Plane Spotting Near Vancouver International Airport

Last Updated on January 23, 2022

Plane Spotting In Vancouver

If you love air travel, watching airplanes take off and come in for landing can be as fun and interesting as planning a trip; hypnotic even. When we are not taking off on a new adventure, we love to take the kids for a picnic and some plane spotting. There are a few wonderful places surrounding Vancouver International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the country, to experience the thrill, rumble, and loud sounds that accompany the thrill of an airplane in flight. If you have some extra time when you are at or near Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, take some time out to enjoy some of the best spots in the region to watch planes land and take off.

Here are nine great places for plane spotting near Vancouver Regional airport:

Larry Berg Flight Path Park

It is plane spotting heaven watching planes land in Vancouver at Flight Path Park. If you have some extra time when you’re at or near the airport, take some time out to enjoy one of the best spots in the region to watch planes land and take off.

Located at the corner of Russ Baker Way and Airport Road, directly across the street from BCIT Aerospace, the park is directly in line with the end of the south runway, making it the perfect location to plane spot.

When that first plane flies above you, the sound and feel of it whooshing overhead is very invigorating. The kids have a real blast plane spotting and running around on top of the world (literally). It’s also a great way to learn about Vancouver International Airport’s history, which sees an average of 300 take-offs and landings each day, to and from destinations around the world.

The globe is a celebration go YVR’s role in connecting British Columbia with the rest of the world and can actually be climbed on and all over. The tail wings surrounding the globe have great historical YVR facts and educational aviation statistics that describe the story of YVR and why it is one of the best airports in the world.

Bring along a picnic on a nice day and enjoy the picnic tables, or take a seat on one of the neat ‘paper airplane’ benches. The benches were a fabulous touch, as they really add to the fun and theme of the park.

It can get a little confusing to get into the park if you are not on the correct side of the road, so use these Google Directions.

Iona Beach Regional Park

The Iona Jetty extends 4 km into the Strait of Georgia and is a perfect spot to feel the power of the planes flying above your head. You can walk either of the two easy gravel trails atop and beside the large pipe that stretches the length of the jetty. When the planes fly overhead, they are preparing for landing at Vancouver International Airport. You could also hear the planes take off.

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Grauer Road

There is a quiet airport viewpoint located near the Templeton CanadaLine station. It is located just underneath the Airport’s north runway in Richmond.

Ferguson Road

Ferguson Road runs north of Vancouver International Airport, and parallel to the two main runways at YVR. Taking a drive along the road, you will see several spots to pull over for viewing.  A great spot, with a good view of the entire 26R runway, is the artificial hill just west of the Canada Post Processing Center. However, there are no facilities nearby, so you may want to stop for a bathroom break beforehand.

Terra Nova Rural Park

Terra Nova Rural Park is across the water from Vancouver International Airport. Wander along the long the West Dyke Trail to see planes take off and land. It is interesting to see the planes and airport from a different perspective. It is a pretty location with gorgeous views of the Salish Sea and the mountains towering high above. You will also see a lot of floatplanes at this location.

Fraser River Park

On the Vancouver side of the Fraser River, you can watch the airplanes, with the addition of river traffic.

YVR Public Observation Area

Vancouver International Airport has an indoor plane-spotting area at the Public Observation Area on Level 4 in the Domestic Terminal. The area is a great option to watch planes take off and land. The Public Observation Area is located on Level 4 of the pre-security public area in the Domestic Terminal. The observation deck area is completely enclosed. This makes it great to view planes during every season of the year, no matter if sunshine or rain.

YVR South Terminal Viewing Platform

This outdoor viewing platform is adjacent to the South Terminal building on Cowley Crescent. Visitors can watch all South Terminal traffic, including departures and arrivals, from the elevated platform. Free parking is available.

Harbour Air Terminal

If you like to watch seaplanes, one of the best locations is Harbour Air’s dock and terminal. It is located on the Fraser River, adjacent to the South Terminal of the Vancouver International Airport.  On busy days, the area will have Beavers, Turbo Beavers, Otters, Twin Otters, and various Cessna floatplanes coming and going. All floatplanes have to cross the road you drive to get here, to reach the terminal.

Our favorites: Larry Berg Flight Path Park, Iona Beach Regional Park, the YVR Public Observation Area, and the South viewing platform.