Trip and Wellness

The 11 Best Beaches in Vancouver, BC

Best Beaches in Vancouver, BC

When it comes to the riches bestowed by Mother Nature, Vancouver appears to have struck gold. Mountains grace the northern horizon and beyond, while the ever-present Vancouver rain ensures that the forests remain green and lush throughout the year. However, many would argue that the city’s most exceptional natural asset is the Pacific Ocean, and Vancouver’s beaches provide an excellent opportunity to savor it.

A visit to Vancouver would be incomplete without enjoying some time by the ocean. A beach outing can be an active adventure, involving swimming or a stroll along a coastal trail like the Seawall. Alternatively, it can be a relaxed escapade: simply find a log or a bench to sit on and observe the boats and seaplanes gliding by.

Lifeguards are stationed at most of Vancouver’s beaches from late May (Victoria Day) through early September (Labor Day), and public restrooms and changing facilities are open year-round. Additionally, most beaches offer water wheelchairs, but these must be reserved at least 24 hours in advance.

Maximize your seaside experience with our curated list of the best beaches in Vancouver.

1. Kitsilano Beach

Kitsilano Beach
Kitsilano Beach

No compilation of Vancouver’s finest beaches would be comprehensive without mentioning the iconic Kitsilano Beach, affectionately known as “Kits Beach.” Situated just opposite downtown Vancouver via the Burrard Street Bridge, Kits Beach perfectly encapsulates the essence of Kitsilano—a vibrant hub of outdoor activities that seamlessly blends trendiness with an unassuming charm.

In the peak of summer, Kitsilano Beach emerges as the go-to destination for socializing and recreation. The options are abundant, from swimming laps in the open-air saltwater pool to engaging in tennis, basketball, or beach volleyball. The beach also features a playground, onsite concessions, and a waterfront restaurant for those moments when cravings extend beyond ice cream and snacks.

To enhance accessibility, Kitsilano Beach has installed a Mobi-Mat, extending just above the tide line, facilitating easier access to the water for individuals using wheelchairs and other mobility aids; water wheelchairs are also provided.

Furry companions are embraced at the designated dog beach, offering a space where dogs can joyfully expend their energy running in and out of the ocean.

With numerous restaurants and shops a short stroll away, a visit to Kits Beach can seamlessly fit into a day of exploring the neighborhood. Yet, given the myriad attractions, do not be surprised if your stay extends longer than initially planned.

2. Jericho Beach

Jericho Beach
Jericho Beach

Jericho Beach graces the coastline as a delightful expanse of sandy shoreline nestled between the Kitsilano and West Point Grey neighborhoods. However, its allure extends beyond mere aesthetics. Housing some of Vancouver’s upscale facilities, including the exclusive Royal Vancouver Yacht Club and Jericho Tennis Club, the beach also boasts public-access tennis courts.

While Vancouver’s beaches offer enjoyment from the shore or through a refreshing ocean swim, one of the most exhilarating ways to savor them is by venturing out onto the water. Jericho Beach is home to the non-profit Jericho Sailing Centre, providing accessible opportunities for sailing, windsurfing, stand-up paddleboarding, and skimboarding lessons and rentals to all.

The surrounding park area features a network of meandering trails, creating an ideal setting for a leisurely dog walk or invigorating trail run. However, pet owners should stay vigilant— the area is home to a sizable rabbit population that might tempt Fido into an animated chase.

3. Wreck Beach

Wreck Beach
Wreck Beach

Wreck Beach stands out from the other beaches on this list in several ways. Firstly, it is the sole beach situated at the University of British Columbia. To reach it, you must venture to the campus, and even then, locating it requires a significant amount of legwork. Nestled at the base of a cliff, the beach demands a descent of 500 steps. Yes, you read that correctly, and no, it’s not an exaggeration. Conserve some energy for the return journey uphill!

However, the most notable distinction is that Wreck Beach holds the title of Vancouver’s only clothing-optional beach. Sunbathers, take heed!

