As a certified beach bum and Vancouver local, I’ve spent hundreds of hours at Vancouver’s many beaches. I’m here to break down the 10 best beaches in Vancouver, their unique traits, and what each beach has to offer, so you can take the guesswork out of planning your next beach day.
1. Sunset Beach
Sunset Beach is the easternmost in a series of beaches that run along the Vancouver seawall leading into Stanley Park. Named accordingly, you can catch some amazing sunsets from this beach, as well as views of the historic Burrard Street Bridge. This beach is special because of the events that take place here, such as the Vancouver Pride festival, and the Symphony at Sunset each summer. The sandy shores make for comfortable lounging and the nearby park, roller rink, and volleyball court make for endless fun and activities.
Where is Sunset Beach?
Sunset Beach is located along the Vancouver seawall system, between the Burrard Street Bridge and English Bay Beach. The beach stretches from Burrard Street to Thurlow with a small dog beach close to the bridge. With Sunset Beach’s central location in Vancouver’s West End neighborhood, it is super easy to access by foot, bike, car, or public transit.
What can you find at Sunset Beach?
There is a concession stand located at Sunset Beach that offers typical beach fare like hotdogs, burgers, fries, ice cream, and cold drinks. Sunset is great for a last-minute beach day when you don’t feel like packing a picnic.
Because Sunset Beach is located right in Vancouver’s West End, it is very easy to access by car, public transit, and bike or foot on the seawall. Additionally, there are several handicapped parking spaces available at the beachfront parking lot, and the paved seawall makes accessing the beach a breeze. Unfortunately, accessible beach mats and water wheelchairs are not available for loan from Sunset Beach.
Sunset Beach is a very popular hangout in the summer and you can expect to share the beach with plenty of others.
Public restrooms and changerooms:
There are public restrooms and changerooms attached to the concession building, as well as an outdoor shower outside.
There is parking available between Broughton St and Jervis St just below Beach Ave.
There is a roller rink, and volleyball court located at Sunset Beach if you feel like being active. You can also walk or bike along the seawall, and there is a Mobi bike station at the beach parking lot.
Pros and cons about Sunset Beach:
While Sunset Beach has practically everything you need in a beach, it is still a city beach. With its proximity to the Burrard Bridge and busy streets, it isn’t exactly a quiet tropical oasis. It also isn’t the cleanest of beaches, with litter and cigarette butts sometimes found on the beach. However, it is slightly more chill than English Bay and has all the essentials like a concession stand, public washroom, and lifeguard on duty to make for a comfortable beach day.
English Bay is one of the most popular beaches in all of Vancouver. Located in the heart of Vancouver’s West End, English Bay is just a few minutes away from Downtown, Coal Harbour, and Yaletown. This beach is one of the most iconic in Vancouver and has long been a staple summer location. Every summer thousands of people gather at English Bay to watch the Celebration of Light firework spectacle, and to enjoy the beach.
Where is English Bay Beach?
English Bay Beach is located in Vancouver’s West End neighborhood and runs along the seawall system. The beach runs along Beach Ave and extends between Chilco and Bidwell St. English Bay is connected by the seawall to Sunset Beach, Second and Third Beach. With the city to your back, views of the UBC Peninsula to the south, and Bowen Island to the west, English Bay is like the middle ground between the city and nature.
What can you find at English Bay?
Cactus Club restaurant and concession:
English Bay doesn’t have the typical Vancouver Parks and Recreation concession stands found at other beaches. Instead, there is a beachfront Cactus Club restaurant and a concession run by the restaurant as well. Cactus Club is a popular Canadian chain that offers moderately priced western and fusion cuisine, and the concession offers your typical beach snacks like burgers, fries, and cold drinks. There is also a hot dog stand on Beach Ave at the main entrance to the beach, and rotating food trucks on the seawall.
With its central location, English Bay is easy to access by public transit, or car, though parking can be somewhat of an issue in this busy neighborhood. The seawall also makes getting to the beach on a bike or on foot very easy. There is a wheelchair mat on the beach, and water wheelchairs are available for loan from the lifeguard station so that everyone can enjoy the water.
