Best Vancouver Area Beaches for Families, Dog Lovers, Kayakers, and More

Lifeguard at Third Beach in Vancouver

Lifeguard at Third Beach. Photo: Kate Milford

It can be tough to choose which beach to visit in the Vancouver area. But there’s a beach for everyone. Here are our picks for the best beaches for families, dogs, swimming, kayaking, volleyball, and lots more.

 

Best for Families: Second Beach

There is lots to keep kids entertained at Second Beach in Stanley Park. Hit the sand and splash around in the ocean. There’s also a huge heated outdoor pool with a sloped entry, making it great for little swimmers. The nearby grassy area has plenty of shade to spread out or have a picnic. And there’s a playground too.

second beach pool

Photo: Vancouver Park Board/Facebook.com

 

Best for Dogs: Hadden Park Beach

Many Vancouverites have never heard of Hadden Park. It’s tucked in between Vanier Park and Kitsilano Beach. The entire sandy beach is an off-leash dog park, with plenty of room for your pup to run, fetch, dig, and swim.

A man throws a stick for his dog at Hadden Park in Vancouver

Photo: Destination BC/Grant Harder

 

Best for Swimming: English Bay Beach

English Bay Beach is Vancouver’s most famous beach, located in the heart of downtown. It has lots of sand and a big roped-off swimming area. There is even a floating raft to swim out to, complete with a big slide.

English Bay Beach in Vancouver

Photo: Tourism Vancouver / Tanya Goehring

 

Best for Wading: Spanish Banks Beach

Spanish Banks is Vancouver’s longest beach and also its shallowest. At low tide, the sand bars stretch nearly one kilometre off-shore so you can wade out for ages without the water reaching past your waist. All that shallow water also means that the water tends to be a bit warmer here.

Paddleboarder at Spanish Banks Beach in Vancouver

Paddleboarder at Spanish Banks Beach. Photo: Tourism Vancouver / Hubert Kang

 

Best for Freshwater Swimming: White Pine Beach

Tiny Sasamat Lake in təmtəmíxʷtən/Belcarra Regional Park has warm water for swimming and lots of sand at White Pine Beach. The shallow angle of the shoreline makes for an easy entry into the water.

White Pine Beach at Belcarra Regional Park

Photo: təmtəmíxʷtən/Belcarra Regional Park

 

Best for Volleyball: Kitsilano Beach

Locals fondly call this beach “Kits Beach“. It’s a popular spot for sunbathing and picnics. But many beach-goers flock here to play volleyball. There are seven courts set up along the sand. Don’t forget to BYOB (Bring Your Own Ball).

Photo: Tourism Vancouver/Nelson Mouellic

 

Best for Accessibility: Kitsilano and English Bay Beaches

Swimmers who use wheelchairs or have mobility challenges should head to Kitsilano Beach or English Bay Beach. Both have non-slip pathways and mats that let you roll across the sand. (Unfortunately, the mats were damaged in winter storms and repairs are currently underway.) You can also reserve a floating water wheelchair free of charge.

water wheelchair at a Vancouver beach

Photo: Vancouver.ca

 

Best for Kayaking and SUP: Deep Cove

North Vancouver’s Deep Cove Park has a small gravel beach that is great for launching kayaks and SUPs. You can rent both from nearby Deep Cove Kayak. The protected waters of the cove are great for beginner paddlers. More advanced kayakers and paddleboarders can head around the corner to the isolated waters of Indian Arm.

Kayaks on the beach near North Vancouver, BC

Kayaking near Deep Cove in North Vancouver. Photo: Tourism Vancouver / Jessica Wright, Bon Traveler

 

Best for Cyclists: Third Beach

If you want to combine a bike ride around the Stanley Park Seawall with a trip to the beach, add Third Beach to your itinerary. This small sandy beach is located about 3/4 of the way around the Seawall circuit. With trees on both sides, it has a secluded and natural feel, removed from the city.

Family enjoying a picnic on the beach in Vancouver

Family picnic at Third Beach in Stanley Park. Photo: Tourism Vancouver/Hubert Kang

 

Best Beach Town Vibes: White Rock

The small city of White Rock south of Vancouver has serious beach town vibes. It sits behind an eight-kilometre-long sandy beach. Go for a swim, lounge on the sand, or walk on the iconic pier, which is over 100 years old. You’ll also find tons of cute boutiques and restaurants lining Marine Drive.

Photo: White Rock City

 

Best for Free Spirits: Wreck Beach

Located in Pacific Spirit Regional Park at UBC, Wreck Beach is Vancouver’s only clothing-optional beach. Reached by a steep hiking trail with lots of stairs, the beach has lots of sand and an eclectic variety of visitors.

Wreck Beach

Photo: Wreck Beach Preservation Society

 

Best for Sunsets: Sunset Beach

It’s not just a name – Sunset Beach in the West End is a great place to watch the sunset. The beach is actually made of four smaller coves that sit side by side. There is also a large grassy area that is perfect for evening picnics.

Vancouver's Sunset Beach

Photo: Tourism Vancouver/Nelson Mouellic

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