Are thniking about having a fun cycling vacation in Vancouver? Great idea! Here’s a Vancouver cycling guide with indispensable tips and insider information that you can use to plan your best family cycling vacation ever! To whet your appetite, here is our video of part of the Seaside Bike Route, which is described below in the post:
Full disclosure: Vancouver is my adopted city, and I am absolutely crazy about it! It’s been almost 20 years since I immigrated here, and I’m still in constant awe. I have been lucky enough to bring my kids up here, and now I am watching my grandchildren have the pleasure of growing up in this lovely city. So yes, I have a strong bias in favor of Vancouver!
Renting a Bike in Vancouver
I have a list of bike rental shops here. They are all good, to my knowledge. Most of them are right on the Vancouver seawall, or close to safe cycling routes. And here you can find quick links to posts about a whole lot of great bike rides in and around greater Vancouver.
Recommended Vancouver Family Bike Rides
I have listed three of the best Vancouver family bike rides in this post. All of these rides have these key features: they are completely off-road, or almost completely off-road; they are safe; they are mainly flat; and there are lots of interesting things to see or do along the way – including parks, beaches, water parks, pools, an aquarium, and lots of Vancouver history and sights.
Recommended Vancouver Bike Ride #1: The Seaside Bike Route
Definitely the best Vancouver bike trail for families with kids, and for discovering all kinds of beaches and activities: the Seaside Bike Route. This route is almost 100 percent off road, and the only danger is bumping into pedestrians who wander onto the bike routes.
The Seaside Bike Route in Vancouver goes from the Convention Center at Coal Harbour on Burrard Inlet, all the way to Jericho Beach. Vancouver’s Seaside Bike Route is a multi-use recreational route that runs along Vancouver’s Seawall.
The Seaside Bike Route cuts across the edge of the magnificent Stanley Park, goes along English Bay past the Old Pavilion, follows that up with a spectacular loop around False Creek, then winds past Granville Island and ends up at Jericho Beach.
Plan to stop at Kits Pool, a wonderful outdoor pool that offers fun for the whole family. At 137 m (150 yards), it is Canada’s longest pool — almost three times longer than an Olympic pool! I was once a lifeguard – but I find it seriously challenging to swim laps in this pool. There is also a shallow end that is great for kids, plus a separate kids’ pool. It is also Vancouver’s only heated salt water pool.
Also on the Seaside Bike Route is the Telus Science World, where there are enough fun activities to keep kids busy for hours. It’s fun for adults too. Pit your strength against the strength-testing machines! And check out what’s showing at the OmniMax, which is a simply awe-inspiring, giant, wrap-around theater (it’s in that dome in the photo below). Honestly, it makes your average 3D movie look quite primitive. It’s HUGE!
The Seaside Bike Route offers awesome views and endless activities all the way – including the Vancouver Aquatic Centre, Stanley Park, various kids’ parks, and Science World. And do not miss Granville Island: shopping, activities, and a splendid Kid’s Market, packed solid with fun things for kids to do.
Be sure to ride the aqua buses with your bikes. It’s a cheap and fun way to see Vancouver from the water. Details about taking your bike across False Creek are here.
Recommended Vancouver Bike Ride #2: The Stanley Park Seawall Bike Trail
The Stanley Park Seawall Bike Trail is world-class fabulous, although it can be very busy on a sunny summer’s day. Stanley Park was recently named the top urban park in the world by Trip Advisor. It’s the third-biggest park in North America, an awesome 400 hectares of rain forest, right in the heart of Vancouver. Flanked by English Bay and Burrard Inlet, the entire park offers spectacular water views, and shade from towering, ancient, cedar, fir, and hemlock trees. The bike trail runs along the Seawall, hugging the water and offering endless views to cyclists. Along the way are endless family fun opportunities, such as an Aquarium, a water park, kids’ parks, and beaches.
This post about the Stanley Park Bike Trail describes all the attractions, and includes my video guide, which was kindly narrated by Mrs. Average Joe Cyclist (who has lived in Vancouver all her life, so she knows a thing or too about this city).
If the Second Beach Pool is open, go for a swim – in my opinion, it’s the best outdoor family pool in the world!
Insider secret – there are off-road trails that wind through the forests in Stanley Park. Here’s a guide to one of them. Few people seem to know about these quieter trails, so they are great for a quiet ride, perhaps stopping for a picnic to enjoy being in nature while inside a city.
These trails are home to quite a variety of wildlife, which you may see if you are quiet and lucky. I have described one of these off-road bike trails here, which takes you from the car park at Second Beach Pool, all the way up to Prospect Point. This ride is mainly uphill, so it’s not suitable for little kids. It’s a lot rougher and more gravelly than the main bike routes too. Suitable for any able-bodied, fit person from about 14 years old and up.
Recommended Vancouver Bike Ride #3: Poco Trail
This trail is close to Vancouver, not actually in Vancouver. It requires a car to get your bikes and family there. But it’s very well worth the trip. The Traboulay Poco Trail is another lesser known ride, but amazing. We do it at least once a year.
The Traboulay PoCo Trail in Port Coquitlam is a great cycling trail and hiking trail. It is family friendly and dog friendly. The Poco Trail is safe and well-maintained, offering something for everyone. Located just 27 km (17 miles) from Vancouver, it is very well worth a day trip. If you’re trying to enjoy as much of BC as you can in a short time, you could not do much better than this trail.
More bike routes in the area of Vancouver can be found on this page.
Bike Maps of Vancouver
Try to fit in a bike ride in Whistler!
If you can get up to Whistler for a day or two, it is a paradise in terms of having a complete network of safe, family friendly bike trails. It’s like a slice of bike paradise. Apart from the flattish trails – If you are an adventurous family, there are downhill mountain bike clinics for kids! And for the adults, rent a bike and get in the line-up to go up the ski lifts and then come downhill on your bike! You can choose your course, from beginner to advanced.
Good luck, have fun, and ride safe. If you feel like sharing some pics of your adventures, feel free to contact me – maybe we could collaborate on a short post and some photos of your family fun!
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