This popular destination is especially busy on weekends, holidays, and workday evenings. There is a large green area, and the beach is long enough to accommodate tons of visitors. You won’t have trouble finding a spot on the beach, but you will surely be in close proximity to others.
Public restrooms and changerooms:
There are public restrooms and changerooms in the main English Bay buildings to the east of the Cactus Club restaurant, as well as outdoor showers across the seawall.
There are 2 permanent volleyball courts at English Bay, with nets available for loan from the lifeguard station. You can also bike or walk along the seawall into Stanley Park, or enjoy a picnic on the grass.
Pros and cons about English Bay Beach:
Because English Bay is just steps from the city and it is extremely popular, it isn’t the quietest of beaches. The heavy traffic of visitors also means the beach can be dirty. This is pretty typical of any city beach but can be disappointing if you’re expecting a pristine natural environment. While English Bay isn’t the cleanest or calmest, it does have all the conveniences you could imagine. A beachfront restaurant and concession, as well as tons of nearby restaurants, means there is no need to pack a lunch. The public restrooms also make for a more comfortable visit, and the accessibility at English Bay is a major plus. Despite being a little noisy and at times dirty, English Bay is massive and can accommodate tons of beachgoers, it has amazing views of the UBC Peninsula, and offers everything you would need for a great beach day.
3. Second Beach
Second Beach is one of my favorite beaches in all of Vancouver. It’s just isolated enough by Stanley Park that it is not overly trafficked, but still easy enough to get to. This beach has a much chiller vibe than neighboring English Bay, and the Second Beach Pool and parks free up some space on the sand for those who come to sun and swim. The concession stand makes beach days easy, and the views of Vancouver Island and Point Grey are beautiful.
Where is Second Beach?
Second Beach is located on the western end of Stanley Park along the seawall system. Just a 10-minute walk from English Bay, Second Beach is easily accessible by foot on the seawall or via the bike lane. You can also drive to Second Beach along Stanley Park Drive, which takes under 5 minutes from Denman Street. Second Beach faces west, so you get some amazing sunsets, and views of the UBC Peninsula, the western edge of the North Shore, Bowen Island, and even Vancouver Island on a clear day.
What can you find at Second Beach?
The Second Beach concession stand is operated by the Vancouver Parks and Recreation board. It offers a wide array of food options, with your classic burgers, fries, and hot dogs, as well as ramen, and fish and chips. Cold drinks and ice cream are also available. The concession building can be found in front of the Second Beach Pool, and there are several picnic tables out front, or in the park.
Second Beach is located in Stanley Park, but it is still easily accessible by car, and not far out of the way from the city. The seawall is also easily walkable, and bike paths are clearly marked leading into Second Beach. The parking lot has a paved path that connects to the seawall in front of the beach. Wheelchair beach mats and water wheelchairs are also available to loan from the lifeguard station, which is located next to the concession stand.
While this beach is less busy than English Bay, it is still a popular destination, especially for the attractions around it. The seawall is very popular for walking and biking, and the park behind the beach also fills up with picnicking families. The Second Beach Pool is also very busy on summer days. The beach itself is busy as well, but you won’t have trouble finding a spot on the sand. Expect to share the beach with many others on a weekend or holiday.
Public restrooms and changerooms:
There are public restrooms and changerooms on either side of the concession building.
There is a parking lot for Second Beach within Stanley Park on Stanley Park Drive and Lagoon Drive.
There is lots to do at Second Beach. Swimming in the ocean for one is great since the water stays shallow for quite a few meters out from the shore and is able to be heated up by the sun. If swimming in the ocean isn’t your thing, there is also the Second Beach Pool right next to the beach. The park behind Second Beach also has 2 playscapes for kids to play on, and it is a perfect spot for a picnic on the grass. Additionally, there are several picnic tables where barbequing is allowed. There are also tons of trailheads around the area if you want to explore Stanley Park further.
Pros and cons about Second Beach:
It’s difficult to think of many cons about Second Beach. It is easily one of my favorite beaches in Vancouver, and it’s slightly more peaceful and natural than English Bay, or Kits Beach which are just steps away from the city. Stanley Park muffles any city noise, and because it is slightly more out of the way it is a little less trafficked. Second Beach is also a great spot to watch the sunset, and you get some beautiful views. Perhaps the only downside is that because Second Beach has a significant shelf to the water, when the tide is low it can be a bit of a mucky walk out to the edge of the water if you want to have a swim. Altogether though, Second Beach has pretty much anything you could need out of a Vancouver beach.
