A guide to Vancouver’s beaches

Five Star, free, Kid Friendly, Things to Do, Travel Tips — By Natasha John on September 2, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Vancouver is spoiled for choice when it comes to beaches and if you’re new to the city, how do you know which beach is right for you? Labour Day weekend is only a day away and you can be sure that the beaches will be filled with eager sun lovers and picnic specialists.

English Bay is downtown Vancouver’s busiest beach. Its location at the base of Davie and Denman St. makes it easily accessible by bus, foot, car and Seawall. If you’re looking for a quiet oasis, this may not the spot for you. If you’re happy to watch your fellow sunbathers enjoy a game of Frisbee, listen to music, watch swimmers splash in the sea and enjoy an overall much more lively experience, then pack your beach towel, slather on some sun screen and make your way down to English Bay. There are also some grassy areas that you can sit on if you prefer.

Credit: Ds13 (Commons Wikimedia)

Kits Beach is quite similar to English Bay, but on a much larger scale and it’s out of downtown. If you head across the Burrard Street Bridge, you will be making your way over to Kitsilano, where some of the best beaches in Vancouver are. Kits Beach is a very popular place in the summer where people throw around balls, enjoy afternoon long picnics and swim in the salty ocean. If you’re into a social experience at the beach, Kits Beach is your best bet. There’s also a pool at Kits Beach that you can do laps in, or just play around.

Credit: zemistor (Flickr)

Jericho and Spanish Banks are further into Kitsilano and offer a much slower pace. It’s less crowded and a bit more difficult to get to by public transportation, but it’s certainly worth the drive out there. Like all the other beaches, there are plenty of logs to sit in front of and watch the world go by. From these spots, you will get some of the best mountain and city views.

Credit: Flying Penguin (Commons Wikimedia)

Over in West Vancouver is another lovely spot, Ambleside. Again, you will have a great view of downtown Vancouver and have plenty of options to keep yourselves entertained because Ambleside is a beach and more! There’s pitch n’ put, a dog path, a fitness circuit and the Seawall is right there, so you can run, walk, ride your bike or Rollerblade too.

Credit: keepitsurreal (Flickr)

If you’re a bit of a nudist and you find a bathing suit too constricting, well there’s a beach for you too! Wreck Beach is Vancouver’s clothing optional beach, but most people that go there leave their clothes at the stairs. Wreck Beach is out by University of British Columbia and is accessible by a large set of stairs, so you should be capable of climbing up a number of stairs after your day at the beach. The odd thing about this beach is that there are a number of vendors selling jewelry, fortune tellers and various other crafts. It’s something you don’t see at the other beaches. Wreck attracts families, seniors, middle aged people and younger crowds, so it’s not limited to one group of people. The best part about Wreck? No tan lines.

I’d post a picture, but that may be inappropriate.

Enjoy the long weekend!

Tags: beaches, english bay, Jericho Beach, Kits Beach, Labour Day, Spanish Banks, Vancouver, Wreck Beach