Vancouver Waterfront Daycations

Five Awesome Parks

Explore BC

North America’s Largest Parks System

British Columbians are blessed to live a short walk or drive from Mother Nature’s playground that offers some of the world’s best outdoor experiences and sceneries.

The province has the third largest parks system in North America, after Canada’s National Parks and United States’ National Park Service, according to BC Parks.

From pristine waters to misty rainforests, Metro Vancouver offers some of the best day-trip adventures in southwestern British Columbia. 

Here are five quick getaways to enjoy the beauty of the Canadian West Coast year round.  Admission and parking is free at all five parks.

Boundary Bay Regional Park

Boundary Bay

This idyllic park is a hidden gem tucked away in sunny Tsawwassen, adjacent to the U.S. border.  In Coast Salish language, Tsawwassen means “Land Facing the Sea”. 

A year round destination, the park attracts fun and sun seekers, bird watchers, photographers, bikers and walkers. 

On a clear day, the majestic snow-capped Mt. Baker looms on the horizon over Boundary Bay. 

Centennial Beach

Crowds flock to its sandy shores and tidal flats in the summer.

Beach combers can explore the shallow bay bordered on the east by Blaine, Washington, and White Rock and Surrey, British Columbia.   It’s a wheelchair accessible beach.

The large children playground makes it an attractive family destination.  The bay is popular with boaters, kayakers and paddle boarders. 

Dyke Trails

Bird watchers vouched for the park’s diverse bird species – some of the best in the world. 

The wide open 20-km Dyke Trails is perfect for bike riding and walking.  It’s an easy ride on packed gravel path. There are access points at multiple locations along the trail that runs from Centennial Beach to Mud Bay in South Surrey.

Forgot your picnic basket?  Centennial Beach Café offers breakfast, lunch, snack and beverage to satiate your hunger.

Lighthouse Park

Ancient Rainforest

Lighthouse Park, originally known as Point Atkinson is one of the most magical places for forest bathing.

Relax, reflect and rejuvenate in the 75 hectares lush virgin rainforest nestled along the Burrard Inlet coastline in West Vancouver.

Listen to the sounds of nature as you stroll the trails lined with majestic first-growth Douglas Fir, Western Hemlock and Western Red Cedar trees, some reaching heights of 200 feet.

It’s a thriving habitat for birds including hummingbirds, chickadees, oystercatchers, sapsuckers and warblers.

Cliffs and Stunning Vistas

The hiking trails lead to breathtaking vistas of Passage Island, Bowen Island and Howe Sound from various rocky viewpoints, namely, West Beach, Juniper and Eagle.

On a clear day, visitors at Eagle Point can see the Vancouver skyline and University of British Columbia endowment lands on the horizon.

From the viewpoints, it’s can be a perlious hike to the pebble beach and rocky outcrops that jut out into the water.

Use extreme caution on your hike, stay on the trails as the terrain is peppered with cliffs, steep drop-offs, loose rock beds, and  is slippery and muddy especially after the rain.

Culture and History

The park is designated a National Historic Site of Canada, and is known for the Point Atkinson Lighthouse named by Captain George Vancouver in 1792.

The park is open year round.  There are plenty of picnic benches to enjoy lunch.  Dogs are allowed but not camping. 

Some trails transverse steep and hazardous terrain which are not suitable for visitors with limited mobility.

However, they will soon be able to enjoy the park with the new accessible trail, “The Birdsong Path”, which is arelatively flat trail.

New Brighton Park

True Urban Oasis

New Brighton Park, formerly known as the Hastings Town lies hidden away on the south shore of Burrard Inlet in the Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhood. 

The surrounding area was once called “Khanamoot” by the Squamish, Musqueam and Tseil’waututh people who frequent the place to harvest berries and shellfish.   

In the heydays of the 1880s, it was a popular bathing and boating destination.

In 1865, the Brighton Hotel opened as a waterfront resort catering to holidaymakers from New Westminster.  It was also the site of a Japanese internment camp for a brief period during World War II.

Mountains, Inlet & Bridges

East of the park is the Iron Workers Memorial Bridge and on the west is the Port of Vancouver.

