A dream destination for adventurers, the best outdoor activities in Vancouver are things you’ll usually find on rural retreats – not in a city of millions.
Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or a nature lover, my list of fun outdoor activities will get you out and about.
Let’s break down Vancouver outdoor activities one by one.
Best Outdoor Activities in Vancouver BC
Go Whale Watching
The mother of all top outdoor activities in Vancouver – best Vancouver whale-watching tours have up to 90% success rate in spotting whales.
From March to October, the waters around Vancouver are known for hosting killer whales, humpback whales, and grey whales – offering once-in-a-lifetime wildlife right on the city’s doorstep.
Each tour is lead by a knowledgeable naturalist on a modern, sturdy boat.
This is one of the best things to do in Vancouver with kids also.
Go on an Epic Electric Bike Tour
Ditch the car and hop on electric bikes for an effortless journey, tailored to accommodate all fitness levels.
In a small group of up to eight riders, you’ll traverse Vancouver’s scenic bike trails, starting with the renowned Stanley Park Seawall.
Discover the perfect blend of history and modernity as you explore charming neighborhoods like Gastown and Chinatown.
Like the idea a lot? Check out my post on the top Vancouver bike tours for the full selection
Did you know that Vancouver in winter is a haven for snowshoeing?
Our secluded winter wonderland, only a short half-hour drive from downtown Vancouver, is found at Seymour Mountain.
If you’re visiting and don’t have your snowshoes, you can take a small group guided tour and leave the equipment (and the navigation!) to your expert guide.
Whether you’re a beginner or experienced, snowshoeing through the serene winter landscape is a breeze, allowing you to embrace the peacefulness of nature.
Go on a Talking Trees Tour
This top outdoor activity follows the region’s First Nations peoples through legendary Stanley Park.
The interpretive walking tour provides a firsthand perspective on the deep connection and stewardship the Aboriginal people have had with the lands, forests, and oceans for generations.
As you explore the natural beauty of Stanley Park, you’ll gain valuable insights into the rich heritage of the local First Nations.
It’s an enlightening and enriching experience that fosters cultural appreciation and awareness.
Walk the Capilano Suspension Bridge
Unlike typical urban suspension bridges, this outdoor activity showcases the natural beauty of Vancouver’s rainforest surroundings, captivating the hearts of its 800,000 annual visitors.
So, if you’ve ever dreamed of crossing a wobbly bridge amidst breathtaking greenery, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is an unmissable destination that celebrates the essence of Vancouver’s captivating landscape.
Go Skiing at the Local Mountains
Vancouver’s natural beauty remains awe-inspiring, even in colder temperatures.
Skiing the snow-capped mountains surrounding the city and beyond, such as Whistler, Grouse Mountain, or Cypress Mountain, allows visitors to explore the vast urban oasis while enjoying thrilling adventures in the outdoors.
These magnificent peaks not only offer opportunities for skiing but also provide a gateway to thrilling outdoor activities suitable for both beginners and seasoned enthusiasts alike.
Go on a Sea to Sky Gondola Adventure
The Sea to Sky Gondola is a must-visit tourist attraction in Squamish, offering the perfect blend of majestic wonder and thrilling adventure.
As you ascend 885 meters up Mount Habrich in just 10 minutes, the floor-to-ceiling windows provide stunning panoramic views of the turquoise waters of Howe Sound Fjord below and the majestic Coast Mountains and Stawamus Chief above.
With each gondola accommodating only eight people and 20 cars available, the wait is minimal, ensuring a seamless and unforgettable experience.
Try a Food Walking Tour of Vancouver
Embark on a delectable gastronomic adventure in downtown Vancouver with the Walking & Tasting Tour.
Led by a knowledgeable local guide, this unique walking tour introduces you to the city’s diverse cuisine, treating you to mouthwatering tastings of sushi, poutine, ice cream, and a delightful ‘secret dish.’
Beyond satisfying your taste buds, this tour also immerses you in Vancouver’s rich culture and history, as your guide shares fascinating stories along the way.
Like the idea? Check out the rest of our top Vancouver food tours.
Walk Around Granville Island
Granville Island, once an industrial wasteland, has blossomed into Vancouver’s premier artistic and cultural hub since its transformation in the 1970s.
This bustling urban waterfront attracts millions of annual visitors with its renowned Public Market boasting over 50 independent food purveyors, an artisan district featuring top Canadian artists and designers, and diverse cultural venues hosting year-round festivals.
