Unwind on Vancouver’s Laid-Back Beaches

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Vancouver‘s oceanside location means there are many beaches to explore. And the best part? Most of them are located right in the heart of the city, meaning you don’t have to travel far for some sun, sand and R&R. Here are 10 great beaches in Vancouver.

1. English Bay Beach

English Bay Beach in Vancouver. Photo: @zzzzoltan via Instagram

With temperatures on the rise, locals are making their way to the beach. Photo: @zzzzoltan via Instagram

This incredibly popular beach, also know as First Beach, stretches along the aptly named Beach Ave in downtown Vancouver‘s West End, near Stanley Park.  In addition to the usual sunbathing and swimming, kayaking and beach volleyball are popular here. The area is alive with busy shops and dining options, ranging from burgers to sushi. In late July/early August, the beach is a prime viewing spot for the Honda Celebration of Light, a spectacular annual fireworks competition.

For a map and directions, click here.

2. Second Beach

The view from the pool at Second Beach in Vancouver. Photo: @1michelleplant via Instagram

The view from the pool at Second Beach. Photo: @1michelleplant via Instagram

Second Beach is located on the Stanley Park Seawall, just west of the park’s Lost Lagoon. Extremely family friendly, the beach offers views over English Bay, a concession, BBQ area, large playground, and an outdoor heated pool so close to the ocean that it almost feels like you’re swimming in English Bay. When the tide is out, explore the tide pools that remain on the beach.

For a map and directions, click here.

3. Third Beach

A couple enjoying the sunset at Vancouver's Third Beach with their bikes in the sand. Photo: Maurice Li

A quiet moment at Third Beach. Photo: Maurice Li

Third Beach is a favourite among locals, at least in part because it is quieter and a little off-the-beaten-path. Access is on foot or bike along the Stanley Park Seawall, or by driving around the perimeter of the park and parking nearby. This sandy little enclave is surrounded by towering trees.

For a map and directions, click here.

4. Kitsilano Beach

Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver.

Downtown Vancouver as seen from Kitsilano Beach. Photo: Alex Strohl

This beach is part of the large Kitsilano Beach Park, which features sandy beaches, a large grassy play area, tennis courts, basketball courts, a fully accessible playground, and a huge outdoor heated saltwater pool. Stand up paddle boarding is also popular here. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, visit the Boathouse Restaurant and enjoy a glass of BC wine overlooking the beach.

For a map and directions, click here.

5. Jericho Beach

Enjoying the city view from Jericho Beach in Vancouver. Photo: @seaside_signs via Instagram

Enjoying the city view from Jericho Beach. Photo: @seaside_signs via Instagram

Surrounded by a large park, Jericho Beach boasts fantastic city and mountain views.  Grab a bite at the concession or bring your own picnic to the park and make a day of it. Make use of the tennis courts, beach volleyball courts, baseball diamonds and soccer fields, or launch a kayak into the bay. Jericho Beach Park is home to the Vancouver Folk Festival each July, with featured artists performing on beachfront stages.

For a map and directions, click here.

6. Locarno Beach

Sunset at the sandy shores of Locarno Beach in Vancouver. Photo: @seaside_signs via Instagram

Sunset at the sandy shores of Locarno Beach in Vancouver. Photo: @seaside_signs via Instagram

For a quieter beach experience, try Locarno, nestled between Spanish Banks and Jericho Beach. No amplified sound devices permitted, only the sounds of families splashing in the water and playing in the sand. You’ll find picnic tables, a swimming raft and free parking(!). Great restaurants and unique shops are a short walk away.

For a map and directions, click here.

7. Spanish Banks Beach

Spanish Banks Beach in Vancouver.

View toward the city from Spanish Banks. Photo: @kathleeenmooore via Instagram

This Point Grey beach is divided into three sections: East Beach, the Extension and West Beach. The beaches have volleyball courts, picnic areas and concessions, and BBQs are permitted in certain areas, as are dogs. When the tide is out, the beach is about a kilometre wide and perfect for skim boarding in the tide pools. And there are lots of restaurants and boutique shops nearby.

For a map and directions, click here.

8. Wreck Beach

Wading in the waters at Wreck Beach in Vancouver. Photo: @racheycakes via Instagram

Wading in the waters at Wreck Beach. Photo: @racheycakes via Instagram

Canada’s first clothing-optional beach, Wreck is accessed by descending a long flight of almost 500 steps. This 7.8-km (4.8-mi) stretch is located at the city’s western tip, by the University of British Columbia campus. The beach comprises several sections, some rocky but most sand.

For a map and directions, click here.

9. Ambleside Park

Ambleside Beach in West Vancouver.

Vibrant skies at Ambleside Beach. Photo: @vancouver_canada via Instagram

Ambleside Park is located in West Vancouver, across Burrard Inlet from Stanley Park. Enjoy stunning views of Vancouver, as well as grassy areas, playgrounds, tennis courts, a pitch and putt, and off-leash dog areas. Allow some time, and explore the 8 km (5 mi) of walking trails that run through the park. And be sure to stay for the sunset.

For a map and directions, click here.

10. Dundarave Beach

Dundarave Beach in West Vancouver

Still waters at Dundarave Beach. Photo: @lensodyssey via Instagram

This little gem is also in West Vancouver, northwest of Vancouver’s downtown. Dundarave Park is a beautiful spot to spend a day, with about 50 m (164 ft) of sandy beach leading to fairly calm ocean waters. Stretch your legs along the Centennial SeaWalk, a paved trail that hugs the shore for 1.7 km (1 mi) and offers beautiful views of the city, the harbour and the Lions Gate Bridge.

For a map and directions, click here.

Whats’ your favourite Vancouver beach? Share in the comments below!