how to live, travel and explore the world from your van

Vancouver Canada

Vancouver Canada, 3-9 days, June  More Pictures  |  Map  |  GPS  |  More Info

vancouver canada vanabode photograph of spendid architecture

The architecture and surreal marinas filled with pristine yachts and aircraft help make Vancouver one of the most picturesque cities I have ever seen. Were it not for the poor weather I would consider moving here but alas I can't take the cold and ever present rain of this southern British Columbia Canadian beauty.


Vancouver and in the surrounding areas of Canada and city officials have implemented a system of parking control unseen or unheard of in the United States even in cities like San Francisco. Parking meters are for 2 hours maximum so you can't park and simply walk the city and enjoy your day in most places. Parking meters cost $2 per hour which goes completely against the Vanabode philosophy of relaxing and enjoying your day doing anything you want. Thousands of acres of city are policed and patrolled and tickets and impounding is big business here. We were able to work around this so they did not defeat the Vanabode strategies, but it did take a little effort on our part.

vancouver canada chinese gardens against modern buildings picture on a Vanabode trip

Vancouver gives me the feeling that nearly everyone in the city has a high paying job and is living a high stress fast paced existence like those of other big city dwellers in the US. When we went to parks around the city and campgrounds where you hike for the day the vehicles in the parking spots were all top of the line Range Rovers, Mercediz Benz SUV's, and other expensive top of the line high profile vehicles like BMW's SUV line. If you come here in a piece of junk vehicle or even one over 10 years old you are going to stick out. With "lock your car this is a high car theft area" signs in nearly every place we went sticking out is not a good idea.

Hang out at Kitsano Bach park during the day and for the night inland a few streets where the signs say "parking two hour maximum 9 am to 6 pm". Grab a street side parking spot about 3 pm (if you wait too long there are no spots left) and hang out there until 4 pm. If no parking attendants come during that hour you are set for the night. Close up the van and go out for the night. Return later, keep quiet and go to sleep without paying for parking. We stayed on 2nd street straight up from the beach. This is very similar to the parking strategy we employ in San Francisco.

Stanley Island on Stanley drive at second beach and Kitsano beach there are huge public pools where you pay $10 a day to park then another $5 per head to use the pool and showers. They try to keep the pool at or near 77 degrees Fahrenheit but can only do this for a few months a year in the summer so enjoy it if you are in the area.

Being a working class city most decent restaurants and places to enjoy don't open early. Most places open for lunch don't do so until 11:30 and public attractions like the library delay opening until 10 am. Then you have to pay $2 an hour to park there making your 4 hour library visit an $8 affair.

Bottom line is spending more than 3-5 days in Vancouver could be a drag due to the parking issues but this is of course the same situation facing the working class here in this mega modern place. People are just never parked where they want to BE. No matter who you are you have to GET TO the restaurant, museum, library, park, etc to enjoy it. And this process is expensive here. That's why we prefer big cities like Las Vegas to Vancouver because you can have incredible views, fun, and food AND have easy parking.

You can Vanabode here for $20 a day but there are better places to have more fun with more energy than Vancouver. For instance the "famous" Robison street shopping district has very little that you cannot find in any medium size city in the US. There are certainly no areas as stunning as competing big city San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts where you can park for free right on the water.

This page is part of a 20 day, 2,866 mile, Vanabode trip.
See van camping Nevada Washington Oregon Canada for an overview of this particular trip.
Visit travel destinations for our master list of 100's of cool places visited that we have reviews on.
Vanabode travel and live anywhere in America on $20 a day including food, lodging and transportation.

Vancouver has very little traffic compared to other big cities and that is a big plus. Getting around the city and doing a drive through via van is super easy in Vancouver Canada.

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