The beaches on Vancouver Island are like a literal dream! The scenery at every single one you visit is beyond stunning, the wildlife majestic and the water refreshing.
Vancouver Island is a great place to explore and many travelers head there for a summer vacay. The Butchart Gardens, whale watching tours, and 75-km West Coast Trail show that it has a lot more to offer than beaches.
That said, Vancouver Island beaches are spectacular nonetheless; and while you’re here, you might as well check some of them out!
Best Beaches On Vancouver Island
Located on the southwestern coast of the island, Mystic Beach is definitely one of the best beaches on Vancouver Island. It has even earned a spot on the list of the Top 50 Beaches In The World.
The magical 2km trek to Mystic beach leads you through the ancient forest along the well-marked Juan de Fuca trail. It is a moderately challenging route so consider wearing water shoes rather than open-toe slippers.
Nonetheless, it is the most direct way to get to Mystic Beach and is well worth it. The walk down to the beach will make you feel like you’re going through Jurassic Park.
You will quickly see why Mystic Beach is ranked so highly among all the Vancouver Island beaches. It has stunning white sands that back upon the lush forest and there is a cascading waterfall on the cliffs that pours right into the sea.
You will also find giant logs all over the shore to picnic on, caves to explore, and the blue ocean calling your name for a swim.
There are many campgrounds in the area but if you feel you have spent enough time outdoors, there are a few accommodation options down the road. Around 30 minutes from the Juan de Fuca trail, you will find the highly rated, budget-friendly Fairways Hotel on the Mountain.
Vancouver Island Beaches For Families
Qualicum Beach Vancouver Island
Qualicum Beach is a town on the east coast of the island and the name is a giveaway as to what it’s most known for – the beach.
You would never have guessed the local population is only 9,000 as tourists throughout the year make it seem like much more. There are numerous activities in and around town to keep the whole family entertained.
Qualicum is actually home to three of the most family-friendly Vancouver Island beaches. Qualicum Beach, Judges Row, and Yambury Beach are all within a short distance of the town.
All of them offer great scenery, beautiful sandy areas, and primo views of the sunset. Between Qualicum and Parksville, there are 20 km of sandy beaches so even in busy seasons, you will still be able to find room to spread your beach mat and relax on the sand.
The Casa Grande Inn is an amazing beachfront hotel that will make trips back to the beach super easy. You can even walk back to your hotel for a mid-day siesta!
Miracle Beach Vancouver Island
For the outdoors, camping type of family, Miracle Beach Park is a must-visit. There are playgrounds, hot showers, picnic areas, and tons of trails to hike and bike around. When the tide recedes, you will also find tons of tide pools that are fun for both kids and adults to explore.
The campground books up quickly so make sure to get a reservation. It is within walking distance of the beach and there are children’s bike tracks and adventure playgrounds. After a day here, your kids are sure to have the best sleep of their lives!
The charming town of Campbell River is only 25 minutes away and the folks at the Painter’s Lodge hotel would be happy to have you for the night. This hotel by Wyndham is pet-friendly and has everything you need for a comfortable stay.
Another must-see of the Vancouver Island beaches includes Wickaninnish Beach. You’ll find this long, beautiful beach just south of Tofino in the Pacific Rim National Park. It’s easily accessible which makes it a great place to trek in with your family for the day.
The sand is perfect for building sandcastles so remember to grab your child’s sandcastle kit. During low tide, it seems like it stretches on forever. Even if the beach is crowded, you are sure to still find a spot.
Hot tip – get a park pass before heading to Wickaninnish so you don’t have to wait in line at the gate!
The Canadian Princess Lodge & Marina in the nearby town of Ucluelet offers modern accommodations right on the waterfront. It is also within walking distance of restaurants, cafes, and the Ucluelet Aquarium.
