The best Vancouver beaches & parks to soak up the sun this season

by Emma Caplan
Overlooking Vancouver Aquatic Centre, Sunset Beach, English Bay

With the sun shining brighter, the days getting longer, and summer not too far away, there’s no time like the present to enjoy a little tranquility and relaxation in one of Vancouver’s many beaches or parks.

And since the city is known for its often rainy weather, you’ll want to get out there and enjoy these whenever you possibly can! Take a look.

Third Beach

Third Beach, Vancouver

Third Beach is located in Stanley Park and connects to it via the popular seawall, perfect for biking, blading or walking–check out Siwash Rock and the tree perched atop it. This beautiful sandy beach is set among large trees and is a quieter setting than nearby English Bay, so you can enjoy a good book, some r’n’r or simply some time to yourself.

And, on Tuesday nights during the summer (barring any restrictions), you can’t miss the free Brahm’s Tams Drum Circle event. This is a super casual, fun evening of djembe drumming that attracts hundreds of folks each week.

Spanish Banks Beach

Spanish Banks, Vancouver

Enjoy the open ocean setting of big, beautiful Spanish Banks. Located near the University of British Columbia in the city’s Point Grey neighbourhood, this beach is ideal for families, with great picnic spots, snack bars, and an off-leash dog beach. Kite-flying is popular here, and you can also play a game of volleyball since there are several beach courts waiting to be used.

Pacific Spirit Park

While you’re in the Spanish Banks area, don’t miss Pacific Spirit Park. With over 2,000 acres of Douglas fir trees, this park contains nearly 50 miles of trails, almost half of which are bike-friendly, along with gorgeous views of the Georgia Straight.

Find it on Google Maps.

Locarno Beach

West of Kitsilano Beach, an incredibly popular spot, is lesser-known Locarno Beach. At this gorgeous, sandy spot with its low tide, you’ll find a concession stand and several volleyball courts. And, as it’s conveniently connected to the seawall between Kitsilano and Spanish Banks beaches, it’s easy to walk or ride to different beaches and parks on the city’s west side.

Find it on Google Maps

Overlooking Vancouver Aquatic Centre, Sunset Beach, English Bay

English Bay Beach

If you’re a fan of people watching and wandering the streets, tasting the food, or taking in the vibe of artsy, funky downtown areas, English Bay Beach is for you.

Centrally located, it’s connected to Stanley Park but is livelier and busier than its neighbouring beaches to the northwest. Don’t miss the annual Celebration of Light fireworks festival if you’re in the area from late July through early August.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

In the heart of Vancouver’s Chinatown district, you’ll find the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden–a true replica of a classic Ming Dynasty Chinese scholar’s garden, and a welcome oasis in the city’s busy urbanity.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Nearly everything you’ll find here is from China, including pagodas, limestone rock, and roof tiles. Here, you can take a tour for the full experience or simply sit, watch the koi fish, and ponder life.

Find it on Google Maps

Stearman Beach

Sandy Stearman Beach is a quiet, hidden gem in West Vancouver, surrounded by opulent homes and Insta-worthy photo ops. It’s worth crossing the bridge since, here, you’ll find plenty of seashells, tidal pools, beautiful logs, and some shade. A perfect summertime–or year-round–destination.

Find it on Google Maps

All images courtesy Destination BC, and: Tanya Goehring, Hubert Kang, Kindred & Scout.

Looking for more travel stories? Visit our Canadian Travel Guide for ideas across the country.

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