Life is good if you’re a pooch in Vancouver.
Between strolls on the seawall for Fido and tons of dog-friendly patios for the hoomans, this city is ideal for spending time with your four-legged family members.
There’s also an embarrassment of riches when it comes to parks where dogs are welcome. These are some of my favourites – please feel free to comment and leave yours too.
Charleson Park (False Creek)
With top-notch views of Yaletown and the downtown core, this large bowl in Fairview sits on the seawall and is enjoyed all-year round by dog owners and non-dog owners alike. There’s a fantastic upper fenced-off area with a waterfall – fed by city water! – feeding into a pond so your pooch can cool off on hot days.
Devonian Harbour Park (Coal Harbour)
This little-known off-leash park actually serves as a gateway between Coal Harbour and Stanley Park. Tucked away just north of West Georgia and Denman streets, there are rolling lawns for playing endless games of fetch. The grassy area leads to a rocky beach that’s perfect for swimming. Of course, the views of Coal Harbour aren’t too shabby either.
Spanish Banks dog beach (UBC/Point Grey)
This stretch of beach just west of the swimming area of Spanish Banks is perfect for a game of fetch, or throwing down a blanket and enjoying the views together. There are kilometres of trail adjacent to the beach to enjoy the seawall. If you’re looking for a longer jaunt, park on Chancelor Blvd. on the UBC grounds and take the Canyon Trail loop (approximately one hour) for a calming walk in the woods.
Kits dog beach/Hadden Park (Kitsilano)
A perennial favourite with dog owners in Kitsilano, Hadden Park is a scenic beach perfect for letting Fido take a dip and socialize with other dogs. Just a short stroll away from Granville Island and the Kits Beach concession stand, it’s a great spot to sit on a log and sip a coffee and watch boats cruise by. Hundreds of happy pooches pack this park on the weekends.
McDonald Beach (Richmond)
On the banks of the Fraser River, and just a skip away from YVR, lies this oasis for our four-legged friends. The stretch of dog-friendly beach stretches for several kilometres and expands at low tide! There’s also a network of wooded trails to explore and a large field to play fetch.
Smack dab in the middle of a network of running and walking trails, New Brighton is a great end to a workout with your pooch by your side. There’s beach access to Burrard Inlet and pretty views of the North Shore. You’ll find this park in the Hastings-Sunrise area just west of the Second Narrows Bridge.
Ambleside Beach (West Vancouver)
Truly a dog’s dream. With 3.5 hectares of beach, grassy areas and trails, this dog-friendly park is a perfect weekend destination for North Shore and Vancouver dog owners alike. Ample space for swimming and exploring and playing with dogs of all sizes. Lovely views of the Lion’s Gate Bridge and Stanley Park.
As its name reveals, Sunset Beach Park is the perfect place to take in the sundown with your pup by your side. It’s a wee park just off the seawall with plenty of good natured pups and their owners taking in sand and surf with their buddies. A lovely beach for dogs to play in the sand and take a swim, and far enough removed from the seawall that they won’t get in the way of pedestrians and bikers.
Crab Park/Portside Park (Gastown)
This park gets an honourable mention for some of the coolest views in the city. Crab Park (formerly called Portside Park) is the local hangout for lots of Gastown and Railtown residents, in an area of town where there isn’t much green space for Fido. There’s plenty of space to explore the park, take a stroll and play some fetch.
Although it’s about a half hour drive from the city, this off-leash recreational area is worth the drive. The popular lake has a fenced-off swimming area for dogs, so you don’t need to worry about Fido bugging – or being bugged by – kids and swimmers. There are lovely trails nearby as well. If you’re feeling like a big adventure, get up early and check out Diez Vistas with your pooch and finish with a dip in the lake.