On your first day in Vancouver, slowly easing yourself into the city may be the best way to get a handle on your surroundings and figure out where everything is and how to get there. On your second day, you can either take a road trip to enjoy a cool lake or stay somewhat in the city by getting on a boat and taking a fishing trip. At the end of the evening, you will have built up a strong appetite and to keep things interesting, a night market that's home to handfuls of food vendors and eclectic stalls is a fun way to cap off a weekend in Vancouver.
Kits Beach on a warm day — Photo courtesy of martin108108 (Flickr)
If you want a mix of shaded grassy areas and sunny sandy beaches, Kitsilano Beach and English Bay Beach are two great options. English Bay Beach is slightly more relaxed, while Kitsilano Beach attracts volleyball players and active sportsmen and ladies that are itching to burn some energy. Kits Beach also has a public swimming pool that's a nice alternative to the ocean.
At both of these beaches, there are concessions selling snacks, ice cream, hamburgers, hotdogs and all the other usual suspects. Your first day could be pressed for time, so if you don't have time to pack a picnic, the concessions will make sure you don't starve.
If you're feeling particularly gutsy, Wreck Beach is Vancouver's clothing-optional beach that's family friendly, gay friendly, and just plain friendly! You'll find many free spirits sunbathing and soaking up the sun, tan lines optional. The beauty about a day on the beach is that it's easy to kill an entire afternoon and it's free! After you've had enough sun and are ready for dinner, West 4th Ave in Kitsilano and the West End have plenty of dining options that will suit any budget and craving.
On your next day, it's time to get out of there and have an adventure! If you don't have access to a vehicle, you can easily make your way to Granville Island by bus or taxi. Once there, you can go into the Public Market and grab a bite to eat before hitting the waters for the day.
A fishing boat takes a break in False Creek — Photo courtesy of quinet (Flickr)
There are a few different companies that offer fishing excursions that can last anywhere from five hours to a day's worth of fishing. You can't miss the signs to each of these businesses, Bonnie Lee Charters tends to be a popular choice. If you don't want to fish, there are companies that offer rentals for boats, paddle boards or kayaks; you can even take some scuba diving lessons! The waters are cold here, but Jacques Cousteau has said there's some of the best scuba diving to be done in BC.
If wheels aren't a problem, Harrison Lake is about an hour and a half from Vancouver and is a serene escape. Lounge by the lake, explore the little shops and stop for lunch. This little town is great for an entire weekend getaway, but if you only have a day, it's still worth a trip out there. The views are spectacular and will make you feel that you're far, far away from any busy city.
Harrison Lake's a beauty! — Photo courtesy of smith (Flickr)
After a day out on the water, you can either choose to put your feet up and have a relaxing dinner or you can keep the momentum going and check out the Richmond Night Market. They have about 200 vendors at this market, 80 of them being food vendors where you can explore a wide array of culinary delights. Richmond is known for its Asian cuisine and you'll find all sorts of new dishes to try at the Night Market. It opens at 7 pm, just in time for dinner and runs until 11 pm or 1 am, depending on the night you go.
Richmond Night Market is never quiet — Photo courtesy of Richmond Night Market (Facebook)
The views along Vancouver's beaches and from the open waters can really be enjoyed on any nice day throughout the year. The winter months are generally somewhat mild, and if the sun is shining, you'll find Vancouverites taking full advantage of the beautiful surroundings year-round. Landlubbers, water babies and hungry bellies will enjoy a trip to Vancouver!