The weather is heating up, so it’s time to hit the beach! And one thing there is no shortage of in Metro Vancouver is waterfront venues. Here are our five favourite beaches to visit when the whole family is in tow and the sun is shining bright. Make sure you slap on some sunscreen and wear your favourite hat. And don’t forget to pack a picnic and bring along the sand pails so you are ready to have a super fun day by the water. This is what British Columbia summers are all about! Spending time with family on the water and making lasting memories.
3298 Sunnyside Road, Anmore, open 8 am – 8 pm daily
Buntzen Lake is a great place to get away for a day with the family. Located just north of Anmore (about a 45-minute drive from Vancouver), Buntzen has a great beach, picnic spots and a fabulous lake for swimming. There are lots of hiking trails and fishing spots too, for those who want to do more than swim and build sand castles. Pack a picnic and stake claim to one of the many picnic tables near the beach. A few things to note when visiting: The park gates will close when parking is at capacity, so make sure you arrive early. It’s been known to fill up quickly on sunny days. Cell reception is non-existent in the park, so pick an easy-to-spot landmark if you are planning on meeting friends. We like to meet at the big gazebo since it’s pretty easy to spot.
Barnet Marine Park
8181 Barnet Highway, Burnaby, open dawn to dusk
We think Barnet Marine Park is a bit of a hidden gem. Located right off of Barnet Highway about 15 minutes from Burnaby’s city centre, Barnet Marine Park is steeped in heritage. A century ago, the Marine Park was the site of a busy logging mill camp. From the beach, you’ll see old concrete towers and the skeleton of a scrap burner. There’s an easy walk along the shoreline where you can discover a quiet little pocket beach or secluded spot to lay down your blanket. There’s an off-leash dog park so all members of the family can join in on this adventure! If you are bringing picnic gear, you can drive down across the train tracks to drop everything off and then return to the parking lot, which is pretty handy if you’ve packed a big meal for the whole family to enjoy!
4000 block of Dollarton Highway, Deep Cove, North Vancouver
Cates Park is another yoyomama favourite. This seaside park has lots to see and do, including 6 km of waterfront trails, playgrounds, picnic shelters, beaches, tennis courts, and a boat launch too. Coincidentally, it’s located just across the water from Barnet Marine Park. We love the quintessentially west coast vibe that Cates Park has to offer. The view is gorgeous and the water is chilly but refreshing. The beach is a bit rocky (make sure to pack water shoes for you and your kiddos), but your kids will have a blast turning over rocks and chasing crabs. Stick around the beach for low tide and see if you can spot any starfish or other sea creatures in tidal pools.
White Rock Beach
Beach Avenue, White Rock
Welcome to Metro Vancouver’s very own beach community. White Rock is a fun place to head for a day adventure. There are unique shops and tasty restaurants, yummy ice cream shops and neat museums and galleries. The pier and beach are definitely the highlight of any trip to the shore, though! While the beaches do get busy on sunny days, there is always room for more. Take a walk along the promenade and head out on the pier. There are great spots for fishing or taking in the beautiful views of Mt. Baker and the San Juan Islands. Stick around for a spectacular sunset. You won’t be disappointed.
Stanley Park Drive at North Lagoon Drive, Stanley Park, Vancouver
Located along the Stanley Park Seawall, Second Beach is an ideal spot to spend the day with family. In fact, it’s probably the most family-friendly beach in all of Vancouver. There is a concession, washrooms, playground, picnic shelter, and summer lifeguards. If your kiddos aren’t too keen on swimming in the cool ocean, the heated outdoor public pool at Second Beach is one of our favourites in all of Vancouver. You can’t beat that view! Second Beach is always on our ‘must-do’ list every summer.
Yo, mama! Looking for more great warm weather family fun? We’ve got you covered:
- complete list of farmers’ markets in Metro Vancouver
- outdoor swimming pools in Metro Vancouver
- Metro Vancouver water spray parks
By: Michelle Hughes