The Best 13 Beaches in Vancouver for Swimming and Sunbathing

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13 Min Read
Jun 5, 2022

It has been long debated that we need to take a break once in a while and get away from our daily routine. Most people don't realize how much our brains need this break until they go on vacation. And for those of you who are not aware, Vancouver is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It is an ideal destination for people who want to go on a break.

Vancouver has many beaches which are perfect for a summer vacation and relaxation. They have beaches that are perfect for sunbathing and swimming. Most importantly, the beaches of Vancouver let us find peace in nature, be active on the beach or take part in water sports close by – all while being surrounded by breathtaking views that will make you feel like you need vitamin sea every now and then. So without further ado, here are the Best 13 Beaches in Vancouver for Swimming, Sunbathing, And More!

1. Kitsilano Beach

When it comes to striking a balance between city life and natural beauty, Kitsilano Beach, affectionately known as "Kits Beach" effortlessly delivers. Locals and tourists flock to this stunning location for its laid-back vibe, incredible scenery, and fun-filled activities. With a gorgeous backdrop of the city skyline and majestic mountains, it's hard not to fall in love it.

kitsilano beach swim

Aside from sunbathing and swimming, there are plenty of things to keep you entertained at Kitsilano Beach. Grab your racket and hit the tennis courts or watch the kids play in the well-equipped playgrounds. Stroll along the scenic Seawall or take a refreshing dip in the famous Kitsilano Pool. And don't forget to keep an eye out for the fascinating bivalve mollusks that call this beach home – just remember that harvesting them is off-limits.

2. Spanish Banks Beach

A quiet stretch of sand, gentle waves lapping at the shore, and an incredible view of Vancouver's skyline – welcome to the Spanish Banks Beach! This peaceful haven is the perfect escape from the city's hustle and bustle, offering visitors a chance to unwind and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

spanish banks beach swim

Strolling along the shoreline, you'll be treated to stunning vistas of the North Shore Mountains and the cityscape. During low tide, the beach expands even more, revealing fascinating tidal flats that you can explore with friends or family.

Spanish Banks Beach is more than just a pretty view; it's also a hub for fun activities. Plan a picnic with your loved ones, challenge your pals to a game of beach volleyball, or simply sit back and watch the world go by.

3. Wreck Beach

Imagine a hidden gem of a beach with a breathtaking view of English Bay and a carefree, laid-back atmosphere. Wreck Beach is Vancouver's renowned clothing-optional retreat, which makes it one of the most popular beaches in the city. While the sand may be a bit rocky, the crystal-clear waters are more than inviting for a refreshing swim.

wreck beach swim

As one of the city's most popular beaches, Wreck Beach offers a unique experience for those who appreciate a more unconventional day at the seaside. Embrace the liberating spirit of the beach and enjoy the company of like-minded individuals, all while soaking in the sun and stunning surroundings.

Remember that privacy is key at Wreck Beach; cameras are not allowed, ensuring that everyone can relax and have a good time without feeling self-conscious. Keep an eye out for the occasional jellyfish – but don't worry, you'll have plenty of space to enjoy this one-of-a-kind beach experience.

4. Second Beach

Tucked away in the heart of Vancouver's beautiful Stanley Park, this sandy oasis is the perfect spot for families and friends to unwind and have a blast together. Second Beach has a rugged and natural feel to it, with dark sand, rocky shorelines, and the sound of warm water waves crashing on the shore. There are barbeque stands, picnic shelters, an outdoor pool, and a playground available. 

second beach swim

The kids will love splashing around in the warm, shallow waters or playing on the nearby playgrounds. Meanwhile, parents can relax and enjoy the sun, knowing that the beach's lifeguards are keeping a watchful eye on their little ones.

But the fun doesn't stop at the water's edge! Second Beach also features a fantastic outdoor pool, perfect for cooling off on those hot summer days. And if you get hungry, there's no need to worry – you'll find plenty of delicious food options at the nearby concession stands.

5. Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach is perfect for families as it has a shallow water area for children to play in. The beach also has a playground, picnic tables, and washrooms with showers. This beach also offers many nearby facilities, such as Vancouver Aquatic Centre, and has access to the False Creek Ferry pier.

sunset beach swim

Since its situated close to downtown Vancouver, Sunset Beach is a favorite among locals looking for a quick escape from the urban jungle. With its soft sands and gentle waves, it's the perfect place to unwind with a good book, play some beach volleyball, or enjoy a leisurely swim.

