Vancouver is pretty famous for its unrivalled beauty. Most people can recognize the city from its unique green skyscrapers, mountain backdrop, and ocean views. It’s a little less well known, however, for its beaches. But summer is just around the corner now (and my goodness, what a wait it’s been). For that very reason, I thought I’d point out some of the best beaches of the city, because they’re pretty awesome. Whether a city view is your thing, beach volleyball, or even clothing optional, here’s my list of Vancouver’s best beaches.
Well, I guess this beach is pretty aptly named. It’s also home to Vancouver’s annual 420 event, and a great spot for drum circles and catching the Celebration of Light Festival. Located in the West End and close to downtown, it’s less populated and quieter than its neighbour, English Bay. It also serves up delightful sunsets and is a social place to hang out and make new friends. On the seawall, it’s a great stop off or the beginning of a seawall walk or cycle. Fans of beach volleyball can join in here too.
Located near the super affluent neighbourhood of Point Grey, you’ll find gorgeous Jericho Beach. With beautiful views across Vancouver and the North Shore mountains, it’s a great place to spend a day. On the east side of the beach, you’ll find excellent spots for swimming. To the east, the rougher winds make it perfect for sailing, paddle boarding, and windsurfing. You’ll also find the Jericho Sailing Centre here, which is perfect for a tasty lunch with a view. Stroll or bike the paths, or enjoy a game of tennis.
Kitsilano Beach is undoubtedly one of Vancouver’s best beaches. Often affectionately shortened to ‘Kits’, this beach is also on the seawall. Well known as the beach for the young and beautiful, it’s perfect for people watching. There are plenty of beach volleyball courts, as well as tennis and basketball. The iconic Kitsilano Swimming Pool is also there, offering freshwater swimming with a beautiful view of the city. Kitsilano Beach has one of the best lookouts across the city, mountains, and ocean. The neighbourhood of Kitsilano is also well worth checking out, as the home to Ryan Reynolds, Lululemon, and many beautiful properties. Grab a picnic and enjoy a day at this beautiful beach.
Just along from Jericho Beach, you’ll find Locarno Beach Park. It’s one of Vancouver’s best beaches thanks to its incredible city views and its relaxed vibe. Its tranquility is thanks in part to the beach’s no noise policy with amplified sounds not permitted. Easy to reach from the seawall, the beach is easily recognizable thanks to the iconic evergreen trees nearby. It’s a great beach for families thanks to the various picnic tables, free parking, and six volleyball courts. There are also rental facilities for windsurfing, skim boarding, stand up paddle boarding, and kiteboarding. It’s definitely a fun beach for all ages.
Also known as ‘First Beach’, English Bay is Vancouver’s busiest beach, and for good reason. Smack bang in the middle of the city’s West End area, there are plenty of awesome eateries and bars nearby. Locals love to grab a bite or a coffee from a nearby cafe or sushi house and picnic on the beach’s logs. Along the seawall, it’s easy to get to by walking, rollerblading, or biking. Be sure to catch one of the impressive sunsets here, and grab a Happy Hour cocktail from the beachfront Cactus Club Cafe. There are facilities for umbrella, chair, and kayak rentals, and two beach volleyball courts too.
The second (aptly named) of Stanley Park’s beaches is Second Beach, right near Second Beach Pool. With its very own heated, oceanside outdoor pool, it’s the perfect place for cooling off with a view in the summer. It’s also very accessible from the seawall, and there’s a playground for children to enjoy. A picnic shelter is available for reservation, and is perfect for hosting birthday parties and celebrations. Barbecues are available at nearby Ceperley Meadows, making it the perfect pitstop for lunch or dinner.
Wreck Beach is one of Vancouver’s best beaches and my personal favourite. Situated out near the University of British Columbia, it’s in Point Grey and surrounded by a number of luxurious properties. Beware of the long staircase that takes you down to the beach, but the reward is at the bottom. It’s a sprawling 8km of clothing optional beach, making it North America’s largest naturist beach. In the summer, there are stalls selling cold drinks and snacks. You’ll also likely catch one of the many drum circles that take place here. Take a cool bag with you packed with snacks and drinks – you’ll certainly burn them off going back up the staircase.
Spanish Banks Beach
Spanish Banks Beach is another of Vancouver’s best beaches thanks to its wonderful positioning, facilities, and breadth. It’s split into three separate sections – the east section, the west section, and the extension. The east section is connected to the seawall, permits barbecues, and has picnic tables. There are also a whopping eight beach volleyball courts, making it perfect for a fun day out. The beach’s west section is also on the seawall with an additional eight volleyball courts. It does, however, also have a designated quiet area and a dog beach. The extended section boasts a kiteboarding launch zone, making it ideal for adventurers. Spanish Banks Beach has some beautiful scenery and is a fun place to hang out. During low tide, the water’s 1km out from the shore, making it a large beach to accommodate for plenty of people.
At Ferguson Point in Stanley Park, you’ll find Third Beach. It’s a welcome break during a cycle or rollerblade circuit of the park, or indeed a day out in itself. It’s a sandy beach that’s conveniently sheltered by trees, making it ideal for sunbathers and swimmers. Throughout the summer, there are a number of drum circles making the beach quite the social hub. Come here to catch a beautiful sunset in the city’s oasis, for sunbathing or enjoying a picnic with friends. Barbecues are also allowed here in the summer.
Trout Lake Beach
Trout Lake Beach is south of Trout Lake, a little further out of Vancouver at Victoria Drive and East 19th Avenue. A freshwater beach, Trout Lake Beach is excellent for swimming with a raft and lifeguards throughout summer. There’s a concession stand, as well as play fields for all the family to enjoy. Visitors can enjoy beautiful views across the lake, and there are picnic facilities and barbecues allowed. With free parking and an off-leash area for dogs, it’s the perfect lake oasis a little further out of the city.
And that is my list of Vancouver’s best beaches! Which is your favourite beach in the city, and why?