The glass and concrete of Denman, Davie and Beach Avenues and the natural beauty of Stanley Park come crashing together on the shores of English Bay, making this beach, which is also sometimes called First Beach, one of the downtown's busiest. The beach is often packed with sun worshipers and curio seekers alike, as well as sand volleyball players, sea kayakers and kids enjoying the swimming raft and large slide.
Named by early European explorers, Spanish Banks consists of three beaches (East, West and Extension) and are far from Vancouver's other crowded beaches. The area, which is along the Seaside Seawall system, boasts open waterfront and spectacular views of the city's downtown skyline, as well as free parking, concessions, washrooms, summer lifeguard supervision, picnic tables and an off-leash area for dogs.
Second Beach is located along Stanley Park's western seawall and has been popular with Vancouvites since the 1880s when pioneers took to the beach for family outings and church socials. Today, the beach draws a mix of visitors and residents alike and is home to the Second Beach Pool, a beautiful outdoor pool facility boasting heated, freshwater swimming right along side the waterfront. Facilities include washrooms, concessions, a playground, lifeguard service (summer only) and pay parking.
Situated at the mouth of False Creek, Sunset Beach is close to both the West End and Yaletown and offers safe swimming, an off-leash area for dogs and a quiet beach designation, meaning no amplified music is allowed. The beach can be accessed via the Stanley Park Seawall system, pay parking or the nearby False Creek Aqua Buses pier.
Vancouver visitors or residents wanting to get away from the crowded beaches of English Bay and Kits while still staying close to downtown can head to Third Beach in Stanley Park. Situated on the western side of the park along the seawall, the sandy beach is a favourite for some quiet sunbathing and sunset picnics. Facilities include washrooms, lifeguard supervision (summer only) and pay parking.
Situated at the west end of Vancouver's Kitsilano district, Jericho Beach is popular for its naturally sandy beach, large grassy park and unassuming crowd. If Kits Beach is where the beautiful people hang out, you'll find most everybody else along Jericho, including windsurfers and sailing enthusiasts thanks to the beachfront Jericho Sailing Association. Facilities include concessions, washrooms, picnic tables and playing fields, a floating swimming dock, lifeguard service (Victoria Day to Labour Day) and parking.
Situated between the Jericho and Spanish Banks Beaches, Locarno is one of the power trio of beaches dotting the shoreline north of Kitsilano and Point Grey and is one of just a few Vancouver beaches that is a dedicated quiet beach, where no amplified music is permitted. The beach features stands of tall evergreen trees as well as standard beach facilities. Free parking available.
Clothing optional, without the preconceptions of Wreck Beach, Tower beach starts just around the corner from Spanish Banks and keeps going. At low tides it's possible to walk all the way around Point Grey to Wreck. Try this on a stormy day, when the beach is all but deserted.
There's a certain air of the '60s about Wreck beach that hasn't worn off, even as subsequent generations seek to redefine Canada's most famous clothing optional beach in its own image. There's a certain anti-authority atmosphere, even as GVRD parks adopts the beach as its own, and even as police patrols have become routine (and not to bust denizens-not even the sex in pseudo-public places crowd-but to nail the perverts in the bushes watching the sex in pseudo-public places crowd...and to keep the banned substances consumption (including alcohol) in check). This is quite possibly Canada's most (in)famous beach, even if the majority of people even in Vancouver have never visited. Located along the southwest shore of Point Grey, just across the road and down the hill from the UBC museum of Anthropology. Not that there's any connection, mind you.
The ultimate beach for the hedonistic, narcissistic, thong-clad throngs, Kits is the beach for body-builders, fast cars and babes wearing teeny-weeny bikinis and melanoma foundations. If Wreck is where people let it all hang, Kits is where they make it bulge. A great place to watch, but if you don't want to be watched, Kits is intimidating. Most of the parking for Kits beach is in the pay parking lots at the corner of Arbutus and Cornwall. Street parking is sketchy, but if you drive around for a few hours, your bound to find a spot somewhere.