4. Third Beach
Another great beach along the Stanley Park Seawall system, Third Beach is a simple but beautiful spot. Third Beach is nestled in Stanley Park with some gorgeous views of the North Shore and Vancouver Island. I love Third Beach because you get great views of the Sunset, and it is a large beach so it can accommodate lots of folks. It doesn’t come with any bells and whistles like Second or Kits Beach, but it is a great spot to enjoy the sun and sea.
Where is Third Beach?
Third Beach is also on the western edge of Stanley Park, just about a 20-minute walk on the seawall from Second Beach. Because of the one-way streets in Stanley Park, to get to Third Beach by car you have to wrap around the east end of Stanley Park. Take Beach Ave from English Bay which turns into Stanley Park Drive. At Second Beach you have to turn right onto N Lagoon Drive which turns into Pipeline Rd. From Pipeline Rd you can stay right and turn onto Stanley Park Dr, which then leads you north, then southwest back down to the Third Beach parking lot. Third Beach is surrounded on three sides by Stanley Park, so it is free of any city noise. The beach also faces west and looks out of the Burrard Inlet, so you get some fantastic sunsets and beautiful views of West Vancouver over on the North Shore.
What can you find at Third Beach?
The Third Beach concession can be found up the stairs from the beach. The concession is run by Vancouver Parks and Recreation and shares the same menu as Second Beach. You can find the usual beach eats, as well as some more uncommon items like veggie tacos, and kombucha on tap.
The downside of accessing Third Beach by car is that you essentially have to drive all the way around the park to get there. It’s a pretty drive, but there can sometimes be traffic, especially in the summer. Luckily Third Beach is easy to access by bike or walking on the seawall and it takes about 30 minutes to get there from English Bay on foot. In terms of wheelchair accessibility, there is a paved path from the parking lot down to the seawall, as the parking lot and concession overlook the beach. The path to the south is quite steep, so if you’re in a wheelchair I would recommend using the north path as it isn’t a steep decline. Unfortunately, there are no water wheelchairs available to loan from the Third Beach lifeguard station.
Even though it is the most isolated out of the beaches in the West End and Stanley Park, it can still get quite busy. Luckily, Third Beach is much larger than Second Beach so there is still lots of room on the sand. The seawall in this area however is typically very congested in the summer with cyclists stopping to enjoy the beach and concession.
Public restrooms and changerooms:
There are public restrooms and changerooms attached to the concession building up the stairs, as well as an outdoor shower.
There is a parking lot for Third Beach in Stanley Park next to the concession stand just off Stanley Park Drive.
Third Beach is large, but it is simple. There is no pool and no volleyball nets, so beachgoers come here when they want to swim in the ocean and enjoy the sand. There are some picnic tables near the concession stand to enjoy your lunch, as well as several trailheads in the area leading into Stanley Park.
Pros and cons about Third Beach:
Again, with Third Beach just like Second Beach, it’s hard to think of many flaws. The views from the beach are amazing, and the soft sand makes for great lounging and swimming. The concession stand makes beach days simple, and the shady grass area is a good spot to picnic when you need a break from the sun. Third Beach doesn’t have any added frills like volleyball courts, swimming pools, or playscapes, which can be a downside for some, but for me personally, when I’m at the beach I’m there to enjoy the ocean and the sand.
5. Kits Beach
Kitsilano, or Kits Beach, is another extremely popular beach with tons of amenities to satisfy everyone’s needs. Kits Beach is very central, located in the Kitsilano neighborhood, from which it gets its name. Kits is more than just a beach, it’s a pool, and a park, and a basketball court, a tennis court, the list goes on. You can find pretty much any activity your heart can desire at Kits Beach.
Where is Kits Beach?
