Activities Seasonal Advice
Vancouver has a moderate climate, with temperatures rarely exceeding 30°C (86°F) or falling below freezing for sustained periods, though winter storms that blend relentless rain with 5°C (41°F) chills can feel colder than the Canadian Rockies. Whatever you're doing, wearing layers is key, as a downpour may abruptly turn into a 60-minute sun break, or marine air can bring a sudden chill to a July day.
Year-round: If Vancouverites postponed running, biking, or golfing because of a bit of rain, they'd get outside only half the time (Vancouver’s annual precipitation is about 158 cm [62 inches], compared to Seattle’s 92 cm [36.2 inches]). Visitors are encouraged to venture out in all but the worst rainstorms to participate in adventure, whether crossing the Capilano Suspension Bridge, hiking in Stanley Park, or kayaking on False Creek. Though water temps in the Strait of Georgia hardly vary from summer to winter, visibility improves significantly from December to March in what Jacques Cousteau declared the second-best scuba location in the world. Sportfishing and most wilderness tours take place year-round; check with operators for peak migration periods of sea mammals and birds.
Summer: True summer weather starts late in Vancouver, around Canada Day (July 1), but warm temperatures and sunshine persist into October. The beach scene is popular whenever the weather's good.
Winter: Most cities boast plenty of parks, but how many can claim three ski areas within the city limits? Welcome to the North Shore, where Cypress Mountain hosted the 2010 Olympic snowboard and freestyle ski events. February sometimes offers so many sunny days that a T-shirt and jeans are the preferred ski gear. The winter-sports season starts in November and runs through March—in addition to skiing and snowboarding, snowshoeing and snow tubing are also popular options.