Vancouver’s beaches are some of the best in the world; boasting golden sand, incredible mountain and city backdrops, plus plenty of opportunities for outdoor sports from volleyball to kayaking — all within easy reach of downtown.
Located in the West End on the edge of Stanley Park (and along the Seawall), English Bay Beach is the epitome of an urban beach: luscious sand and sunbathers on one side of the street, restaurants, and shops (along Denman) on the other. It's also one of the best beaches for swimmers.
English Bay Beach also plays a major role in one of Vancouver's biggest summer events: the annual Celebration of Light International Fireworks Competition. This beach is the top spot for viewing the fireworks; it's so popular that it is absolutely packed with people during the three-night event.
Our version of Venice Beach, Kitsilano Beach — known as Kits Beach to locals — is the most "glamorous" of Vancouver's beaches. While it boasts scenery as gorgeous as the other beaches on this list, the real eye candy here is on the sand: the beach-goers themselves, pretty young people who come here to see and be seen.
Kits Beach is family friendly, too, and great for swimmers: the waves are calm, and the beach's park includes the awesome Kits Pool, the longest outdoor pool in Canada.
A favorite beach among Vancouverites, Spanish Banks stretches along the west coast of Vancouver, far from the hubbub of the city's urban beaches. Perfect for family barbecues, letting the dog run free (in designated zones), and taking long walks, this beloved beach is best in the morning and early afternoon when low tide lets you walk far out to sea.
Home to the Jericho Sailing Centre a great spot for a cheap lunch with an amazing view —and Jericho Park, this beautiful beach is ideal for sailing, walking and biking along the park's pathways, and playing tennis. It's the perfect place for a sunset stroll.
Jericho Beach is also the venue for July's annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival.
Considered by many to be one of the best clothing-optional beaches in the world, Wreck Beach is another spot truly loved by locals. Well-known for its hippie-esque, anything-goes vibe, Wreck Beach is as famous for its raw, natural beauty as it is for it is for its nudity. (You don't have to go nude to enjoy the beach, but you do need to mind your manners — no gawking!) Go early; the late-afternoon high tides put most of the beach under water.
Reaching Wreck Beach requires a short hike down some seriously steep steps, or a scenic Foreshore Trail hike from Spanish Banks.
Located in Stanley Park, along the Seawall from English Bay, Second Beach might have an unoriginal name but it makes up for it with the Second Beach Pool, which offers heated outdoor swimming between May and September.
Enjoy a barbecue at the adjacent Ceperley Meadow, reserve a sheltered picnic table, or play with the kids in the playground. A seasonal concession area provides food and refreshment options in the summer months.
Continuing the theme of unimaginative beach names, Third Beach is the third beach that you'll reach if you walk around the Stanley Park from English Bay (aka First Beach). Best reached on foot or by bike (although there is parking available), Third Beach is a popular spot for people to head to catch stunning sunsets over English Bay. Summer nights often bring drum circles and other musical gatherings to the beach, especially on Tuesday and Sunday evenings.
Head here for superlative views of the North Shore, Point Grey, and even Bowen Island and Vancouver Island on a clear day.
Close to downtown and the False Creek Ferry, Sunset Beach is located on Beach Avenue between Bute Street and Thurlow Street. Sunset Beach is less populated than other beaches along the Seawall but it's only a 30-minute walk from most downtown hotels — making it a popular choice for visitors.
Home to the Sunset Beach Festival, which marks the end of the annual LGBTQ2+ Pride Parade every August, the beach also hosts the unofficial 420 celebrations every April. Paid parking is available from 6am-10pm and the beach is easy to reach via transit on the C23 bus between English Bay and Main Street Station.
'Hidden' between Spanish Banks and Jericho Beach, Locarno is designated as a quiet beach (no amplified sound) and the stretch of sand offers sunseekers a silent spot. It's also home to volleyball courts, a concession stand, and washrooms, so it's a popular location for sporty visitors looking for a spot to skimboard, swim, or play.
Trout Lake Beach
Situated on a lake, rather than the ocean, Trout Lake Beach is a popular swimming spot for families in the summer, thanks to the tranquil lake waters and close proximity to the playground and dog park.
Here's our guide to everything you need to plan your visit to Trout Lake Beach and John Hendry Park, where it is situated.