Kits Beach is on Vancouver’s mainland in the neighborhood of Kitsilano. This large city beach is on the southern end of the English Bay and overlooks Vancouver’s West End and Stanley Park across the bay. Even further north, you can see West Vancouver and Bowen Island on the North Shore. Kits Beach is about 9 blocks in length altogether, and the main entrance is just off of the popular Cornwall Ave. The beach is also part of the Vancouver Seawall and is easy to access by bike or foot along the oceanfront path. Driving to Kits Beach is also quite simple, besides maybe finding parking, as this beach can get very busy in the summer. The Kitsilano neighborhood that surrounds the beach is bustling with restaurants, bars, and shopping, with the beach just a few steps away.
What can you find at Kits Beach?
The Kits Beach concession is located underneath the Boathouse Restaurant. The concession is a sister company of the Boathouse, called the Surfside Grill & Bar. You can find the typical concession eats at the Surfside, like hot dogs, burgers, fries, ice cream, and fish and chips. The upstairs Boathouse restaurant is a pricier spot offering fresh seafood, as well as some vegetarian and other options.
This beach is very accessible by foot, bike, car, and public transit because of its location in Kitsilano, and along the seawall. There is also a wheelchair-accessible beach mat on the western end of Kits Beach, and water wheelchairs are available for loan from the lifeguard station!
Kits Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Vancouver because of its central location. On a summer day, especially on weekends and holidays, this beach is booming. Kits Beach is very large, and you can almost always find space on the sand or on the grass, but if you’re there on a summer weekend you’ll be in relatively close quarters with other beachgoers.
Public restrooms and changerooms:
There are public restrooms and changerooms at the main building, as well as an outdoor shower on the seawall.
There are 2 parking lots at Kits Beach. The first is on McNicoll Ave and Arbutus St, and the second is on Cornwall Ave and Arbutus St.
There are endless activities available at Kits Beach. Not only is there the beautiful ocean, but there is also a pool on the western end of the beach. There are also several volleyball courts, a playground for children, and a large park area for picnicking or playing sports. At the eastern end of the beach, there are 2 basketball courts and an outdoor gym. Kayak and paddleboard rentals are also available from Vancouver Water Adventures on the beach, and there is also a large tennis court next to the Boathouse restaurant. There is really something for everyone at Kits Beach.
Pros and cons about Kits Beach:
Some of the pros of Kits Beach is that the opportunities for different activities are virtually endless here. Whatever your interest is, whether it’s fine dining, swimming, tennis, or kayaking, you’ll find something to do here. Kits is a very easy beach, in that you don’t have to come prepared with a packed lunch, or a plan. Just show up and find a spot on the sand and decide how you want to spend your day. This beach doesn’t come without flaws though. Kits in the evening is a bit of a party beach, so it can be very noisy, and sometimes dirty. It is also incredibly busy, so don’t come here on a Saturday afternoon expecting some peace and quiet. All around Kits is a very balanced beach, with upsides and downsides just like anywhere else.
Jericho Beach is the first in a row of 3 beaches in Vancouver’s Point Grey neighborhood. With the beach and Jericho Park, there is plenty to do here including volleyball, tennis, trail walking, picnicking and more. Having lived predominantly in Downtown Vancouver, I haven’t visited Jericho too many times, but each time I have has been a great experience. With gorgeous views of the North Shore and Stanley Park and the soft sand, Jericho Beach is hard to beat.
Where is Jericho Beach?
Jericho Beach is located in Point Grey, a neighborhood on the western end of Vancouver’s mainland. The beach is at the shore of a large park called Jericho Beach park that runs along West 4th Avenue. Jericho Beach is very accessible by car or public transit, and you can also walk or bike here from the seawall at Kits Beach and along Point Grey Road. The seawall path resumes at Jericho Beach and continues to Spanish Banks Beach to the west.
What can you find at Jericho Beach?
The Jericho Beach concession stand is operated by Vancouver Parks and Recreation and shares the same menu as Second and Third Beach. Like the other beaches with the same menu, the Jericho Beach concession has options like burgers, fries, hot dogs, ice cream, cold drinks, and more. The concession is located at the main entrance to the beach at the edge of the sand.
It’s easy to access Jericho beach by car, and there is parking available on Point Grey Rd. If you’re coming from the seawall near Kits Beach, you can bike or walk along Point Grey Rd, and the seawall path resumes at Jericho Beach. Water wheelchairs are also available for loan from the lifeguard station next to the concession stand!
