Things to do in Vancouver

Vancouver's Best Beaches

Dive into a world of pristine shorelines as we explore Vancouver’s best beaches.

Located where Canada meets the North Pacific Ocean, Vancouver blends high-rises with natural wonders. Intricate networks of fjords and bays twist into the mainland, while the Strait of Georgia sits beyond the cityscape.

With such a close connection to the sea, Vancouver has numerous impressive beaches. If you’re looking for fun things to do in Vancouver, a trip to the coastline should top your list.

But which beach should you visit? There are countless options, so we’ve narrowed it down to the top 18 to help you choose. Grab your swimsuit, and let’s get going!

Hotspot Havens

Vancouver teems with popular beaches. Explore these hotspots to get in on the action!

1. Kitsilano Beach

Kitsilano Beach overlooks English Bay on Vancouver’s west side. You’ll find it hard to resist the 11-mile expanse of white sand on a hot summer day. It has a tennis court for those who want to practice their strokes, a playground for the kiddies, and concession stands for when hunger strikes.

Chow down on classics such as fish and chips, jumbo hot dogs, and cheeseburgers. You can even order vegan options, including dairy-free gelato. Kitsilano Beach has on-site paid parking, or you can take public transit. Hop off the bus on Cornwall Avenue and take a quick walk to the seaside.

2. English Bay Beach

Are you looking for something more than a casual swim? English Bay Beach has you covered. With kayak rentals, an aquatic slide, and a floating dock, this is the perfect destination for a day of beachside fun. Two floating wheelchairs and a Mobi-Mat pathway allow everyone to join the fun.

If lounging is more your style, you can rent umbrellas and chairs and stock up on drinks and snacks. Check out Cactus Club Café near the Denman Street beach entrance for frozen cocktails. Or enjoy ice cream and other treats from the beachfront vendors.

English Bay Beach sits near several cultural sites and art installations.

On the beach’s north side, you’ll find A-maze-ing Laughter, a series of 14 towering sculptures by artist Yue Minjun. Don't forget to check out Inukshuk on the south side, a massive stone creation by Alvin Kanak. Stop by for a picture during your journey through Vancouver.

3. Cates Park

The pebble-covered shoreline of Cates Park stretches into Burrard Inlet. Douglas fir and maple trees tower in the background, while Burnaby Mountain dominates the skyline. This park is quintessential Vancouver — a sensational blend of rocky terrain and outdoorsy adventure.

Cates Park might have a rugged atmosphere, but it’s still a popular spot for kid-friendly summer getaways. Go for a swim before you tour the rest of the park. It has winding trails, two playgrounds, a concession stand, public bathrooms, and picnic areas. Pack some snacks and spend the day exploring.

4. Iona Beach Regional Park

Iona Beach Regional Park is one of Vancouver’s best seaside destinations for experiencing local wildlife. As part of the Pacific Flyway, the beach sits in the crosshairs of a major bird migration route. You’ll encounter up to 300 species of high-flying creatures, from the red-winged blackbird to the elusive bald eagle.

Take a moment to observe the rare plant life that has adapted to survive the shoreline’s harsh environment, such as the large-headed sedge and dune grass. Butterflies and garter snakes live on the shore, while killer whales, seals, and sea lions swim near the coast. Bring your camera, and prepare to witness Mother Nature’s majesty!

Photographer: peter P

5. Wreck Beach

Your trek to Wreck Beach starts at Trail 6 on NW Marine Drive. The hidden route leads to a steep staircase that descends through a forest of cedar, spruce, and fir trees. Venture downward, and you’ll soon find a 5-mile stretch of white sand.

Despite being so close to the cityscape of western Vancouver, this clothing-optional beach has a secluded vibe thanks to its forested backdrop. Take a dip or relax on the sand — you can easily spend a whole day enjoying this popular destination.

While you can reach Wreck Beach by car, nearby parking is limited. We recommend taking the bus to Lower Mall Street and walking down University Boulevard to reach Trail 6.

Secluded Retreats

Check out these secluded beaches to dive deeper into Vancouver’s outdoor wonders.

6. Whytecliff Park

Vancouver’s coastline has more to offer than white sand and beach volleyball. For something more adventurous, visit Whytecliff Park on the city’s northwestern side.

