen from a viewpoint that is just a quick 1 km (0.6 mi) walk away from the parking area. Brandywine Falls is truly gorgeous and well worth checking out if you ask me. Don’t skip this top attraction on the Sea to Sky Highway. 

As you can see, this is easily one of the best summer road trips you can do from Vancouver. Others include Vancouver to Hope and even Vancouver all the way to Calgary. If you don’t want to drive, some amazing tours of the Canadian Rockies start and finish in Vancouver!

16. Walk the Vancouver Seawall

Bailey walks along the Vancouver Seawall
A lady on the Vancouver Seawall

You’ve heard of the Stanley Park sea wall but have you heard of the Vancouver sea wall? Ok, well they are technically the same thing, however, I know one of the best parts about Vancouver is just taking in the city. So, I wanted to include a walk along the Vancouver sea wall as a great activity that’s easily accessible for those staying in the city center.

It’s no secret Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and the sea wall in False Creek showcases this. Take a walk starting in Creekside Park and walk all the way to Sunset Beach. It’s one of my favorite routes in the city – especially in the summer. You’ll pass Coopers Park, David Lam Park, and George Wainborn Park. All are filled with locals in the summer playing sports and just enjoying the outdoors!

If you want, bring some drinks with you as a reward when you make it to Sunset Beach. It’s not a long walk but you deserve it!

17. Mount Seymour Provincial Park

The view from the Mount Seymour trail in Mount Seymour Provincial Park
The view from the top of the Mount Seymour Trail

You really don’t have to travel far from Vancouver CBD to surround yourself with nature. Mount Seymour Provincial Park is located only 30 minutes from Vancouver and is a gorgeous place to visit. Within the park, you can enjoy spectacular views of Vancouver city and enjoy a hike.

A very popular short trail is the Goldie and Flower Lake Loop. The trail starts at the ski area and visits the small lakes on Mount Seymour. If you’re looking for a challenge, consider summiting Mount Seymour. This is an epic trail that takes you to the highest point in the park. In summer, it’s very popular as it’s one of the best hikes near Vancouver!

Other things to do in Mount Seymour Provincial Park include going downhill mountain biking, biking the access road up and down, having a picnic, and spotting wildlife. Even if you don’t want to hike, it’s worth just driving up Mount Seymour. You never know what you might see!

Although you’re not far from Vancouver, there are bears around Mount Seymour. So for your safety, always carry bear spray and make lots of noise!

18. Go hiking in Golden Ears Provincial Park

The view of a river with a mountain backdrop in Golden Ears Provincial Park, BC
Golden Ears Provincial Park is a gorgeous place to explore just outside of Vancouver!

One of the largest provincial parks in BC is Golden Ears Provincial Park. It’s home to breathtaking scenery only 60 minutes from downtown Vancouver and tons of hiking trails any outdoor lover will love! One of my favorites is the trail to Gold Creek Falls.

The Gold Creek Falls hike is pretty easy, with minimal elevation gain. You can start right from the parking lot and head towards the trail. The views are typical for this area as a west coast rainforest – dense trees and moss-blanketed forest floor.

After 15 minutes of hiking, you’ll see Gold Creek on your left as well as views of the mountains all around. You’ll likely hear the falls before seeing them! Once at the Gold Creek Falls, enjoy the sound of rushing water before continuing on to complete the loop.

If you really want a challenge, one of the hardest hikes in the park is Evans Peak. This 18-kilometer (11-mile) return trail takes around 6 hours to complete and takes you high above the valley floor to an epic viewpoint overlooking the provincial park.

There are also lots of other trails in the park including the Golden Ears Trail, Upper Gold Creek Falls, and the Alouette Mountain Trail. Don’t worry if you’re not a hiker either, one of the best things to do in Golden Ears Provincial Park is next on this list and it doesn’t involve hiking!

19. Day trip to Alouette Lake

A lady stands in the water at Alouette Lake with mountain views in BC
How gorgeous is this lake!?

A visit to Alouette Lake makes for a superb summer day trip from Vancouver. Why? Well, first of all, it is huge and ideal for swimming, boating, or even fishing! Second of all, it’s only an hour’s drive from the city!

Alouette Lake is located in Golden Ears Provincial Park, just outside of Vancouver on the road towards Hope.

Here, you’ll find lots of hiking trails, campsites, and of course, the beach at Alouette Lake. Chances are you will love it and won’t want to leave, so maybe take advantage of the campsites and spend a night or two.

Regardless, Lake Alouette is a very unknown thing to do in Vancouver that’s actually more of a local secret than a tourist attraction. But, take my word for it, this place is so beautiful in the summer months!

