lower mainland family outdoor fun

We love to be outside. When it's not raining you can be sure to find us either out in our yard or at a park.  We are within walking distance to a few playgrounds but there are some great playgrounds our kids preferred as they offer a little more than just swings and slides.  Below are some of playgrounds, parks and beaches around Vancouver metro area we frequent. 

* If a concession stand is on premise, please assume that it's open only in summer/fall and closed during winter/spring.  As for parking, majority are free :-)  my kind of parking lot !



Highlights:  Small lake with lots of ducks and geese.  Like a LOT !  There's a walking trail all around.  Park is great for exploring and walking/hiking.  Small playground area.

Parking:  Small parking lot
Concession:  No
Washroom:  Yes


Highlights:  huge playground, ponds, and big green spaces, great for exploring and walking.  There's an outdoor pool there but we never been so can't comment on that amenity.  It's a big park for kids to run around !  There are picnic areas here that's great for small group get together. 

Parking:  big size parking lot, can get crowded in summer and if there's event at the stadium there.
Concession:  No
Washroom:  Yes


Highlights:  big playground with wide open field.  Park is right next to the community center.  An outdoor wadding pool for little kids.  There are lots of seating benches for parents (a plus).  Park is next to Community Center with indoor pool, gym and small indoor kiddie play area.  

Parking:  street parking all around and also a small underground parking lot
Concession:  Cafe inside Community Center
Washroom:  Yes


Highlights:  huge playground with a big water park area.  The park has a big open field and picnic areas with trees that provide shade from the hot sun.  The petting zoo is open in the summer and entrance fee is by donation.  There are lots of sheep and goat walking around ! 

Parking:  small parking lot and street parking all around
Concession:  Yes
Washroom:  Yes

WESTMINSTER PIER PARK (River Market Westminster Quay) 

Highlights:  2 decent size playgrounds, outdoor sitting benches, hammocks, and a sandy volleyball courts next to a water spray area.  Lots of room for strolling and for kids to run around.  There is also a grassy area, near the concession stand, for a family picnic.  At the entrance of the park, if you head away from the Patullo bridge, you will hit River Market.  It hosts a number good restaurants inside, a bakery and a few artisan stores.  A very quaint area.

Parking:  big PAY parking lot, not too expensive though
Concession:  Yes, look for the red wooden structure (there's also a food court in the River Market)
Washroom:  Yes



Highlights:  big playground and water park - great for a day out.  There are picnic tables and sitting benches around.  Small restaurants within walking distance.  Lots of ice cream shops around and also close to Steveston dock where you can pick up fresh seafood :-)

Parking:  street parking and small lots near by (walking distance)
Concession:  No
Washroom:  Yes


Highlights:  lots of green spaces and cool wooden play ground.  Features is the long slide and the zip line.  Near the gate there's a long dyke that you can walk along watching planes coming and going.  There's no concession on site.  There was 1 hotdog and ice cream truck that came by when we were there by but I don't know how often or when they come.

Parking:  small parking lot
Concession:  No
Washroom:  Yes


Highlights:  lots and lots of open flat land for running (and walking).  It's pretty much tree-less here so bring hats in summer.  On windy day, expect to see a lots of kites here.  Our kids like to run up and down the hills and digging in the sand near the water.  There is a concesssion stand near the parking lot.  It looks like 2 shops, one is Pajo, serves tasty fish and chips, and the other serves ice cream and snacks. 

Parking:  easy parking, big lot
Concession:  Yes
Washroom:  Yes



Highlights:  the beach is sandy, the water is shallow and warm !  it's the only warm salt water hole around here !  Right at the entrance is huge playground that will surely entertain kids and adults alike.  It's a great place for a day out, picnic or bbq.  Bring a beach umbrella if you're planning on staying for a while as there's not a lot of trees on the beach here.  If you're up for some exercise, there's a nature hiking/biking trail there. 

Parking:  decent parking lot, busy in summer as there's a morning market held at the parking lot til noon.  Early morning or late afternoon arrival is best.  I've seen people parking way out near the main street and hike in.
Concession:  Concession stand
Washroom:  Yes


GRANVILLE ISLAND (Water park & Sutcliffe park)

Highlights:  lots of green space to run around, a large kids' playground outside of the market area right next to the water park.  We like to go to the market first to grab some treats then stroll around, check out the floating homes then head to the park.  The water park is open in summer and it's huge with everything to make the babies and older kids happy.  

Parking:  few parking lots but it gets CRAZY busy on the weekend.  Go early !
Concession:  Public market and restaurants
Washroom:  Yes


Highlights: 3 long stretches of sandy beaches next to each other !  We really like these beaches.  Locarno is our favorite as it's less crowed than the other two.  Parking is plenty here but some weekend can be crazy !  We usually bring along a portable bbq and spend the whole day here.  Early afternoon the tide would go out quite far, allowing us to walking out for a long distance.  Our kids would play in the shallow pocket of water, built sand castles or just bury themselves in the wet sand.  I found it still a bit cold to swim in there but the kids and others don't seem to mind.

Parking:  big parking lots.  There are a few parking lots along the beaches and people do leave throughout the day so don't give up if the first lot is full !
Concession:  Yes
Washroom:  Yes


Highlights:  stretches of sand, green grass and trees.  There's a nice outdoor pool there with a small water park.  There're small concession stands on the beach and Boat House restaurant take out there.  I might be nit picking but the sand here isn't as clean as the one at Locarno :-)  I find big rocks and garbage mixed in there.  Still a nice beach park for the kids.  Great place to watch the sun set.

Parking:  decent size parking lot but it does get full really quick on the weekend.
Concession:  Boathouse restaurant is near by and has a take out window
Washroom:  Yes


Highlights:  beautiful place for walking and exploring.  There's everything here for everyone !  lots green spaces, stretches of sand, and playgrounds for the kids.  I group the parks/beaches all together as they're close by each other. These are popular areas so they are often crowded (lots of tourists).  We like it here but due to the busyness of the place, we only visit if we're in the vicinity.  

Parking:  big pay parking lot but it's very crowded on weekend
Concession:  Yes (here are restaurants around English Bay & there's a concession stand in 2nd Beach)
Washroom:  Yes


Highlights:  small sandy lake with lots of ducks in summer !  Decent size playground and a concession stand.  There are big trees here and a lot of people bbq and picnic here in the summer so do come early on the weekend for best parking and lake front spot.

Parking:  big parking lot but can get crowded on weekend
Concession:  Yes
Washroom:  Yes