Vancouver Beaches: A Complete Guide [2021]

When it comes to natural beauty, few cities rival Vancouver. With stunning views of the North Shore mountains, lush green forests, and the breathtaking expanse of the Pacific Ocean, it’s no surprise that Vancouver consistently tops lists of the most livable cities in the world. But let’s not forget about Vancouver beaches—possibly one of the city’s greatest natural gifts. Residents living Vancouver apartments and visitors alike sometimes want a relaxing day in the sun or an active day playing sports, and Vancouver beaches always have something to offer. Each with its own vibe, amenities, and attractions, we recommend visiting them all, but we’ve summarized our favourites to get you started.


Downtown Vancouver Beaches

  1. In addition to being exceptionally convenient, the beaches around Downtown Vancouver are spectacularly beautiful. Whether you’re looking to take in the sunset, enjoy a family-friendly beach day, or relax surrounded by nature, you’ll find it at one of the city’s Downtown beaches.

Sunset Beach

sunset beach
The Basics

Facilities: Public washrooms, water fountain, freshwater showers

Lifeguards: Late May to early September

Concession: Yes

Designated Dog Friendly Area: Yes

Parking: Pay parking or metered street parking


Logs: Yes

Why It’s Worth a Visit

A tiny strip of beach nestled at the bottom of Bute Street and Jervis Street, Sunset Beach is known among Vancouver residents for its spectacular sunsets. While it might not have the softest sand or the most picturesque daytime views, it’s exceptionally convenient for residents of the West End. With a grassy slope just behind the beach that offers plenty of space for sunset picnics and barbecues, this beach consistently draws the after-work crowd. As one of Vancouver’s designated “quiet” beaches, Sunset Beach is also perfect if you’d like to avoid the loud bass often heard at Vancouver’s trendier beaches.


English Bay Beach

English Bay Beach
The Basics

Facilities: Public washrooms, water fountain, freshwater showers

Lifeguards: Late May to early September

Concession: Yes

Designated Dog Friendly Area: No

Parking: Pay parking or metered street parking
Logs: Yes

Why It’s Worth a Visit

Downtown’s busiest beach, English Bay Beach is easy to access whether you’re driving, walking, or rely on public transit. Located near the lively intersection of West End’s Denman Street and Davie Street, it’s not only accessible but offers a myriad of options for food, snacks, coffee, and more. In fact, tucked just behind the beach on the Seawall, you’ll find one of Vancouver’s busiest Cactus Club restaurants. Just be sure to plan ahead if you’d like to sip a cocktail or enjoy a meal while taking in the view of English Bay beach, because this location of the popular Canadian chain often has lengthy wait times, especially during the summer months.

What makes this beach unique is that it’s home to one of Vancouver’s most anticipated yearly events: the Honda Celebration of Light . Resuming in 2022, the event is an annual musical fireworks competition spanning several evenings in late July. Over thirty years, the event has drawn crowds from all over Greater Vancouver and visitors from around the globe.

Whether you’re here to enjoy the sun and ocean on a hot day or to watch the Celebration of Lights, English Bay Beach has a lot to offer. It’s large enough to give daytime beachgoers room to stretch out and there are plenty of logs to create a bit of privacy. A non-slip access path stretching from the Seawall almost to the water’s edge, makes the beach wheelchair accessible. If lying in the sun all day isn’t your speed, you’ll also find kayak rentals and two volleyball courts.


Second Beach

Second Beach
The Basics

Facilities: Public washrooms, water fountain, freshwater showers

Lifeguards: Late May to early September

Concession: Yes

Designated Dog Friendly Area: No

Parking: Pay parking or metered street parking
Logs: Yes

Why It’s Worth a Visit

Often overshadowed by the city’s more talked about beaches, Second Beach doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Its location alone makes it noteworthy, perfectly balancing the serene quiet of Vancouver’s famous Stanley Park with proximity to downtown’s residential and entertainment neighbourhoods. Simply stroll along the Seawall or through Stanley Park to get here or take advantage of the paid parking lot just behind the beach. Surrounded by plenty of green space for picnics and sports, Second Beach also boasts a playground and heated outdoor pool that make it uniquely kid friendly.


Third Beach

Third Beach
The Basics

Facilities: Public washrooms, water fountain, freshwater showers

Lifeguards: Late May to early September

Concession: Yes

Designated Dog Friendly Area: No

Parking: Limited pay parking
Logs: Yes

Why It’s Worth a Visit

Little else can be said about Third Beach apart from: simply breathtaking. Like Second Beach, this stunning stretch of fine, soft sand is located within Stanley Park. However, you’ll have to work a little harder to get here. On foot, Third Beach is approximately thirty minutes from Second Beach along the Seawall, where you can also cycle or rollerblade. You can also access the beach by walking through Stanley Park. While there is a paid parking lot tucked behind Third Beach, it’s relatively small, so don’t bank on finding a spot on a busy summer weekend.

