If you’re wondering about the best things to see and do on the North Shore of Vancouver, you’ve come to the right place! I’m a travel blogger and author; I’ve lived in Deep Cove for 10 years and on the North Shore for 13. I’m constantly discovering new sights, animals, experiences and activities in my ‘hood. As such, I wouldn’t call this an “insider’s guide.” Rather, it’s a local’s perspective on Deep Cove’s forests, coves, sights and activities.
Deep Cove is a small neighborhood with an even smaller “village” on Gallant Street. It was a traditional fishing and clamming village back in the day; now it’s only us locals in the winter and early spring. Summer and fall, it’s open season – tourists from all over the world are welcome! I love walking through Panorama Park, listening to all the different languages and accents. Tourists from all over the world visit Deep Cove, and I hope to see you here one day :-)
This isn’t your typical list of sights and activities on the North Shore. If you search for things to do in Deep Cove, you’ll easily find a list of world-famous tourist sights and popular activities:
- Honey Doughnuts & Goodies for world-famous honey-soaked donuts
- The Deep Cove Kayak Center for kayaking and stand up paddle boarding
- The grassy parts and picnic areas of Panorama Park for summer concerts, picnics, and year-round BBQs
- The beach at Panorama Park for swimming, sun bathing, people watching, crab petting
- Quarry Rock for a short, mildly challenging hour-long hike with a breathtaking view of Deep Cove and Panorama Park
- Wickenden Park (my favorite place as a Deep Cove local)
Here’s a tip for traveling to to Deep Cove, the North Shore, or Vancouver itself that can change how you travel: Choose a meaningful, interesting, fun theme for your trip. If I were visiting Deep Cove for the first or tenth time, for example, my theme would be presence.
I’ll talk more about presence — and being versus doing in Deep Cove. In the meantime, think about the theme of your trip to Vancouver and Canada! Start by reading 18 Ideas for Creative, Meaningful Theme Vacations.
A Local’s Tips for Visiting Deep Cove
I was born in Vancouver at the Grace Hospital (which is now B.C. Women’s Hospital & Health Centre), but spent my childhood roaming western Canada. That’s partly why I don’t feel like an insider or even much of a local, to tell you the truth. I’ve lived in so many places — from Bowen Island, B.C. to Nairobi, East Africa — that I’m not an insider anywhere.
But I do walk, run and sometimes fall down on the streets and in the forests of Deep Cove every day. I’ve walked my dogs in rain and snow, heat and hail. I pick blackberries and huckleberries (but haven’t learned how to pick wild mushrooms yet). Sometimes I give a wide berth to bears and deer, skunks and cougars. They do the same for me.
First things first.
How do you get to Deep Cove?
Do not drive or park your car in Deep Cove. Take the bus (or Uber? Lyft?). You’ll never find a parking space if you drive to the North Shore. Driving to and in Deep Cove is aggravating for both drivers and local residents (not to mention innocent passengers and people on the street). Driving your car to Deep Cove is also environmentally gross.
Taking public transit — the bus, as there is no metro or LRT (Light Rail Transit) — is the zen way to visit Deep Cove as a tourist. Riding the bus takes longer than driving a car, but public transit is cheaper, easier, and more interesting. And if the theme of your trip is something like presence or zen, the bus ride to Deep Cove will give you lots of time to practice being present and zen-like.
Currently, ride-hailing or ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are new to Vancouver and British Columbia. Talk to your hotel concierge or AirBnB host about using Uber or Lyft to for a ride to Deep Cove. And if you have any experience with ridesharing to Deep Cove or in Vancouver, please share below — even if you’re a local, not a tourist! Tell us how Uber or Lyft is working in Vancouver.
What is the best thing to do and see in Deep Cove?
You are the expert on you, your tried-and-true holiday experiences, and your favorite things to do on vacation! The best things to do and see in Deep Cove (or Vancouver, or Canada) depend on your personality, tastes, lifestyle, activity level and interests.
