Part of downtown Vancouver's West End, the magnificent Stanley Park certainly enjoys one of the world’s most breathtaking settings: the park is surrounded on three sides by the ocean and loomed over by the snow-capped North Shore mountains. The park’s perimeter seawall stroll is one of the best ways to spend an afternoon.
Within its 1,000 acres (400 hectares), travelers will find forests of cedar, hemlock and fir, mingled with meadows, lakes and cricket pitches. On a sunny day all of Vancouver is here hiking, cycling and jogging along the seawall or through the woods. There are also a couple of excellent beaches, ideal spots to perch on a driftwood log with a picnic and catch a kaleidoscopic sunset over the water. Stanley Park is big enough to have quiet parts whenever you’re seeking seclusion, while wildlife lovers can always spot raccoon on the ground or eagles high in the trees.
But the park isn’t just for nature lovers; other highlights include the collection of totem poles by the shore, the Second Beach Swimming Pool and the Vancouver Aquarium. Kids love the Stanley Park's Children's Farm, where they can pet peacocks, rabbits, calves, donkeys and Shetland ponies.
Stanley Park is located at the west end of downtown Vancouver. The park’s information center is near the Georgia Street entrance, along the seawall. A free shuttle bus travels around the park, and plodding horse-drawn carriages are also available. Stanley Park's Miniature Railway, a diminutive steam locomotive found next to the petting zoo that pulls passenger cars on a circuit through the woods, is another great way to get around. There is a smattering of restaurants throughout the park.