Complete Guide to Wreck Beach - Vancouver's Only Nude Beach

Everything You Need to Know About Vancouver's Clothing-Optional Beach

Wreck Beach in Vancouver, BC
Photo © Elena Doyle / Getty Images

Considered by many to be one of the best clothing-optional beaches in the world, Wreck Beach is one of Vancouver's top beaches and a local favorite. Well-known for its hippie-esque, anything-goes vibe, Wreck Beach is also famous for its raw, natural beauty. Stretching 7.8km along the coast, Wreck Beach is one of Vancouver's most beautiful and picturesque beaches. 

Wreck Beach takes pride in its designation as one of the best nude beaches; in the summer, Wreck Beach plays host to a number of fun, nude beach events, including the annual Bare Buns Run and the "world-record" skinny dipping event.

Although there are vendors on the beach selling everything from food items to forbidden things, it's best to take everything with you that you might need for a day in the sun. Washrooms are available at the foot of the steps from Trail 6, which is the most direct way to get down to the beach but it does involve lots of steep steps, so leave the bulky items at home. 

Use this guide to plan your own trip to Wreck Beach--with or without clothes!

  • 01 of 05

    Getting to Wreck Beach

    Wreck Beach is located on the southwestern coast of Vancouver, across from the University of British Columbia (UBC) campus. The beach is at the base of a cliff, and the trails leading down to the beach, which can be steep and are not accessible for strollers or wheelchairs, can seem "hidden" to first-time beachgoers. Two of the main trails down to the beach are located on either side of UBC's Museum of Anthropology; use the Museum as a landmark to orient yourself. Be prepared for lots of steps... it's worth the hard slog to get down to the beach though. 

    Important: Check the tides! When the tides are high (often by late afternoon), most of the beach is underwater.

  • 02 of 05

    Wreck Beach Annual Bare Buns Run

    The most famous happening at Wreck Beach is the annual Bare Buns Run. The Bare Buns Run began in 1996 as a "celebration of naturism" and is now a truly beloved Vancouver event. Each year, runners (and walkers) bare their buns--and everything else--for the 5K run along the beach. Like the World-Record Skinny Dipping, all proceeds from the Bare Buns Run go to the Wreck Beach Preservation Society (WBPS), a non-profit that is dedicated to keeping Wreck Beach natural and pristine.

  • 03 of 05

    Wreck Beach Skinny Dipping Fundraiser

    Since 2009, Wreck Beach has participated in the Guinness World Record for Simultaneous Skinny Dipping in North America, a chance set the record for the largest number of simultaneous skinny dippers at one time. Since then, Wreck Beach has hosted skinny dipping events every summer. Keep your fingers crossed for a sunny day!

  • 04 of 05

    Wreck Beach Vendors

    Thirsty? Hungry? Need a haircut? Wreck Beach is home to several vendors along the eastern edge of the beach near Trail 6, each one sells beach-friendly offerings from towels and sarongs to burgers and beverages. You'll also find wandering sellers, who are not official (and it's not legal to consume alcohol on the beach) but they sell everything from frozen margarita mix to cold beers. And yes, they are nude too. You'll also see musicians playing music, massages on offer and hairdressers offering haircuts. The benefit is that you can take a dip in the sea to get rid of any bits of cut hair that end up on you!

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Wreck Beach Etiquette

    Wreck Beach is clothing-optional, but it isn't an appropriate place for anything sexual. Nude beaches are, simply, a place to be nude but to otherwise conduct yourself exactly as you would at any other beach. You don't have to take off your own clothes at Wreck Beach, but you must be respectful of the other beach-goers, whether they are clothed or not.

    You also might see hikers as the beach is part of the Foreshore Trail, which transverses the headline near UBC. Whether you're wearing full hiking gear or going full-frontal don't stare or gawk! It's not appreciated on Wreck Beach any more than it would be at Kits (even if the beach-goers at Kits are wearing swimsuits). Don't take photos of people without asking and be sensitive when taking any beach shots in case anyone feels uncomfortable.