Are you looking for the best beaches in West Vancouver? You’ve found them! Eric being born and raised in Vancouver, we’ve spent extensive periods of time exploring West Vancouver and its beaches. From West Coast vibes to sandy beaches and beautiful shoreline views, the West Vancouver beaches have lots to offer! Actually, exploring West Van beaches is one of our favourite date ideas when we are in Vancouver!
In this post, we share with you everything you need to know about the best West Van beaches including a number of secret beaches in West Vancouver that only locals know!
Where is West Vancouver
Before diving into the list of the beaches West Vancouver offers and our experience spending time there, we wanted to give a bit more explanation around what and where West Vancouver is.
What is West Vancouver
West Vancouver is a district municipality located in the North West of Downtown Vancouver. Though Vancouver and West Vancouver are two different districts, they are both part of Greater Vancouver in the province of British Columbia in Canada.
Because many tourists are not aware that West Vancouver is its own district, the terms “West Vancouver” are sometimes used to simply describe the West side of Vancouver rather than the municipality itself. This means that some people think of Kitsilano as part of the West side of Vancouver. This is geographically correct but is also a different district as West Vancouver itself.
All together, and to avoid confusion, we’ve split this post in different sections:
- The best beaches in the district of West Vancouver
- The secret beaches in the district of West Vancouver
- The best beaches in the rest of the west of Vancouver
- The top beaches near West Vancouver
- The best beaches in the West of Vancouver Island
Where is West Vancouver
The West Vancouver district is located in the North West of Stanley Park. To get there form Stanley Park, you’ll need to cross the Lions Gate Bridge, which is one of the best bridges in Vancouver. Then you’ll have to turn left on Marine Drive and join the Trans-Canada Highway. It takes about 20 to 25 minutes to reach West Vancouver. Note that this is an area with a lot of traffic. We recommend avoiding peak times as it may take you a lot longer to get there.
Are the beaches in West Vancouver good for couples?
We are trying to be objective here but in our opinion, the beaches of West Vancouver are an awesome destination for couples! Of course, they are West Coast beaches so don’t expect the same type of beach that you could find in the Mediterranean. That said, they have their own perks and make great date ideas for couples. Actually some of our favourite dates around Vancouver are going to the beach! Let’s see why.
Romantic scenery at the best beaches in West Vancouver
The main reason why we absolutely love spending time at West Vancouver’s beaches as a couple is the scenery. I mean, it’s pretty much unbeatable! On each beach, you’re surrounded by a typical West Coast vibe with pine trees, cute coastal houses, cool beachwood, amazing coastal and ocean views and sometimes even views on Vancouver!
The decor sets you up for a successful and peaceful time with your partner and we absolutely love that. It’s the perfect place to connect, feel grounded and present with each other. Peaceful, simple, yet powerful, that’s how we like to describe our time at the beaches in West Vancouver.
Amazing sunsets on West Vancouver beaches
One of the main perks of the West Vancouver beaches for couples is that they are part of the best viewpoints for amazing sunsets and city views. We’ve seen some pretty incredible sunsets on Dundarave Beach and it was super romantic! Some of the beaches offer quite amazing views on the city as well such as Ambleside Beach.
Lots of activities
Whether you are an active couple looking to spend some energy or a chill couple looking to relax, you’ll find a West Vancouver beach that suits you. While some beaches in West Van offer water sports, access to outdoor pools and beach activities, others simply offer a stunning natural decor for relaxing or even tanning in the summer!
Wildlife in West Vancouver
If you’re a couple who loves wildlife, you’ll love visiting the beaches in West Van! The main animal you can easily observe around Vancouver is seals and sea lions. We’ve seen so many of them completely by chance over the year! They are the cutest things and we can send hours observing them just chilling together.
All together, the beaches in West Vancouver offer a range of sceneries, opportunities, and activities for all couples and are the perfect free date idea around Vancouver! If you want to explore more of Vancouver, check out more beaches in the rest of Vancouver here.
