Vancouver has beaches. Lots of ’em. Many people from afar tend to picture Canada as a year round frozen hell. That’s not the case, especially for Vancouver. The so called “California of the north” is filled with eager people craving to take in as much Vitamin D as they possibly can during the warm sunny months. In order to help a friend plan her upcoming trip to the west coast, I figured I should share my favourite beaches in Vancouver.
Vancouver’s Wreck Beach never ceases to make me smile. Perhaps it’s my North American upbringing that makes me giggle at the thought of hundreds of people letting the sun shine where it so rarely does. Nude beaches, they’re intriguingly fascinating. They’re by all means not common in Canada, but I’m happy they exist! While nudity is a big part of this beach, it’s technically only “clothing-optional”. There’s plenty of things to do for those scared to make that leap into letting your bits and kibbles out for the day.
Volleyball, hot dogs, guitars, smack a drum or two or take in the cool waters of the Pacific. Of coarse, there’s also a fair amount of public drinking to be had, but be careful. Beer is crazy expensive around here. So perhaps consider smuggling your own. On a warm summer day, expect the skunky smell of BC Bud to fill the air. While technically Pot is illegal in Canada, it is legal for medicinal use, and is generally tolerated by most, particularly on the west coast. Wreck Beach is a unique Vancouver experience. Just whatever you do, avoid bringing your camera out in these parts. Old timer hippies will happily bark at tourists and looky-lou’s trying to snap photos of their “freedom”.
Tower beach isn’t your typical “paradise” looking beach. You won’t find gold sand, tanned and oiled bodies who look like they just finished a set at the gym. What you will find is rocks. Lots of them. If you plan on relaxing in these parts, bring good shoes. It may not be the comfiest beach to lounge around, but the sight of two 10-11 meter high concrete towers that overlook the Vancouver Harbour makes for neat photos.
Don’t expect much in terms of amenities. There’s no public washrooms or vendors, but there is something that can be hard to come by at the other beaches. Peace and quiet.
The Spanish Banks will always have a place in my heart. It’s hard to complain about the view. A massive view of the ocean, mountains, sky, and the sight of dozens of sail boats cruising around. Great sand, cute beach cafes, volleyball courts, and a large grassy area perfect for picnics, BBQ’s, and playing frisbee with your dog!
While it’s a little more “out of the way”, it is a great reprieve from the hustle and bustle of downtown Vancouver. In my opinion this has to be the best beach in Vancouver.
Probably one of the best views of the North Shore mountains, Jericho Beach is far enough away to be considered quiet and family friendly. Tucked away from the Spanish Banks and Kits Beach, this little slice of heaven is perfect to get away from everything. There’s plenty of room to lounge, get your volleyball on, or setup a fancy picnic to impress that special someone. If you’re from away and checking out Jericho Beach, consider staying at the HI Jericho Beach. It’s the only beach retreat hostel in Vancouver and they know the Jericho like nobodies business.
Kits gets bashed a lot because of the people that hang out around here. There seems to be a ridiculous amount of good looking people in these parts. Which is quite common in Vancouver, but these particular types are sort of the “hot and I know it” variety. If you can get over the occasional douche vibe, and put your reservations aside, Kits is actually an awesome beach to check out.
Kits is an urban beach, which means it’s not going to be your typical secluded and peaceful beach. But if you can embrace the chaos, it’s widely interesting and can be a great way to spend a hot day in Vancouver. This is one of the best places in Vancouver to people watch. Frisbees, hippies, hacky sacks, girls in bikinis and high heels, guys trying to flex their way out of tshirts, cute dogs, people with hilarious burns, people with great tans, and best of all: It’s all surrounded in the beautiful scenery of mountains, ocean, and the city!
Boom! So that sums up my favourite 5 beaches in the beautiful city of Vancouver. Beaches are synonymous with summer in Canada, and you’d have to be a full on crazy not to take advantage of them during our short but hot summer months. While summer may be a good month or two away from fully kicking in, it’s good to be prepared. Bring you sunscreen, a towel, and a few friends and find out why Vancouver is so consistently rated as one of the best cities in Canada.
Map of Vancouver’s Beaches