In all, Granville Island thrives as a culinary hotspot with more than 300 businesses.
Explore the City on a Vancouver Craft Brewery Tour
Calling all beer lovers and connoisseurs! Embark on the ultimate Vancouver Craft Brewery Tour, a three-hour adventure that takes you to three of the coolest microbreweries in the city.
Your expert guide ensures a personalized experience as you go behind the scenes, taste incredible beers, and learn about the brewing process from the experts themselves.
With deluxe van transportation from downtown Vancouver, you’ll explore the hottest brewery districts like Brewers Row, Brewery Creek, and Yeast Van, visiting past favorites like Andina Brewing, Bomber Brewing, Strathcona Beer Co., and more.
Get ready for a beer-tasting extravaganza!
Visit The Bloedel Floral Conservatory
Located in Vancouver’s stunning Queen Elizabeth Park, the Bloedel Conservatory is a beloved aviary and conservatory featuring over 120 free-flying birds and 500 tropical plant species in a temperature-controlled ecosystem.
Yes, it’s technically not a Vancouver outdoor activity – but it certainly feels like it is.
You’ll find it in a unique 16,386 square-foot triodesic dome, the conservatory boasts three distinct climactic zones—tropical, sub-tropical, and desert – creating the perfect environment for a diverse range of non-native plants and animals from around the world to thrive.
Prepare to be enchanted by the lively chatter of parrots, cockatoos, and macaws soaring amidst lush tropical trees and plants.
Have Fun At The Gulf Islands Kayak Outing
Experience the ultimate Vancouver kayak tour with a scenic seaplane flight to Salt Spring Island, where highly trained guides await.
Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the Gulf Islands, encountering diverse wildlife like bald eagles, seals, dolphins, and possibly even orcas!
Explore fascinating rock formations and relax at secluded beaches in our top-notch seafaring double kayaks while learning about interconnected ecosystems from your knowledgeable guide.
This is one of the best Vancouver BC outdoor activities if you wanna get on the water.
Try the Wok Around Chinatown Tour
Embark on the ultimate food adventure with the Wok Around Chinatown Tour, a delightful journey through Vancouver’s historic Chinatown led by a local chef.
Immerse yourself in the flavors of the Orient as you explore traditional medicine shops, cookware stores, and a Chinese bakery, uncovering delicious goodies along the way.
Apart from being one of the best food tours in Vancouver, this tour also treats you to the rich culture of Chinatown, visiting iconic landmarks, bustling markets, and the enchanting Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.
The grand finale awaits with a sumptuous dim sum lunch.
Enjoy the 2-Day Victoria & Butchart Gardens Tour
Experience the ultimate 2-Day Victoria & Butchart Gardens Tour from Vancouver, where you’ll be enchanted by the stunning Butchart Gardens with admission included.
After a short sightseeing tour, you’ll stay in a fancy 4-star hotel in the heart of Victoria, giving you the freedom to explore the city and its outdoor activities for the next 24 hours.
To top it all off, your return journey to Vancouver includes a jaw-dropping scenic floatplane ride, making this tour an unforgettable experience.
With round-trip hotel transport from Vancouver taken care of, you can relax and enjoy every moment of this exciting adventure.
Hop on a Vancouver City Helicopter Tour
Experience the best and most affordable helicopter tour for stunning city views in Vancouver.
Your adventure begins with a complimentary shuttle from downtown to the impressive SKY Hangar, where friendly guides will lead you on an exhilarating 30-minute aerial escapade aboard a state-of-the-art helicopter.
From shimmering outdoor coastlines to rugged mountain peaks, this tour will showcase why Vancouver is a dream destination for countless travelers.
Go On A Snowmobile Tour In Whistler
Another top outdoor activity, which is actually outside the city, is the Whistler Wilderness Run Snowmobile Tour, as you glide through the rugged beauty of the Callaghan Valley.
Explore the awe-inspiring 2010 Winter Olympics site, surrounded by picturesque forested hills and frozen lakes, while riding alongside your knowledgeable guide.
Take a moment to soak in the breathtaking British Columbia scenery, capturing unforgettable memories with photos, and treat yourself to a delightful Yukon breakfast cooked on a cozy wood stove.
This tour promises an unforgettable snowmobiling experience in the heart of the Canadian wilderness.
Go on a Small Group Day Trip To Whistler
Experience Vancouver BC outdoor activities – on a Whistler small-group day trip from Vancouver.