20. Get lost in Lynn Canyon

Bailey walks on the Lynn Canyon suspension Bridge, Vancouver
So gorgeous!
A waterfall in Lynn Canyon, Vancouver

For an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and a taste of nature, head to Lynn Canyon. Here you’ll find a nature walk that also takes you on one of the most beautiful suspension bridges I have seen. You’ll wander the forest, peer down from the bridge at the river below, and just enjoy the serenity.

Best of all, this is a completely free thing to do in Vancouver!

Because of its price (or lack thereof), Lynn Canyon can be very busy. At times during the summer, there can be multiple busloads of people making what is supposed to be a city escape even more hectic than the streets of Yaletown.

My best advice and a local tip is to go first thing in the morning. Head over to Lynn Canyon early (before 9 am) and you’ll beat the crowds! That is what we did and as we were leaving there was literally a line to cross the suspension bridge.

If you don’t have your own transport, consider this guided tour to Lynn Canyon which includes round-trip transport and your choice of tea or coffee after learning about the local wildlife at the Lynn Valley Ecology Centre and walking across the bridge. It’s also a fantastic way to learn about the flora and fauna of the area, as it’s simply goregous Pacific Northwest outdoors!

21. Cypress Provincial Park

Two people cheers at the top of St Mark's summit in Vancouver

The closest provincial park to Vancouver is the gorgeous Cypress Provincial Park. If you visit in the winter the park is one of Vancouver’s closest ski resorts. However, during summer, the mountain comes alive with hikers, bikers, and sightseers.

One of the best hikes in the park is St Marks (pictured above). This hike is part of the Howe Sound Crest Trail, which is a 30 km (18.6 mi) hike. You will begin the hike in the Cypress Mountain parking lot for downhill skiing and head towards the Howe Sound Crest Trail sign near the chairlift. Follow this until you reach a gravel road, turn left, and continue on to the trail. You will see markers along the way.

For an easier trail anyone can complete, try the Bowen Lookout and Yew Lake Loop. At only 4.3 kilometers (2.7 miles), the trail takes just over an hour to complete.

If you’re traveling with family, you should check out some of the paid activities such as the Eagle Coaster. This new activity is super fun and involves riding a gravity-fed roller coaster down the mountainside. Or, take the crew to the Crazy Raven Pub for lunch!

22. Relax at Kitsilano Beach

Kits Beach!
Bailey sits at the Boatshed Restaurant in Kitsilano, Vancouver, BC
Enjoying the view at sunset from The Boatshed.

Kitsilano Beach is my favorite beach in Vancouver. The water here is beautiful and the sand is much cleaner than at Sunset Beach.

But Kitsilano is more than just a beach – it’s a neighborhood filled with trendy bars, restaurants, and shops. There are seriously so many amazing restaurants in Kits that you’ll have a hard time choosing just one. Going for a stroll on the beach for sunset and then heading out for dinner and drinks afterward is a perfect way to spend an evening in Vancouver.

There are also lots of activities in Kitsilano including the waterfront public swimming pool, kayaking, biking, the farmers’ markets, as well as the Maritime Museum. Take a walk along the water, and head all the way to Jericho Beach and explore a part of Vancouver that most don’t!

In summer in Vancouver, Kitsilano is the place to be!

23. Go whale watching

Orcas swim through the waters near Vancouver, Canada
Orcas are beautiful creatures!

Did you know that whale watching was one of the best tours in Vancouver?! There is a huge variety of whales you can see without having to venture too far off the mainland. The most common types of whales you’ll spot are Humpbacks and Orcas, but you’ll also likely see seabirds, otters, and seals!

Taking a whale watching tour in Vancouver is a must on your summer visit.

This particular whale-watching tour is our top choice, as they offer a guarantee to see whales. If you don’t see any on your tour, you can come back and do it again for free – what a service!

This tour has a heated indoor cabin and great outdoor viewing decks, so even if the weather isn’t favorable (which is common in Van), you can still have a great experience. You’ll also learn about the history of the area and marine life as you cruise around. This tour is on a catamaran boat, which I love because they are much more stable and you’re less likely to get seasick.

The best time of year to go whale watching in Vancouver is from May to October, but this tour is available from April through early November. With over 3,000 reviews on Viator, this tour is definitely popular and should be booked in advance. It is $236 CAD for a full 5-hours of whale-watching.

24. Visit English Bay

English Bay Beach, Vancouver
English Bay Beach is also a vibrant place!

English Bay Beach (often called First Beach) is the most popular beach right in the city – which is no surprise, it’s simply stunning! You can go for a swim, just enjoy the views, play volleyball, or even eat at one of the nearby restaurants.

