Vancouver with its prime seaside location offers locals and visitors many great beach options.
There are sporty beaches for those into volleyball and muscle-flexing (and girl-watching or guy watching), and there are quiet picturesque beaches for family outing or a romantic afternoon. Some of the area’s beaches are very convenient, to go swimming and shopping only minutes apart. Vancouver is even home to its own nude beach.
On the North shore, Ambleside Beach is a wide beach with a great view of Stanley Park and most of the bay. A pitch & putt golf course is near the beach and you can walk the Marine Drive boardwalk with its shops and restaurants. For a really quiet and secluded afternoon on the water, Cates Park at the Eastern end of North Vancouver falls nicely off the beaten track.
Stanley Park’s Third and Second Beaches on pretty English Bay are popular with families. Second Beach also has a fenced-in kids’ swimming pool. Adjacent to the Downtown’s West End, English Bay Beach is a haven for volleyball, windsurfing and street entertainers, and each summer hosts Vancouver ‘s annual International Fireworks Festival. Nearby, Davie Street and Denman Street (with its distinctive blue light standards) have a bevy of bistros and retail stores.
You can follow the seawall trail to reach Sunset Beach, for a great spot to watch False Creek’s boat traffic or catch the Granville Island Ferry (with its Lilliputian boats). Across False Creek from Sunset Beach is Vanier Park, with its playing fields (home to the Vancouver Childrens’ Festival each Spring) and the famous Planetarium and Maritime Museum.
The king of Vancouver beaches is around the point, Kitsilano Beach with both a beach and an outdoor pool, ever so popular with the young jock set. It’s home to beach volleyball players, rollerbladers, bodybuilders and bathing beauties enjoying the rays (and each other) makes this sandy spot a top choice as a “see-and-be-seen” beach.
From “Kits Beach,” the sand extends westwards to Jericho Beach, Locarno Beach and the entire Spanish Banks, offering miles of relaxing space all the way down the Northern shore of Vancouver ‘s main peninsula. A winding pedestrian and cycle path joins all of these popular destinations and their beautiful North Vancouver vista. Adventurous sunbathers will make the pilgrimage Westward from this point to Wreck Beach, on the UBC Endowment Lands and on the furthest point of Vancouver ‘s mainland. Wreck Beach has long been a hangout for hippie types and for vendors peddling everything from clothes and junk jewelry to ice cold beer.
South of Vancouver is Richmond with several beaches along its western seawall. At the southern end of Richmond is beautiful Steveston Park, on the waterfront next to the famous fishing village. Steveston has a boardwalk, a pier with shops and fishermen selling fish right off the boat.
Further south, closer to the American border are Crescent Beach and White Rock Beach. White Rock boasts a large expanse of beach when the tide is out, creating a paradise for sandcastle builders. Once again, a long beachside strip offers storefront convenience and style, and the well-known pier always attracts the public crop of crab-fishers.