6 Places To Explore Vancouver’s North Shore

Explore Vancouver’s North Shore

Head Out of Downtown To Explore Vancouver’s North Shore

We enjoyed several trips out of downtown to explore Vancouver’s North Shore.

Whether we walked, biked or took transit there was lots to do when we visited Vancouver and stayed downtown. But it was easy to travel north of Vancouver and feel like we had escaped the city. We visited North Vancouver, crossed the Iron Workers Memorial bridge and hiked Lynne Valley.  One day we headed further up the Fraser River to Deep Cove and another we drove the shoreline to Horseshoe Bay for the ferry to Gibsons Landing. When we wanted to go a little further afield, we visited Whistler.

No matter which direction we went after we crossed a bridge going north from Vancouver city centre, we explored Vancouver’s North Shore and the great natural beauty that surrounded Vancouver.

North Vancouver By Ferry

We could certainly drive to North Vancouver.  But when we wanted to experience the waterfront it was easy to go from downtown by public transit. A transit day pass got us on the Skytrains (all zones), all buses and also on the ferry over to North Van.  When we got off the ferry, there were a number of buses if we wanted to explore further afield in North Van.

When we landed on the other side, we were in the Lonsdale Quay Market.

Lonsdale Quay Market.jpg

The main market inside was open all the time but the outside artisan vendors were only there on Saturday.  One vendor had a most interesting ginger beer by the cup or by the gallon (if you brought your own gallon jug).  The homemade chocolates and cookies were a big draw.  Inside the market there were a wide mix of food and wares.  There was even a Shiatsu massage booth in one corner. 

The ferry ride over and back was a nice adventure.  We got a great view of North Van and the mountains behind it. The harbour was always very busy, with commercial and pleasure boats churning the water and slowing down the ferry progress. The trip back offered a great view of the Vancouver Harbour vista, including a paddleboat tour boat.

PaddleWheel Boat.jpg

Explore Vancouver’s North Shore At Lynne Valley Suspension Bridge

Most people who visit Vancouver and are looking for tourist attractions will consider going to the Capilano Narrows Suspension Bridge. While that was certainly an adventure, we instead chose to visit the Lynne Valley Suspension Bridge and hike the park. While the suspension bridge was not as high, it was still fun to feel the bridge sway as we crossed.  Most tourists gingerly made their way across. When we looked over we saw the fast running river far below.

Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge.jpg
Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge.jpg

There were a number of different paths to walk around the park. The main trails in Lynn Canyon Park led us through temperate rainforest, beside the creek, and over waterfalls.

Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge Waterfall.jpg

The shorter routes were ok for most average walkers although in a few areas there was uneven ground and some ups and downs. If we wanted a little more challenge, there were longer paths that took a couple of hours.

Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge Hikes.jpg

One of the major draws when it was hot was to swim in the beautiful green waters of the 30-foot pool. The braver kids jumped and dove off the higher rocks.

Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge Hikes.jpg

There were picnic areas in the park and a snack bar if you didn’t pack your lunch.  Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge was a great spot to explore on Vancouver’s North Shore.

Head Up the Fraser River To Deep Cove

Once we crossed the Fraser River in North Vancouver, it was a short drive along the north shore of the Fraser to Deep Cove. We stayed on the roads close to the shore and found Cates Park Whey-Ah-Whichen Wharf first. This was a big park with a very large area for launching boats into the river. We wandered the large park or the waterfront. Looking out over the Fraser River we got a good view back to Vancouver.


The dock ran out into the river. On the day we visited we saw swarms of jellyfish in the colder water areas. It was fascinating to watch them undulate and move up and down as they passed by.

Jelly Fish Close.jpg
Jelly Fish Close.jpg

Entering the small town of Deep Cove at the foot of Mount Seymour, we found a busy marina. Originally called “Deepwater”, we imagined the steep cliffs along the river extending deep into the water.

Deep Cove Harbour.jpg

When we visited Deep Cove you we found options downtown to shop or eat and we walked the paths along the river.  There were varied water sports available.  One of the favourite activities was kayaking along the shore or out to the nearby Racoon Island.

Deep Cove Harbour Village.jpg
Deep Cove Harbour Village.jpg
Deep Cove Harbour Bay.jpg

When you drive to or from Deep Cove, make sure to travel on the small roads close to the water. We loved getting a peek at the lives of those who claimed the great water views. A quick look at the real estate office board in town, showed that for a mere several million dollars, these views could be ours too!

Heading up the Fraser River to Deep Cove was a great way to explore Vancouver’s North Shore.

Drive the Shoreline to Horseshoe Bay

We took the scenic road north of Vancouver along the Sea to Sky Highway and spent some time in Horseshoe Bay!

Horseshoe Bay.jpg
Horseshoe Bay.jpg

When we walked along the shoreline, we saw that whale watching was one of the things to do from various areas in the Vancouver area including Horseshoe Bay.

Horseshoe Bay Whale Watching.jpg
Horseshoe Bay Whale Watching.jpg

Easily finding Sewells Marina, we found the gate for the evening romantic sunset sailboat ride up the coast.  

Horseshoe Bay Harbour.jpg
Horseshoe Bay Harbour.jpg

On this evening, the winds were calm so we didn’t get very far up the shore.  But we did enjoy a great bbq on board.  The fire fighting helicopter was training on water scooping while we watched.  As we went along the coast we stared at the display of great waterfront properties with awesome sunset views.

Horseshoe Bay Harbour.jpg
Horseshoe Bay Harbour.jpg

Enjoying the waterfront at Horseshoe Bay was great fun when we explored Vancouver’s North Shore.

Take The Ferry From Horseshoe Bay to Gibsons Landing

From Horseshoe Bay we caught a BC Ferry to Vancouver Island on one trip.  But on another trip we grabbed a smaller ferry and hopped over to visit Gibsons Landing.

Van North BC Ferries

If you are old enough and Canadian enough, you can wander through the town of Gibsons Landing and pretend you were walking on the set of the Canadian tv show The Beachcombers.

Horseshoe Bay BC Ferries To Gibsons Landing.jpg

You can spend the day visiting Gibsons Landing by car, by foot or by bike. For a longer trip one year, we headed north from there along the Sunshine Coast.

Go Head Further Afield To Whistler

Most people hear “Whistler” and think winter Olympics and skiing. Visiting Whistler in the winter was a magical experience.  But don’t think that Whistler closes down in “off season”.

Whistler Peak to Peak.jpg
Whistler Village From Above.jpg

It was a short drive north to Whistler. In June we enjoyed a visit to Whistler.  We had fun as we explored the Village, the gondolas to the heights and hiking to the summits!

So Much Fun To Explore Vancouver’s North Shore 

Vancouver was a great scenic city to visit and explore. But when we stayed for awhile we made make sure to explore Vancouver’s North Shore.  The different trips north provided a view of the natural beauty so close to this big city.

Where else should you visit when you head north of Vancouver? Did we miss anything in the places we did visit? Did you love Vancouver?

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