Stanley Park Visitor Guide

Totem poles in Stanley Park

Nine totem poles stand tall in Stanley Park (Tourism Vancouver/Kazutoish Yoshimura).

In a city surrounded by nature, Stanley Park adds even more greenspace to the heart of Vancouver. Locals and visitors alike love strolling the seawall, exploring the forest, learning about plants, animals, and Indigenous culture, and so much more.

Walk or Bike the Seawall

Cyclists on the Stanley Park Seawall in Vancouver

Walkers and cyclists on the Stanley Park Seawall. Photo: Destination BC/Heath Moffatt

The oceanside Stanley Park Seawall is a must-do for visitors to Vancouver. It encircles the park and has separate lanes for pedestrians and cyclists. Plan to spend at least 1 hour biking or 3 hours walking the scenic 10 km loop. Keep in mind that bikes must follow the Seawall in a counter-clockwise direction! There are lots of viewpoints along the way, so plan to stop often.

If you want to cycle, you can rent a bike at shops just outside the park.  An even better option is to take a tour with Cycle City Vancouver. They will set you up with a bike, then you can follow your guide onto the Seawall where they will share info about Stanley Park’s cultural and natural history.

Learn About the Park’s Indigenous Context

Candace Campo from Talaysay Walking Indigenous Tours is conducting a presentation and speaking to a group while on a walking experience in Stanley Park in Vancouver.

Candace Campo from Talaysay Tours leads a group in Stanley Park. Photo: Destination Vancouver/Kindred & Scout

The totem poles at Brockton Point are the most popular attraction in Stanley Park. The original poles came from First Nations up and down BC’s coastline.

If you want to deepen your understanding of the local Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) culture and history in Vancouver, sign up for a walk with Talaysay Tours. An Indigenous guide will lead you to key sites around the park. You can choose from tours that focus on oral history, Indigenous art (including totem poles), or the ways that Indigenous people use the land for food, medicine and technology.

Hit the Beach

Family picnicking on the beach

Picnic on Third Beach in Stanley Park. Photo: Destination Vancouver / Hubert Kang

You’ll find two beaches in Stanley Park: Second Beach and Third Beach. (English Bay Beach is also sometimes called First Beach, but it is located just outside the park.)

Second Beach has a long stretch of sand backed by a grassy lawn, perfect for picnics. You can swim in the ocean or in the heated Second Beach Pool. The pool is open between late May and early September and the beach has lifeguards on duty during that time as well.

You’ll have to walk down a set of stairs to reach the sand at Third Beach, but that just gives it a secluded feel despite being right in the city. There are lifeguards on duty here from late May to early September. Third Beach is a popular place to stop for a break on a bike or walk around the Seawall.

 

Grab a Bite to Eat

The exterior of Stanley Park Brewing

Photo: Stanley Park Brewing

With lots of picnic areas and grassy lawns, Stanley Park is the perfect spot for a picnic. You can pick up take-out at restaurants on nearby Denman Street, then eat in the park.

There are also lots of spots to get a meal without leaving the park. Head to Stanley Park Brewing near the Beach Avenue entrance to sip craft beer and dig into gastropub favourites on their patio. Or enjoy fine dining with an incredible view at The Teahouse in Stanley Park near Third Beach. In the summer, you can also find quick snacks at food carts and concession stands around the park.

 

Learn About Plants and Animals

Vancouver Aquarium otter web cam

Sea otter at the Vancouver Aquarium. Photo: Vancouver Aquarium

Head to the Vancouver Aquarium to see thousands of ocean species from around the world. You can watch playful sea otters frolic, roll up your sleeves to get your hands wet in the touch pools, and feel in the humid tropical heat in the Graham Amazon Gallery.

To learn more about the plants and animals that call Stanley Park home, visit the Nature House, run by the Stanley Park Ecology Society. They have interactive displays and specimens of park wildlife. Volunteers and staff lead workshops and events throughout the year and can answer your questions anytime.

 

Explore the Forested Interior

A couple walking on the trail in Stanley Park

Hiking in Stanley Park. Photo: Destination Vancouver/Kindred & Scout

A web of gravel trails crisscross the interior of Stanley Park. You can follow them past towering trees and groves of ferns. Or wander along the quiet shores of Beaver Lake. Visit near dawn or dusk to increase your odds of spotting the lake’s namesake animals munching on sticks or reinforcing their lodge.

If you want to go for an easy hike on the forested trails, our Stanley Park hiking guide has step-by-step directions for an 8 km loop that takes about 2.5 hours. Or use the park map to find a quiet corner to sit in relaxation and do some forest bathing.

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