Lighthouse Park in Vancouver, from the water — Photo courtesy of Natasha John
A day in Vancouver is one for the photo album! Pack your camera, put on your seatbelt and prepare for a day of breathtaking sights and fun things to do! From downtown, set your sights to the north. Do you see those North Shore Mountains? That’s where you’re headed, but not without a slight detour through a luscious rainforest and a visit to one of Vancouver’s most famous attractions.
From downtown, make your way onto West Georgia Street and follow the signs for Stanley Park. As you make your way through the concrete wonders of Coal Harbour, you will soon find yourself at the entrance of Stanley Park.
You can choose to just drive throughout without stopping. The road winds around the park along the ocean and through the urban rainforest: the views from the car are awesome! But it doesn’t take much time to pull over, park and check out the sites. You'll find parking throughout the park, so if there’s one thing in particular that you want to check out, you don’t have to walk far if you don’t want to.
Stanley Park is larger than New York City’s Central Park. At an enormous 1,000 acres, Stanley Park has a ton to do and see! Some points of interest and great photo opportunities in Stanley Park include the Totem Poles, Lookout Point, several well-groomed gardens, beaches, Vancouver Aquarium and the Stanley Park Pavilion. If you’re traveling with small children, the waterpark and miniature railway are also worth checking out.
Driving across Lions Gate Bridge — Photo courtesy of Natasha John
When you’re ready to leave, follow the signs for Lions Gate Bridge. The bridge is an interesting piece of architecture, and the two lions at the entrance of the bridge provide a regal welcome. This bridge connects downtown Vancouver to North and West Vancouver and was built by the Guinness family between 1937 and 1938. The bridge has gone under renovations and was sold to the provincial government of British Columbia in 1955.
While you’re crossing the bridge, look west for a gorgeous view of the Burrard Inlet. Make sure to take a picture for your driver!
After you have reached the other side, you’re going to want to stay in the left hand land and take the exit for West Vancouver. We’re off to Lighthouse Park!
The drive will take you through charming Dundarave Village, where there are lovely cafes and bakeries to grab a quick bite. Temper makes amazing chocolates, croissants and drool-worthy sandwiches. The Bake House is another great choice for home-style soups and sandwiches.
Take a load off at Lighthouse Park. — Photo courtesy of Natasha John
Marine Drive will take you along a winding road that offers a glimpse into how "the other half" live in West Vancouver’s prestigious neighborhoods – large homes and impressive views are just the tip of the iceberg! You will see a brown and white sign at the entrance of Lighthouse Park. After you've parked, look at the map and plan your attack.
You can choose to do a quick walk down to the lighthouse that will take about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how long you stay to check out the view. Or, you can pick a trail that wraps around the park, brings you to the lighthouse and back up to the parking lot. There are a number of lookout points throughout the park to snap a few pictures.
As you drive back downtown, don’t forget to take one last look west as you go back across Lions Gate Bridge. Enjoy the calming sense of serenity before entering the bustle of the city.