Nestled on the Pacific Ocean, Vancouver is known for its natural beauty with its lush forests and scenic mountain landscape. The ocean is without a doubt the pride and joy of Vancouverites. And the best way to enjoy it is by spending time on one of the great beaches of Vancouver.
As a coastal city with a near-perfect climate, hitting the beaches in Vancouver is among the top year-round activities. Although Summer is ideal for soaking up the sun, the beaches are worth visiting even in other seasons – just maybe skip the swimming.
Vancouver is an outdoor playground and activities are abundant for every type of person to enjoy. Whether you want to go for a suntan, picnic, swim, or head out sailing, you can do it all at the Vancouver beaches.
Most Popular Vancouver Beach
It was too hard to name a number one so we have declared a tie for the title. The absolute best beaches in Vancouver in the minds of tourists and locals alike are English Bay Beach and Kitsilano Beach.
English Bay Beach (First Beach)
English Bay Vancouver, also known as First Beach, is a popular spot located right in downtown Vancouver. It is situated in the West End neighborhood and features stunning views of the English Bay, the mountain ranges, and the city skyline.
With its prime location and easy accessibility, this Vancouver beach is by far the busiest beach in the city. On hot summer days, it will get packed quickly so make sure to arrive early and set up your beach mat! There are also Mobi-Mat paths and water wheelchairs so the beach can truly be enjoyed by all.
Some of the amenities you’ll find at the English Bay Vancouver are a raft swimming platform, volleyball courts, paddleboard, kayak rentals, and tons of sand and swimming spots.
There are food trucks galore and also being downtown, lots of restaurants and bars to hit up after your day at the beach. In the winter, this spot is the place to be for the Polar Bear dips if you’re brave enough and want to feel really, and we mean really, alive!
The Paradox Hotel Vancouver is a highly-rated waterfront hotel less than 2 km from English Bay Beach. There are tons of attractions within walking distance so you can easily explore the city.
Just across from downtown in the neighborhood of Kitsilano, you’ll find the happening Kitsilano Beach Park. This beach has a fun, busy, social vibe, and installed Mob-Mats to make it accessible to wheelchair users.
There are many BBQ areas and off-leash dog-park areas so you can spend the whole day here without having to run home to your pup.
This popular Vancouver beach is famous for having the longest saltwater swimming pool in Canada. You can also find tennis, volleyball, and basketball courts, a waterfront restaurant, and many little concession booths along the paths.
The array of activities is why many consider visiting Kitsilano beach is one of the best things to do in Vancouver.
For a different sort of adventure, you can take a break from the beach and head over to the Vancouver Maritime Museum. You will find an entire ship in the building to explore and also a variety of exhibits. This is a great way to enjoy some air conditioning if the water isn’t cooling you off enough.
If you need a place to crash after your long day at Kitsilano Beach, we recommend The Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver. It’s within walking distance of many great bars, restaurants, and cool Van-city districts to explore.
Top Beaches In Vancouver For Families
On the south end of Stanley Park, you’ll come across Second Beach. This is a great place to bring the family from spring to fall.
Stanley Park is one of the famous landmarks in Vancouver. Kids love exploring around, hopping around on the playground, and splashing in the water. Many bring along their sandcastle kit to build their own imaginative worlds on the sandy shores.
The biggest attraction this Vancouver beach has to offer is the outdoor heated pool, which operates from spring to fall. Since the water temps can get quite cold, even on the hottest days, the outdoor pool is the ideal place to swim.
In the summer months, the Stanley Park Cinema transforms the second beach into a movie theater. Movies are projected onto a large screen right on the beach and it is free to enjoy. After playing in the sun all day, it’s a great way to wind down the night.
A fun fact about Vancouver’s iconic park is that it is even better than the famous Central Park in New York.
The nearby OPUS Hotel Vancouver is a favorite among tourists and is a beautiful hotel with tons of style!
Spanish Banks Beach
For those of you who want to include the whole family, even your dog, Spanish Banks beach is the place to go! While many of the beaches of Vancouver have off-leash areas, Spanish Banks is one of the best and biggest.
This beach offers free parking and is a designated quiet beach so no loud music is allowed. It’s located away from the city as well so you get to enjoy a more natural, zen-vibe. It’s the perfect spot for a day of wakeboarding, swimming, and picnicking.
The Coast Coal Harbour Vancouver Hotel is the perfect place to carry your zen throughout the night with its modern rooms.
Another quiet Vancouver beach just down the road from Spanish Banks is Locarno Beach. This is a lesser-known spot but it’s considered a hidden gem and amazing for beachcombing, swimming, and the views.
With its low tides, it’s great for kids and there are tons of sandy spots to get some privacy. On windier days, it’s a nice spot to wind-surf or you could always settle for flying a kite along the long stretch of sand.
If you’re looking for a cool, colorful place to sleep and call home while you visit Vancouver, we know the one for you! The Hotel Belmont Vancouver MGallery is close to Locarno Beach and also within walking distance to Robson Street, one of the best neighborhoods in Vancouver.
Nudist Beaches Vancouver
Wreck Beach Vancouver
If you’re looking for a free-spirit type of vibe and feeling like checking out a nude beach in Vancouver we have the one for you.
Wreck Beach is the only nude beach in Vancouver and takes a little bit of a stroll to find. It’s located at the edge of the University of British Columbia campus and down a steep 500-staircase walk from the Museum of Anthropology.