This beach can get busy especially on weekends and holidays in the summer. Expect to share the beach and park with others!
Public restrooms and changerooms:
There are public restrooms and changerooms attached to the concession building as well as an outdoor shower in front of the concession.
There is a parking lot for Jericho Beach between 2nd Ave and Point Grey Rd, just off of Wallace, as well as street parking in the area. There is also plenty of additional street and lot parking in Jericho Beach Park and NW Marine Drive.
There are several volleyball courts at Jericho Beach, as well as walking and biking trails throughout Jericho Beach Park. Jericho Beach Park is a large park just behind the beach that also has several sporting fields, like baseball diamonds, rugby fields, and tennis courts.
Pros and cons about Jericho Beach:
There isn’t much to complain about at Jericho Beach, other than the fact that, like many other city beaches, it can become dirty with litter from irresponsible beachgoers. Besides that, Jericho has everything you could really need; a concession, restroom, shower, beautiful sandy beach, a large park for picnicking and barbecuing, and volleyball courts if you feel like being more active. It would be very difficult to have a bad time at Jericho Beach.
Just a few steps west of Jericho Beach is Locarno Beach, the even chiller sibling of Jericho. Locarno is a dedicated quiet beach, so no loud music means an even more peaceful beach experience. This beach is even a little underrated in my opinion. It has everything you need, concession, restrooms, soft sand, plenty of sun, and volleyball courts for active folks. Locarno is a great spot for a chill beach day or picnic.
Where is Locarno Beach?
Between Jericho and Spanish Banks, Locarno Beach is also located in Vancouver’s Point Grey neighborhood, on the southern shores of the Burrard Inlet. Locarno is easy to drive to from 4th Avenue, with plenty of parking throughout Jericho and Locarno Park and along NW Marine Drive. You can take the bike or footpath from Jericho or Spanish Banks as well. Locarno looks out over the water to the North Shore, with some pretty epic views of the downtown skyline to the west as well.
What can you find at Locarno Beach?
The concession at Locarno Beach seems to be the last in the area that has not been updated to the Vancouver Parks and Recreation menu shared among Second, Third, Jericho, and Spanish Banks. The menu, however, is similar, with options like fries, chicken strips, burgers, and veggie burgers, as well as cold drinks, popsicles, and ice cream. The concession at Locarno is at the center of the beach on the footpath.
Locarno beach is easy to access by car with plenty of parking in Jericho Beach Park and along NW Marine Drive. You can access Locarno by bike from Point Grey Rd, which reconnects with the seawall system at Jericho, all the way down to Spanish Banks. There are no water wheelchairs available for loan from Locarno, but they are available at nearby Jericho and Spanish Banks.
This beach is a designated quiet beach, meaning no amplified music can be played. It is also less busy than Jericho or Spanish Banks to the left and right. The park often fills up with family barbecues, but the noise and beach traffic is still at a minimum when compared to other Vancouver beaches.
Public restrooms and changerooms:
There are public restrooms and changerooms attached to the concession building, as well as an outdoor shower on the footpath.
There is street parking for Locarno all throughout Jericho Beach Park, as well as a parking lot on Discovery St, a second on NW Marine Dr and Sasamat St, and a third on NW Marine Dr and Tolmie St.
There are 6 permanent volleyball courts at Locarno Beach for you to use, as well as a large park where you can picnic and barbeque. You can also walk or bike the footpath through the park.
Pros and cons about Locarno Beach:
The one con I would give Locarno Beach is that it is in proximity to a pump station. A pump station is for managing sewage, so unfortunately you can sometimes catch a whiff when you’re trying to enjoy the beach. The smell is very mild, and it doesn’t occur all the time, but can still be irritating for sensitive noses. Luckily, because of the popularity of barbecuing at Locarno, it is often masked by the smell of grilled food. Other than that minor detail, Locarno is pretty near perfect.
Spanish Banks is the most popular of the 3 beaches in Point Grey, and it is also the biggest. This beach also has probably some of the most incredible views out of any other beach in the city. You can see all the way from Downtown Vancouver to the Sunshine Coast. The views of Vancouver from Spanish Banks at sunset are particularly amazing and it is a popular spot to watch the sun go down. The large park and dog beach are added bonuses too.
