Vancouver is a notoriously fit city and almost every hotel offers some sort of on-site exercise option such as a pool or gym. But locals prefer to do it in the great outdoors–rain or shine. Here are some of the best ways to join the adrenaline-fuelled fun:
- Climb the Grouse Grind: From early spring to late fall, locals of all ages tackle this trail–aka Nature’s Stairmaster–up the side of Grouse Mountain. The steep 3-km trek requires a moderate level of fitness and takes anywhere from 50 to 90 minutes to complete. Wear trail shoes and dress to sweat, but carry a light covering for the trip down the mountain in the gondola.
- Bike (or ‘blade) the seawalls: Rent a bike or rollerblades from one of the many shops along the Coal Harbour seawall (near the convention centre) or at the foot of Denman St. near the entrance to Stanley Park and spend the day skirting the city’s pretty perimeter.
- Jog the Stanley Park trails: It’s a respectable 10-km run around the Stanley Park seawall from Coal Harbour to English Bay, or you can vary the route and beat the crowds by ducking onto the quiet trails that criss-cross the lushly forested 1,000-acre park.
- Swim in the ocean: There are hard-core fitness buffs who swim year-round in a wetsuit, but the more delicate prefer to wait for the summer months to enter the chilly Pacific. Favourite swimming beaches include Stanley Park’s Second and Third Beaches, Kits Beach, Jericho Beach and clothing-optional Wreck Beach near the University of British Columbia.
- Play tennis: The Vancouver Park Board maintains 183 tennis courts in 43 parks throughout the city. Except for the six courts in Stanley Park which charge a nominal fee and must be reserved, the public courts are free of charge and operate on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Stroll a park: Juggling multi-generational fitness abilities is literally a walk in the park. In Metro Vancouver’s myriad green spaces, you’ll find everything from young moms and dads running their kids and dogs, to elderly couples practicing Tai Chi.
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Photo: Tourism Vancouver
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