Vancouver is the ideal city for a crisp fall walk. The crowds of the summer have dissipated, the leaves are golden and green and mushrooms are popping up on the forest floor and beside sidewalks. There’s lots to see and do outdoors in the fall, so why not pack up the kids and go for a walk?
Stroll Around Your Neighbourhood
Vancouver is a beautiful city in all seasons, but I love to walk through my neighbourhood in the fall. With tall, mature trees lining most streets, there is plenty of colourful foliage to look at and lots of fallen leaves for my preschooler to kick. Sometimes we bring a plastic bag and pick up handfuls of acorns, horse chestnuts, maple keys and leaves to look at when we get home. We’ve also found lots of interesting mushrooms to look at growing at the base of our neighbourhood trees.
Walk the Stanley Park Seawall
Stanley Park is a lovely destination in the fall, with a nice mix of evergreen and deciduous trees along the seawall and a gorgeous view out over downtown and North Vancouver. We usually like to start at the Information Kiosk by the totem poles and head east, working our way around the 9 o’clock gun, lighthouse and coming back through the playground beside the children’s farmyard before walking behind the Aquarium and down to the Information Kiosk again.
Explore the Beach
Even when it’s wet and cool, the beach is a fun place to explore with kids. Bundle up warmly in fleece jackets and rain gear first, then hit the sand. You’ll most likely have the whole stretch of shoreline to yourself, and there are lots of interesting seaweeds, crabs, shells, rocks, logs and bushes to explore whether it’s sunny or rainy. Spanish Banks, Kits Beach, Wreck Beach and even Trout Lake are fun places to play in the sand in the off-season.
Take a Rainforest Walk
There is something magical about being in the rainforest when the weather is rainy and cool. The Capilano Salmon Hatchery is a perfect destination for an autumn rainforest walk, with a couple of giant old-growth trees to visit and the chance to peek in the windows at the hatchery and watch spawning salmon jump up into the hatchery. Park at the Cleveland Dam, then walk over the dam, turn left down the hill to visit the giant trees, then turn right and continue walking along the river until you get to the bridge. Cross the bridge and turn left to visit the hatchery before climbing the stairs beside the little mushroom house at the edge of the parking lot to return to where you started. Getting out for a walk has lots of benefits for kids and adults alike, so don’t let a grey, cool day deter you from having a great time outside. Dress for the weather, wear rubber boots and don’t forget your rain gear! The beautiful fall foliage and spawning salmon are out there waiting for you.
Michelle Carchrae is a freelance writer and blogger at The Parent Vortex.