Best Beaches In & Around Vancouver

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The west coast city of Vancouver is without doubt the hippest in Canada and vibrant hub of cultural activity. But what a lot of people fail to realise is that Vancouver is also home to any number of great beaches, many of which are just a quick stroll from downtown. Of course the locals, and plenty of visitors are well aware of this and the city's beaches are positively buzzing during the all too brief summer season.

With a backdrop of mountains and the Vancouver skyline these sandy stretches are some of the finest city beaches to be found anywhere. Whether you are looking for a laid-back spot to throw down a towel and soak up the summer sun or a get active with some volleyball or kayaking Vancouver's beaches are ideal.

  • 1. Kitsilano Beach

    Kitsilano Beach
    © Xicotencatl / CC BY

    Travel time from Vancouver: approx 0.5 hrs

    Overlooking the waters of English Bay in Vancouver, Kitsilano Beach is a popular, often crowded sandy beach at the north end of Yew Street. Edged by a broad seawall, it is home to the saltwater Kitsilano Pool, the longest pool in Canada, which is operated by the Vancouver Park Board and open from May to September. Alternatively, visitors can swim in the sea and make use of the swimming raft… read more »

  • 2. Spanish Banks

    Spanish Banks

    Travel time from Vancouver: approx 0.5 hrs

    Located on Northwest Marine Drive about 8 km west of downtown Vancouver, Spanish Banks is possibly the most beautiful sandy beaches in the area.

    The beach is sandwiched between Locarno Beach and the University of BC and a cycling/walking trail connects them. It has three distinct areas: east, west and extension.

    The sandy beach is very flat with shallow water; at low tide, the water can be almost out of… read more »

  • 3. Wreck Beach

    Wreck Beach
    © Colin Knowles / CC BY

    Travel time from Vancouver: approx 0.5 hrs

    Located in Vancouver, BC Wreck Beach is a 7.8 km long nudist beach, making it the largest naturist beach in North America.

    Just 15 minutes from downtown Vancouver, the beach wraps around the western tip of Point Grey Headland and is fairly easy to access down one of the steep trails with wooden stairs (about 500!) from Marine Drive. There's a car park (fee) and toilets at the head of… read more »

  • 4. English Bay Beach

    English Bay Beach
    © Kenny Louie / CC BY

    Travel time from Vancouver: approx 0.5 hrs

    Originally known as First Beach, English Bay Beach is in downtown Vancouver along Beach Ave (of course!) between Gilford and Bidwell Streets. The curving sandy beach is where the shores of Vancouver meet the Pacific Ocean.

    The eastern edge of the beach is bounded by the Stanley Park Seawall which is popular for walking, bicycling and running. This wide promenade runs along the waterfront offering stunningly beautiful views of… read more »

  • 5. Jericho Beach

    Jericho Beach
    © GoToVan / CC BY

    Travel time from Vancouver: approx 0.5 hrs

    Located just west of Kitsilano, Jericho Beach is a well-used sandy beach and grassy park in Vancouver. It's a great place for a picnic overlooking the water and watching sail boats in the waters of English Bay from the local Sailing Centre.

    The beach is named after Jeremiah Rogers who ran a logging camp in the area in the 1860s. The beach was known as Jerry's Cove and later… read more »

  • 6. Locarno Beach

    Locarno Beach
    © Jeff Hitchcock / CC BY

    Travel time from Vancouver: approx 0.5 hrs

    Locarno Beach is on the Stanley Park Seawall just 7 km west of downtown Vancouver. It runs from Spanish Banks in the west to Jericho Pier and Park to the east.

    This beautiful sandy beach is shaded by stands of tall evergreen trees and within sight of the high-rise architecture of the city. It was named after the Swiss city of Locarno where a peace treaty was signed in… read more »

  • 7. White Rock Beach

    White Rock Beach

    Travel time from Vancouver: approx 1 hr

    White Rock Beach is actually a trio of beaches known for their fine weather and stunning sunsets. The beach is part of the Boundary Bay Wildlife Management Area.

    Together, West Beach, East Beach and Crescent Beach make up White Rock Beach and between them they offer 5 miles (8km) of clean sand and ocean fun. An area known as "The Hump" marks the separation between East and West Beaches.

    The name White… read more »

  • 8. Rathtrevor Beach

    Rathtrevor Beach
    Marcin Chady

    Travel time from Vancouver: approx 1.5 hrs

    Rathtrevor Beach is located off Highway 19, three kilometres south of Parksville within Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park. It has a massive 5 km wide expanse of flat white sands that are popular for walking in all seasons.

    The beach was named after a pioneering gold prospector, William Rath who settled here in 1886 with his wife Elizabeth and 5 children. When he died in 1903, his wife developed the campsite… read more »

  • 9. Parksville Beach

    Parksville Beach
    © marneejill / CC BY

    Travel time from Vancouver: approx 1.5 hrs

    Overlooking Lasqueti Island and the Strait of Georgia, Parksville Beach is a pristine sandy beach on east coast Vancouver Island. Sweeping views look out across the expansive ocean to the Coast Mountains on mainland British Columbia.

    The clean sand here is ideal for young families to play. Access is via the Parksville Community Park which has children's play areas, water cannons, swings and slides as well as picnic areas right on… read more »

  • 10. Qualicum Beach

    Qualicum Beach
    © GoToVan / CC BY

    Travel time from Vancouver: approx 2 hrs

    Qualicum Beach is located 48 km northwest of Nanaimo on the east coast of Vancouver Island. Bordering the Strait of Georgia, this beautiful beach has plenty of parking along the Oceanside Route (Hwy 19A) with a promenade, changing rooms, picnic tables and restaurants. The Qualicum Beach railway station is open from late May to September and is located on Beach Road.

    The name "Qualicum" comes from a native Salish word meaning… read more »

  • 11. Long Beach

    Long Beach
    © Adam Jones / CC BY

    Travel time from Vancouver: approx 3 hrs

    Located at Tofino on Vancouver Island, Long Beach certainly lives up to its name. Stretching for 16km, the unbroken white sand is the longest beach on the island. Reached from Hwy 4 (Pacific Rim Highway) and despite its isolated location it attracts over a million visitors each year.

    The beautiful sand collects massive amounts of driftwood and is edged by old-growth forest. Pounded by the Pacific Ocean, this rugged coastline… read more »

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