With a distinctive bohemian atmosphere, Wreck Beach attracts a free-spirited crowd reminiscent of the hippy culture. It’s not uncommon to encounter a gathering around a guitar or a local artist showcasing their creations. The rugged shoreline imparts a sense of wildness and seclusion, setting it apart from many other beaches in the city.

During low tide, a stroll along Wreck Beach is a must-do. Stretching for a considerable distance, the beach offers diverse sights—from abandoned towers dating back to World War II to the local flora and fauna. Caution is advised, as the rocks can become quite slippery.

4. English Bay Beach

English Bay Beach
English Bay Beach

Perched above the renowned English Bay, English Bay Beach provides a coastal oasis amid the bustling West End of downtown Vancouver. Bordered by Stanley Park on one side and the vibrant downtown life on the other, with the Stanley Park Seawall running adjacent to it, English Bay Beach is a vibrant destination ideal for people-watching.

For those lodging downtown, English Bay Beach is easily accessible by foot, bike, or public transit, making it one of Vancouver’s most convenient beaches to reach. The beach also ensures inclusivity with Mobi-Mat access and water wheelchairs, catering to a diverse range of visitors.

On scorching summer days, it seems like a significant portion of the city converges at English Bay Beach, creating a lively atmosphere where securing a spot for your towel or picnic blanket can become a friendly competition. Arriving early is advisable or be prepared to make new acquaintances.

The beach offers various amenities, including two volleyball courts, a raft swimming platform featuring a slide, kayak rentals, and a designated area for storing personal kayaks.

Winter months also present compelling reasons to visit, with the Polar Bear Swim being a notable highlight. For many Vancouverites, this traditional plunge into the not-so-warm waters serves as the preferred way to welcome the New Year. Ready for the challenge?

5. Third Beach

Third Beach
Third Beach

Grab a piece of driftwood, and a convenient impromptu bench, and let your feet sink into the sandy expanse of Third Beach in Stanley Park. Enveloped by trees behind you and facing the vast ocean, many beachgoers swiftly lose awareness of being in Canada’s third-largest city.

Whether you are traversing Stanley Park’s Seawall on foot or by bike, make it a point to take a break and relish the ambiance of Third Beach. Positioned deeper within the park and farther from the city center, this beach generally hosts fewer crowds compared to its counterparts like English Bay Beach and Second Beach. It stands as an unparalleled spot to pause and rejuvenate.

Third Beach offers essential amenities, including restrooms, changing areas, and a concession stand. Visitors are also welcome to utilize barbecues for a delightful beachside experience.

6. Ambleside Beach

Ambleside Beach
Ambleside Beach/ @flickr

On the opposite shore of Burrard Inlet, just beyond the Lions Gate Bridge, lies a beach that, though technically outside the city of Vancouver, is too enchanting to omit from this compilation.

Situated in the District of West Vancouver, Ambleside Beach stands as a lively focal point hosting local activities and festivals. Ambleside Park boasts walking paths, sports fields, a playground, tennis courts, and even a Par 3 golf course. It is conveniently close to Park Royal shopping center, as well as the shops and cafés lining Marine Drive.

The journey across the bridge is relatively straightforward and well justifies the additional effort. If you venture to Ambleside Park, allocate sufficient time to explore the beach and its environs. A brief walk will lead you to Ambleside Pond, where you may catch sight of the resident swans.

7. Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach
Sunset Beach

Situated next to the Burrard Street Bridge, Sunset Beach is located at the entrance of False Creek, providing convenient and swift access from downtown Vancouver.

Moreover, it serves as an excellent starting point for exploring various areas along False Creek. The Aquatic Centre Ferry Dock serves as a pickup/drop-off spot for the vibrant water taxi—a picturesque means to travel among popular Vancouver destinations such as Granville Island, Yaletown, and the Olympic Village.

True to its name, Sunset Beach attracts many who relish the opportunity to witness the day’s conclusion. It also lines a heavily frequented segment of the Seawall, making it an ideal spot for observing joggers, walkers, cyclists, and numerous charming dogs. Being one of Vancouver’s designated “quiet” beaches, it offers a peaceful setting for a leisurely day.

