Vancouver has lots of gorgeous beaches, from the secluded sands of Stanley Park’s Third Beach to the wide open expanses of Spanish Banks. But when it comes to notoriety, one Vancouver strand always pops to mind: Wreck Beach.
The clothing-optional beach located in Pacific Spirit Regional Park adjacent UBC always manages to raise a few eyebrows. Now, it’s earned a place in the international spotlight.
A recent Huffington Post article ranked Wreck Beach the second best nude beach in North America, sandwiched between top pick San Gregorio in California and Hippie Hollow in Texas. According to the article, Wreck Beach’s clothing-optional politics are the leading edge of a trend sweeping bathing across the continent.
“In a 2006 Roper poll, 25% of adult Americans admitted to having skinny dipped in mixed company. Worldwide, topless and nude sunbathing are increasingly common vacation choices.”
In illustration of the point, the article notes that U.S. Republican congressman Kevin Yoder was recently observed skinny dipping in Israel’s Sea of Galilee while on a political junket. Apparently more than 20 other lawmakers joined him for a dip.
While it’s unlikely that Stephen Harper will be seen at Wreck Beach anytime soon, the laid-back strip is an exceedingly popular swimming and sunning spot for Vancouverites – both the clothed and unclothed varieties. Accessed by a set of 473 steps that descend through pristine coastal rainforest, Wreck is perhaps the most wild and undisturbed of the city’s beaches.
Swimmers are treated to panoramic views of the Strait of Georgia, with the rugged profile of the Coast Mountains to the north and the distant outline of Vancouver Island to the west. Backed by sand cliffs and old growth forest, the beach itself is broad and sandy, with a long jetty extending on one side.
The vibe is certainly alternative, though roughly half of Wreck Beach bathers opt to keep their skivvies on. Drum circles and roving vendors selling everything from drinks to “brownies” lend a low-key party atmosphere, but the real focus is soaking up the brief Vancouver summer sun.
Want more updates on Vancouver and beyond? Follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza.