Vancouver boasts buckets of seaside fun, from wholesome family-friendly tidal pools to nudist bays. While there’s not a bad beach in the bunch, some are a cut above the rest If you’re short on time and only want to sample the creme de la creme, we’ve rounded up seven of the best beaches in Vancouver.
Where are the best beaches in Vancouver?
Fondly referred to as “Kits Beach” by Vancouverites, Kitsilano Beach is the place to spend sunset. Come summer, hundreds of locals hotfoot here to hang out, play volleyball or Spike Ball, grab a couple of beers or gummies and take in the sunset. It’s also home to the longest outdoor saltwater swimming pool in Canada.
2. Wreck Beach
A glorious 4.8-mile (7.8-km) long sandy stretch nestled into the western tip of Vancouver, this is Vancouver’s only legal clothing-optional beach. But while it might be popular with naturists, it’s well worth the trip even if you’re not planning on skinny dipping – it’s one of the city’s most beautiful beaches. It’s a hefty, steep climb down 490 steps from the Museum of Anthropology, but even that doesn’t put off the crowds; around 14,000 flock here on any summer weekend.
3. Deep Cove
More of a park on the water than a beach, Deep Cove is a popular spot for kayaking and paddleboarding. It’s backed by a picturesque seaside village and some of Vancouver’s priciest real estate. The beach is located on Canada’s southernmost glacial fjord, the Indian Arm, and boasts sparkling views of steep slopes, mountain peaks, dense forest and crystal clear waters.
4. English Bay Beach
Less than a 30-minute walk from downtown, English Bay (and neighbouring Sunset Beach) is the easiest stretch of sand to reach from the city centre. It’s a popular spot for post-work cocktails and strolls, volleyball games and romantic picnic-style dinners. The Stanley Park Seawall, populated by happy rollerskaters, pedestrians and cyclists, runs along the east side of the beach.
5. Third Beach
Third Beach is sandy, secluded bliss. Nestled into the old forestry of Stanley Park, this sandy sweep is an idyllic spot for sunbathing and swimming. The waters are calmer here, shielded by the natural bay, and the views of the city skyline are spectacular. You can barbecue here too, though there are some restrictions in the summertime.
Located west of Kitsilano, Jericho Beach is home to Vancouver’s July Folk Music Festival, though it’s popular all year round. Like Kits Beach, Jericho serves up sublime sunsets, backed by the sweeping curve of the city’s sparkling skyline. There are volleyball nets, picnic tables, soccer and baseball courts here too, as well as a lifeguard from May to early September.
At low tide, Spanish Banks goes on for miles. It’s popular with little ones, who love spotting purple starfish and critters in the sprawling tidal pools. While it’s technically one bank, the Spanish Banks’ beaches are divided into three distinctive sections: East, Extension and West. Spanish Banks East is the busiest of all three beaches. Spanish Banks West has an off-leash dog area, around 200-metres from the concession. It’s the best beach in Vancouver to test out skimboarding too.
The Hudson’s Bay Trading Company named this section of the shoreline to commemorate the Spanish discovery of Vancouver in 1792. The sandbank made it into Spanish explore Galiano’s maps, but not the British George Vancouver’s, even though they were both here in 1792.