With pickup from Vancouver or Richmond, embark on an epic journey through mountainous terrain and past rushing waterfalls, arriving at the world-famous ski destination of Whistler.
Delight in ample time to explore the charming village, and opt for additional tours, including visits to Squamish, Shannon Falls, and the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Center.
Related: Best Day Trips from Vancouver
Discover the Fraser Valley Winery Tour
Discover Langley, the Fraser Valley’s prime winemaking destination, on a delightful half-day guided tour.
Sample the region’s finest wines, learn about the unique history and specialty products of each winery, and savor a delectable lunch at the tour’s conclusion.
Indulge in a personalized experience with a limited group of 11 people, enjoying attentive service and the convenience of hotel pickup and drop-off in a comfortable air-conditioned Mercedes Benz Sprinter van.
How is this an outdoor activity you ask? Well, you’ll get to walk through the vineyards – a unique experience.
Take a Street Art Walking Tour + Craft Coffee
Very few top outdoor activities create the perfect fusion of art and coffee culture.
Join a small group to explore the city’s hippest neighborhoods, starting with a craft coffee from a local roastery.
Admire works by local artists at Beaumont Studios, then venture through Mount Pleasant to witness vibrant street art murals.
With scenic views from Olympic Village and opportunities to try nitro cold brew and lattes at a small-batch roastery, this tour promises an enriching experience where you can interact with local artists and receive personalized attention from your guide.
Join a Seaplane Tour
Whether you’re a visiting tourist or a local seeking unique fun, a Vancouver seaplane tour is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the city’s defining mountain and sea scenery.
The Classic Vancouver Panorama Tour by Seaplane, the most popular and highly-rated option, offers a 20-minute sightseeing ride departing from downtown Vancouver.
Marvel at the breathtaking views of the North Shore Mountains, harbor, Stanley Park, city skyline, surrounding parks, and beaches, all while riding with the world’s largest all-seaplane fleet and North America’s first carbon-neutral airline.
Outdoor Activities Vancouver Runners Up
OK, so I’ve gone through all the Vancouver indoor activities that I’ve personally done, but maybe you’re built different – and maybe you’ve got rainboots and don’t mind getting out there!
Here’s a quick list of secondary options in case you’re still on the fence:
- Jericho Beach: enjoy unobstructed mountain views and family picnics or BBQs
- Pacific National Exhibition: a 15-day extravaganza featuring a diverse array of attractions, including food stalls, midway games, rides, concerts and more
- English Bay: known for hosting the Celebration of Light fireworks festival, English Bay is also the place where the annual polar bear swim takes place
- Steveston: a fishing village that’s got a number of charming souvenir shops and seafood restaurants
Outdoor Activities for Kids in Vancouver
You may want to keep the following outdoor things to do in Vancouver well in mind:
- Locarno Beach: a quiet and quaint beach that’s perfect for a truly peaceful family gathering
- Kids Only Market: from bumper cars to arcades, the Kids Only Market offers a fun experience for children
- Kitsilano Beach: one of Vancouver’s best beaches that includes volleyball, basketball and tennis courts and a playground
- Aquabus Ferries: Serving as water taxis, these charming vessels offer easy access to must-visit attractions like Granville Island, the H.R MacMillan Space Centre, and Science World
?️ Seeing rain on the forecast? Check my top Vancouver indoor activities.
Best Outdoor Activities in Vancouver FAQ
What are the best free outdoor activities in Vancouver?
The best free outdoor activity in Vancouver is taking a walk through Stanley Park. Other free outdoor activities include the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge, the Vancouver Seawall, Jericho Beach, and playing disc golf at Little Mountain.
What are the best outdoor activities in summer in Vancouver?
The top outdoor activities in Vancouver in summer include whale watching, crossing the Capilano Suspension Bridge, going to the city’s top beaches, and visiting Grouse Mountain.
What are the top outdoor activities in Vancouver in winter?
The best activities in Vancouver in winter include skiing at one of the local mountains, visiting the Canyon Lights exhibition at Capilano Suspension Bridge, snowshoeing at Seymour Mountain, visiting Stanley park, and going for a walk along the city’s famous Seawall.
Ready for Some Outdoor Activities in Vancouver BC?
In all, there are a ton of fun outdoor activities in Vancouver.
From scenic walks and thrilling sports to leisurely bike rides and more, the city offers something for everyone to enjoy amidst its stunning natural landscapes.
Whether you’re a local looking for outdoor activities in Vancouver or a traveler seeking unforgettable experiences, I wish you the best of luck!