Here’s the quick list of things most tourists do and see in Deep Cove:
- Savor the crispy, moist, honey-soaked celebrity-endorsed donuts at Honey Doughnuts & Goodies
- Rent kayaks, surfskis, or SUPs (stand up paddle boards) at Deep Cove Kayak
- Have a picnic or BBQ in various places at Panorama Park
- Swim, sun bathe, find crabs and people watch at the beach at Panorama Park
- Hike Quarry Rock for an heart-stopping view of Deep Cove and Panorama Park
- Wander through Wickenden Park and look for owls, skunks, bears, cougars and deer
Other things tourists do in Deep Cove is shop and eat. There are a few boutiques and small food joints on Gallant Street, which is the main street in Deep Cove. There’s also a small art gallery, museum and theatre.
But maybe you don’t want to do the things most tourists do in Deep Cove. Maybe you want to go hang out in the forest with me and the critters.
Are there really owls, bears, cougars and deer in the Deep Cove forests?
Yup. The owls in Wickenden Park are loud and plentiful, but often hard to spot. You’ll hear the owls hooting if you’re lucky enough to walk through the forests of Deep Cove at the right time. Right now I hear the adult owls hooting; soon the baby owls will be chirping for their breakfast. There are also owls at both ends of Myrtle Park (a park and forest near Deep Cove Park), and in the forest of Panorama Park itself.
Here’s a list of the animals I’ve seen on the streets and in the forests of Deep Cove:
- Black bears (eight times in one year, once or twice a year since then)
- Deer (countless times)
- Cougar (once, sunning himself on a rock!)
- Coyotes (three times)
- Skunks (about 10 times a year)
- Raccoons (about 20 times a year)
- Squirrels (countless)
- Rats (once or twice a year)
- Eagles (two or three times a year)
- Dogs (countless)
- Tourists (countless)
- Adult and baby owls (countless times)
When I was walking my dogs a couple years ago, an adult owl swooped low and close to my littlest dog, Tiffy. I thought she was a goner — that little dog would be good eating for a family of owls! But at the last minute the owl changed its mind and swooped back up. Tiffy had no idea how close she came to being a buffet.
Let Deep Cove be a place to be, not do
Vancouver is a relatively laid back city, especially in comparison to Toronto or Montreal. The North Shore (West Vancouver and North Vancouver) is even more laid back. And Deep Cove? The most laid back place of all. If you visit the surrounding islands such as Bowen Island and Salt Spring Island, you’ll gear down even further. Same with Squamish and Whistler.
If you visit Deep Cove, leave your list of tourist things to do and see at home. Let Vancouver be your busy shopping, dining, sightseeing, culture-exploring tour-taking time! If you come to Deep Cove, bring your travel journal. Sit on a log in the forest. Listen to the owls and other birds. Watch the slugs and beetles. Feel the green moss — it’s soft and surprisingly dry! Take a deep breath. Maybe a squirrel or deer will come visit you.
What do you want to know about visiting Deep Cove, Vancouver, Canada?
I wanted to supplement this blog post on Deep Cove with a few tips from popular guidebooks, but books like Lonely Planet Vancouver & Victoria (City Guide) and British Columbia and the Canadian Rockies don’t offer too much information about the North Shore. A print book can only do so much — and no print guidebook can tell tourists everything they need to know about Vancouver or the North Shore! Too much information, not enough pages.
And the truth is that blog posts, magazine articles and even Vancouver tourist forums can’t answer all your questions about visiting Deep Cove. What is the best thing to do in Deep Cove? What should you see when you visit the North Shore? Do a little research, consult your intuition and fellow travelers, and dive right in.
Come, explore, and experience Deep Cove for yourself.
Feel free to ask questions below! And don’t worry: I’m not a tour guide or travel agency, and I’m not selling anything. I don’t have an AirBnB or Uber service. I’m just a writer, a travel blogger who lives in Deep Cove, North Vancouver. :-)
Your thoughts, big and little, are welcome. If you have any tips or tools for travel that transforms you, please do share those. We love tips and tools :-)
Travel in faith, and be transformed.