British Columbia in general has a huge hippy-like population and all the nudist beaches in Vancouver encapsulate this. Along the shores of Wreck Beach, you will find artists, vendors, musicians, and a very friendly group of naked people who are all about enjoying life.
While you’ll have to put your clothes on to check in, you can take them right off again once you get to your room in the Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront. This hotel is popular among travelers and offers a ton of amenities in and around the area.
Just one hour from downtown Vancouver, you will come across the magical naked oasis known as Barnston Island. Accessible by a 5-minute scenic ferry ride across from Parsons Channel. It is recommended to leave your car and either walk or bike once you get on the island to the beach.
While this Vancouver beach is an officially designated nude beach, a day trip out to the island makes for a great time. It’s only 9.8 km around and there are many paths to explore and sights to see.
Just a few minutes away, you will find the Best Western Plus Pitt Meadows Inn & Suites. This is a great hotel to rest at, and not too far from the Meadow Gardens Golf Course.
Crescent Rock Beach
In the neighboring suburb of Surrey, you will find one of the oldest nude beaches of Vancouver that locals have been coming to for over 50 years. It is a quiet, peaceful beach and offers a secluded nude area. There is lots of free parking, easy beach access, and tons of places to set up blankets on the long beach
The Coast Tsawwassen Inn is a wonderful choice for a hotel and just walking distance from the waterfront. It is also close to the Big Splash Water Slide Park if you want a change from hitting up beaches.
Beaches In Vancouver For Sports
Jericho Beach Vancouver
Jericho beach is one of the best beaches in Vancouver to visit if you want to be active. At the Jericho Sailing Center, you can learn to sail, windsurf, paddleboard, and skimboard or rent equipment if you already know how.
Beyond that, there are countless options for activities on land as well, with tons of dog-friendly trails, volleyball courts, baseball diamonds, and soccer fields.
The Best Western Plus Sands is a great option for a hotel. Especially if you are wanting to explore the wonders of Stanley Park or view the International Fireworks Festival.
If you’re on the hunt for the beaches of Vancouver where you can surf, paddleboard, or kayak, Lighthouse Park is a must-visit. The surf is best from October – May as the swell is pretty calm during the summer months.
Anytime you venture into the ocean waters, make sure you have a good wetsuit, and even water booties for protection against the cold water.
The quirky, art deco Century Plaza Hotel is less than 10 minutes from Jericho Park. It is close to Granville Street which is one of the best neighborhoods to roam around.
Best Beaches In Vancouver For Scenery
Trout Lake Beach
With its park-like setting, one of the best beaches in Vancouver that is often overlooked is Trout Lake Beach. It is the only freshwater beach in the area which makes it warmer and more swimmable than the rest of the ocean beaches.
The amenities are plentiful with sports fields, playgrounds, off-leash areas, free parking, and lots of walking trails. Conveniently located in East Vancouver, it’s super easy to get to. This scenic Vancouver beach is worth a spot on your list.
Since a day in the freshwater lake can tire you out, consider staying at the Atrium Inn Vancouver. It’s a beautiful, stocked hotel and is close to the Playland Amusement Park.
One of the top beaches of Vancouver for enjoying the sunset, swimming, and relaxing is Ambleside Beach. It has a stunning rocky and sandy shoreline with calm waters and wading pools to enjoy the ocean. You can cap off your day at the beach with a romantic stroll to Dundarave Village which has many cute shops and restaurants.
Less than 5 km away you will find the Sandman Suites Vancouver on Davie. This hotel is not only beautiful but pretty decently priced as well. It is also close to the amazing Robson Street.
Sunset Beach Vancouver
The name tells it all for this quiet, downtown Vancouver beach. Sunset beach park is one of the best spots to set up in the sand and watch the sun go down. It is also a great entry point to False Creek for kayaks and paddle boarders.
The water taxi can drop you off here or you can head over easily by car or bus. With the Seawall situated right here, there is high traffic. However, since it’s a designated quiet beach, you don’t have to worry about the noise.
The GEC Granville Suites Downtown is in the center of a lot of Vancouver’s attractions. If you stay here, make sure to head over to the Granville Island Public Market.
Beaches In Vancouver For Privacy
This quiet, beautiful sandy beach will make you forget that you’re in the middle of a bustling city. Third Beach is sandwiched between the forests of Stanley Park and the ocean.
It is often considered a more secluded version of Second Beach. Although it’s close to English Bay and Second Beach, the crowds tend to be way sparser.
The clear waters are great for swimming or just admiring. You will also find areas to bike, hike, and BBQ.
The Sylvia Hotel is an amazing beachfront hotel that has a cool, rustic feel. Its great central location is the perfect home base for touring Vancouver.
White Rock Beach
The close community of White Rock offers an 8 km long beach for you to spend a (non-crowded) day at. The warm waters of Semiahmoo Bay are perfect for swimming or paddle boarding.
You will see an abundance of wildlife here and the amazing views facilitate a serene experience that will leave you re-charged.
White Rock is just next door to Vancouver and is loved by tourists and locals alike. The Ocean Promenade Hotel is the perfect place to stay for a night or two, but you probably won’t ever want to leave.
Enjoying The Beaches Of Vancouver
The west coast in Vancouver is one of the best places in the entire country to find some unreal beaches. You will enjoy stunning 360-degree views while relaxing on the sandy shores.
Whether you’re looking for a place to swim, surf or just enjoy some scenery, there is no shortage of that in Vancouver. This is, after all, one of the most exciting cities that Canada is known for.
So pack up the family, your towels, and even your dog, and take your pick of one of the beautiful beaches in Vancouver.