17 great Vancouver engagement photo locations

I decided to write this post because a lot of couples are searching for the perfect engagement photo locations in the greater Vancouver area. In this post I’ll only share locations that are in Vancouver, North Vancouver and West Vancouver. Of course there are many more options within driving distance of Vancouver, but that’s for a future post.

Because we love nature and the outdoors, my recommendations for these engagement locations are focused on nature. Also make sure to read my personal pro’s and con’s for each location!

1. Stanley Park

Stanley Park is what I would consider “a Vancouver classic”! This park truly has it all: mountain backdrops in the North, lush rainforest, tall pine trees and of course beautiful beaches. If you are staying (or living) downtown, this location is extra convenient!

Scenery

  • Forest, sand beach, rocks, mountain backdrops, city skyline, rose garden, cherry blossoms (limited time in April)

Pros

  • easy to reach when staying/living in downtown Vancouver
  • locations with a very different vibe that are close to each other

Cons

  • There is a lot of tourism. It’s easier to avoid crowds in the forest areas, but on the beaches, you will have a large audience during the shoot. Weekdays are better, but still busy.
  • Paid parking

2. Jericho Beach and Spanish Banks

Yes, I know, these are two different locations, but they have a similar vibe, so I’m mentioning them together. 🙂

Jericho Beach is closer to Vancouver, so you can see the city more dramatically in the background. The Jericho Beach Park also has beautiful willow trees.

Spanish Banks is usually less busy, because it’s a bit further from the city, but has the same epic mountain backdrops behind the ocean.

Even further North is Acadia Beach, which has a rockier and narrower shore, but is equally gorgeous. Check out some of our shoots in those areas here.

Scenery

  • Jericho Beach: sand beach, mountain backdrop, city skyline, ocean pier, park, willow trees
  • Spanish Banks: sand beach, mountain backdrop, city skyline, forest
  • Acadia Beach: pebble beach, mountain backdrop, city skyline, forest

Pros

  • Free parking
  • A short drive from Vancouver and easily accessible

Cons

  • The further East you go, the busier it gets. We generally advise to chose a spot closer to UBC.
  • It can get fairly windy on the beach, especially closer to UBC.

3. UBC

UBC is a fun engagement photo locations for couples who studied in Vancouver and have special memories about the place. Acadia Beach is part of the UBC Endowment Lands, but there are plenty of other amazing locations, such as Wreck Beach (clothing optional, lol, but what a stunning shoreline and forest!), and of course Pacific Spirit Regional Park. You could even combine a visit to memory lane with a visit to nature! Have a look here at some of our previous shoots.

Scenery

  • unique architecture, big forests, several gardens, sand beach and pebble beach

Pros

  • A lot of different looking locations close to each other
  • Most of the time it’s not too busy, which would otherwise interfere with your engagement shoot

Cons

  • To reach some of the beaches (for instance Wreck Beach), it can be a long hike down, so be prepared to feel the burn. 😉
  • Some gardens are paid access: UBC Botanical Garden and the Nitobe gardens.
  • Paid parking in some locations (but not everywhere)

4. Deep Cove

Deep Cove in North Vancouver is a unique place with its small harbour and surrounding mountains. The nearby Cates Park offers beach and beautiful photo options. While it might not be an obvious engagement photo location for someone visiting Vancouver, it’s often a places filled with memories for locals.

Scenery

  • harbour, pebble beach, willow tree, forest, mountain backdrop

Pros

  • Locations with different vibes that are close to each other
  • Since Deep Cove is a tiny village, everything is close by, including the amazing cafes that could be a perfect finish for your shoot.
  • You could rent a kayak or paddle board for your shoot! 😉

Cons

  • Some of the Deep Cove locations, such as Quarry Rock, we no longer recommend because it’s always busy (including daytime on weekdays)
  • Limited parking (especially in Summer, you might have to park quite far)

5. Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve

We’ve only explored parts of this location, but the forest is truly a Pacific Northwest nature lover’s dream. The access spots to the Seymour river give you an option for a diverse look. There’s even a new and cool looking suspension bridge! Keep in mind that there is some hiking involved at this location, but no long distances are needed to reach beautiful spots.

Scenery

  • forest, river, suspension bridge

Pros

  • Because it’s mostly popular with locals, there’s less of a crowd.

Cons

  • The access road closes at night (and the times vary throughout the time of year). Definitely check the closing time beforehand (it’s posted on the signs at the entrance to the park) so you don’t get locked in!

6. Rice Lake

Rice Lake is technically a part of the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve, but deserves its own spot. The path towards the lake has unique forest views and the lake itself often sports an amazing reflection. Not to mention how gorgeous the location becomes when it’s foggy (which happens a lot, but of course you can’t predict it!) This is an easy 3-4 km hike. You can access Rice Lake from two parking lots. Keep in mind that one of them closes at night! Check out some photos here from our hike a few years ago.