Where is Spanish Banks Beach?
Spanish Banks is the westernmost of the three beaches on the shores of Point Grey. You can easily drive to Spanish Banks from 4th Ave and through Jericho Beach Park down NW Marine Drive. There is also a bus stop located on 4th Ave and NW Marine Drive, and other busses that run through the park. Spanish Banks looks out over the Burrard Inlet with uninterrupted views of the North Shore straight ahead, Downtown to the west, and the Sunshine Coast to the East.
What can you find at Spanish Banks Beach?
Because Spanish Banks is such a massive beach, there are not one, but two concession stands, the Spanish Banks East Concession, and the Spanish Banks West Concession. Both share the same menu and are operated by the Vancouver Parks and Recreation Board, so share the menu with Second, Third, and Jericho Beach as well. Both concession stands are located on the path that runs along the head of the beach.
You can easily access Spanish Banks by car or public transit. You can get to Jericho by bike as well by traveling along Point Grey Rd and then onto the bike path when it resumes at Jericho Beach. Wheelchair beach mats and water wheelchairs are also available for loan from both the west and east lifeguard stations!
This beach is very popular, and on a hot summer day, the beach can get pretty busy. However, Spanish Banks is massive so you can be sure you’ll find a spot on the beach, as long as you can find parking!
Public restrooms and changerooms:
There are public restrooms and changerooms attached to both the east and west concession stands, as well as outdoor showers at each.
There are four large parking lots for Spanish Banks Beach along NW Marine Drive.
You can play beach volleyball at one of the permanent courts, have a dip in the ocean, or just laze on the sand at Spanish Banks beach. There is also a very large park for picnicking, and picnic tables where you can have a barbecue! There is even an off-leash dog park and dog beach for you to bring your pups to.
Pros and cons about Spanish Banks Beach:
The only con I can give for Spanish Banks is temporary, and that is that there has been some ongoing construction in the area due to some damage to the shoreline. Of course, this construction is absolutely beneficial and necessary, but it can be a bit distracting when you’re trying to relax by the sea. My recommendation is to find a spot that is far away from any visible construction (most of it is occurring at the middle of the beach). Besides that, Spanish Banks is a gorgeous beach with great swimming, two concession stands, a massive park for barbecuing, and unbeatable views.
9. Tower Beach
Technically part of Wreck Beach, Tower Beach is an extension of Wreck and is a very peaceful and isolated clothing-optional rocky beach on the shores of the Burrard Inlet. Tower Beach is named after the two World War II Artillery towers that still stand there. If you are looking for a private, quiet, and tranquil escape, you should definitely check out Tower Beach.
Where is Tower Beach?
Tower Beach is located on the northern end of the UBC Peninsula. You can access Tower Beach on foot from the UBC campus by going to the trailhead and continuing down the stairs to the beach. There is no parking directly at the trailhead, but there is parking throughout the campus. You can also access Tower by bus by taking one of the many UBC busses and making your way to Marine Drive and then to the trailhead. Tower Beach is completely unobstructed and you can see all the way to the mountains on the North Shore, and Vancouver Island to the west.
What can you find at Tower Beach?
A hike to the beach:
It’s a bit of a hike to get to and from Tower Beach through the forested cliffside leading to the beach. The stairs are very well maintained, and the way down is easier, but the way back up can be quite challenging, so be sure to bring plenty of water and take rests when needed. The walk down to Tower Beach is very beautiful as you get surrounded on all sides by the forest. Unfortunately, Tower Beach is not accessible for wheelchair users or folks with mobility issues.
Peace and quiet:
I’ve only been to Tower Beach a handful of times, but I’ve literally never seen more than 10 folks on the beach at the same time. Tower Beach is isolated by the forest from any UBC traffic noise, and it is incredibly quiet and peaceful. The loud crashing waves and the gorgeous views of the mountains across the Burrard Inlet make it feel like you’re in your own little oasis.
There are several parking lots located throughout the UBC campus but no designated parking lot for Tower Beach. There is also some street parking in the area.
