The Getaway
The Best Beaches in Greater Vancouver

Vancouver is a sophisticated coastal paradise where outdoor enthusiasts can explore at their leisure and blow off steam. Beaches are a dime a dozen in this great city, but there are different strokes for different folks. At Kitsilano Beach, Baywatch-worthy physiques mingle with beer bellies and toddlers, and English Bay Beach is arguably the most popular Van City beach of them all. There are quieter, more secluded areas for water-based recreation, too. Services and amenities differ by destination and season. For example, lifeguards offer peace of mind mainly between May and September. Some beaches are primed for families, while others are reserved for a more liberated, free-spirited set if you catch our driftwood.


01 Kitsilano Beach

Kitsilano Beach Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada at Sunrise

Popular Kitsilano Beach is a must-see natural landmark and an all-year destination with fantastic views. Take strolls here during winter, go SUPIng in Spring and Fall, and join sunbathing and swimming merrymakers when it's hot out. This clean, sandy beach gets crowded in summer, but if you go early enough, the mood is a little more zen, and you can swim in the famous heated saltwater pool without shrieking kids in the way. Kits Beach is a vibrant social hub, including an active beach volleyball community, facilities for tennis and basketball, and a children's playground. Mobi-Mats and water wheelchairs make the beach accessible, although you'll have to book the latter in advance.


02 English Bay Beach

Vancouver View on English bay beach

Centrally located, English Bay Beach has a bustling atmosphere that makes it a prime spot for tourists and locals alike. Tell a joke in front of the A-maze-ing Laughter sculpture, take pics of the tall inukshuk resembling a human, or cycle the wide seawall to Stanley Park. If you're a fan of polar bear plunges, this is where you'll want to head on New Year's Day, but for most people, the water is too cold outside of summer when bathers flock to the shore here. Spread a picnic out, enjoy a long day on a boat, or have a seat on a log bench and people-watch. Accessibility mats and water wheelchairs enable folks with mobility challenges to make the most of beach weather, too.


03 Jericho Beach

Jericho Beach in Vancouver at sunset

Jericho Beach has lived many lives as a Musqueam village, a military airbase, and a hippie commune called Cool Aid. But these days, it's simply an idyllic beach spot with two miles of sand, sailing facilities, mountain views, and less of a crowd than Kits Beach, for example. Get barbecuing, build sandcastles, or book water sports lessons and full-moon tours. Concession stands keep beachgoers fed while they try to count the resident rabbits. The adjacent park hosts the annual Folk Music Festival, and there are soccer and rugby fields and baseball pitches for the city's athletically inclined. Combine yummy salmon burgers and gorgeous sunsets at The Galley Patio and Grill. This is one of eight Van City beaches with wheelchair accessibility.


04 Second Beach

Second Beach Vancouver, Stanley Park

Second Beach has a large heated outdoor pool dating back to 1932 and is a favorite with young families. It's relatively small but has numerous amenities, including bathrooms and wheelchair accessibility. The evenings are a great time to stop by for a chilled-out vibe—purchase fresh fruit at the stalls or lick ice cream off salty fingers while you lean against driftwood. Sandy stretches give way to less forgiving carpets, so wear your flip-flops. During the warmest months, free outdoor movie screenings and occasional fireworks add to the ambiance. There's paid parking if you're driving, and golf enthusiasts can test their skills at the Stanley Park Pitch and Putt course.


05 Wreck Beach

Nudist Wreck Beach during sunny day in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Wreck Beach is a not-so-secret secret beach. This clothing-optional respite from convention draws naturists and the curious. The Vancouverites and visitors who come here are keen on going au naturel at one of Canada's largest nudist beaches, so if sunbathing in your birthday suit, skinny dipping, and a freeing feeling appeal to you, check out this bohemian hot spot with baby powder sand. There are rules, of course. You can only strip when you see the relevant sign, and photos and, well, funny business are not allowed. A 400-step trail makes this beach inaccessible to people in wheelchairs.


06 Spanish Banks Beach

Aerial panoramic view of Spanish Banks Beach during sunset with Downtown Vancouver City in the back ground. Taken in British Columbia, Canada.

If you want your canine bestie to live its best life, you'll find an awesome off-leash dog area at Spanish Banks Beach. This beach has a quieter, more relaxed mood about it and copious amounts of high-quality sand. You can expect wheelchair accessibility, warm tidal pools, opportunities for skimboarding, kitesurfing, and volleyball, and bicycle trails that connect Spanish Banks to Kitsilano Beach and beyond. Look up the tide chart and plan to come here when the tide is low so you can dig your toes into packed sand that seems to go on forever.