The stunning landscape combines mountain ridges, moss-covered boulders, and oceanfront beauty. Beach goers enjoy plenty of hiking trails and picnic spots, but the destination is most famous as a scuba diving paradise.

Dive in and uncover a world of starfish, crabs, and sea anemones. You might even be lucky enough to encounter a giant octopus. As one of Canada’s first Marine Protected Areas, this natural haven overflows with breathtaking wildlife. We can’t get enough!

Photographer: LukeL

7. Acadia Beach Hike (Foreshore Trail)

The Foreshore Trail is an oceanside journey leading you from Wreck Beach to Acadia Beach. Your excursion starts once you enter Wreck Beach via Trail 6 on NW Marine Drive. After reaching the sand, follow the shoreline to your right.

This 3.1-mile walk takes you along the curve of the University Endowment Lands, a beautiful stretch of coast with views of the Strait of Georgia. Along the way, you’ll encounter several exciting landmarks.

First, there’s Noon Breakfast Point, a scenic outlook that Lieutenant Peter Puget of the Royal Navy first documented in 1792. Then, an old instrument tower from World War II rises from the rocky shore.

And that’s just the beginning. This beachside hike pulls you into a world of natural beauty and rich history. Be ready to spend several hours exploring the coast.

If you’re looking for more than a day in the sun, use this Vancouver hike as an excuse to leave your towel behind.

8. Third Beach

Tucked along the shady forest of Stanley Park, Third Beach is a secluded oasis bordering Burrard Inlet. The dense vegetation and hills backing up this beach block the noise of Vancouver’s West End, giving you a calming place to enjoy the sand and sun quietly.

Third Beach is perfect for anyone looking for a peaceful escape from the city. You can access the coastline via Stanley Park Drive to find parking near the Third Beach Concessions stand.

Alternatively, ride the bus to Southbound Lost Lagoon Road at Stanley Park Causeway. Then, take a 25-minute walk through Stanley Park toward the beach.

Photographer: Gabe

9. Secret Beach Park

You’ll find Secret Beach Park at the bottom of a long, narrow stretch of cement stairs. Don’t expect amenities — this seaside sanctuary is all about connecting with nature.

Take a moment to gaze over the Strait of Georgia and admire the distant shape of misty mountain ranges. Explore the nearby tide pools to discover eye-catching sea creatures like starfish and crabs.

Along the pebble-covered shoreline, you can even find salt-worn driftwood. With so much nature to appreciate, Secret Beach Park is ideal for relaxing outdoors. Bring a picnic and stay a while!

Sunset Spectacles

Visit Vancouver’s west-side beaches for magnificent sunset views!

10. Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach is one of the best beaches in Vancouver for an oceanfront view of the evening sky.

Located near Pacific Street and Beach Avenue, this rocky stretch of coastline overlooks English Bay on Vancouver’s west side.

You’ll see the North Shore Mountains in the distance to your right while the shores of Vanier Park sit to your left.

For an unforgettable sunset experience, we recommend sitting near 217.5 Arc x 13, a monumental sculpture by French artist Bernar Venet. The towering arcs of steel curve upward from the earth, creating a massive cradle. If you position yourself just right, you’ll see the sun slowly dip into the sculpture's heart.

11. Kelvin Grove Beach

Kelvin Grove Beach is located just outside Vancouver in Lions Bay Village. It is easily accessible via Highway 99, one of British Columbia’s most beautiful drives.

Along the way, you’ll witness jaw-dropping views of Howe Sound. This network of fjords and islands pushes northward into the mainland, creating breathtaking landscapes at every turn.

Once you reach the beach, you’ll see why this stretch of coast is so famous for watching sunsets. Trees and rocky outcroppings line the shore. You'll also see intricate reef structures and the starfish, urchins, and sea cucumbers that inhabit them.

If you have a diving permit, you can explore the diverse sea life. Just be sure to resurface before sunset! As night falls, the ocean glows with the colors of the evening sky, while distant mountains become beautiful silhouettes. It’s an enchanting experience. We can’t recommend it enough.

Family-Friendly Fun

Pack some snacks and sunscreen — we’re exploring Vancouver’s best family-friendly beaches!

12. Ambleside Beach

Ambleside Beach is one of the best beaches in Vancouver for family outings. Paved pathways make it easy to reach the shore with strollers and wagons, and the public bathrooms are centrally located for quick access. Nearby basketball courts and playgrounds offer all kinds of fun!