As the day winds down, find a comfortable spot on the shore and prepare to be mesmerized by the vibrant colors that fill the sky during the sunset. And if you're feeling peckish, there's a nearby concession stand to grab a tasty snack or refreshing drink.

6. Third Beach

The tranquil Third Beach, nestled within the lush greenery of Stanley Park, offers a scenic walk that leads to a pristine shoreline. This hidden place is less crowded than its nearby neighbor, Second Beach, making it a fantastic choice for those seeking a more peaceful retreat.

third beach swim

Third Beach has stunning surroundings, clean, fine sand, and a canopy of trees that provide a welcome shade on warm summer days. The ample parking available ensures a stress-free visit, so you can focus on soaking up the sun and enjoying the beach's natural beauty.

Third Beach is an excellent spot for families, with kids happily playing in the sand and laughter filling the air. Gather your loved ones for a delicious barbecue or a fun-filled picnic on the beach. With its serene atmosphere and picturesque setting, Third Beach is the perfect destination for creating lasting memories with friends and family.

7. English Bay Beach

English Bay Beach is a popular destination for those seeking a perfect blend of relaxation and recreation. With its wide stretch of fine, tan sand, it's an ideal spot for sunbathing, swimming, or simply dipping your toes in the water. Though the ocean might be a bit chilly, it's just right for a refreshing swim on a hot summer day.

english bay beach swim

But there's more to English Bay Beach than just sand and surf. Stroll along the charming boardwalk, where you'll find an array of shops, restaurants, and other attractions that cater to every taste. Grab a bite to eat or indulge in some retail therapy, all while soaking in the vibrant atmosphere.

English Bay Beach also offers a variety of amenities to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience for all. Clean washrooms, picnic tables, and benches are available for your convenience. For those looking for more active pursuits, the beach features volleyball courts and kayak rentals, providing endless entertainment for everyone.

8. Locarno Beach

Locarno Beach  an enchanting spot with plenty to offer for the Vancouver community. This beach is not only easily accessible but also welcomes our beloved four-legged companions, making it an ideal choice for dog owners.

locarno beach swim

There's no shortage of activities to enjoy at Locarno Beach. Water enthusiasts can take a dip, try their hand at skimboarding, or explore the shoreline on a stand-up paddleboard. For those who prefer to relax on land, find a cozy spot on the beach and marvel at the view of majestic evergreen trees that frame the picturesque setting.

9. Jericho Beach

Nestled between Kitsilano and Locarno Beach, Jericho Beach is a stunning seaside destination that captures the hearts of Vancouverites and visitors alike. With its expansive shoreline, lush parklands, and recreational facilities, it's no wonder that Jericho Beach is a favorite summer hangout spot.

The beach truly comes alive in mid-July, when it hosts the highly anticipated Vancouver Folk Music Festival. This annual event transforms Jericho Beach Park into a vibrant celebration of music, art, and culture, drawing in thousands of festival-goers from near and far.

jericho beach swim

The sand at Jericho Beach seems to stretch endlessly, providing the perfect canvas for sunbathing, sandcastle building, or simply taking a leisurely walk along the water's edge. The nearby park has a charming pond, grassy lawns, and picnic tables, making it an ideal spot for an alfresco meal or a relaxing stroll.

Sports enthusiasts will love the array of facilities available, including tennis courts, beach volleyball courts, and sports fields. Cyclists can also take advantage of the fantastic biking trails that run along the waterfront, connecting Spanish Banks to Kitsilano and beyond. Flat and well-maintained, these trails are perfect for riders of all ages and abilities.

10. White Pine Beach

Looking for a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life? White Pine Beach, nestled within Belcarra Regional Park and situated on the serene Sasamat Lake, offers a refreshing getaway just minutes away from Coquitlam. With its two sandy beaches, warm waters, and lush surroundings, it's no wonder this picturesque spot is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

White Pine Beach offers a variety of amenities, such as a concession stand for snacks, picnic tables for outdoor dining, and washrooms for convenience. The 2.5-kilometer walking trail that encircles the lake provides access to smaller beach spots and connects to more extensive hiking trails, like the Diez Vistas Trail, which boasts stunning views of Indian Arm.

whitepine swim

One downside to this beautiful beach is its popularity, especially on sunny summer days. To ensure a prime parking spot and a patch of sand, it's best to arrive early. However, if you don't have a car, White Pine Beach is also accessible via public transit, making it an excellent option for those without a vehicle.