If you would like to try a local favorite head to the Cactus Club. This popular restaurant and bar is a top choice for those wanting great food and a vibrant atmosphere.

English Bay is in the city so it’s easily accessible on foot, by public transport, or even by bicycle! In fact, if you plan on cycling the Stanley Park Sea Wall a short stop at English Bay Beach is a great place to start.

25. Enjoy some sunshine at George Wainborn Park and David Lam Park

David Lam Park in Vancouver on a gorgeous summer day
How beautiful is David Lam Park? Photo credit: Shawn.ccf from Bigstock

Two of my favorite parks in the downtown area are George Wainborn Park and David Lam Park. Both are in the beautiful neighborhood of Yaletown right on the water.

In the summer, these parks are fun places to hang out and enjoy what living in Vancouver is all about. It’s a social place with an electric atmosphere and the perfect place to come for a picnic. Grab yourself some takeaway and come down to enjoy the long summer days and beautiful green spaces.

26. Go wine tasting

Bailey tastes wine at Backyard vineyards near Vancouver
More wine please!
Bailey enjoys a wine tasting at a winery near Vancouver, Canada
Ahh the perfect summer does exist!

This is one of my personal favorite activities to do in Vancouver during summer! Anyone who knows me knows that I love wine, and the only thing I love more than wine is wine tours!

The Fraser Valley just outside of Vancouver is a beautiful wine region producing some really tasty wines. A wine tour to the Fraser Valley will take you around to some of the best wineries and you get to sample all of the wine for yourself! Sounds like a good day if you ask me!

This Fraser Valley Wine tour is a five-hour tour that costs $165 CAD and takes you to five different wineries where you can try at least 12 samples of boutique wines. A light lunch such as a charcuterie platter is also included. The tour departs near Canada Place so all you have to worry about is getting there and having a brilliant day!

Related Read: If you are a wine lover, be sure to make the journey from Vancouver to Kelowna to explore some of the best wineries around Kelowna – there are a ton!

27. Ride in a seaplane

Vancouver city view of the False Creek area from a float plane tour
Flying into Vancouver on a seaplane!

If you ever spend some time watching the Vancouver Harbour you’ll notice all of the seaplanes taking off and landing. In Vancouver, taking a scenic seaplane ride is one of the most popular things to do.

There are a couple of different options when it comes to your seaplane experience. You can choose to take a scenic city tour, which lasts about 20 minutes and gives you the chance to learn all about Van – but from the sky! We did this same tour and had a blast.

Or you can use your seaplane expedition to travel from Vancouver to Tofino, Whistler, or even Seattle! Do keep in mind that the Whistler option is only available from May to September, as you need decent weather to land the seaplane.

However, the most unique experience is this seaplane and whale watching tour for a really special day! You’ll fly from Van to Victoria, then hop in a boat and go whale watching, and you can choose whether to stay in Victoria or fly back to the mainland. I recommend staying in Victoria if your schedule allows, as there are a ton of fun things to do here!

Prices range depending on the tour but start at $168 CAD. The planes typically depart in the harbor but sometimes they leave from the Richmond airport only a short drive away.

We recently were able to ride on a Vancouver seaplane tour and it was TOTALLY worth it. It was one of our favorite experiences in the city. Because of the popularity of seaplane tours be sure to book online in advance.

28. Visit Whistler

Bailey on the Sky Bridge at the top of the Peak to Peak Gondola in Whistler after a Via Ferrata Tour
On a beautiful day, this is one of the best activities in Whistler, BC

If you’ve never been to Whistler before, it’s about time to go! Whistler is the cutest mountain town that’s famous for skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and hiking and mountain biking in the summer!

But, there are so many things to do in Whistler that you’re guaranteed to find something fun to keep you busy! In fact, just wandering along the pedestrian street in the Village is a fun way to spend a couple of hours.

It takes about 2 hours to get from Vancouver to Whistler driving. You drive along the Sea to Sky Highway which is a very scenic drive – you’ll likely stop a lot for photos so allow extra time. If you think it’s a little rushed then consider staying a night or two in Whistler to truly explore the area.

If you don’t have your own transport you can visit Whistler on a tour from Vancouver. I really like this guided day tour. because it includes a stop at the Sea to Sky Gondola (that I mentioned above on #10) as well as Whistler and the stunning Brandywine Falls.

29. Go overnight hiking in Garibaldi Provincial Park

Bailey poses for a photo on the edge of Garibaldi Lake
No, we did not go swimming!

