You already know how beautiful and fun Vancouver is in the Summer. Show your homestay student by taking them on these top 15 outdoor adventures around the city:
Stanley Park & the Seawall
No student homestay in Vancouver is complete without a trip to Stanley Park and the Seawall. Take your student on a walk or bike around the Seawall or explore the park’s many other attractions, including the Vancouver Aquarium. Pack a picnic lunch and make a day out of it.
Follow the Seawall to Canada Place for cruise ship watching or the other direction around Downtown Vancouver and towards Science World, Olympic Village, and Granville Island.
Camping spots near the city are hard to come by these days, but if you are lucky enough to get a site, take your homestay student camping. It’s an excellent way to relax and just immerse yourself in nature. Your student’s days are full and stimulating in the city and school, so an escape to the forest for a camping trip may be a welcome break.
Scenic Drive (Sea-to-Sky)
The Sea-to-Sky highway to Whistler is another great escape from the city, with plenty of great outdoor spots to stop along the way, including:
- Britannia Beach
- Porteau Cove
- Shannon Falls
- 2010 Olympic venue sites
- The Sea-to-Sky Gondola
Sea to Sky or Peak 2 Peak Gondola
Make sure your student packs their camera because they’re going to want it on these two adventures:
- The Sea to Sky Gondola is just outside Squamish and is a 10-minute, 886-metre trip. At the top, there are many activities and hiking trails to explore.
- The Peak 2 Peak Gondola towers over the picturesque Whistler mountains. It travels 7.5 metres per second (for the 11-minute trip), spans 4.4KM, and towers 436m above the ground.
Show your homestay student where over 2,800 athletes stayed during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. They have some great shops and restaurants to visit while enjoying the view across the water of downtown Vancouver and the North Shore Mountains. It’s also an excellent place to rest on your journey around the Seawall or to add to your visit to nearby Granville Island.
Granville Island is the perfect place for your student to experience authentic Westcoast Canada artisan culture. They will also enjoy watching the boats at the dock while sampling great west coast foodie favourites like salmon jerky and poutine.
The Beaches (Locarno and Jericho)
Take them to Locarno or Jericho Beach for a beach day or swim on a nice day. You know these Vancouver hotspots can get busy in the summer months, so get there early if you’re wanting a good spot or parking. If not, there are plenty of other beaches nearby, including Ambleside Park on the Northshore, Belcarra Park near Port Moody, or on a day trip to Cultus or Chilliwack Lakes.
Watch the Cruise Ships
This year marked the return of the cruise ship season in Vancouver. On the busiest days, you’ll often find up to three large cruise ships docked at Canada Place. It makes for a bustle of activity and some great people-watching for your homestay student.
Does your homestay student want to stretch their legs? There is no shortage of trails and hiking in and around Vancouver. Ensure they are prepared for a hike with water, snacks, and a small gear bag with essentials. Hiking is a great activity to do as a larger group with other homestay families.
If you’re not up-to-speed on the Vancouver trail systems, here are some great resources:
- Outdoor Vancouver – Vancouver Hiking Trail Guides
- Vancouver Trails
- All Trails App
- To-Do Canada – 25 Must-do Metro Vancouver hikes
In North Vancouver, you’ll find Lighthouse park. It’s another excellent hiking spot with fabulous views. Walk through the giant, first-growth Douglas firs to the Lighthouse lookout on this 10-minute hike or take the scenic route through this parks’ looping trail systems for longer.
Queen Elizabeth Park and a picnic
Another great picnic spot with magnificent views of Downtown and the Northshore mountains is Queen Elizabeth Park. Your student will enjoy walking around and admiring the flowers. You can also visit the Bloedel Conservatory at the top of the park while you’re there. The Conservatory has over 100 exotic birds and 500 exotic plants inside its large dome!
Capilano Suspension Bridge and Park
A great forested area to visit is the Capilano area of North Vancouver. For students who are unafraid of heights, the Suspension Bridge Park can be fun. They have their new treetop adventure too, so you’ve got plenty to explore together.
Whale watching or speed boat
Vancouver whale watching season is usually March through October, but whale pods can be unpredictable. Many companies have whale-watching boat tours running from Steveston and downtown Vancouver.
If whale-watching doesn’t interest your homestay student, there are other activities on the waters around Vancouver. They may enjoy kayaking, canoeing, or even catching a trip around the inlet on a speed boat. Just be sure they wear sunscreen, even on a cloudy day.
Fish and chips in Steveston Village
If your student would rather stay on land, take them out for fish and chips. There are many great local spots for fish and chips takeout, but Pajos is one of the most popular, with two locations in Steveston, one in Port Moody, and one at the airport.
Watching the planes land at YVR
If you’re looking to get outdoors, but in a more low-key way with your student, take them airplane watching near the YVR. Park at the edge of the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet mall and enjoy watching the planes land over your head. Another great plane-watching spot is in the harbour between Canada Place and Stanley Park. The floatplanes land and take off regularly here.
Outdoor activities with your homestay student
There are no shortage of Summer outdoor or indoor activities to enjoy around Vancouver. Don’t feel limited to the Lower Mainland, though. There are plenty of outdoor wonders to enjoy throughout the province, so plan a weekend mini-vacation to explore more.
If you’d like to host a homestay student in your home, learn more about becoming a host family through Harmony Homestay.