11 Things to Do at Vancouver’s Beaches

English Bay Beach in Vancouver

English Bay Beach. Photo: Tourism Vancouver / Tanya Goehring

Lay down a blanket, go for a swim, or build a sandcastle. Since Vancouver is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, we are lucky to have lots of beaches. Get some ideas for your next beach day with this list of things to do at Vancouver’s beaches.


Go for a Swim

On a hot day, cool down with a refreshing swim. Many beaches in the Vancouver area have designated swimming areas with lifeguards on duty. If you choose to swim elsewhere, watch out for currents and boat traffic.


Try Skimboarding

Skimboarding looks simple, but it requires a fair amount of coordination and core strength. Using a small, flat board, skimboarders run through shallow water, throw down their board, then skim down the beach. You can pick up a skimboard at skateboard and watersports shops in Vancouver. The best beaches for beginner skimboarders are flat at low tide, like Spanish Banks and White Rock Beach.


Jump in the Pool

Two of Vancouver’s beaches also have swimming pools. Check out the heated pool at Second Beach and the enormous salt-water pool at Kits Beach.

second beach pool

Second Beach Pool. Photo: Vancouver Park Board/Facebook.com


Have a Picnic

Lay down a blanket then spread out a feast on the sand. Pack a picnic basket at home, or pick up take-out to support your favourite local restaurant. Many Vancouver-area beaches also have concession stands or are within walking distance of lots of take-out options.


Build a Sandcastle

Break out the shovels and pails! Sandcastles aren’t just for kids. Challenge your friends to see who can make the most elaborate palace. Or see whose sand fortress can stand up to the incoming tide the longest.


Go Kayaking and Paddleboarding

Many of Vancouver’s beaches have kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals on-site. Paddle along the beach or explore the shoreline further afield. Taking a lesson or tour is a great introduction to these sports or a way to up your skills.

A man carries a paddleboard to the beach in Vancouver

Photo: Tourism Vancouver / Hubert Kang


Fly a Kite

It’s often windy on the water, making the beach an ideal place to fly a kite. Be sure to pick a open stretch of sand with lots of room to run so your kite doesn’t accidentally dive-bomb into anyone. Tip: Low tide is a great time for kite-flying since there’s more beach exposed.


Swim Out to the Raft

A few of Vancouver’s beaches have swimming rafts tethered offshore. Kids love to swim out to the rafts, then do cannonballs into the water. It’s a fun game for grown-ups too, and it’s a great workout. Look for swimming rafts at English Bay, Jericho Beach, Kits Beach, Locarno Beach, and Trout Lake.


Play Beach Volleyball

Grab some friends and set up a beach volleyball game. If you don’t have your own net, don’t worry: some Vancouver beaches have nets already set up and at others,  you can borrow a net from the lifeguard station. Get more info from Vancouver Parks and Recreation.

Photo: Tourism Vancouver/Nelson Mouellic


Do Yoga

Find a moment of peace by bringing your yoga practice to the sand. Some local yoga instructors offer small group beach classes. Or just lay down your mat and flow into some sun salutations at your own pace.


Watch the Sunset

Many of Vancouver’s beaches face west, making them ideal places to watch the sun go down. Bring a picnic dinner or snuggle up with your sweetie, then watch the sun descend into the water, turning the sky red, pink, and purple. Find lots of beaches on our list of Vancouver’s best sunset spots.

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