“Smell the sea, and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly.” - Van Morrison
Sultry summer days are here again! It’s time to soak in some rays, luxuriate in that delicious floral breeze, and watch the world spring to life like a beautiful mosaic painting. For most Vancouverites, summer is a welcome panorama of long weekend hikes, enchanting forest trails, and trips to the sea or the mountainside.
There’s nothing more enlivening than setting your heart racing on a rugged bicycle trail, teaching yourself how to paddle board, or escaping to your secret camping spot far away from the city. If you’re looking for the perfect activity to kick off the summer, you’re in the right place. Brush off your boots and pack your knapsack.
We’re counting down the 5 most tantalizing summer spots that will make for superb pictures and even better memories!
Panorama Ridge lookout point
Location - Municipality within the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District.
Activities - Hiking Trails | Shops & Restaurants (in Whistler).
If there’s one thing hiking enthusiasts will tell you, it’s when you leave the concrete behind and hit the rich, soft, leafy trail, your tensions slip away almost instantly.
From May to October, there is one trail that every self-respecting thrill-seeker must try - at least once! Panorama Ridge is intended for seasonal hikers; you’ll get to test your mettle on strenuous terrain and a challenging number of inclines. You’ll find a lot of fellow hikers on this gorgeous loop trail that runs for about 28.3 kilometers. Lose yourself to nature as you trek through the amazing panoramas, cross a picturesque alpine bridge and take on mini rock trails.
Curate your own adventure! You can do the entire loop in a day or stagger it over multiple days and set up shop at one of its many campsites overnight. If you’re game for a great exercise and even greater views, book your tickets for Panorama Ridge today.
Lighthouse Park lookout point
Location - 4902 Beacon Ln, West Vancouver, BC.
Activities - Picnics | Viewpoint | Hiking Trails
Nestled on the shores of West Vancouver, Lighthouse Park opens you up to a world of sights and sounds. Soak up those delicious views of the pristine water and capture a few glorious Instas of the park’s infamous Douglas Firs and Western Red Cedars.
The park has several trails that will take you past the rich foliage. You won’t be able to resist cozying up under the shade of one of these trees and dreaming the day away. With relatively easy terrain and only a handful of ascents and descents, all of which are suitable for beginner hikers and small kids, Lighthouse Park attracts a plethora of visitors every year.
Plan your route through the park accordingly depending on how quickly you want to get to its namesake lighthouse. You can trek through the trails before heading there or take the most direct route which is a 10-minute walk from the trailhead.
Make this one a family affair! The views, the trek, and the memories will make for wonderful stories years down the road.
Bloedel Conservatory; Queen Elizabeth Park
Location - 4600 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC
Activities - Picnic | Bloedel Conservatory | Gardens | Restaurant
Most Vancouver residents would agree that the Queen E. Park is one of the cities locations that is known for their array of beautiful flowers found in almost every nook of the park. The Bloedel Conservatory is a horticulture building, housing a plethora of species of plants and animals. Guests can go inside and explore the pavilion for themselves for a small entrance fee.
Among the biodiversity, accessible tables and open grass field for a perfect picnic location are easy to find. You may likely run into a photoshoot happening as the parks dreamy scenery compliments wedding shoots especially.
Looking to have a delightful dinner and a glass of wine under the stars after? The Seasons at the Park is a restaurant that sits atop cliff that overlooks downtown Vancouver. We suggest to ask for a patio table to have the best possible view of the city.
Inuit carved artwork
Location - 120 Carrie Cates Ct, North Vancouver, BC.
Activities - Shopping | Leisure | Browse around the Quay.
Inuit culture is rife with storied legends of unconscionable human grit. Among other things, they are known for their colorful art and jewelry, ingenious hunting tools, and handmade fur coats.
The Inuit Gallery of Vancouver pays homage to this wonderful culture. Located in the heart of North Vancouver, along the famous Lonsdale Quay. It's a museum of Inuit artwork from senior artists and promising apprentices.
Get lost in a world of color, shapes and tradition as you take in each unique aboriginal piece. There’s nothing quite like it. Some of the artworks are even for sale. As soon as you walk through its doors, you’ll be blown over by the intricate sculptures, beautiful paintings, jewelry, prints and carvings, all of which strongly convey Inuit themes of family, resilience and spirit.
If you’re thinking of taking a rewarding history lesson this summer, the Inuit Gallery should definitely be on the top of your list.
(Kamui Mintara) Playground of the Gods sculptures; Burnaby Mountain Park
Location - 100 Centennial Way, Burnaby.
Activities - Picnic | Garden | Playground | Artwork | Trails
What makes Burnaby Mountain a must visit location for the summer isn't only because it sits on top of a mountain with amazing views of the city, but it also holds home to an array of wooden sculptures of totem poles and animals scattered along the grassy field. These art pieces were gifted to Burnaby from its twin sister city in Japan - Kushiro.
The park offers an amazing view that is elevated overlooking the lower mainland. You can easily grab a beautiful shot of the sculptures with an orange sunset hue gleaming over the cities. Planning to spend a couple of hours there? We suggest to bring your favourite picnic blanket and snacks to enjoy while you bask in the parks incredible views.
A family-friendly location to have yourself a picnic under the tall trees, witness the blooming flowers in their mini-garden, or simply enjoy the quaint scene it brings.
Phantom Creek Estates Winery walkway
Location - 4315 Black Sage Rd, Oliver, BC.
Activities - Wine Tasting | Restaurant | VIP Tours
Wine connoisseurs will find the Phantom Creek Estates Winery to be a luxurious paradise. These sun-kissed vineyards are nestled in the mountains spanning over 78,000 square feet, and are responsible for creating some of Canada’s finest red wines.
A trip to this family-owned winery will leave you spellbound. Take the tour through the massive vineyards and estate, learn the intricacies of creating a full-bodied rich wine and enjoy a delicious meal at the restaurant.
The estate is also rife with ancient architectural sensibilities. The doorway is flanked by two imposing marble statues of winged creatures inspired by Greek mythos and a glorious Dale Chihuly glass sculpture in its VIP tasting room.
This is the ideal romantic getaway for couples and wine lovers. The opulent interiors, lush vineyards and heady wines are truly a feast for the senses.
Alouette Lake view from the shore
Location - 24480 Fern Crescent, Maple Ridge, BC. Golden Ears Park, Alouette Lake.
Activities - Picnic | Swimming | Surfing | Boating | Fishing | Campgrounds
If you love boating, swimming and fishing, Alouette Lake is your go-to destination this summer. The lake is located some 13 kilometers southeast of Maple Ridge and offers a healthy dose of the outdoors. There are plenty of hiking trails along the lake to get in a strenuous exercise before you enjoy a rousing dip in the cool water.
You can also set up your tent by the lake at the designated picnic site and fry your freshly caught fish, while enjoying a breathtaking vantage of the surrounding tree canopy.
Other lakeside activities that are offered include horseback riding and biking. These are a great way to explore the undulating trails, get a glimpse of the glorious mountain range in the distance, and even discover a private stream by which you can enjoy a wonderful afternoon siesta away from prying eyes.
Alouette Lake is where Mother Nature luxuriates in all her glory. We’re already lacing up our boots and prepping to head out!
From the intrepid trails in the depths of the wilderness to a luxurious winery hidden in the mountains, we’ve laid out the best locations that Vancouver has to offer.
Wishing you happy trails this summer. Stay safe!
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