5 Best Places to Cool Off During the Summer in Vancouver

Alternative to Vancouver Beaches

There are some great alternatives to the typical Vancouver beaches on a hot, summer day.

Long, sunny days at the beach can be fun. But there’s only so much sand and beach volleyball that you can handle. Lucky for us, there are so many alternative locations in Vancouver to enjoy these hot, seemingly endless summer days.

If you’re looking for somewhere else other than the typical Vancouver beaches to chill out on a hot day, you’re in luck. We’ve compiled a list of 5 of the best Vancouver beach alternatives that will keep you cool and relaxed on the hottest of days.

lynn canyon vancouver

Photo courtesy of Steven Olmstead | Flickr

1. Lynn Canyon

Lynn Canyon has become the go-to destination for locals and tourists alike to cool off on a summer day. Unlike Vancouver beaches, there isn’t any sand to lie down on. Instead, you can spend a memorable afternoon curled up on a hot rock with your feet sticking in the frigid waters. Bring a picnic and some friends, and watch the daredevil cliff divers jump from seemingly impossible heights into the glacier water below. The water is freezing, but very refreshing. To find the best place to sit, just go over the suspension bridge and make your way to the waters edge.

rice lake north vancouver

Photo courtesy of Flickstorage | Flickr

2. Seymour Demonstration Forest

All you wanna do is go for a bike ride, but don’t want to have the sun beating down on you the whole time? The North Vancouver Seymour Demonstration Forest is a great ride that lasts about 20KM there and back. The paved road is a favourite for cyclists, rollerbladers, and long boarders. It takes you on a great ride through a lush coniferous forest, with the chance for a brief glance of local wildlife. When you reach the end of the Demonstration Forest trail, keep following it through a gravel road to a little riverbed. Here, you’ll find a great place for a picnic and a shallow swimming hole to cool yourself off after the ride. The best thing about the Demonstration Forest? Paved roads, but no cars! It’s a perfect way to escape from the hustle & bustle of the city. To get to the Seymour Demonstration Forest, head to Capilano University (click here for google map) and head North past the campus. You should pass a cemetery and then start seeing signs for the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve at the North end of Lillooet Road.

Trout Lake Vancouver

Trout Lake early in the morning.
Photo courtesy of SashaFatCat | Flickr

3. Trout Lake (John Hendry Park)

This little sanctuary in the middle of the city is a great place to take a dog, your kids, or a date. Trout Lake is located in John Hendry Park, which regularly hosts Vancouver organic farmer’s markets on the weekend. Occasionally, Trout Lake is off-limits to swimmers, but dogs are still allowed in. The surrounding grass and play areas around Trout Lake are what make it such a destination. Grab a blanket, some grub, and a bocce ball set for an afternoon of chilling out by the lake.

Habitat Island Vancouver

Photo courtesy of mouellic | Flickr

4. Habitat Island

Often overlooked by the crowds on the Vancouver seawall, Habitat Island is one Vancouver beach that doesn’t become too crowded on a sunny day. This little “island” is found next to Olympic Village in South East False Creek and is an urban sanctuary that was created as a part of the development of the area before the 2010 Olympic Winter games. The area’s natural ebb and flow of the tide on the rocky shoreline creates an ideal home for starfish, crabs, fish, shellfish and other sea creatures. Habitat island is always accessible via a stone walkway, and there are many logs around the edge that serve as great resting spots for a picnic.

capilano canyon vancouver

Photo courtesy of furman76 | Flickr

5. Capilano Canyon

Capilano Canyon–in North Vancouver and next to the Capilano Suspension Bridge–is a maze of endless pathways that always take you to somewhere new and exciting. Whether you’re jogging around the park, walking a dog, or visiting the hatchery, Capilano Canyon can keep you entertained for hours. One of the best parts of the Canyon has got to be Granny’s Cove, a hidden river-side oasis that offers a secluded destination to waste the day away. Granny’s Cove (as its mostly known to locals) has become the go-to place for cliff-jumpers in the city, as the cliffs are easy to get to and offer more variety than the ones in Lynn Canyon. If you’re not feeling adventurous, stick to chilling out on the rocks by the river and enjoy the view of dogs fetching sticks, kids screaming from the cold water, and the occasional BANG from a daredevil hitting the water from 60 feet in the air. Check out this beautifully drawn map to figure out how to get to Granny’s Cove.

Have you got any other suggestions on where to go to cool off during the summer other than the typical Vancouver beaches? Where’s your go-to chill out spot?

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