The Foreshore trail:
The Foreshore trail, a trail connecting several beaches along the UBC Peninsula, runs through Tower Beach. It’s a beachfront trail that you can take all the way to Wreck Beach, and beyond. It’s a beautiful trail, but due to some landslides in the area, much of the trail near Tower Beach has been blocked. You can walk along the forest line on the beach, and reconnect on the path further down the beach.
Pros and cons about Tower Beach:
A major con about Tower Beach is the stairs, as they make the beach only accessible to some. Additionally, the rocky beach can be uncomfortable if you don’t come equipped with beach chairs or a thick beach blanket. Tower Beach is also very exposed, so the waves can be a little stronger here. Other than that, Tower Beach is an incredibly peaceful and picturesque beach. You’ll forget you’re just steps away from a massive campus. The views and privacy you get at Tower are unparalleled.
10. Wreck Beach
Wreck Beach is a clothing-optional beach located near the University of British Columbia. It is one of the most popular, and naturally beautiful beaches in all of Vancouver in my humble opinion. This beach is incredibly isolated from any city noise and is sheltered by the forest and giant sand cliffs behind it, with nothing but the ocean for dozens of kilometers ahead. Wreck Beach is a fantastic spot to watch the sunset, swim, and get rid of your tan lines if you’re so willing.
Where is Wreck Beach?
Wreck Beach is located at the westernmost point of the UBC Peninsula. Wreck Beach is a bit out of the way, but it is super easy to access by car, and pretty easy to get there by public transit too. Regardless of how you get there, there is some hiking involved from the UBC campus, and down the staircase through the forest to the actual beach. From the beach, you can see a bit of Bowen Island to the north, but mostly it’s just open ocean all the way to Vancouver Island.
What can you find at Wreck Beach?
There is no traditional concession stand at Wreck Beach, but there is typically a burger vendor stationed there called the Paradise Grill. The Paradise Grill offers burgers, hot dogs, and cold drinks as well as some Jamaican eats. The Paradise Grill is located on the left side of the beach once you come down the stairs. They are typically the first vendor in a row of plenty of other vendors selling crafted goods, clothing, and more.
A hike to the beach:
Wreck Beach is known for the challenging stairs that lead to and from the beach. The walk down isn’t so bad, but the way back up can be quite the workout, so bring plenty of water and take stops on the benches along the stairs if necessary. While the walk through the woods can be challenging, it is very beautiful. Sadly Wreck Beach is not accessible for wheelchair users or folks with mobility issues.
You are guaranteed to see plenty of beachgoers at Wreck Beach on any given day in the summer, especially at the center of the beach near the vendors. If you stray a little further to the north end of the beach the crowd thins out, but you’ll certainly still be around others.
There are several outhouses located at the top of the Wreck Beach stairs as well as at the bottom.
There are several parking lots located throughout the UBC campus but no designated parking lot for Wreck Beach. The closes lot is the UBC West Parkade. There is also street parking in the area.
Unique vendors and walking paths:
This beach is isolated so it doesn’t have the amenities that some other beaches have, like picnic tables, swimming pools, or volleyball courts. People come all the way to Wreck specifically to enjoy the natural beauty of the beach in the buff. There are however some cool vendors to check out, and the Foreshore trail that connects Wreck Beach to nearby Tower and Oasis beach.
Pros and cons about Wreck Beach:
Wreck is an incredibly beautiful beach, but it is certainly not perfect. The stairs for one limit access to the beach for some. Additionally, many long-time Wreck beachgoers have created a very positive and safe community, however, because it is a nude beach, some people do take advantage of people’s vulnerability. I can’t wholeheartedly recommend that women come to Wreck Beach alone. It is perfectly safe in groups or pairs, but solo women can sometimes receive unwanted attention from folks who come to the beach simply to spectate. Also, Wreck Beach is very much a party beach. It is quite mellow in the day but at night it’s a full-on party on weekends. You can definitely find a quiet spot to watch the sunset, but at the main portion of the beach, it’s party time. Depending on what vibe you like you’re sure to find it here though. The swimming and views at Wreck Beach are incredible though, and it is one of the most gorgeous beaches in all of BC in my opinion.