This beach sits near famous Vancouver landmarks like the Capilano Suspension Bridge. The narrow, swaying bridge extends 230 ft. above the Capilano River, making it a heart-pounding thrill for older kids and adults. For something more toddler-friendly, check out the nearby Vancouver Aquarium.

Photographer: orenarypaladin

13. Jericho Beach

The sandy coastline of Jericho Beach extends along Vancouver’s west side. This beach is perfect for families thanks to its lifeguards, who supervise swimmers from late May through early September.

We recommend entering Jericho Beach at the corner of Discovery Street and Belmont Avenue. This entrance offers quick access to parking spaces, the beach’s sandy shores, and several public bathrooms. It’s also near Jericho Beach Kayak Centre, which offers kayak and canoe rentals.

While you’re there, check out the public binoculars on the beach’s western end. You can see incredible panoramas of West Vancouver and Lighthouse Park.

14. Centennial Beach at Boundary Bay Regional Park

Centennial Beach at Boundary Bay Regional Park sits on the south end of the Vancouver Metro Area.

Take a refreshing dip, or explore the rest of the park. You’ll find an exciting playground with inclusive and wheelchair-friendly play structures, plus a ton of walking trails and a concession stand serving seasonal treats.

This beach is about half a mile from the nearest bus stop on 3rd Avenue. If you prefer to drive, on-site parking is available near the public bathrooms.

Scenic Strolls

Get to know Vancouver’s beaches on foot through these scenic strolls.

15. Spanish Banks Beach

The pristine shore of Spanish Banks Beach runs along Burrard Inlet. West Vancouver’s city skyline rises across the bay, beckoning you to enjoy the view as you stroll along the coast.

You can access this beach via NW Marine Drive. Starting on the west side, make your way across the half-mile shore. This route takes you past Point Laurence, a fantastic lookout with views of the North Shore Mountains.

Spanish Banks Beach can get pretty loud during the summer, so we recommend strolling the sand early or late evening for a quieter experience.

16. Locarno Beach

Locarno Beach is a designated quiet space, so you won’t have to worry about loud music or shouting as you walk along the shore.

The beach’s calming atmosphere pairs perfectly with the beautiful coastline. Look one way and see West Vancouver’s skyline above Burrard Inlet. If you look the other way, you’ll find the splendor of the North Shore Mountains. Turn inland to discover exquisite evergreen trees lining the sand.

Locarno Beach spans about 1/3 of a mile. If you’re searching for a longer stroll, you can keep walking east to reach Jericho Beach or go west to find Spanish Banks Beach.

17. Belcarra Regional Park

You’ll encounter multiple sandy beaches throughout the verdant landscape of Belcarra Regional Park. White Pine Beach is one of the most popular. Tucked deep within the park’s forest, the park’s lake is a refreshing place to swim in the summer and a misty retreat in the winter.

As you reach the shores, enjoy the vast expanse of mountain ranges all around you. Woodpeckers hunt for dinner among the nearby trees, while western red-backed salamanders explore the forest floor.

Belcarra Regional Park has over 16 miles of spectacular trails to explore, including plenty of beachside pathways. Choose your route, and start your expedition!

18. Horseshoe Bay

Horseshoe Bay is ideal for laid-back sightseeing and slow walks. Between the charming streets, the sailboats, and the mountain-filled skyline, this irresistible seaside paradise practically begs you to stroll along the shore. It’s intimate and sprawling — a truly gorgeous example of Vancouver’s beauty.

If you’re looking for a scenic evening near the coast, check out the local restaurants serving delicious dinners. You’ll find everything from Oysters Rockefeller at Olive & Anchor to fish and chips at Troll’s. Spend the evening eating delectable food and enjoying the view.

Photographer: Lonely Boy

Your Vancouver Beach Adventure Awaits

With so many beaches to explore, we hope you’ll get outside and enjoy this city’s show-stopping coastline. Whether you’re looking for a bustling summery atmosphere or a quiet retreat, Vancouver is a must-visit destination for anyone who adores the ocean.

After a day of relaxing on the beaches, bring the whole family to one of our shows in Vancouver. Let us amaze you with jaw-dropping acrobatics and adrenaline-filled trills.

Prepare for awe-inspiring delights, riveting storytelling, and explosive performances. Come along for the ride — there’s so much to see!

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