The gentle slope of the beach and the warm lake water make it an ideal destination for swimming and relaxing. As you unwind, take in the breathtaking scenery of towering Douglas-fir, western hemlock, western red cedar, and Pacific silver fir trees that create a classic West Coast atmosphere.

11. Whytecliff Park

Whytecliff Park is located along the coastline of Howe Sound in West Vancouver. With its breathtaking mountain views, rugged shores, and idyllic beaches, Whytecliff Park offers visitors a range of activities to enjoy, from hiking and picnicking to swimming and scuba diving.

At the park, you'll find a few picnic tables and benches where you can relax and enjoy a meal while taking in the mesmerizing landscape. Keen on exploring? The park boasts an array of hiking trails that lead to captivating sights and serene spots, perfect for a refreshing swim or an underwater dive.

whytecliff park swim

Whytecliff Park is divided into two sections: the upper area, home to the majority of hiking trails, and the busier beach area. To access the hiking trails, start from the top of the overflow parking lot, and embark on a delightful journey through the park's lush greenery.

As you hike, you'll be treated to awe-inspiring views of Howe Sound and its passing boats. The trails meander through the forest, revealing occasional glimpses of the sparkling waters below. Plan your route to complete a loop, ensuring you experience the full beauty of Whytecliff Park.

12. Centennial Beach

If you're seeking a fun and enjoyable beach experience for the whole family, you should definetly check out the Centennial Beach. This lovely spot is perfect for those who love taking a dip in the water and spending quality time with their loved ones. Known for its kid-friendly atmosphere, Centennial Beach ensures a memorable day out for everyone.

One of the highlights of this beach is its fine sand, which is perfect for strolling along, building sandcastles, or simply sunbathing. When the tide is low, you can even go on a little treasure hunt, searching for unique rocks and shells that are hidden among the sands.

centennial beach swim

To ensure that visitors have a comfortable and enjoyable experience, Centennial Beach offers several amenities, including cafés where you can grab a bite or a refreshing drink, as well as picnic tables and benches for those who prefer to bring their own food. These facilities make it easy for families to settle in for a relaxing day at the beach.

For the more adventurous, Centennial Beach also features trails around the area, perfect for exploring the picturesque surroundings. Whether you're taking a leisurely walk or challenging yourself with a more vigorous hike, the trails provide an opportunity to connect with nature and take in the beauty of the beach's surroundings.

13. East Beach

White Rock Beach, with its extensive stretch of shoreline, is divided into two distinct areas – East Beach and West Beach. Visitors to this splendid location will find no shortage of things to do, thanks to the numerous restaurants, ice cream parlors, and shops that line the area.

white rock west_beach swim

While both sides of White Rock Beach have their unique charm, East Beach is known for its slightly more laid-back atmosphere. This makes it an ideal spot for unwinding after a day spent building sandcastles, splashing around in tide pools, or simply soaking up the sun.

On windy days, White Rock Beach transforms into an exciting spectacle for adventure-seekers. Kite surfers flock to the area to show off their skills, riding the waves with remarkable speed and agility. With wind speeds sometimes reaching an impressive 20-30 mph, it's a thrilling sight to behold for both participants and onlookers alike.

To Sum It All Up

Vancouver truly spoils us with its incredible variety of beautiful beaches, each with its own unique charm and catering to all sorts of interests and activities. From the lively city beaches buzzing with energy to the peaceful, tucked-away spots perfect for some quiet time, Vancouver has got it all for those of us seeking to unwind, swim, sunbathe, or get our adrenaline pumping with some watersports. These 13 top beaches in Vancouver showcase the city's stunning natural beauty and the countless opportunities it offers for creating unforgettable memories outdoors.

So if you are a local in need of a quick weekend getaway or a visitor eager to explore the best of Vancouver's coastline, these amazing beaches promise to deliver a fantastic mix of fun, relaxation, and adventure. Don't forget to pack your sunscreen and picnic, and get ready to fall in love with the magical beaches that make Vancouver an absolute must-visit for beach enthusiasts.

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