Don’t expect to be wowed by the lighthouse at Lighthouse Park… it is literally everything else that makes this place so special.
Within a 45 minute drive from downtown Vancouver lies Lighthouse Park. Like ALL historic lighthouses on the west coast (Oregon, Washington, BC, etc) Point Atkinson Lighthouse is also a simple white and red structure close to the shore. However, unlike other “lighthouse parks” along the west coast Point Atkinson Lighthouse remains inaccessible to the public and its view is at least partially obstructed by trees from most angles.
All of the trails branch off from the parking lot at Lighthouse Park and are very well maintained. Old growth forest dominated by massive Douglas Firs provide ample shade for visitors and serve as perfect refuge for wildlife. By far the most popular trail is the Beacon Lane Trail (main trail) which is basically a straight path to the Point Atkinson Lighthouse viewpoint. Due to the ease of access this viewpoint can get fairly busy (just like the parking lot) so I would recommend visiting during the weekday or early morning/evenings.
The trail down to East Beach lies 100 m west of the lighthouse viewpoint and East Beach is (in my opinion of course) what makes this park special. The trail down to east beach is a tiny bit more difficult than the main trail but it is also more picturesque and most importantly… less crowded. University of British Columbia can be found directly across the water from east beach, and an unobstructed view of Vancouver can be seen to the left of UBC. East Beach also houses many small tide pools where some marine life can be found (my 3 year old’s favorite… also crab spotting by turning over bigger rocks on the beach).
It takes about 2-3 hours to complete the two aforementioned trails (including a drastically reduced pace when walking with an easily-distracted toddler + various snacks/drink breaks for that toddler)… If toddler-free one can easily enjoy another easy outdoor activity around North Vancouver/West Vancouver in a single morning/afternoon (such as Lynn Canyon Park).