The many parks and beaches are one of the main reasons any local will give you for why they love living in Vancouver, BC. Doesn’t matter where in the city you are, it’s always an easy trek to a nearby park or beach by foot, bike, or transit.
TIPS FOR ENJOYING VANCOUVER’S BEACHES & PARKS TO THE MAX
As free and laid back of country Canada is, we are still in the stone ages when it comes to alcohol. Drinking is 100% not allowed in public. But, if you like to enjoy a cold one while relaxing at the beach don’t let this silly law hold you back. Just do what the locals do! Purchase your chosen poison (and mix if required) then, find yourself something to hide it in that is far better then a paper bag. Pouring it into your travel water bottle or coffee mug is a grand choice. We tend to favour the coffee mug as you get the added bonus of keeping your drink cold for longer. Since many locals can be spotted drinking coffee from one of the hundreds of cafes around, you will fit right in! PS: Be sure to recycle your packaging evidence before arriving and DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK.
How about some tunes?
What makes chillaxing under the sun even better then the above? Some awesome tunes! Pack a travel size speaker and a mp3 player filled with your favorite tunes. Just be sure to watch your volume level. Us Canadians will probably be too friendly to complain directly at you, however if your near a nitty-bitty they will jump at the chance to complain to some authority to go speak to you instead. Instead, be like us and ask your neighbor if the music is too loud for them.
Yes, your not in the tropics but our sun can still do some serious damage to your skin. It’s main weapon to trick you is that cool ocean breeze making you think your skin isn’t getting hot. So, be smart and always wear sunscreen!
Comfort is key.
Why do we all love to chill and relax in our own homes? Because it’s filled with comforts. So, why not bring that feeling with you to the beach or park? Pack a beach towel or small blanket with you to sit/lay on. Even better, bring along a small pillow for supreme luxury.
Arrive by bike!
Vancouver’s sea wall is one of the best places in the world to take a casual stroll or leisurely bike ride. It’s nice and flat with spectacular views of nature and city melded together in a beautiful way. Most of Vancouver’s beaches and best parks are connected by the sea wall with intriguing art installations in between. Having a bike with you just makes it all that more easy to see it all. You might even catch a street art performance or two while cruising along the sea wall to the next beach. Do a search on google with the terms “vancouver bc bike rentals” to get a good list of all the available rentals shops in the city.
Stay for the sunset.
Pretty much every single beach in the main part of Vancouver has an amazing view of the sunset. Its our favourite time of the day to witness something magical.
WHERE TO GO: BEACHES
West End Beaches: English Bay & Sunset
Probably the most accessible beaches for any traveler to Vancouver as they are both located right downtown and beside each other. No more then a 30 min walk from the core. Due to this, its quite popular with tourists and celebrities and of course the locals that are lucky enough to live in the condo buildings lining the bay. Great location, mixed aged crowd, lively and vibrant.
This is our friendly neighbor beach. Mostly adorn with a younger crowd of locals and known as one of Vancouver most popular beaches. It has a range of views from an open bay, to the North Shore Mountains / Stanely Park, and the downtown core. Lots of action if you want it or also just a great place to relax and people watch. There is also a massive heated salt water pool to get your swim on and if your up for a nice dinner The Boathouse restaurant will serve you up some amazing seafood.
An endless sandy strip with even more boasting views of the North Shore mountains and downtown core. Known as a great family beach with bbq and picnics, sailing and kayaking. A more quiet spot then the two above.
This is the beach to truly get that ‘away’ experience yet still have an gorgeous view of the city. Our least crowded beach making it the perfect escape from the pace of the city life.
We’ve talked about Wreck beach before in our guest post on Got Saga. But, this is Vancouver’s famous clothing optional beach. Secluded at the bottom of over 500 steps it’s a haven for Vancouver’s alternative lifestyles.
WHERE TO GO: PARKS
One of Vancouver’s top tourist destinations but also a locale that is highly cherished by all the locals. Doesn’t matter what type of person you are, Stanley Park will have something for you. Just look at the size of it! Hiking / biking trails, old growth forest, great beaches, one of the best parts of the sea wall, epic views, swimming pool, water park, gardens, totem poles, miniature train, lagoons, concerts, restaurants, horse & carriage rides, and the one of my favourite places, The Vancouver Aquarium. 1000 acres of natural awesome and 3 times the size of New York’s Central Park. All, conveniently located right next to downtown.
Situated just south of Commercial Drive. Trout Lake is East Van’s most popular outdoor location to soak in some sun. Tranquil fresh water lake with a mini beach and gorgeous mountain views. A farmers market is also here on Saturdays from 10 – 2.
Queen Elizabeth Park
Vancouver’s second most visited park next to Stanley Park. A horticultural gem filled with world class displays of flower filled gardens and breath-taking landscaping both outdoors and indoors at the Bloedel Floral Conservatory, home to tropical plants and 100’s of birds. The peak of the park is a plaza with panoramic views of the city and dancing fountains.
Hopefully your visit to Vancouver for TBEX’11 will be a lucky one with blue skies and sunshine making a stop at one or more of our many beaches and park a definite good time.
Do you have a favourite beach or park your already like to visit in Vancouver?