Parksville Community Park
The beach and boardwalk at Parksville Community Park can be described in one word: bumpin’! This is one of the best beaches on Vancouver Island for families and a trip here will make you the coolest parent around. The many swings, slides, playgrounds, and splash park will have your kids running non-stop.
Many festivals happen along the waterfront boardwalk and Parksville Beach draws nearly 100,000 visitors in the summer. There are also tons of places to sit down and grab a snack or an ice cream cone.
If you’re looking to stay in Parksville for the night, the Travelodge by Wyndham Parksville is 1.1km away from the beach. They also have free breakfast which is always a win!
Nude Beaches Vancouver Island
Tribune Bay Beach
On Hornby Island, just a short ferry ride from Denman, you will find “Little Hawaii”, also known as Tribune Beach. With its tropical-like temperatures in the summer, the white sands, and turquoise waters, you won’t believe you are still in Canada.
This is one of the top Vancouver Island beaches on the east side and a favorite spot for locals. Along with the many beach activities, there is tons of exploring to do on Hornby Island. You will find distilleries, wineries, three provincial parks, and 70 biking and hiking trails.
Little Tribune Bay is a popular nudist beach, and you’ll find it just southwest of Tribune Bay. It is one of the warmest swimming spots in all of BC so there is no better place to take your clothes off and hop in for a dip!
The Kingfisher Oceanside Resort and Spa in Courtenay is a great place to call home for the night. After exploring, swimming, sailing, and who knows what else, why not treat yourself and relax for a night or two?
Best Secret Beaches On Vancouver Island
French Beach Vancouver Island
If you’re wanting to ditch the crowds at the other Vancouver Island beaches, head out to the glorious French Beach for an unforgettable day. The lush forests, green grass, and pebble beach are the perfect spot to come to picnic or swim. There are even year-round camping areas if you want to stay longer than a day.
This natural paradise is one of the best spots to see gray whales and orcas depending on the time of year. There are also plenty of otters, seals, sea lions, bald eagles, and other seabirds to truly make you feel at one with nature and its magnificent creations.
To keep up with your theme of avoiding crowds, why not kick back at the Prestige Oceanfront Resort? It’s located close to French Beach and has a great spa, restaurant, and indoor pool.
Sombrio Beach Vancouver Island
Less than two hours west of Victoria, you will find Sombrio Beach in Juan de Fuca Provincial Park. This secret beach also has a secret waterfall! As you walk to the beach, you’ll see a sign for East Sombrio – head down there and you will find it.
The whole area from the park to the forest to the beach is absolutely breathtaking and it’s definitely worth a stop. The sea air, crashing waves, and scenery will have you in such a zen state, you may even decide to camp out for a night or two. The only thing wrong with Sombrio Beach is that you will never want to leave!
The quaint, charming Riverside Inn is the cutest little place to stay. It has a modern but rustic feel to it and the rooms are priced to accommodate any budget!
Secret Beach Park (Avis Hopkins Beach)
Well, the secret is out on this one but they should have maybe picked a different name if they wanted to keep it a secret!
The locals love coming to this quiet, relaxing beach to sunbathe and swim in the ocean. If you head out here, keep in mind that it’s more of a chill quiet vibe and not a party beach vibe.
Secret Beach has a secret campground onsite but if you’d rather head indoors, we recommend you make the 40-minute drive over to Ucluelet. The Bayshore Waterfront Inn is a great choice to call home for the night!
READ MORE: 15 BEST BEACHES OF VANCOUVER BC TO VISIT
Best Beaches On Vancouver Island For Adventuring
San Josef Bay Vancouver Island
After you take the 45 min walk down to the hike-in park known as San Josef Bay, you will feel like you have the beach all to yourself.
The sea stacks with trees growing out of them feel other-worldly and the caves to explore have a magnificent array of creatures during low tide. It is a rugged place but it’s honestly one of the best for hiking and camping out under the stars.