Despite its industrial surroundings, this unique outdoor recreation space provides a short escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

It’s a fabulous place to experience the awe-inspiring natural beauty of the North Shore Mountains and the Burrard Inlet. 

Admire the architecture of the 1.3 km long Ironworkers Memorial Bridge while catching a glimpse of trains crossing the adjacent Second Narrows CN Rail Bridge. 

Watch cargo tankers dock and unload at the grain elevators of Cascadia Terminals.


New Brighton is the only park in East Vancouver that has ocean beach access.  It’s a wheelchair accessible park.

The tidal island and salt marsh at the east end of the park provides a critical habitat for birds and marine life including salmon. 

Fishing on the pier and picnicking are popular at the park.  There is a soccer pitch, tennis courts, barbecue and picnic sites, picnic tables, two playgrounds, beaches, and a large fenced off-leash enclosure at the west of the park 

Open water swimming is discouraged as sewage outflow occurs in the area. The 25-metre outdoor heated pool opens from May to September.



Fraser River Park

Gem in the City

This tranquil park lies on the west bank of the Fraser River on Musqueam land in Vancouver’s Kerrisdale /Marpole neighbourhood.

It features an off-leash dog park, a small sandy beach and 4,899 hectare of green space with boardwalks that run along large swathes of tidal marshes. 

The park provides a good representation of moist hot and dry sub-boreal spruce forests including poplar and aider trees.

In the summer, gorgeous Nootka roses permeate the air with their sweet and calming fragrance.

Airplanes and Tugboats

The river ripples with marine traffic.  Watch tugboats haul log booms upriver, and airplanes land at YVR Airport across the water. 

The jetty is a favourite fishing spot especially when the tide is “running”.  The Fraser River is the world’s largest salmon producing river.

Mallards and Canada geese are often seen waddling in the water.  Other birds spotted in the area include chickadees, robins, eagles, finches and sparrows.

Signage and remnants along the trail made reference to the land use, its history, the fauna and flora that thrive the area.

Boardwalks & Sunset

The easy 2.1 km loop trail features boardwalks over marshes and beach areas, and can be completed under 30 minutes.

On a nice day, you can catch a beautiful sunset on the boardwalk or park bench.

East of the park, visitors can see Arthur Laing Bridge and Richmond East. 

A year round destination, perfect for a short stroll, picnic or even kite flying.   Swimming is not recommended. 

The trails are relatively flat and wheelchair accessible.

Garry Point Park

Relaxing Escape

The expansive 74 hectares park welcomes visitors seeking a relaxing escape to its gentle rolling grassy plain fringed by a sandy, log-strewn and rugged coastline.   

Garry Point Park and its surroundings sit on the site of an early 1800s fishing village along the south arm of the Fraser River in southwest Richmond. 

Remnants of the once thriving fish industry can be seen along the “Cannery Row” which runs from Garry Point in the west to the foot of No. 2 Road in the east.   

The park is popular for sightseeing, picnicking, kite flying, bird watching, and access to the waterfront trail and beach.

Food, Views and Kite Flying

Enjoy one of Greater Vancouver’s best fish and chips at Pajos located at the southeast corner of the park.  The fish is fresh, moist and crispy!

The park’s waterfront offers panoramic views of the Fraser River’s South Arm and beyond –  with silhouettes of the Gulf Islands in the distance.

Marine traffic from tug boats to fishing boats and container ships ply the busy waterway.

The park is nestled on a peninsula bordered by water on three sides. 

Its windy atmosphere with minimal trees and structures make the park a kite flyer paradise. It plays host to the annual Pacific Rim Kite Festival.

Nearby Attractions

To visit Steveston Village, take the Steveston Greenway Path.

On route are interesting shops, galleries, restaurants, and historic sites including the Britannia Shipyard and Gulf of Georgia Cannery.  Signage along the path highlights the area’s history.

North of the Garry Point Trail leads you to the West Dyke Trail. The five-kilometre walking and biking path connects to the Terra Nova Park and Natural Area.

Other park attractions include the Japanese Garden, Fisherman’s Memorial sculpture, and Scotch Pond Historic Moorage site.

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