The best beaches in West Vancouver
1. Dundarave Beach, our favourite beach in West Vancouver
Dundarave beach is located by Dundarave Park and is bar far, our favourite beach in West Vancouver. If you’re spending a couple of days in Vancouver or driving to Whistler, you’ll need to absolutely stop at Dundarave Beach for a while.
Dundarave beach is a long beach with a mix of sand and pebbles which offers a beautiful view on the ocean and the West Vancouver area. Whether you’re visiting in the summer or the winter, it’s a great beach to take a walk and also take in the beautiful surrounding views. For more incredible views, you can also head to the Dundarave Pier at the start of the beach.
Dundarave beach is also the perfect place to visit at sunset. While the sun sets, the pink and orange colours in the sky make it a beautiful place to wind down after a long day of visiting the city. We highly recommend grabbing a drink and sitting on the beachwood to watch the sunset together. This is also a great place and time to take cute photos! Don’t forget to use one of the famous Canadian quotes to share your photos on social media.
Near this wonderful West Van beach, we recommend checking out Dundarave village which is often missed by tourists although loved by locals.
- There is free parking available on the street behind the beach which makes it a very accessible beach
- Dundarave beach is usually quiet with mostly adults and families and therefore the perfect place to relax.
- Note that there are sometimes off leash dogs on the beach.
- There are public washrooms available on site, along with a restaurant nearby and cafes in the streets behind the beach.
- Around Christmas, there is usually a Christmas tree competition at the start of the beach and you can vote for your favourite!
2. Ambleside Beach
Another of our favourite West Vancouver beaches is Ambleside Beach. This beach is located west of Park Royal. We recommend grabbing a bite from Park Royal and then walking to the beach to have a cute lunch date with a view. This is a cool and cheap date idea in Vancouver that’s easy to put together, yet super romantic!
To access Ambleside, you have a couple of parking options: either right next to the beach in Ambleside Park or at Park Royal and follow the walking path into the forest. The path will first take you to the promenade by the water where you can appreciate a nice view of Lions Gate Bridge. Note that Park Royal has gotten increasingly busy, especially on the weekend and during the holidays.
On the promenade to the beach, we have seen sea lions swimming around so we would suggest keeping an eye open in case you catch them too! Note also that the park allows for dogs to be off-leash.
Ambleside beach is very similar to Dundarave beach and offers stunning views on West Vancouver. It’s also very nice at sunset and if you’re looking for beautiful views on Stanley Park and the city.
Ambleside is a sandy beach with a designated swim area monitored by lifeguards. As Ambleside beach is quite long, you will not struggle finding a spot for yourself.
- Parking is available close by.
- Though the pier was closed in 2022 due to storm damage, it has now reopened.
- There are public washrooms on site.
3. Sandy Cove Park Beach
Sandy Cove Beach is located in Sandy Cove Park. It’s a smaller beach than other more famous beaches like Kitsilano but it’s also less known among both locals and tourists. That’s a good thing, especially during summer for those looking for a less crowded and quieter sandy beach. The beach is made of sand. There is a green patch nearby which also provides some shade which is helpful in the summer. Similarly to other West Vancouver beaches, there are seals that come around. If you wish to visit Sandy Cove Beach West Vancouver, make sure to go at low tide, otherwise, there may not even be a beach!
- Parking is available in the streets nearby but can be tricky to find especially during summer
- There are no public washrooms or amenities on site.
4. Caulfeild Park
In Caulfeild Park you’ll find a mid-size sandy beach of about 700 meters. Nestled in the trees and offering stunning shoreline views, this beach is a gem of West Vancouver. Though Caulfeild Park is well known in Vancouver, the beach itself is more of a secret and is a lot quieter than other beaches like Spanish Banks, especially in the summer.
The beach is also protected from the wind making it a great spot to come swimming in the summer or to have a windless walk in the winter. There are picnic tables available on the beach making it a great spot to relax and have lunch.
