I was immediately hooked when I came across this article on USA Today, where they introduced the most amazing beaches in Vancouver, Canada. I totally love it!
“Surrounded by water on three sides, Vancouver boasts a number of beaches with varying personalities. Some offer an almost amusement park atmosphere, attracting visitors with swimming pools, concession stands and even dog parks. Others are left much as nature intended, including one secluded strip of sand where all you need is lotion and a smile.
Stanley Park Beaches
Stanley Park is Vancouver’s crown jewel. Sitting on the north end of downtown, this Canadian National Historic Site has two beaches of its own. Second Beach, on the west end of the park, is more developed. A heated outdoor pool takes center stage. It’s divided into lap swimming areas, swimming lesson sections and shallow family-friendly zones. The pool is open during summer, while the adjacent beach is open year-round. The more-remote Third Beach is on the north end of the park at Ferguson Point. This is the place to bring the portable grills for a sunset barbecue. Both beaches have lifeguards from Victoria Day at the end of May until Labor Day and concession stands year-round, weather permitting.
West of Downtown Beaches
Sunset Beach is west of the downtown core near Stanley Park. It is a designated quiet beach, meaning no amplifiers or other types of loud music are allowed. The Vancouver Aquatic Center is nearby, and behind it is the Sunset Beach Dog Park, an off-leash waterfront exercise area for you and your pet. English Bay Beach is another option within walking distance of downtown. Also known as First Beach, it offers seasonal lifeguards and year-round concession stands. This very active beach hosts the New Year’s Day Polar Swim, in which locals and hearty visitors brave the ocean in mid-winter. The chilly tradition started in 1920 and is administered by the Vancouver Polar Bear Swim Club. Membership is free with swim registration. The Cactus Club Café is only steps from the sand. Dine inside or out. The wall of windows facing the ocean assures a water view either way.
West Vancouver Beaches
Kitsilano Beach is a vibrant, local hangout. With vibes reminiscent of Venice Beach in California, this is the place where the young and beautiful come to see and be seen, where families build sandcastles in the gently sloping sand and kids run off excess energy in the beachside playground. A swimming raft makes a good jumping-off spot within clear view of the seasonal lifeguards. Basketball courts, tennis courts and concession stands are all available. The Boathouse Restaurant is next door. Jericho Beach, farther west at Point Grey, is a long, quiet stretch of sand with its own fishing pier. It faces the usually snowcapped North Shore Mountains, contrasting nicely with Vancouver’s skyscrapers, particularly at night. One exception to that quiet happens each July, when the Vancouver Folk Festival is held at Jericho Beach. Keep going west and find Spanish Banks Beach, one of the more uncrowded beaches in the city. Walk along the sand and just enjoy getting away from it all.
Sitting on the very tip of West Vancouver and near the University of British Columbia is Wreck Beach. It’s the city’s only clothing-optional beach and the practice is legal. The four-mile stretch of sand is out of the way of prying eyes, sitting below a 200-foot-high bluff. Stairs lead down to the sands. Most of the beach is undeveloped, a haven for birders and wildlife watchers. During the summer, Vendors’ Row sits below Trail 6 and offers local and imported merchandise as well as food and drink in a swap-meet-style setting. Part of the Pacific Spirit Regional Park, Wreck Beach is open year-round, but it takes a hardy soul to bare it all in a Vancouver winter.” (source: USA Today, Monica Wachman, Demand Media)