Chinese gardens, tropical conservatories and more.
Blue skies, sunshine, fresh air, warmer weather... Spring has officially sprung in Vancouver, and it's allowing many of us to finally get back outside and enjoy nature.
If you're looking for ways to reconnect with mother nature this season, look no further than the abundance of gardens and flower walks right in your own backyard.
From zen Japanese gardens to conservatories overflowing with colourful birds and tropical plants, these lush strolls are just a few steps away from home for many Vancouverites.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Price: $12-$32. Online bookings essential for specific entry times.
Address: 578 Carrall St., Vancouver, B.C.
Why You Need To Go: This serene and historic garden (named the World's Top City Garden by National Geographic) was created to celebrate the historical importance of Vancouver's Chinatown, which had just escaped demolition to make way for an eight-lane highway.
Designed and built by master craftsmen from Suzhou, the garden is a stunning example of the Ming Dynasty architectural style — the first of its kind to be built outside of China.
The Garden also holds exhibitions and events, like yoga or tai chi and talks from guest lecturers. Be sure to buy your tickets in advance for these special experiences.
Price: Free-$7.05. Online bookings essential for specific entry times.
Address: 4600 Cambie St. (Queen Elizabeth Park), Vancouver, BC
Why You Need To Go: With its vibrantly coloured birds, foliage and flowers, Bloedel Conservatory might just have you feeling like you've taken a tropical vacation.
Wander through the jungle home of over 120 colourful (and chatty!) birds flying freely through the conservatory. With three different climate zones to explore, it's an excellent place to witness the bright and exotic plants of the Earth's equatorial regions.
Don't forget to stop by the healing garden before you leave to engage all of your senses, nurture your health, and de-stress a little.
Nitobe Memorial Garden
Price: Free-$24. Online bookings essential for specific entry times.
Address: 1895 Lower Mall, Vancouver, B.C.
Why You Need To Go: Tokyo may be out of the question, but if you want some authentic Japanese energy, there's always Nitobe Memorial Garden. On a tour through the Nitobe Memorial Garden in 2009, former Emperor Akihito even remarked, "I am in Japan."
Based on a counter-clockwise design that follows the path of the moon, this garden is all about immersing yourself in the serenity of nature. Every shrub, rock and tree has been carefully planned and placed to create a harmonious space.
It's stunning in any season, but the arrival of the cherry blossoms around April each year is particularly spectacular. Nitobe also features a tea house, enchanting moss and stone paths, bridges, irises, a koi pond and mesmerizing waterfalls.
VanDusen Botanical Garden
Price: Free-$11.70. Online bookings essential for specific entry times.
Address: 5151 Oak St., Vancouver, B.C.
Why You Need To Go: VanDusen is a Vancouver gem with plenty of natural attractions to explore. You can get lost in the Elizabethan hedge maze, which contains 3,000 pyramidal cedars, or just watch from the nearby observation deck.
Near the Stone Garden, you can take in the view from the second-highest point in Vancouver and explore the Korean Pavilion, where you can see native Korean plants including their national flower — Rose of Sharon.
There are tons of cheerful spring blooms to take in, like rhododendrons, magnolias, cherry blossoms and camellias as well as sculptures and charming wildlife.
UBC Botanical Gardens
Price: Free-$50. Online bookings essential for specific entry times.
Address: 6804 SW Marine Dr., Vancouver, B.C.
Why You Need To Go: UBC Botanical Garden's collection is a vast display of some of the world's most amazing plants, including those from B.C.'s coastal rainforest. Plus, you'll find sustainable, edible crops worked with organic techniques.
The best part might just be the Greenheart TreeWalk, where you navigate suspended walkways and tree platforms right in nature up above the forest. The 300 metres of treetop canopy walkway is suspended from over 100-year old firs and cedars so you can take in this bird's eye view of Vancouver's coastal temperate rainforest.
The Stanley Park Rose Garden
Address: Stanley Park, 610 Pipeline Rd., Vancouver, B.C.
This is the perfect spot for a family picnic where you can enjoy every colour of rose imaginable — from classic red and pink to yellow, orange and even purple. Put your feet up and take in the stunning view of budding flowers that slope toward the causeway and up to the park's pavilion.
Ted & Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden
Address: Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC
Why You Need To Go: This garden owes its name to a donated collection of rhododendron and azalea plants in the 1960s. With care, it has thrived and these days you can see close to 4,500 plants.
The best time to visit is during the first two weeks of May, so you can experience the Azalea Walk in full bloom and enjoy the thick green floor of ferns and hostas all over the garden.
But don't worry if you can't make it then, you'll still enjoy many blooms until September thanks to the hybridization of these gorgeous flowers.
Price: $3-$36 until September 30. Tickets available upon arrival.
Address: 800 Benvenuto Ave., Brentwood Bay, B.C.
Why You Need To Go: Just a hop, skip and a jump away from the mainland, Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island is worth the trip (as long as COVID regulations permit).
At this breathtaking National Historic Site of Canada, you'll find over 900 cultivars of plants throughout five gardens. Springtime features over 300,000 daffodils and tulips of all colours, and other flowers including rhododendrons, ornamental cherries, magnolias and peonies.
Victoria Butterfly Gardens
Address: 1461 Benvenuto Ave., Brentwood Bay, BC
Why You Need To Go: If you're heading to Butchart Gardens, you may as well fit in another stunning flower walk only five minutes away.
At Victoria Butterfly Gardens, you'll be among thousands of tropical butterflies, waterfalls and animals including tortoises, iguanas and flamingos. There's even a new insectarium for anyone enjoys creepy crawlies.
It's no secret that being in nature has positive effects on our emotional, mental, spiritual and physical well-being. Thankfully there are plenty of beautiful gardens and walks to help you get your dose of nature in all its glory.
Whether you choose to spend the day or just an hour or two visiting Vancouver's most charming gardens, it's important to make sure you (and your family) have snacks to refuel.
With a few Nature Valley granola bars in your bag, you can stay energized and spend more time enjoying all that Vancouver's beautiful and relaxing gardens and nature walks have to offer.
To learn more about reconnecting with nature, check out Nature Valley's website or follow them on Instagram and Facebook.
Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.