- You can park along Dogwood Lane and Pilot House Road
- There are washrooms halfway down the beach but they’re only open in the summer
5. Centennial Seawalk
The Centennial Seawalk extends between Ambleside and Dundarave. Though it’s not a beach as such, it does offer small beaches as you move along. It’s great for a romantic walk and stopping on the beach to share a hot chocolate for example. The walk also provides gorgeous views on the city, Stanley Park and downtown Vancouver.
6. Whytecliff Park Beach, one of the most unique West Vancouver beaches
Whytecliff Park is located just a few minutes away from Horseshoe Bay. Its beach is made of pebbles and leads you to the Whyte Islet Park. Whytecliff Park is one of our favourite place in West Vancouver because of the stunning view and West Coast vibes it offers. While at the beach, you can check out the Whytecliff Lookout Point for views of the beach down on your left along with Whyte Islet Park.
The Whytecliff Beach isn’t really suited for laying on the beach and tanning. It’s more of a beach that you visit and take a walk on. It is also a Saltwater Marine Protected Area famous for the incredible diving experiences it offers.
Fun fact, Whytecliff Park beach was chosen as a filming location for the TV show Once Upon A Time!
- There are public washrooms available on site.
- There are also cafés and restaurants close by.
7. Horseshoe Bay Beach, one of the top beaches in West Vancouver for an incredible backdrop
Horseshoe Bay is a seaside town located in West Vancouver and is also known for being home to the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal which offers routes to the different islands including Vancouver Island.
The Marina, most often overlooked by tourists is shaped as a horseshoe and surrounded by tall mountains for a view and feel that you will always remember. Horseshoe Bay offers a cozy and warm ambiance. We have been to Horseshoe Bay many times during summer and winter and though the feels are different in each season, it’s always so beautiful. In the winter, mountains are covered in snow and the vibe is very much a mystical West Coast one. In the summer, temperatures are higher and Horseshoe Bay gives more of a relax and chill vibe.
Note also that Horseshoe Bay has been used in many movies and TV shows including in the Netflix Series Firefly Lane (2022-2023) as Kate’s house is a villa overlooking Horseshoe Bay.
The beach itself isn’t very big and when the tide is high, it almost completely disappears. However, it is a nice place to have a walk and check out the marina. You can also dip your feet in the water when it’s warm out and even observe sea lions in the water! The beach is located right of Horseshoe Bay park and is easily accessible.
We also recommend walking the pier at Horseshoe Bay for even better views and eating some fish and chips at one of the Marina restaurants. In the winter, grab a hot chocolate at one of the cafes before heading to the beach for a walk.
For some amazing views of the bay, we definitely recommend heading up to the Horseshoe Bay sunset platform. The Horseshoe Bay Lookoutoffers views on the port, the beach, the mountains and the ocean! It’s even more beautiful during summer on a blue sky day!
- You can find parking along Horseshoe Bay Park or on the streets in the village.
- There are public washrooms available.
8. Stearman Beach, one of the best secret beaches in West Vancouver
Stearman Beach is located on the west of Sandy Cove. It’s a mid-size beach made of a mix of pebbles and sand. It’s also home to a number of wooden logs in good West Coast Fashion. The beach is subject to tides so depending on the time of your visit, you may find a very wet beach with tidal pools. Stearman Beach is great for taking a walk, fishing or sunbathing in the summer.
To access the beach, you’ll have to walk the street that goes through the mansions of the area.
- There eis no washroom or facilities on site.
- Stearman Beach Parking is minimal
9. Kew Beach Park, for a West Vancouver private beach feel
Kew Beach Park is probably one of the best kept secret beaches in West Vancouver, though well known by locals. Located north of Lighthouse Park, it is a small sandy beach with shallow waters making perfect for a swim in the summer. The beach is surrounded by pine trees which also provide shade in the summer. The views form Kew Beach are amazing as they give on the North Shore and the water.