Since this is more of a camping area, you’ll have to head over to the Kagoagh Resort and Fishing Lodge to sleep in a bed for the night. It’s about 49km away and has a restaurant, bar, and killer ratings, what more could you need?
Deep Cove Vancouver Island
On the northeastern tip of the Saanich peninsula, you will find the neighborhood of Deep Cove.
Deep Cove is the home of Chalet Beach which is one of the best beaches on Vancouver Island for kayaking, paddle boarding, waterskiing, or boating. Its shallow, calm waters are a nice change from the freezing cold Pacific.
The area also offers a variety of nearby amenities including restaurants, cafes, and shops. It’s a great way to take a break after being on the water all day.
The Days Inn by Wyndham is close to North Sannich and has a pool for any rainy days on the island. It’s also only an 8-minute walk from the Lolly Gobble Sweet Shop; this alone is a reason to stay here!
Another Tofino beach is among the top beaches on Vancouver Island. Chesterman Beach South or “South” as the locals call it is the best place to surf on the entire island. It’s a great place for beginners as well as advanced surfers.
Even if surfing isn’t your thing, you have options – wind-surfing, kite-surfing, kayaking, or stand-up paddleboarding are all welcomed here!
The sunsets at Chesterman Beach are ones to stay for. The wind dies down in the evening and the water looks like an endless mirror reflecting the sky. You’ll think you’ve stepped into a painting!
After your adventure day, head over to the Tofino Resort & Marina for some rest. It’s a beautiful bayfront hotel that is surprisingly affordable for how spectacular it is!
Best Resorts On Vancouver Island
Oak Bay Beach Hotel
The Oak Bay Beach Hotel is located in the capital of British Columbia, Victoria. (Yes, we know you thought the capital of BC was Vanvouver, but alas it’s actually Victoria.)
The Oak Bay Beach Hotel has been recognized as the #1 Top Hotel in Canada and #19 Top Hotel in the World, not too shabby!
The hotel views overlook the Pacific Ocean, the Salish Sea, and the Mount-Fuji-esque Mount Baker off in the distance. The mineral pool and hot tubs perched out on the cliff will make you feel like you’ve really made it to the top in life.
From check-in to check-out, the entire staff goes above and beyond to make your entire stay perfect.
The Wickaninnish Inn
If you’re looking for a resort that offers whale and bear-watching excursions, look no further! The Wickaninnish Inn is a historic beauty of a resort that is nestled right in between a cedar and spruce forest and the Pacific Ocean.
The rooms have a luxurious mountain lodge feel to them and there are also family suites available for bigger parties.
All stays include complimentary bikes, beach chairs, rain gear, binoculars, blankets, and beach equipment. If you’re flying in from out of town, this will save you from packing a ton of heavy stuff! However, the rooms and views from inside the resort are so beautiful, good luck trying to leave.
The spa has numerous treatments inspired by the local Indigenous community and their ingredients are sourced from them as well. There are just too many things that this hotel offers to name them all so you should just go stay there and see for yourself!
Pacific Sands Beach Resort
If your main goal on Vancouver Island involves exploring the natural wonders, the Pacific Sands Beach Resort is the place you want to be.
Just minutes away from Cox Bay and Pacific Rim National Park, this resort offers a variety of rooms to accommodate you and your family. From standard hotel rooms to beachfront cottages, you’ll get to vacay in style in any of their suites.
Cox Bay Beach is a short walk away and the hotel offers many activities including swimming, surfing, yoga, whale watching, fishing, and golfing. There are also many nearby trails for hiking and if the weather is bad, even storm watching is a popular activity.
Watching the waves kiss the beach as you cozy up to roast marshmallows by the fire will be a perfect way to cap off your night.
Enjoying The Best Beaches On Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island is world famous for its picturesque coastlines and scenic beaches. The ones above highlight the perfect blend of natural beauty and outdoor recreation, but there are so many more. Just be forewarned, the Vancouver Island beaches may make you consider moving here, so be prepared to stay forever!