One of the most amazing overnight camping trips I have had in Canada was a hiking trip up to Garibaldi Lake located in Garibaldi Provincial Park. This stunning provincial park is home to untouched wilderness, tall mountain peaks, and glacier-fed lakes. It’s breathtaking, to say the least.

The Garibaldi Lake Trail is the most popular hike in the park and a must-do for overnight hike enthusiasts. This hike is rated intermediate, but with 820 meters (2,690 feet) of elevation gain, it’s definitely quite a challenge for a lot of people! The trail is also 9 kilometers (5.6 miles) each way and takes around 3 to 4 hours to hike up from the parking lot to the campsite.

Once there, it’s popular to head off on other trails such as Black Tusk and Panorama Ridge. Both are optional add-ons and the reason staying a night or two at Garibaldi Lake is a good idea.

Of course, due to its popularity, you need to book your campsites in advance. At worst, you could hike up to the lake and back down in a day, however, spending the night is highly recommended!

30. Visit Vancouver Island

Bailey walks in front of the Legislative Building in Victoria BC
The architecture is so beautiful!

If you don’t have time to explore Vancouver Island for a few days it doesn’t mean you can’t visit on a day trip! There are some excellent tours to get to Victoria from Vancouver and back again.

One of the best things to do in Victoria is to visit the world-famous Butchart Gardens. These gardens are nothing short of phenomenal and will likely be the most beautiful gardens you’ve ever seen. In order to get to the gardens, you’ll have to ride the ferry over to the island. It is about a 4-hour ferry ride and then the gardens are only an hour’s drive away.

You can go on your own, or you can book a Butchart Gardens tour from Vancouver. There are tours that take you on the ferry and then there are some tours that actually fly there! The flight tours are more expensive but the scenic ride over to the island is an experience in itself, not to mention it is way quicker!

Entrance to the gardens is $36.50 CAD but be sure to bring extra money in case you want to have lunch, a glass of wine, or buy a souvenir!

If you have more time, there are plenty of great multi-day Vancouver Island tours that depart directly from Vancouver. These are a great option if you don’t have your own transport (Vancouver Island is HUGE and you’ll need to be able to get around) not to mention, that tours mean you don’t need to do any planning!

Alternatively, book the BC Ferry, a couple of hotels, and explore Vancouver Island on your own road trip! Be sure to check out Tofino as it is one interesting beach town that you’re guaranteed to love! I also really enjoy all of the fun things to do in and around Courtenay.

31. Watch an outdoor movie

Stanley Park Outdoor Theater in summer in Vancouver
We watched Zoolander!

What better way to soak up summer than by taking your movie night outdoors? There are a surprisingly large number of outdoor theaters in Vancouver with one of the most popular at Stanley Park.

The Stanley Park Summer Cinema has a huge range of free outdoor movie showings in the summer. They’re usually held in July and August every weekend – perfect if you’re planning on visiting Vancouver for the weekend.

Another popular place is the Sunset Cinema at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza. The dates and schedule change from year to year, so be sure to check the updated schedule on their website before you go!

A third choice would be the Summer Movie Nights in the Square take place in front of the Vancouver Arts Gallery on the 800 block of Georgia Street. They show movies almost every Thursday night in July and August at 9 pm but there are also pre-show activities going on as early as 4 pm.

Watching an outdoor movie is one of our favorite night activities in Vancouver, read our full list for more ideas!

32. Go kayaking in False Creek

Kayaking at False Creek in Vancouver
Kayaking at False Creek in Vancouver

False Creek is a narrow inlet in the center of Vancouver. It separates areas such as Yaletown and The West End with Olympic Village and Granville Island. You’ll certainly see lots of False Creek while in Vancouver, but one of the best things to do is go kayaking!

The calm waters of False Creek offer incredible views of Vancouver city, including the Stadium. From many different areas around the city, you can jump on a kayak and explore False Creek on a nice leisurely ride.

In False Creek, it is also common to see seals! If you’re lucky, they may swim up not too far from your kayak. But besides seals, you’ll also be able to spot a variety of birds and fish.

You can rent your kayaks from a few different locations around Vancouver. My local recommendation is in Olympic Village, where Creekside Kayaks can hook you up for $25 CAD per hour for a single kayak or $50 CAD per hour for a double kayak. Rentals are available from 11 am to 6 pm from mid-May to the end of September.

Or, head to Kitsilano Beach, where Vancouver Water Adventures will rent you a kayak for $40 CAD for two hours. It’s slightly cheaper, but this is the outer area of False Creek, and I much prefer the Olympic Village area. Plus, if you choose the Olympic Village, after your kayak, you can explore the area which is conveniently next on this list!

