Vancouver is home to plenty of beautiful beaches and attractions but the Lower Mainland surrounding Vancouver boasts some of the most gorgeous scenery in the world: mountains, forests, sparkling-blue waters.
In this Guide, you'll find the best beaches near Vancouver for taking a day-trip or weekend getaway from the city, including beaches and waterfronts in North Vancouver (along Indian Arm), Vancouver Island, and the Sunshine Coast. Rent a car, or take transit, to easily reach these coastal gems from secret beaches to popular places to soak up the sun.
For amazing beaches right here in Vancouver, see Vancouver's Top 5 Beaches.
Deep Cove & Cates Park - North Vancouver
North Vancouver has two of the best beaches near Vancouver, and they're so close (just 30-40 minutes north of downtown Vancouver) that they make ideal day trips: Deep Cove and Cates Park.
One of the Top 10 Vancouver Attractions for its incredible beauty, Deep Cove is situated along Indian Arm with water access via a charming seaside village. Deep Cove is beloved by locals for its majestic scenery and abundant wildlife, including seals, eagles, and sea lions. It's also ideal for kayaking (and you can rent a kayak on-site, at Deep Cove Kayak). You'll also find cute boutiques and Honey Doughnuts (actress Kate Winslet's favorite place).
Cates Park is also on Indian Arm, but a little closer to Vancouver. North Vancouver's largest seaside park, Cates Park has beaches, waterfront trails, playgrounds, tennis courts, and free parking.
Qualicum Beach - Vancouver Island
Located on the northeastern coast of Vancouver Island (about a 45 minute drive from Nanaimo, where the ferry arrives from Horseshoe Bay / Vancouver), Qualicum Beach and the "resort" village that surrounds it are one of the oldest holiday destinations in B.C.: visitors have been coming to this wonderful beach since 1864.
Like all of the best beaches near Vancouver, Qualicum is wonderfully scenic, boasting incredible views and sand-and-rock shores.
Tofino - Vancouver Island
Tofino's best beaches include Chesterman Beach, Florencia Bay Beach, and the sandy Tonquin Park Beach. Chesterman Beach North and South are popular with surfers; all beaches are gorgeous examples of Pacific Northwest waterfronts.
Make sure you visit Wolf in the Fog for brunch, lunch or dinner - the restaurant has been voted the best in Canada and serves up creative cocktails and fresh seafood share dishes.
Savary Island - Sunshine Coast
The Sunshine Coast curves around southwest B.C., extending 177 km (110 miles) along the Strait of Georgia from Howe Sound to Desolation Sound. A favorite destination for cyclists--biking from beach to beach is the ideal transport--the Sunshine Coast is home to the warmest-water beaches in B.C.
Savary Island is ideal for swimmers, since it boasts the warmest water (due to the warm southern tide). But there are many more fabulous beaches, plus loads of water sports, including the Powell Forest Canoe Route (eight lakes and five portages through 20 forest recreational sites), whitewater rafting on the Skookumchuck Narrows, kayaking, and boating.
More info: Sunshine Coast Travel Site
Tribune Bay Provincial Park - Hornby Island
Known as "Little Hawaii" for its fine white sand beach and warm waters (like Savary Island, Tribune Bay is considered to be one of the warmest salt water swimming areas in BC in the summertime), Tribune Bay on Hornby Island is definitely one of the best beaches near Vancouver, even though it doesn't offer any amenities. (You can't bring alcohol or camp on the beach, and you need to bring your own drinking water; you can get supplies at the island's mini-"downtown," which is just a five-minute walk from the beach.)
Getting to Hornby Island from Vancouver is a little tricky, too: You have to take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo, travel from Nanaimo to Buckley Bay, take another ferry to Denman Island, and then a third ferry to Hornby Island. The entire trip can take upwards of six hours, so be sure to take travel time into account when planning your trip.