No matter how you choose to get to Third Beach, you’ll be rewarded with a serene setting that will make you forget you’re in the city. Surrounded by huge trees, this natural beach offers a beautiful view of West Vancouver and the North Shore mountains. As one of Vancouver’s most beautiful beaches, Third Beach draws Vancouverites and visitors from all walks of life. Here, you’ll meet families with young children playing along the water’s edge, cyclists taking in the views as they detour off the seawall for a break and sip of water, young professionals enjoying much-needed downtime, and visitors experiencing it all for the first time. While the vibe is relaxed, you’ll see beachgoers enjoying music, sports, and a popular Tuesday evening drum circle at this vibrant Vancouver beach.


Vancouver Beaches: Kitsilano & Beyond

Just beyond Downtown, Vancouver’s Kitsilano and West Point Grey neighbourhoods also boast gorgeous beaches. Whether you prefer to share a slice of shoreline with the trendy crowd, learn a new water sport, or leave your swim trunks at home, these Vancouver beaches have a lot to offer.


Kitsilano Beach

Kitsilano Beach
The Basics

Facilities: Public washrooms, water fountain, freshwater showers

Lifeguards: Late May to early September

Concession: Yes

Designated Dog Friendly Area: Yes

Parking: Pay parking and metered street parking
Logs: Yes

Why It’s Worth a Visit

If you’re looking for Vancouver’s most popular beach, look no further than Kitsilano, or Kits, Beach. Without a doubt the most happening among Vancouver beaches, Kits Beach draws crowds from all over the city, even on weekdays.

A sprawling stretch of soft sand with views of the Downtown skyline, Kits Beach has a trendy yet relaxed vibe. On the beach, you’ll find beachgoers playing music on portable speakers, relaxing with a book, or enjoying a beach-friendly game. One end of the beach is occupied by a 137-meter outdoor pool, where fitness-oriented Vancouverites take a break from indoor gyms during the summer months, and families splash around on weekends. Beside the pool is a grass field where you’ll find the trendy crowd picnicking, tossing the frisbee around, or practicing acro yoga. As if all of this wasn’t enough, Kits Beach is also home to basketball, volleyball, and tennis courts. Paddleboard rentals and a designated off-leash area for dogs round out the amenities drawing Vancouverites and visitors alike.

Thanks to its location in the hip Kitsilano area, there are plenty of eateries surrounding Kits Beach. Perhaps most popular among them, with its bustling patio directly across the beach, is The LOCAL Public Eatery .


Jericho Beach

Jericho Beach
The Basics

Facilities: Public washrooms, water fountain, freshwater showers

Lifeguards: Late May to early September

Concession: Yes

Designated Dog Friendly Area: No

Parking: Pay parking and metered street parking
Logs: Yes

Why It’s Worth a Visit

Looking for a low-key beach experience with a less rowdy crowd? Head over to Jericho Beach . Located on the border between Kitsilano and West Point Grey, this sandy ocean-front stretch might be quieter, but it has plenty of amenities. Home to the posh Royal Vancouver Yacht Club and Jericho Tennis club, you’ll also find the non-profit Jericho Sailing Center here. The Center offers low-cost access to lessons and equipment rentals for sailing, windsurfing, rowing, and paddling.

If regular beach activities are more your speed, this beach has a peaceful setting. It’s surrounded by Jericho Beach Park, which has shaded walking trails, playing fields, and tennis courts. Just don’t be surprised if you see a bunny, they’re known to frolic here.


Spanish Banks Beach

Spanish Banks Beach
The Basics

Facilities: Public washrooms, water fountain, freshwater showers

Lifeguards: Late May to early September

Concession: Yes

Designated Dog Friendly Area: Yes

Parking: Pay parking and metered street parking
Logs: Yes

Why It’s Worth a Visit

If you need to stretch out, there’s no better place than Spanish Banks Beach . In fact, this span of beach is so long that it’s divided into three distinct sections: east, west, and extension. Not just long, Spanish Banks Beach is also wide with open fields, popular for summertime games and group cookouts, stretching behind the western portion of the sand. Adding even more real estate, low tide can go out as far as a kilometer at this popular West Point Grey beach.

  1. Tables and volleyball courts are available at both the east and west sections, and you’ll find not one, but two concession stands here. The extension also boasts a kiteboarding launch zone if you are interested in kitesurfing.