BEACHES AND BAYS

TopTen

1. English Bay

Google Map

This beautiful bay is a popular West End attraction. On New Year’s Day it hosts the Polar Bear Swim, when thousands of swimmers brave the cold waters. A more popular year-round activity is to walk the Seawall that runs beside the bay into Stanley Park, fueled with caffeine or ice cream from nearby Davie and Denman street cafés.

2. Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park

Google Map

Parksville’s beautiful Rathtrevor Beach is easily accessible and great for watersports. Swim in the warmest saltwater north of California, build sandcastles, dig clams, canoe, or camp along the 4 miles (7 km) of sand.

3. Jericho Beach

prac_info Windsure Adventure Watersports: 604 224 0615

Google Map

This family-friendly beach has an outdoor shower and changing rooms for freshening up after a leisurely day of splashing around in the water. Picnics on the beach are a favorite pastime. For the more adventurous, windsurfing lessons are available at Windsure Adventure Watersports.

4. Long Beach

Google Map

On the west coast of Vancouver Island, between Tofino and Ucluelet, Long Beach is beautiful even on a cloudy day – there are some visitors that come during the winter months specifically to watch the powerful Pacific surf pound the headland. On bright summer days, the serenity of the vast empty beach is perfect for a long stroll at low tide.

TopTen

The sandy shore of Long Beach

5. Sunset Beach

Google Map

This designated quiet beach is along the Seawall, at the mouth of False Creek. It is not far from downtown and, as the name suggests, it is a gorgeous place to watch the sun set. Vancouverites come here to watch the world go by from cafés along the waterfront, or to catch the sun on the small but lovely stretch of sand.

TopTen

Sunset Beach in Vancouver

6. Spanish Banks Beach

Google Map

This is the longest expanse of sandy beach in Vancouver, and is split into three sections: Spanish Bank East, Spanish Bank West, and Spanish Bank Extension. At low tide, the water can be up to 0.5 miles (1 km) off-shore. The beaches are popular with walkers, cyclists, picnickers, and families splashing in the tidal waters.

7. Qualicum Beach

Google Map

Beachcombers and kayakers love this curved sandy beach and the seaside town that shares its name. It is a great place to watch sunsets.

8. Lighthouse Park

Google Map

Park in the convenient lot or hop off the bus and enjoy a short walk though West Vancouver’s 500-year-old forest to the shore. There are some breathtaking coastal views to be seen from the 1912 Point Atkinson Lighthouse. Eagle Point, on the east side of the bluff, also has stunning vistas across Burrard Inlet to Vancouver.

TopTen

Point Atkinson Lighthouse

9. Kitsilano Beach and Park

prac_info Kitsilano Pool: 2305 Cornwall Ave; 604 731 0011

Google Map

“Kits” Park, linked by a tree-lined walk to the beach, is favored by swimsuit-clad volleyball players and sunbathers. The busy Olympic-size Kitsilano Pool overlooks the beach.

10. Wreck Beach

Google Map

Getting to this clothing-optional beach is easy via a steep trail leading down from SW Marine Drive on the UBC campus. The hard part is the climb back uphill. Beware: oglers on the beach are conspicuous. There are spectacular views to be had across the Strait of Georgia towards the picturesque Vancouver Island.

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