For the keen kayaker: Want to get out and explore further? Join this guided kayaking and SUP tour. It takes you by boat to an island in Howe Sound, where you can then explore by kayak! This area is stunning and a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a couple of hours.

33. Vanier Park

Vanier Park, Vancouver
Another beautiful park in Vancouver! Photo credit: Shawn.ccf from Bigstock

Last on this fun list of things to do in Vancouver during summer is Vanier Park. This large park is a mix between greenspace and city living with plenty to see and do.

Located within the park is the well-known Museum of Vancouver which tells the story of the area from the First Nations people until now. It’s an interesting look at Vancouver’s history. Another museum you’ll find in the park is the Vancouver Maritime Museum. Although I have actually never visited, the museum has great reviews.

The best thing to do in Vanier Park though is just take a stroll and enjoy the magnificent views and relaxing atmosphere. In summer, the park gets really busy. If you’re with your furry friend, take them to the dog park to mingle with other dogs or just sit by the water.

Where to Stay in Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver city skyline
Vancouver skyline

Vancouver is one of the most popular cities in Canada. The fact is that in the summer and winter, the city books up in advance very fast! Booking your hotel or hostel well in advance is the only way to secure the best place to stay for you!

Some great hotels and hostels in Vancouver that we love are:

Hyatt Regency Vancouver – $$$

Can’t decide whether you’d prefer to stay near Stanley Park or Gastown? Well, the Hyatt Regency might just be right for you, as it’s located right between them! Rooms here enjoy gorgeous floor-to-ceiling windows that help to bring in light and there is a small fridge, work desk, and toiletries in the bathroom too.

You can also conveniently enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner at their beautiful Mosaic Bar and Grill just off the lobby. As you can imagine, it’s a luxury stay in a large hotel chain that is highly reviewed! So if you’re looking to celebrate something special, or just fancy taking your vacation to a whole new level, then staying here will definitely do the trick.

I’ve seen a one-night stay at the Hyatt Regency going as low as $232 CAD per night, although the rooms here on average are more around the $300-$500 CAD mark. So, for the best price, don’t forget to reserve your room in advance.

Times Square Suites – $$

For a beautiful hotel close to Stanley Park, the Times Square Hotel is a fantastic choice! It’s very hard to fault this hotel, and the location really is perfect. The fully equipped kitchens and gas fireplaces are a nice touch in all of the rooms, plus the suites have living rooms and a washer and dryer.

For being pretty affordable, it has a lot of amenities, which is just one of the reasons we love staying here! You can book a room here from $232 CAD per night, but as this is a popular stay, I recommend checking your dates and booking ahead of time to secure your preferred room type!

The Cambie Hostel Gastown – $

The Cambie Hostel is a great budget-friendly hostel that’s located right in the heart of Gastown and close to lots of bars and restaurants and attached to the hostel is a very lively bar too. The rooms are clean, although the bathrooms are a little on the small side (part of the fun when you’re staying cheap, though!).

It’s perfect for backpackers on a budget and is considerably cheaper than others offering comparable quality. A bed in a dorm here starts at around $50 CAD, and you can book a stay here through or

Didn’t find exactly what you’re looking for? Click here to browse all hotels in Vancouver!

For more info on the best areas and hotels, check out my complete guide on where to stay in Vancouver. It breaks down everything you need to know before choosing the right hotel!

Renting a Car in British Columbia

A rural road with Mt Currie in the background
Road trips are the best way to explore Canada!

If you’re arriving in British Columbia via plane, then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. British Columbia is a large province, and traveling between the best places to visit in BC requires transport. Although you can use public transport on some occasions, this means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.

Car rental in Canada isn’t relatively cheap, but it’s not that expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with a pick-up and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though, depending on the time of year. For car rentals, I use the website Discover Cars. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used Discover Cars all over the world, including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia. Read my honest review of Discover Cars here for more details!

Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic, you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!

Thanks for reading!

Daniel and Bailey try beer from Steamworks Brew Pub on a Vancouver brewery Tour
Thanks for reding!

As you can tell from the list above, Vancouver is a top summer destination in British Columbia. The surrounding landscape and greenspaces within the city are perfect for enjoying the gorgeous weather and long days.

Thanks so much for reading our guide to Vancouver in the summer. I hope it’s helped plan your upcoming visit and take the stress out of visiting a new city. If it has, be sure to browse around some more or check out these other awesome Vancouver blogs:

32 BEST Things to do in Vancouver When it Rains

25 BEST Stops on the Drive from Vancouver to Banff: Road Trip Itinerary

22 BEST Places to Visit and See on Vancouver Island

10 BEST Vancouver to Banff Tours By Train, Bus, and Shuttle!