Scenery

  • forest, lake, 1 point with mountain views (when not foggy)

Pros

  • Easy access
  • Busier during weekends, but definitely not as touristy as nearby Lynn Canyon

Cons

  • One of the parking lots closes at night, but there’s an option to park a bit further so you won’t have to rush
  • There are often anglers at the wooden bridge on the Lake, so limited photo options at that point
Bonus points if you bring your canoe! 😉

7. Lynn Canyon

Lynn Canyon is definitely a classic engagement shoot location in North Vancouver! Its unique, photogenic and free suspension bridge draws thousands of tourists every year. Unlike at the (paid) Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, you can actually get a photo on the bridge all by yourself, if you’re patient. 😉 Continue the trail a bit further and discover the beautiful river views and spectacular fern fields.

Scenery

  • suspension bridge, river, forest (with lots of moss and ferns), rocks, green water pool

Pros

  • Unique views within close driving distance of the city
  • The suspension bridge is only a few minutes away from the parking lot

Cons

  • Lynn Canyon is a popular location and often unpredictable on how busy it’ll be. On a weekday, you might get lucky or not, but on a weekend I’d advise against this location for your engagement shoot.
  • Keep an eye on the closing time of the park, so you don’t get locked into the parking lot.

8. Mount Seymour

Mount Seymour offers a ton of amazing shooting options (with different hiking levels), but for this post, I’ll put them all under 1 title.

One of my favourite spots is Dog Mountain, which is both in Summer and Winter a gorgeous 2-hour hike (round trip) with epic mountain views and a beautiful forest. Expect snow in Winter, so bring snowshoes or crampons.

Another gorgeous spot is Mystery Lake, which is only accessible after the ski season (late Spring to early Fall). After a hike with some elevation, you’ll find stunning lake reflections.

And last, but not least, if you’re up for an epic hike (a rather intense 7 km round trip ;)). Like Dog Mountain, you can hike all the way up the mountain, and stop at the first peak (Pump Peak, see it here in Summer and in Winter) or continue on to the second (Tim Jones Peak) and third peak (Mount Seymour)! The 360 degree views are out of this world and totally worth the effort!

One thing is for sure: if you’re not willing to hike for your engagement photos, Mount Seymour is not your location. The locations close to the parking lot are unfortunately less photogenic.

Scenery

  • Epic mountain vistas, forest, rocks and lakes (depending on the route)

Pros

  • It’s an adventure
  • Free parking

Cons

  • Depending on how far you want to go, some hikes might be too intense
  • Mosquitos and black flies in Spring, Summer and Fall (bug spray to the rescue!)
  • Dog Mountain can be very popular, so I highly recommend you go there on weekdays. The other locations are usually less busy, including on weekends.
  • Sometimes, fog takes away any view of the surroundings.
  • In Winter, the road up Mount Seymour requires snow tires (or all season tires type M+S) by law. But if you’re booking your engagement shoot with us, we can always give you a ride :)!
A big hike to get to First Peak, but so worth it!

9. Norvan Falls

Norvan Falls is a 14 km hike in North Vancouver. Before you get too intimidated by the idea: there’s not a lot of elevation gain. While it’s still a long distance, the trail itself is not too demanding. It’s been some time since we visited this location, but I do remember there was quite a bit of mud, even in Summer, so bringing good hiking boots is crucial! If you pick this location for your engagement shoot, you can expect a cool suspension bridge near the waterfalls. Norvan Falls is also one of the few “waterfall hikes” that offers mountain vistas along the way!

Scenery

  • forest, mountain backdrop, waterfall, suspension bridge

Pros

  • Not as busy, because of the distance (especially on weekdays)

Cons

  • Long hike (14 km round trip)
“Insert yourself on the tree trunk. 😉 “

10. Kennedy Falls

We’ve recently tried this 10 km hike for the first time and it’s absolutely stunning out there! The forest is extremely wild with a giant cedar tree and epic falls to reward you at the end. That said, it is a shoot for fit people! We’ll probably be huffing and puffing with our gear at the end. 😉

Scenery

  • wild forest, giant cedar, steep creeks, rocks, big waterfall

Pros

  • Not busy at all

Cons

  • Intense hike (10 km round trip), so only if you’re up for it!
  • Parking is fairly limited and shared with the visitors of the nearby mountain bike trails. If it’s full, you might have to hike an extra kilometre.
I promise there’s enough room for two! 😉

11. Cleveland Dam

It’s no surprise that Cleveland Dam is a popular little pit stop in North Vancouver! Some couples even chose this spot for their wedding ceremony! The mountains in the background are gorgeous and there are several trails close-by with beautiful forest and ferns. If you’re up for a little hike, you could explore the forest around the salmon hatchery. But you could also drive down there if you don’t feel like walking 🙂

Scenery

  • mountain backdrop, forest, ferns, river (if you go down to the hatchery area)

Pros

  • easy to reach from the city
  • free parking

Cons

  • popular at all times, so some patience might be needed for photos with the mountains in the background
  • there’s no lake access (the lake holds the drinking water supply for the city)

12. Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain is beautiful here in both Summer and Winter, although I have to confess I have a soft spot for the Winter views! There’s a beautiful forest hike with lights in the snow. And around Christmas there’s even a reindeer up there (not sure how it’d photograph that scene, I might get distracted by their cuteness! :)) In Summer you can go on a scenic chairlift ride to the top of the mountain for some epic vistas!

