We live 10 minutes from Deep Cove in North Vancouver, BC. We have a boat access vacation cabin that’s a 30-minute boat ride outside of Deep Cove. Hence, we know Deep Cove inside and out having been there at least 100 times.
Where is Deep Cove?
It’s located in the most easterly part of North Vancouver, BC. It’s a 30-minute drive from downtown Vancouver (assuming traffic isn’t atrocious). It’s situated at the base of Mt. Seymour on the body of water known as Indian Arm. Indian Arm is a fjord that extends off the Burrard Inlet which is the body of water separating downtown Vancouver and North Vancouver.
Larger area view
What is Deep Cove?
Deep Cove is a quaint village area surrounded by neighborhoods, trees, mountains and water. It’s a one-of-a-kind place in greater Vancouver. If you’re looking for a cute village to stroll around on the water in Metro Vancouver, Deep Cove is the place.
The village itself is mainly situated on the main street (Gallant Ave) lined with restaurants, ice cream shops, cafes, a performing arts theater all with condos above. The street dead-ends at the edge of the water. There’s a public park that spans the waterfront. The park includes a beach, picnic tables, playground and trails to stroll.
More broadly speaking, Deep Cove refers to the area that includes the surrounding neighborhood, Myrtle Park, pocket beaches, Quarry Rock (a popular hiking trail) and other trails throughout the area.
18 Things to do in Deep Cove
First of all, other than skiing on Mount Seymour which towers above Deep Cove, there isn’t much to do there in the winter. It’s a fair weather location other than going there to eat (which we’ve done many times in winter). It rains a lot in North Vancouver especially in late Fall and Winter and into Spring. If it’s raining, there’s not much to do. It’s mostly enjoyed in sunny, warmer weather. We base our list of things to do in Deep Cove on the assumption it’s warm and dry.
1. Picnic in the Deep Cove public parks (Panorama Park and Deep Cove Park)
North of Gallant Ave is Panorama Park. South is Deep Cove Park. They are connected along the waterfront so they really are one large park.
There are picnic tables scattered throughout although they go fast. There’s plenty of grassed area. The beach lines the water. The Government Dock is situated dead center between the two parks.
2. Stroll the park trails
There are trails for everyone. For gentle strolling, you can stroll the waterfront park paved trails. For more rigorous hikes, you can head to Quarry rock or any other trails in the area. Trail Forks app is the best option for getting all the info you need about the local trails.
3. Enjoy world-famous Honey Doughnuts
Honey Doughnuts is a doughnut/coffee shop on Gallant Avenue. It’s a must-visit establishment. The honey doughnuts are nothing like you’ve ever had. We still buy them regularly. We will make a special trip into Deep Cove for a bag of them when we have visitors. There is often a line out the door… it’s worth the wait.
4. Hit the playground with kids
Panorama Park (north of Gallant Ave) has a new playground. It’s designed for young and older kids. Our kids (ages 10 and 7) have been on it 50 times and still love it.
5. Swim at the Deep Cove public beach
There’s a public swimming area with raft off Panorama Park. The beach isn’t the best. It’s not fine sand. It’s rocky. There are boats moored all over the place. Not the best for swimming but if hot, still worth a dip. We swim there regularly.
If you’re looking for a fun day at the beach in North Vancouver, you’re better off heading to nearby Cates Park or one of the pocket beaches in the area surrounding Deep Cove. If you want a sandy beach experience, drive 20 minutes to Ambleside beach in West Vancouver. It’s a large public beach and park. A great place to spend the day. It has a concession, public bathrooms and plenty of parking. We spend afternoons there often. Kids love it. It’s perfect for all ages.
6. Have lunch and/or dinner at Arms Reach Bistro
Arms Reach Bistro is our favorite dining-in restaurant in Deep Cove (on of our favorites in North Vancouver). It overlooks the water. It’s a Deep Cove mainstay. The food is excellent. The ambience is great. We always have a great time there. Often my wife and I will drive there for dessert and coffee after dinner elsewhere. Not because the food at Arms Reach is bad but because we do eat out at other places but you can’t beat ending a night out with a Deep Cove stroll, dessert and coffee at Arms Reach.
7. Get ice cream at Deep Cove Ice Cream and/or Gelato Express
You have two ice cream shops to choose from steps apart. Both are great. We usually go to Deep Cove Ice Cream on Gallant Ave.
