Stanley Park is a 400 hectare urban park situated on a peninsula north-west of downtown Vancouver, BC. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vancouver because of its great location and numerous attractions. We decided to spend a day exploring the many offerings of Stanley Park and started our adventure by biking the Seawall.
The Seawall is a 9.5 km flat paved trail that follows the outer perimeter of Stanley Park. There are actually two trails that run parallel to one another. One trail is for pedestrians only and the other is for bikers and rollerbladers. The bike path circles around the park in a counter-clockwise direction and there are many access point along the way. Some suggest parking near the Vancouver Rowing Club and starting the bike ride from there but when we arrived, at ten o’clock in the morning on a weekday, there were no parking spots available. Instead we parked on Avison Way and this ended up being a better parking spot because of its proximity to the Vancouver Aquarium.
From Avision Way we biked down to the Seawall and started our ride. Before going to Stanley Park we had mentally prepared ourselves for crowds and I am glad we did. The Seawall in the summer is a busy place and the bike path even more so. We were careful to take our time and pull off the trail regularly to let faster bikers pass us. Sometimes the trail is wide enough for bikers to pass each other, but other times it is quite narrow. The trail, however, was always wide enough for our double Chariot even though getting through the various gates along the way was a bit challenging.
The views from the Seawall are stunning and we took our time to enjoy them. When we reached Third Beach our children set off to collect shells before continuing on to Second Beach. At this point we actually diverged from the route and pedaled up Stanley Park Drive and then Beach Avenue to enjoy lunch at the Cactus Club Cafe. There is a bike rack at the restaurant and the staff kindly stored our Chariot for us while we ate. With filled bellies we returned to Stanley Park and stopped at Ceperley playground before continuing on again and completing our loop.
The Seawall trail is a great family bike adventure! My two older children (8 and 6) really enjoyed it and my youngest (4) had a good time exploring at our various stops. There is so much to see and do along the way that I feel like we just started exploring this expansive park.
After our bike ride we went to the Vancouver Aquarium and spent a couple hours there. We entered the aquarium at three o’clock in the afternoon, and by five o’clock most of the crowds had left. It had been probably twenty years since my last visit and I was pleasantly surprised by awesome it was there.