8. Second Beach

Second Beach
Second Beach

Searching for a family-friendly beach that caters to everyone’s preferences? Your quest ends with Second Beach. Situated at the southern tip of Stanley Park, Second Beach is enveloped by trees and offers scenic views of English Bay and the Burrard Inlet.

Numerous attractions appeal to children at Second Beach, ranging from building sandcastles on the shoreline to enjoying the beach’s two playgrounds. However, the main highlight is undeniably the heated outdoor pool with its two slides, operating seasonally from late spring to early fall.

During summer vacations, be on the lookout for the Stanley Park Summer Cinema schedule. This event transforms Second Beach into an open-air movie theater, with films projected onto a large screen right on the beach. The movies are free but do not forget to bring your popcorn.

9. Spanish Banks Beach

Spanish Banks Beach
Spanish Banks Beach

Featuring city skyline views, Spanish Banks Beach shares similarities with Kits Beach and Jericho, yet it tends to be quieter owing to its location in a residential area. It serves as the perfect spot to secure a picnic table for an impromptu barbecue, offering breathtaking views over the water and the city.

The Seawall extends from one end of this lengthy beach to the other, making Spanish Banks an ideal location for a peaceful stroll against a backdrop of seagulls’ calls and sailboats drifting along the water.

During a clear evening, Spanish Banks Beach stands out as the ultimate spot to witness the sunset. Spread out a blanket and observe as the sun descends below the horizon while the city lights twinkle across the bay.

One notable advantage of this beach is the availability of free parking, creating a serene environment as it is designated as a “quiet” beach with no amplified sound allowed. Additionally, there’s an off-leash area for dogs, along with eight volleyball courts.

Read More: Best Things To Do in Stanley Park

10. Locarno Beach

Locarno Beach
Locarno Beach

Nestled between Spanish Banks Beach and Jericho Beach, Locarno is a smaller beach that might be less familiar than its neighbors, making it somewhat of a hidden gem. It provides the same advantages as other nearby beaches: stunning views, sandy shores, and ample space for a leisurely walk. Whether you seek a place for a stroll, a picnic, a game of sand volleyball, or a round of bocce, Locarno Beach has it all.

What it lacks are crowds and noise. Designated as a quiet beach, Locarno prohibits amplified sound. Leave the boombox behind and come here to savor the sights, sounds, and scent of the ocean. Locarno Beach also offers free parking, making it an excellent choice for budget-conscious beachgoers.

11. Trout Lake Beach

Trout Lake Beach
Trout Lake Beach

Not all the beaches in the Vancouver area are along the Pacific Ocean. Trout Lake Beach stands out as the city’s sole official freshwater beach, situated in the landlocked neighborhood of East Vancouver. It serves as a serene retreat in the heart of the city.

Equipped with picnic areas, sports fields, playgrounds, and walking trails, the artificial Trout Lake offers many of the same amenities as Vancouver’s other beaches, along with a few distinctive features like a swimming dock. While the water at Trout Lake remains quite cool, many find it more conducive to swimming than the Pacific Ocean.

Set in a genuinely park-like environment surrounded by abundant trees and framed by a picturesque backdrop of mountains, Trout Lake Beach offers a unique charm. The area includes an off-leash zone for your canine companion, and parking is free.


Q: Are all Vancouver beaches suitable for families?

A: Yes, many beaches like Jericho Beach and Kitsilano Beach are family-friendly with amenities for children.

Q: Are there any restrictions on Wreck Beach’s clothing-optional policy?

A: Wreck Beach follows local regulations, and visitors are expected to adhere to guidelines for clothing-optional areas.

Q: Are the beaches accessible year-round?

Q: Yes, while water activities may vary with the season, Vancouver’s beaches are generally accessible throughout the year.

Q: How can I contribute to beach conservation efforts?

A: Participate in organized beach cleanups, follow responsible beach practices, and support local environmental initiatives.

Q: What are some must-visit attractions near the beaches?

A: Explore nearby neighborhoods, visit museums, and enjoy the diverse culinary scene that Vancouver has to offer.