Vancouver, a city on the west coast of Canada, has plenty of exciting fitness experiences to offer those interested in such pursuits. Although mostly famous for the striking mountain range that lies to the north of the city and invites hiking in the summer and skiing during winters, there are a number of other things to do in and around the city, even if you are not a skier or a mountain climber. For those who, like me, are interested in adding some fitness to their travels, here’s a run down of the top 5 things to do to stay fit on your trip to Vancouver.
Have a cycle in Stanley park
Stanley park is a fantastic place for those who want to have a peaceful walk, run or cycle in nature. This park is a huge 400-hectare’s of natural west coast rainforest and offers scenic views of Vancouver Harbour and English Bay. The best thing about this place is that you can enjoy a majestic view of the mountains, nature and the sea all from one place. There is also a beach for the sun lovers!
A number of cycling and walking tracks run along the park, including Seawall – a stone path that is constructed around the perimeter of Stanley Park. In addition, after this very enjoyable cycle you can also stop in one of many attractions that Stanley park has to offer: Canada’s largest aquarium, a theatre under the stars, viewing points and cafes. Whatever you decide to do, Stanley park is definitely a place to stay fit on your trip to Vancouver!
Run along the Sunset and English Bay Beaches
There are two lovely beaches in Vancouver’s downtown – Sunset Beach and English Bay Beach. Running tracks along these beaches attract many fitness maniacs, hence having a jog along the beaches with a fantastic view of mountains is one of the top fit things to do in Vancouver!
The track along the English Bay Beach leads straight into Stanley Park’s Seawall, so it is ideal for runners and cyclists looking for a longer distance. English Bay Beach is also a popular location for organised bootcamps and yoga classes, so check what’s going on during your trip.
For those interested in doing your own exercises outdoors, there is a grass field (called “Sunset Beach Park”, although it does not look much like a typical park) by the beach where locals often exercise, have picnics or just enjoy the view.
Climb to the treetops at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is probably the most advertised location in Vancouver. Despite being rather busy, it is still one of the top things to do if you’re around. Free shuttles run in between the park and Vancouver’s downtown and it takes less than 30 minutes to get to the destination.
There are plenty of things to do in Capilano to get your daily dose of fitness.
The famous Capilano Suspension Bridge (a 140m long suspension bridge that crosses Capilano River at a height of 70m):
Treetop Walks (an elevated walk across suspension bridges; some reach 33.5m above the forest floor):
Cliffwalk (suspended walkways attached to the granite cliff):
Ultimately, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is one of the most fun places to stay fit on your trip to Vancouver, give it a go!
Get some healthy food at Graville Island Public Market
Graville Island is a peninsula in Vancouver which used to be an industrial manufacturing area. Now this little peninsula is mostly known for its Public Market and other entertainment venues: a marina, several theatres, art galleries and a few shopping areas. There are little ferries circulating every 5 minutes between Vancouver downtown and the island, so it is easy to get to the location.
If you have ever visited London, Graville Island Public Market will remind you of a blend between the Borough and Spitalfields markets. Some parts of the market offer fresh groceries, whilst others offer cooked food and drinks. Don’t forget to add getting some healthy food at the market as one of your top things to do whilst in Vancouver.
Enjoy a SUP experience
I wrote a bit more in depth about SUPs (Stand Up Paddle Boards) in my blog on 10 unconventional fitness experiences to try. Here you go – Vancouver, a city surrounded by water, is a great place to try that!
Stand Up Paddle Vancouver offers SUP lessons and SUP Yoga for those who want to test their balancing skills. Lessons are available all year round, so depending on the weather conditions, check out this activity and have some fun trying something new.
BONUS: locals joke that you can test your fitness based on whether you can climb to the top of the Grouse Mountain. This mountain is one of the North Shore Mountains and is located approximately 12 kilometres away from Vancouver’s downtown. All the year round the peak of the mountain (reaching 1200m high) offers magnificent views, in addition to memorable hiking experiences throughout summertime (Grouse Grind trail). The trail, which leads to the peak, is 2.9km long and takes an average of 1.5 hours to complete. For those who lose their motivation to get to the top of the mountain, there’s a skyride which gets you to the top in minutes 😉
Vancouver is one of those cities which has exciting activities to offer all year round and it is difficult to limit all opportunities to only 5 of the best things to do. It is uniquely surrounded by the sea and mountains which both offer a wide range of experiences. One of the first things I heard when I visited Vancouver was “if you like outdoors, you will love this place”. Of course, the city’s offerings for culture, art and food lovers should not be underestimated – Vancouver seems to have it all. However, ultimately, it is a city in which to be active – whatever “being active” means to you. Enjoy!