Vancouver is blessed with several incredible places to explore just outside of the city limits, which makes it the perfect home base for anyone who wants to explore the outdoors. The city is surrounded by water on all sides, so there are many great waterfront areas to visit, including several incredible beaches. Barnett Marine Park is a hidden gem just east of the city located in Burnaby, and if you’re looking for a unique place to soak in nature, this is the perfect spot.
Some days it’s nice to just hop in the car and head out with no real direction or purpose, which is exactly how we ended up at Barnett Marine Park a couple weeks ago. Located along the shore of Burrard Inlet between Port Moody, Simon Fraser University and Burnaby, this small green space is a hidden gem when it comes to places to relax in the summertime. It’s quiet and peaceful, with incredible views of the North Shore and the surrounding wilderness.
This park is built on the remains of the pioneer settlement of Barnett, which was a bustling lumber-mill and logging settlement that in 1900 was home to 150 people. This location has a long and rich history. The logging mill grew in both size and importance over the next 60 year until it was eventually abandoned. In 1973 it was transformed into a park, but there are still many pillars and other concrete remnants of this early history. One of the most prominent features is the old scrap burner which you can walk out on for views of the surroundings.
You won’t see much industrial activity or trees being felled. Today you’re more likely to find people jogging along the paths, having a picnic amongst the trees or lying in the sun along the beachfront. The water here is perfect for a swim, it’s Burnaby’s only salt water beach, and the setting is the perfect place to enjoy a few hours with friends and family or go for a walk and find serenity in nature. Take a walk over to the pier for amazing views of nature; you can look out across the water of the Burrard Inlet and Indian Arm or across towards Belacara.
If you’re looking for a unique place to spend a few hours, Barnett Marine Park is definitely the place to be. While there are three big parking lots here, make sure to get here early on a sunny weekend days, as this is a popular place for locals to flock to when it gets hot. We visited on a quiet weekday and pretty much had the park to ourselves.