07 Third Beach

Vancouver,British Columbia,Canada,July 18 2017.Third beach afternoon at Stanley park,Vancouver Canada

Second and Third Beach are the main beaches in Stanley Park. Trees surround Third Beach, so it's pretty serene despite its urban location. You'll find lifeguards, washrooms (wheelchair-accessible), and concession stands, but not too much else, which is part of the appeal. The locals love coming here to swim and tan along the long, wide expanse of sand. Third Beach is part of the Seawall System.


08 Locarno Beach

Aerial view looking up Locarno Beach at low tide with homes spread out among the trees that run right up to the coast.

Locarno Beach is sandwiched between the Jericho and Spanish Banks beaches. This is a designated quiet beach, so it's tranquil and devoid of loud music but far from boring. Families hug the water's edge, and six volleyball courts get competitive juices flowing. Parking here is free. At low tide, a sign on the swimming raft saying "no diving under the raft" can raise eyebrows among the uninitiated.


09 Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach Park beautiful landscape in spring sunset time. Cherry blossoms in full bloom. Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Sunset Beach is conveniently accessible from downtown and is, of course, an excellent spot to watch the sun say goodbye, at least temporarily, while you sip your beverage of choice and munch on picnic fare. This is another designated quiet beach, so bring a book along and park yourself on the grassy slope for some screen-free time or meditate atop the rocks. Your furry friends will enjoy the off-leash dog area, and you can grab a snack from the concession stands and clean up at the bathrooms. You'll have to park at the Jervis parking lot if necessary. Keep an eye out for the Engagement and Arc sculptures. Sunset Beach does not have wheelchair-accessibility.


10 Ambleside Beach

Sunrise at Scenic Beach in West Vancouver. Ambleside. Fall Season. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Ambleside Beach in West Vancouver is the go-to seaside spot on the North Shore, offering stunning views of Stanley Park and downtown, with family-friendly amenities such as a skate park and a playground. Amble along the pier, go fishing, take your pooch to the dog beach or off-leash area, or enjoy sports facilities like basketball courts and baseball and soccer fields. Sit back and observe the cruise ships and container vessels passing by. The portion of the beach closest to the lifeguard towers is wheelchair accessible.


11 Trout Lake Beach

Girl at Trout Lake, Vancouver, Canada

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city at this Vancouver beach with a difference. Trout Lake Beach is, as the name suggests, a freshwater beach like the kind that abounds in cities like Toronto. You can't fish or boat here without authorization, but this local gem is great for a BBQ or picnic. The park-like setting adds fall colors to coastal palettes. Water wheelchairs are available.


12 Dundarave Beach

Sea beach in Dundarave Park at sunset, West Vancouver, BC, Canada

White sands, calm waters, a swimming dock, and a waterfront seawall make Dundarave Beach in West Vancouver an attractive destination for a solo or family outing. Amenities include a playground, outdoor showers, concession stands, a picnic area, and the Centennial Seawalk, which is stroller and wheelchair-friendly and dotted with rollerbladers. Only leashed dogs are allowed on the path. Try beachcombing for smooth sea glass, or see if you can glimpse a bald eagle.


13 Whytecliff Park

A panoramic view of a Whytecliff Park in a Horseshoe bay

Venture out of the city toward Horseshoe Bay and Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver. The beach at Whytecliff Park is wrapped in rugged coastal beauty and is popular among scuba divers and explorers—disabled divers can access the water, too. At low tide, you can hop across to an island, which is pretty cool for all ages—just time you're crossing well, or you'll need to be rescued. This is a fascinating beach for budding marine biologists—wildlife from seals and otters to starfish and crabs are common sights.


14 Deep Cove

 Beautiful view of Deep Cove during a colorful summer sunrise. Taken in North Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Deep Cove near North Vancouver has calm waters that are ideal for kayaking and paddleboarding. The charming village atmosphere sets this beach apart, and access to scenic trails like Quarry Rock allows hikers to feel a world away from the concrete jungle. Grab a delicious donut from Honey's and savor a laidback day among beautiful natural landscapes. It's best to go at low tide to encounter various critters and creatures.


15 Cates Park

North Vancouver Cates Park

A five-minute drive from Deep Cove will get you to Cates Park, with its extensive waterfront and and family-friendly facilities, including picnic spots, playgrounds, concession stands, and water activities. Think pickle ball, tennis courts, and a wheelchair and stroller-friendly trail. The area is culturally significant, and you can join a tour led by First Nations guides to learn about the history surrounding the Indian Arm and see a war canoe and totem poles. Catch crabs on the pier, but note that restrictions apply at various times. During summer, concerts fill the air with excitement.


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