My velvet escape travel tip: Vancouver

My velvet escape travel tip” is a guest series about what the name ‘Velvet Escape’ evokes and what that would be in the hometown of the guest writer. With this series, I hope to uncover travel tips from places around the world to help visitors have a truly local experience.

Lion's Gate Bridge

Lion's Gate Bridge

I’m lucky! I live in Vancouver, a city renowned for its supernatural beauty and its multicultural richness. But it’s still a city after all and sometimes you need a change of scene, even if it’s just for a few hours. Stanley Park, an oasis of green at the north western edge of downtown Vancouver is my velvet escape. I come to the park to reconnect with the ocean – and after a few hours along the seawall you feel connected!

Stanley Park is a 1000 acre preserve of temperate rain forest on a peninsula jutting into Burrard Inlet. An absolute must do is to walk, bike or roller blade the 10 km seawall loop. I love doing this, especially in the off season or on a rainy day when you feel like you’ve got the place to yourself – save for a lone runner or biker.

island

Siwash rock

You can start anywhere but I recommend the Vancouver Rowing Club as an easy spot to reach, especially since it is only a few hundred metres from bike rental shops. Head counter clockwise so you’re traveling with the flow of bikes. Enjoy watching the takeoffs and landings of float planes and the comings and goings from the marinas. As you turn to the north you have superb views of the Northshore Mountains and the port activity. Carry on and look for the statue of ‘A Girl in the Wetsuit’ who appears to be swimming if you see her at high tide. As you near Lion’s Gate Bridge you might be fortunate to see the imposing bulk of a cruise ship or container ship as it passes under the bridge. Keep an eye out for seals! Beyond Lion’s Gate, you are greeted by expansive views to the west; look out for Siwash Rock, where legend has it a young Indian Chief was immortalized. Next up are some inviting beaches where you could stop and relax. Finally the loop turns east, so head past the lagoon where seabirds and racoons beg for handouts and finish up at the Rowing Club. Chances are your soul is replenished.

Search for hotels in Vancouver.

About this week’s guest writer
Leigh Leigh McAdam is the researcher, traveler and founder of HikeBikeTravel.com where you can download free hike, bike and travel guides to some of the world’s great places. Follow Leigh on Twitter.

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10 Responses to “My velvet escape travel tip: Vancouver”

  1. velvet 16/03/2010 5:43 am
    #

    I can highly recommend those spots. If you have time on your next visit, you can also head to Vancouver Island – absolutely stunning there.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  2. The Jetpacker 16/03/2010 5:37 am
    #

    We went to Vancouver for the Winter Olympics and I have to say it is incredibly beautiful… and we didn’t even leave downtown! We can’t wait to return to explore more of the city and head to Stanley Park, Grouse Mountain and the Capilano Suspension Bridge.

  3. velvet 16/03/2010 2:43 am
    #

    Thanks for your comment. Vancouver is one of my favourite holiday destinations. Awesome mountain and coastal scenery and fab food. The weather isn’t always great though. 🙂

    Cheers,
    Keith

  4. Sabina 15/03/2010 8:29 pm
    #

    I’ve never been to Vancouver. It sounds like paradise now, though. It’s been raining here for three days straight. I’d love to go up there to escape. Thanks for sharing.

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