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.
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.
Windsure Adventure Watersports: 604 224 0615
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.
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.
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.
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.
Beachcombers and kayakers love this curved sandy beach and the seaside town that shares its name. It is a great place to watch sunsets.
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.
Kitsilano Pool: 2305 Cornwall Ave; 604 731 0011
“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.
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.