Lions Gate Bridge: 5ource

Travel beckons to us all. New sights, tastes and experiences beyond every corner promise fresh insights and expanded horizons. And today, travel is more accessible to more people than ever before.

This is a great thing. But in tandem with greater accessibility arises a growing concern regarding overtourism: massive numbers of tourists are changing the nature of the places those visitors are coming to see.

The concern is real, but should not deter you from setting off on your next great adventure. The world’s great places can still be enjoyed without loving those destinations into submission. And the lack of crowds are a great bonus for you, the individual. A win-win situation.

For an overview of the challenges posed by mass tourism in the 21st century, check out this documentary (in Dutch with English subtitles) here.

Lighthouse Park: Source

Vancouver is a must-see place; one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  Vancouver offers a host of well-known, world-class sites: Stanley Park, English Bay, Capilano Suspension Bridge and the Sunshine Coast all draw scores of enthusiastic visitors.

“The city is no longer a backwater but a shimmering, modernist vision in glass, with great aspirations and a hearty, healthy spirit”

Conde Nast

In the summer months, in particular, the blues skies and shimmering vistas will make your heart soar. And like any great destination, Vancouver offers a host of alternative sites that will heartily reward those willing to dig below the surface.

Here are five must-see destinations in Vancouver that guarantee you a unique, meaningful experience minus the crowds.

1) Rocky Point Park

Rocky Point Park: Source

Stanley Park, which protrudes gracefully from Vancouver’s downtown peninsula, is considered one of the world’s great urban parks. And with good reason. But Vancouver is blessed with plenty of great options for those looking for a quieter sylvan experience.

The northern edge of Stanley Park sits astride Burrard Inlet, a narrow fjord that cuts across the northern edge of the Vancouver metro area. At the eastern edge of Burrard Inlet sits Rocky Point Park in the suburb of Port Moody.

This park offers scenic walks with views of the soaring Coast Mountains to the north. Opportunities for boating, barbecuing and concert-going are plentiful when the weather is warm.

And don’t forget the appropriately-named and always satisfying Rocky Point Ice Cream shop, which is located next to the park. A delicious milkshake, sundae or ice cream cone to go with the view? Always a sweet combination.

2) Jericho Beach

Vancouver’s coastal location promises beaches aplenty. English Bay, between downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park, is where most tourists head on a warm, sunny day.

Jericho Beach: Source

But for a more sanguine, but equally beautiful waterside retreat, consider Jericho Beach. Jericho Beach sits across from English Bay on the west edge of the city of Vancouver.

The beach offers excellent views of the mountains to the north and the sea to the north and west. It also features a sailing center, picnic tables and tennis courts. And even on a beautiful summer day, a spacious, comfortable spot on the grass is all but guaranteed. 

3) Cambie Street

Shopping and eating are an important part of any good vacation. Vancouver’s most famous (and crowded) street for purchasing and imbibing is Robson Street.

For a lower-key alternative to Robson Street, consider Cambie street, particularly the section that extends south from the King Edward Canada line station and south towards City Hall. This stretch of Cambie street features hip cafes, delicious sushi restaurants and quaint shops.

Walk east or west of Cambie and you will find yourself immersed in one of Vancouver’s charming neighborhoods, with a mix of handsome detached houses, modern multi-story apartments and lush community parks.

If you are looking to treat yourself, South Cambie’s Vij’s offers some of the most renowned Indian food in Canada. Expect to wait in line, but the mouthwatering Indian fusion cuisine will quickly make you forget any inconveniences endured. 

Did you know that botox was invented in Vancouver? It’s true! – Source

4) Burnaby Village Museum

Burnaby Village Museum: Source

Vancouver is a new city, so exploring history may not spring to mind when you allotting precious vacation hours. But like any destination, a deeper appreciation is gained by learning a little history.

Most people head for Gastown, where the city of Vancouver started in the late 1800s. For a quieter, less touristy look at the area’s history, consider heading to the neighboring suburb of Burnaby and exploring it’s excellent Village Museum.

The Burnaby Village Museum will transport you to the Vancouver of 1920s. The village features actors in period costumes who inhabit a rich world of blacksmith shops, general stores and one-room schools. In addition, changing exhibits explore different aspects of the area’s history.

Here, fun and learning intermingle seamlessly to create a unique and illuminating experience far from the well-worn tourist trails.

5) Pacific Spirit Park

One thing that sets Vancouver apart from most other urban destinations is the accessibility of nature. This accessibility means some beauty spots are jam-packed, particularly well-known and loved destinations such as Capilano Canyon, Deep Cove and Lynn Canyon.

Fortunately, for more serene destinations, you don’t have to look far. On the west side of the city sits Pacific Spirit Park. Situated within the university endowment lands between the University of British Columbia campus on the west and the city of Vancouver on the east, Pacific Spirit Park is crisscrossed by a seemingly endless labyrinth of trails.

Old growth forest, abundant wildlife and rocky beaches make this a great place to bike, jog or just ramble. Pacific Spirit won’t challenge those  looking for a difficult hike, but with 73 kilometers of trails, Pacific Spirit Park will fill the souls of those looking for peace and solitude.

Totem Pole: Source

Vancouver is the perfect destination for nature lovers who seek the comforts and energy of a big city. Stanley Park, English Bay, Lynn Canyon and Robson Street are all great, must-see destinations. More and more people are discovering this gem on the west coast of Canada.

This means that these sites are growing increasingly crowded. Fortunately, Vancouver is a diverse location that offers excellent, less crowded alternatives to the tourist mainstays. Give both the popular sites and your nerves a break. Start with the places described above. Then branch out and write your own Vancouver adventure.