8. Rent a kayak and/or stand-up paddle board at Deep Cove Kayak
Just south of Gallant Ave is the Deep Cove Kayak Centre where you can rent kayaks and stand-up paddle boards. If you’re there for the afternoon, this is a perfect activity. The kayaking around Deep Cove and out into Indian Arm is spectacular. We’ve done many times. In fact, we did an overnight kayaking trip from Deep Cove all the way up to the top of the Indian Arm to the Wigwam Inn. Since then, we bought a vacation property in Johnson Bay about halfway up Indian Arm. We have three kayaks and a standup paddleboard so know the area and activity well.
If you’re staying in the area for a while, Deep Cove Kayak offers kayaking camps for kids and adults.
9. Rent a boat (i.e. pontoon) at Deep Cove Marina
10. Walk over to Myrtle Park
11. Enjoy one of many pocket beaches
South of Deep Cove are a few pocket beaches that are definitely worth looking for and going to. They’re small but usually there’s nobody there. Two good ones are Parkside Beach and Strathcona Lookout Park. The roads in the area are windy and hilly. It’s easy to get lost so be sure to use your phone’s GPS/map.
12. Stroll the Government dock (public dock)
Dead center in Deep Cove along the waterfront is a long dock/pier called Government Dock. It’s where boaters can dock short-term (paid). It’s worth walking out along and watching the boaters.
13. Hike Quarry Rock (and other trails)
Quarry Rock is a hiking destination starting in Deep Cove. It’s a steep, but fairly short hike to the Quarry Rock viewpoint overlooking the Indian Arm.
14. View the waterfront houses along Panorama drive
Panorama Drive stems off Gallant Avenue. It’s the road you take to get to the marina. It’s lined with multi-million dollar waterfront homes. It’s a nice woak.
15. Take the water taxi for a guided Indian Arm tour (launches from the public dock)
There’s a great water taxi service operating out of Deep Cove (from the Government Dock). The service and boat is operated by a super nice guy named James. He operates a 22-foot pilothouse aluminum boat (Hewescraft) that comfortably accommodates six passengers. We’ve enjoyed rides from him a couple of times. He’ll take you to a destination or give you a tour of Indian Arm. Whatever you’re looking for.
You can contact James here.
16. Enroll your kids in sailing camp at the Deep Cove Yacht Club
The Deep Cove Yacht Club (separate from the Deep Cove Marina) is located in Panorama Park. You can’t miss it. The club offers sailing lessons for kids. Our kids love it. Aside from COVID years, our oldest (10 years old now) has taken week-long lessons there every year. Our youngest (7 years old) enjoyed his first year this year. The instructors are outstanding. The vessels are excellent. Next year we’ll probably enroll them for a few weeks.
17. Head out into mountain biking trails
If you’re into mountain biking, there’s no shortage of trails in and around Deep Cove. I mountain bike almost daily in the Summer along trails in the area. Bust out the Trail Forks app for all entry points in and around Deep Cove. The mountain biking trail network is extensive and incredible. I’ve yet to ride them all.
18. Catch a live performance at the Deep Cove Stage Society
We’ve watched shows here and it’s a great little theater. Check their website for upcoming shows. An afternoon in Deep Cove followed by a show and dinner is a great day. They offer some fun performances for kids too.
Deep Cove FAQ
Have questions about Deep Cove? Here are frequently asked questions. Hopefully, we cover yours. If you have any questions, contact me. I know almost everything about Deep Cove with respect to things to do and where to go.
How long does it take to get to Deep Cove from downtown Vancouver?
If traffic is flowing normally, you can get to Deep Cove from downtown Vancouver in 30 minutes by car. It’s about one hour by bike (depending on how fast you cycle).
Are there public bathrooms in Deep Cove?
Yes, there are public washrooms in Panarama Park, which is the waterfront park north of Gallant Ave (the main street in Deep Cove).
Is there parking in Deep Cove? Is it free? Where is it?
Yes, but not enough. There is a public parking lot on Panarama Drive just north of Gallant Ave. It fills up. There is also parking south of the main village area on Rockcliff Rd. There are some prized spots on Gallant Ave. itself. If those are all full, you’ll have to head out into the surrounding neighborhood streets and find a spot.
Is there a public dock?
Yes, there is. It’s called the Deep Cove Government Dock. You can park your boat there for short-term parking (it’s paid).
Is there a hotel in Deep Cove?
No, there is no hotel in Deep Cove. The closest hotel is the Holiday Inn & Suites on Fern street. It’s a 10-minute drive.
Can you rent Airbnb / vacation rentals in Deep Cove?
Yes, there are houses, suites, townhouses and condos listed for short-term rentals on sites like Airbnb and VRBO.