When you think about a beach destination, what comes to mind? Perhaps California, Mexico, the Mediterranean, or Australia. But how about Vancouver, British Columbia? It might not be the first place that you think of, but there are many nice beaches in Vancouver.
Vancouver is located on the west coast of British Columbia, beside the Pacific Ocean. It is a busy port city that is located on the Burrard Peninsula, surrounded by water. Vancouver is known for its stunning scenery, both out over the ocean as well as the surrounding mountains. Vancouver has a mild climate year-round, but it can still get hot in the summer (averages of mid-20s degrees Celcius), perfect for heading to the beach.
There are nine official beaches in Vancouver, each with its own unique features. We will look at some of the best beaches in Vancouver, broken down by the following regions: Downtown, West Point Grey/Kitsilano, North Vancouver, East Vancouver, and Vancouver suburbs.
Downtown Vancouver Beaches
One of the best parts about visiting Vancouver is that you can go from the city to the beach in a matter of minutes. The convenient downtown beaches are very popular with both residents and visitors to the city. They are all accessible by walking from any part of the downtown peninsula. If you don’t want to walk, public transit and biking are other popular options.
Here are the downtown beaches in Vancouver:
- English Bay Beach: this busy beach is located in the West End of Vancouver, near the entrance of Stanley Park. It is a popular spot to play volleyball and also has a large slide and roped-off swimming area for families with children. There is a concession stand and the beach-front Cactus Club Restaurant.
- Sunset Beach: this beach is connected to English Bay Beach. As the name suggests, it’s the perfect spot to watch the sunset! It has a sandy beach and grassy areas to hang out and relax at.
- Second and Third Beach: these two beaches are located in Stanley Park, the largest park in the city and a popular destination for residents and visitors. Second Park has a swimming pool and both beaches have a sandy beachfront, bathrooms, concessions stands, and other amenities.
Beaches in Kitsilano and West Point Grey
- Kitsilano Beach: Kitsilano Beach is located in the trendy Kitsilano neighbourhood, just across the Burrard Street Bridge from downtown Vancouver. This large sandy beach also has a big saltwater pool and volleyball courts to enjoy.
- Jericho, Locarno, and Spanish Banks beaches: Further down the way from Kitsilano Beach, close to the campus of the University of British Columbia (UBC), is Jericho, Locarno, and Spanish Banks beaches (moving east to west). They are all large sandy beaches with picnic areas.
- Wreck Beach: this beach is not for everyone! As Vancouver’s only clothing-optional beach, it definitely is something unique! Wreck Beach is located near UBC down a steep flight of stairs.
North Vancouver Beaches
North Vancouver is located to the north of downtown Vancouver and is known as an outdoor recreation paradise since there are many mountains and forests for hiking, biking, and skiing. There are also some great beaches, including:
- Ambleside Beach: this beach also has a dog beach for those with pets. There is a long walking trail from Ambleside so it’s a great place to go for a stroll beside the ocean.
- Corner Beach (Deep Cove): Deep Cove is a community in North Vancouver located along the Indian Arm Inlet. It’s a very quaint community with a small beach. While you can swim, most people like to go boating, kayaking, or stand-up paddleboarding here.
East Vancouver Beaches
East Vancouver is primarily a residential area of the city, but there are still a few beach options. Your choices include:
- New Brighton Beach: this beach is located under the Iron Worker’s Memorial Bridge which connects Vancouver to North Van via the #1 highway. The sandy beach area is fairly small, but there are large grassy spots in addition to a pool and sports courts.
- Trout Lake Beach: this beach is at the small urban Trout Lake. It’s located in the heart of East Vancouver and is popular with families and residents of the area.
Beaches in the Vancouver Suburbs
While there are tons of great Vancouver beaches, they do fill up quickly. So, if you are looking for something different or perhaps a little quieter, you can head to the suburbs of Vancouver and find some great beaches as well. Or, perhaps you prefer swimming in a lake over the ocean! There are some great choices in the communities of Port Moody (about 30-45 minutes away from Vancouver), Delta (about 45 minutes away), or Maple Ridge (about 1-1.5 hours away).
Here are some of the top choices:
- Buntzen Lake Beach: this beach is located in Port Moody and is a large, clear, beautiful lake. The water is cold, but that doesn’t stop people from swimming! There are many hiking trails in this area as well.
- Sasamat Lake: close to Buntzen Lake is Sasamat Lake, which is smaller but much warmer. Sasamat is a popular family beach and has a concession stand on-site.
- Centennial Beach: located in Delta, this large, sandy beach is a great spot to visit for the day! There is a concession stand and a large playground near the sandy area, so it’s a great spot for families to visit.
- White Rock Beach: this beach is located in the quaint town of White Rock, known for the picturesque pier and famous “white rock” on the shore. There are tons of shops and restaurants in this area to check out after spending a day at the beach!
- Alouette Lake: this beach is the furthest from Vancouver of all the beaches on this list, but it is worth the trip! Located in Golden Ears Park in Maple Ridge, the beach at Alouette Lake is one of the most beautiful spots to visit. There are tons of hiking trails in the park as well as overnight camping.
If you are visiting Vancouver, BC, make sure to add a beach day to your itinerary! There are a lot of nice beaches in Vancouver, each with its unique features. It’s possible to visit a beach in a number of different neighbourhoods, so you can choose one that fits your style and location.
Vancouver beaches are pretty great! Now, go out and enjoy the scenery, soak up some sun, and have a great beach day!