There's more to it than the bustling port. Get out and enjoy.

1 Granville Island

Originally an industrial wasteland under the Granville Bridge, Granville Island was redeveloped in the 70s into a spot that offers something for the whole family. Easily accessible by bus, bike or boat from anywhere in the city, the island is a hive of activity, with live entertainment, water sports like kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding and a thriving community of houseboats. Be sure to sample everything the celebrated Public Market has to offer — think fresh berries in summer, decadent doughnuts or handmade fudge. The little ones can also get some retail therapy at the Kids Market, which sells all kinds of off-beat toys, as well as junior fashion. And if you're visiting in summer, the island is also home to the largest free water parks in North America.

2 Stanley Park

This sprawling park is Vancouver's green heart, with thousands of acres of dense forest to explore. Marked trails will help you explore this "jungle", or sign up for a walking tour with Talaysay Tours to learn more about the rich indigenous history of the area. For families looking to burn off a bit of excess energy, there are several playgrounds within the park, including one with a real vintage fire engine. Kids can also take a ride on the Stanley Park Miniature Railway, or check out the local water life at the Vancouver Aquarium.

3 Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Head to the north of Vancouver and you'll discover the mountains and the city's wilder side. The idea of crossing a suspension bridge that's 140m long and 70m high over a river might seem a bit scary, but it's also a whole lot of fun — especially when things start to sway. Capilano Suspension Bridge was originally constructed in 1889 and the park contains a treetop adventure course, where you can walk among old-growth Douglas Fir trees, starting at a treehouse built entirely from reclaimed wood. It also features award-winning gardens, nature trails and North America's largest private collection of First Nations totem poles. The Rainforest Explorers' Program is a self-guided interactive trail, where kids can find signs and collect research data to earn a special badge. They're also sure to be wowed by the Birds of Raptors Ridge birds of prey show, featuring hawks, falcons and owls.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, Vancouver. Photo / Tourism Vancouver/Nelson Mouellic
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, Vancouver. Photo / Tourism Vancouver/Nelson Mouellic