Summer is fully upon us, and in the wake of last week’s heatwave I’m sporting a rather lovely bathing suit tan. In the spirit of the upcoming gorgeous weather, I thought I’d write a quick post about the best beaches in Vancouver and their pros and cons.
Located on the edge of Stanley Park, accessible from the Seawall, English Bay is the urban beach. Sandwiched between Denman and Davie in the West End, English Bay is one of the best swimming beaches in Vancouver. It’s the most popular beach in Downtown Vancouver and is always packed with people relaxing on the gorgeous sand or frolicking in the beautiful water. With a nice slope to get into the ocean, access is very easy, even for littler kids. There’s also a big slide and a swim dock that floats just off the beach during the summer.
Parking isn’t great, but English Bay is easy to get to by foot, bike or bus. Amenities include bathrooms, changing rooms and showers.
Address: Beach Ave. and Denman St., Vancouver
Kits is a family friendly, swimming friendly beach, boasting the longest outdoor pool in Canada if ocean swimming isn’t your thing. There’s a swim-out dock in the summer, gorgeous mountains to look at, and it’s one of the ‘coolest’ beaches meaning that it’s always a good spot for people watching. There’s tennis and basketball courts, a playground, and swathes of grass if you’re not into lying on the sand. Bring a blanket, some snacks, lay back and enjoy the sights.
Address: Cornwall Ave. and Arbutus St., Vancouver
The best place for lying around, sunbathing and swimming in Stanley Park, third beach sports some gorgeous tidal pools for exploring, great sand for sand castling and a skim boarding facility. Really family friendly, the water here is warmer than the other beaches in Stanley Park, but like them it has excellent facilities- parking, food and drink, bathrooms, changing rooms and easy access to the seawall.
Address: Stanley Park Drive, Vancouver (near the Tea House)
Far away from the more packed urban beaches, Spanish Banks wheels across the west coast of the city, and it’s a favourite with the locals. At low tide, in the morning and early afternoon, you can walk far out to see when the water is pulled back. Even though it’s next to Jericho and Locarno, Spanish Banks is the quieter end of the stretch of sand and offers a relaxing time away from the hubbub of the busier beaches.
There are two concession stands that provide a wide variety of meals and snacks. Other facilities include bathrooms, showers and changing rooms.
Address: Northwest Marine Drive and Tolmie St., Vancouver
Jericho has a lovely expanse of grassy fields, and picnic benches, as well as football fields the public are able to play on. While there is a paid parking lot, you can easily find street parking close enough to walk, which makes driving a good choice. The views across the bay to the mountains are spectacular, and Jericho has a nice concessions stand that serves everything from icecream to f
ish and chips. Bathrooms are also available.
Address: Point Grey Road and Wallace St., Vancouver
Vancouver’s famous clothing-optional beach, widely considered to be one of the top of its kind in the world, Wreck Beach is
equally famous for it’s gorgeous scenery as well as for the nudity. Clothing can be kept on, mind you, there’s no requirement for nakedness, but don’t be rude and stare or take pictures!
Wreck is pretty far off the beaten path, on the point of UBC’s campus, you do have to take a short hike through the woods to get there. As such, there are no facilities or food and drink stands, although many locals do sell snacks there. Be careful what you’re buying, there are a lot of marijuana edibles floating around.
If you’re headed there, go early- the high tide in the afternoon covers the beach almost completely.
Address: Northwest Marine Drive, University of British Columbia, Vancouver