Scenery

  • guaranteed snow in Winter, lights walk in Winter, year-round mountain views (the higher, the more epic), a little forest

Pros

  • No far hiking needed for the views

Cons

  • paid parking + paid sky tram ride (we sometimes have a promotion for our clients, check in with us if you’re interested!)
  • extremely busy on weekends (especially in Summer when there are weddings happening)

13. Lighthouse Park

Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver has always been one of our favourite engagement photo locations. It has a lot to offer! And we’re not the only ones who like this diverse environment. That said, it is possible to avoid the crowds by choosing one of the alternative trails rather than the main one, and by choosing when to go.

Scenery

  • Lighthouse, ocean, rocks, forest, mountain background (only on the West side of the park)

Pros

  • No far hiking needed for a diverse range of views
  • Options for some privacy in the forest

Cons

  • the beach areas are busy, especially in Summer

14. Cypress Mountain

This mountain has so much to offer! It’s on my “photography wish list” to photograph an engagement session in the snow here! While there are several trails on the mountain that would be gorgeous, my favourite option would be the trail to Bowen Lookout. The trail is an easy 4 km roundtrip. In Winter you’ll walk trough a “Narnia-like forest” and in Summer the environment offers both woods and “alpine meadow”. Expect some other hikers at the Bowen Lookout point. But of the entire hike, it’d be the only location where other hikers are “too close”. 😉

Scenery

  • guaranteed snow in Winter, stunning snowy forest in Winter, different mountain views, alpine meadow in Summer, Grey Jays (aka ‘Whiskey Jacks’) if you’re lucky!

Pros

  • not busy for most of the trail (exception is Bowen Lookout point)
  • diverse views

Cons

  • the parking lot closes at a certain time (but you can park outside of the gate, allowing you to return whenever you like without getting locked in)
  • expect an audience at the Bowen Lookout point

15. Cypress Falls

We first learned about Cypress Falls Park in West Vancouver, through a very adventurous couple. This hidden gem is nestled in a quiet residential neighborhood. The main trail leads to a lookout point over the falls. And unfortunately this is the only way to view them, because they are WAY too wild and dangerous to approach from the bottom.

If you feel brave enough to venture off the trail, there’s an unofficial (and unmarked) rock climbers route. It leads down to the giant canyon, where we did the shoot with our clients. It was only thanks to their experience and guidance we were able to get there.

Could you go into the canyon? Yes, with a but. Only with plenty of preparation and knowledge about this kind of environment. There’s a reason the unofficial trail is only used by experienced mountain climbers.

That said, the rest of this park is pretty awesome too! It has amazing forest views (Jurassic Park, seriously) and you can approach the river from higher up the trail.

Scenery

  • wild forest, rocks, wooden bridge, river access

Pros

  • Mostly popular with locals, so not busy

Cons

  • It can be a confusing park, don’t get lost!
Some of our clients are VERY adventurous. 😉

16. Whyte Lake

The easy 6 km Whyte Lake hike, is another hidden gem in West Vancouver. While I’m actually not overly impressed by the lake itself (how spoiled am I! 😉 ), the hike up there has a stunning forest! I’d highly recommend this location if you love green forest and privacy. It’s also accessible year-round.

Scenery

  • wild forest, rocks, wooden bridge, lake, adorable outhouse (lol)

Pros

  • Not busy on the trail (maybe a couple of people at the lake)

Cons

  • Very small parking lot (could be a problem on Summer weekends)
Magic forest!

17. Whytecliff Park

And last, but definitely not least, one of the most favourite Vancouver engagement photo locations: Whytecliff Park. This place is truly a photographer’s dream with its mysterious tiny island (or peninsula, depending on the tide), the ocean and mountain backdrops.

While this is a stunning location, I recommend you only go here if you’re ok with crowds and not being the only person having a photo shoot. Planning your engagement shoot at sunrise would be an option to avoid the issue.

And if you’re set on going to the island, make sure to check the tide tables, so you don’t get locked in by the ocean.

Scenery

  • ocean island, pebble beach, ocean, mountain backdrop, rocks, driftwood, limited forest

Pros

  • the unique views (I don’t know of any other place like this!)
  • everything within a very close walking distance

Cons

  • Extremely busy all year long

Wow, you’ve made it all the way to the end! I hope this post inspired you and that you’re excited to try one of these Vancouver engagement photo locations! Do you want to explore with the two of us? Feel free to get in touch here.

Other Vancouver engagement photo locations?

For even more inspiration for your engagement shoot location, check out our hiking inspiration page. Or let us know about great outdoor location we should check and add to this list! We’d love to hear your thoughts! Even after 7 years of living in Vancouver, we discover new locations all the time.

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