Straight up, Vancouver is breathtaking. Sure, the city has a vibe unlike anywhere else in the world… but what seriously enchants people? The nature. The wildlife. The great outdoors.
And who could blame them? We’ve got beautiful lakes, lush forests, gorgeous beaches: honestly, we’ve kind of got it all. Even within the Metro Vancouver Area, nature is king.
Our beautiful Regional Parks are everywhere, stunning more than 11 million people a year. This year just so happens to mark 50 years of the Metro Vancouver Area Regional Parks and to celebrate, the city is hosting tons of free events in these parks.
On top of that, you can expect to see a bunch of programs and rewards (like their Regional Passport Program, which lets you earn stamps on a hardcopy passport when you visit parks around the city. Or, check in on the official app. Both let you earn rewards every time you visit 5, 10, or 15 Metro Vancouver Regional Parks. All in all, it makes for one awesome year to explore the parks in our own backyards.
All parks are beautiful, but a select few are a little less known than others. These hidden gems are high key jaw-dropping, and less touristy than other places; so the next time you're adventuring in the great outdoors, you know exactly where you need to go!
Lynn Headwaters Regional Park
Honestly, there is so much to love about this regional park. First of all, if you're a hiker, then this spot has your name all over it: with both back and front country routes (for a wide range of experience levels) taking you on an adventure through a dense forest, steep slopes, and quick creeks, this park is an absolute dream for hikers. Just remember to stay on the trails, and to stay safe!
Its incredible hiking trails aside, Lynn Headwaters Regional Park is quite possibly one of the most beautiful parks to see in the entire Metro Vancouver Area. In addition to a gorgeous waterfall, this regional park boasts a beautiful forest, with huge rocks, tall trees, and some mystical fantasy movie vibes.
Iona Beach Regional Park
If you're looking for a beautiful place to watch the sunrise, chill with your loved ones, play in the sand, and take in some of the most calming vibes in all of the Metro Vancouver Area, then stop the search. You've found your new favourite spot.
For extra good vibes? Iona Beach Regional Park also happens to be home to a whole bunch of super rare sand dune plants, a long stone walkway, and a location in the middle of the Pacific Flyway, which makes it the perfect place to spot some incredibly rare birds.
Pacific Spirit Regional Park
Well, if you've never fallen in love with a park before, prepare to. Pacific Spirit Regional Park looks - and feels - like it comes straight out of a film, with an incredibly peaceful, magical vibe that's unlike any other spot in Vancouver.
There are creeks, beaches, cliffs, bogs, and wildlife that'll legit dazzle you everywhere throughout the park. But the real shining star? The super long trees in Pacific Spirit's beautifully green and mossy forest. Follow the trails through the regional park for the most fun nature adventure you'll have in a while!
Surrey Bend Regional Park
Surrey Bend Regional Park is actually the newest regional park in the Metro Vancouver Area. Opened in 2016, it kind of feels like Surrey Bend Regional Park has been around for much longer, just because of how much fun it is!
This regional park has a beautiful water channel from the Fraser River flowing right through the middle, so no matter what you do, you're never too far away from the waterfront. There are also designated hiking and cycling trails, so if you love the outdoors, you're going to fall in love with Surrey Bend.
Plus, as an added bonus? On October 14, Surrey Bend Regional Park will be home to a special, free event. "Flashlight Mysteries" is going down in the nighttime, and involves solving some puzzles in the regional park. Sounds like a fun and fascinating time to me, tbh!
Deas Island Regional Park
If you love to explore and discover new, fun things, then Deas Island Regional Park is going to absolutely be your new favourite spot. It's situated on Deas Island in the Fraser River, and there's a whole lot of interesting things to explore - including three heritage buildings (the Inverholme Schoolhouse, Delta Agricultural Hall, and Burrvilla), fishing spots, and picnic shelters.
As if those weren't reasons enough to get out there and discover this gorgeous regional park, Deas Island Regional Park is hosting a free event this summer. On August 19, their Starry Night event will be lighting up the park for one super enchanted evening. There's going to be walking paths lit up with candles, live owls, drumming circles, and a whole lot of awesome vibes!
Kanaka Creek Regional Park
Have you ever been to a legit rainforest before? Trust, it's a game-changing experience; and Kanaka Creek Regional Park just so happens to feature a coastal rainforest, as well as sandstone cliffs and waterfalls.
One of the most beautiful waterfalls you can find in the whole park, though, has got to be Cliff Falls. You've got to go through a relatively simple - yet incredibly fun - hiking trail (and don't worry, it totally includes a picnic area!) in order to get to the falls. Once you do, you end up at the gorgeous roaring waterfalls... quite the reward for a fun day spent hiking if you ask me!
Crippen Regional Park
This gorgeous island park is pretty much the prettiest gem for you to uncover in a hop, skip and a short ferry ride from Vancouver. Located on Bowen Island, Crippen Regional Park is home to a boardwalk along the water, hiking trails for all skill levels, walking paths, fishing spots, and much more.
Oh, and if you know exactly where to look, you might even end up at Bridal Veil Falls: gorgeous waterfalls right in Crippen Regional Park and on Bowen Island that are peaceful and beautiful. They're a little bit secluded but pretty easy to find - and definitely tons of fun to discover!
Campbell Valley Regional Park
Animal lovers, this one's for you. Campbell Valley Regional Park is the perfect environment for wildlife to thrive. Not only do they have tons of adorable critters roaming around, but they also have lots of animal-related attractions to check out, like heritage farm buildings and a Nature House (which has bobcat and owls specimens, live turtles and frogs, and a whole lot more to discover!)
Other than wildlife, forests, and grassland vistas, Campbell Valley Regional Park is also home to the Shaggy Mane Trail, perfect for horseback riding or admiring all the equestrians taking their horses out for a ride!
In fact, to truly celebrate Campbell Valley Regional Park's unique vibe, the park will be throwing a county fair this September 16 and 17. Called the Country Celebration, this free event will include live performances and will highlight all of the park's amazing natural wonders.
So what are you waiting for? You've got enough places to discover to keep you busy all year!