Kew beach feels like a private beach though it’s open to the public, so it’s one to visit for sure, especially in the summer!
- The beach is accessible by a set of stairs
- There is no public parking so you’ll have to park a bit farther down and walk to the beach
- No amenities on site
10. Parthenon Park Beach
The beach at Parthenon Park is tiny but worthy. It’s a sandy beach that gives easy access to the water with shallow waters. It’s surrounded by pine trees which provide shade for part of the day. This isn’t really a beach to take a walk on as it’s very small but it’s great to lay down in the summer, read a book or simply admire the North Shore views.
- You can park at the Parthenon park and then follow the signs for “beach”.
- There is a set of stairs to access the beach
- No amenities on site.
11. Larson Bay Park Beach
This is probably one of the best small beaches in West Vancouver! Larson Bay Park Beach is protected on each side by trees and rocks making it very quiet, peaceful and remote feeling. The beach is a mix of pebbles and sand. It’s a great spot to admire the view and hang out in peace. If you’re looking to be away from the crowds and the city, you can bring your own lunch and share it with your partner here to spend some quality time together.
- The beach is accessible by a gravel walkway
- There is no washroom on site
- Parking is available at the park
Secret beaches in West Vancouver
12. No name beach in West Vancouver
Located between The Pilot House and Caulfeild Park, you’ll find one os the best kept secret beaches in West Vancouver. This no name beach is a rocky beach that very few people know about. Though not a sandy beach, it offers access to the water and beautiful views on Stearman Beach, Caulfield Park and the ocean.
This is a great spot to come for a breath of fresh air or even sit on the bench to connect with your partner while looking at the view.
- You can park in the streets behind.
- There is no amenities on site.
13. Altamont Beach Park
Located between West Bay Park and Dundarave Beach, Altamont Beach Park is essentially a large band or rocks that creates a beach. If you want to come here, we recommend wearing sneakers as walking might be otherwise quite uncomfortable.
The beach provides views on Stanley Park, the North Shore and Lions Gate Bridge. It’s especially stunning at sunset. It’s also a popular spot for painters as they have plenty of options of landscapes to paint here.
- A few parking spots are available on Park Lane
- Rocks can be slippery so be careful!
14. West Bay Park, one of the top secret beaches in Vancouver BC
West of Dundarave Beach, you’ll find West Bay Park beach, a small sandy and pebbles beach in West Vancouver. The beach is small and tucked in between the mansions of West Vancouver. It’s a cool little place to hang out. Make sure that the tide is low before you come, otherwise, there isn’t much of a beach here. The beach gives views on Downtown Vancouver, the Burrard Inlet and the ocean which is quite relaxing.
This beach is also known as the Radcliffe Avenue beach.
- Access is through a set of stairs
- There is public washrooms on site
- Benches are available on site as well
15. Tall Trees Park Beach
Tall Trees Park is located between Lighthouse Park and Whytecliffe Park which isn’t surprising since it resembles both. It’s beach is small and is made of a mix of sand and pebbles. It’s accessible trough Gleneagle Place.
This is a great spot to admire the sunset with your partner in a more secluded area than Dundarave. We highly recommend this little beach that feels private but is open to all!
- Free parking is available in the streets nearby
- Access to the beach is down a short staircase
Beaches in the West of Downtown Vancouver
As we’ve explained above, West Vancouver district is different from the West of Vancouver. In this section, we share the best beaches in the West of Vancouver.
16. English Bay Beach
English Bay Beach is located right in the South of Stanley Park. It is named after the eponymous English Bay. The beach is located in downtown Vancouver which makes it one of the closest beaches to access if you’re staying in what I would call the city centre. While in English Bay, you can also explore nearby beaches like Third Beach and Second Beach (see below).
English Bay beach is a short sandy beach that can get quite busy. Even though it’s not as spacious as other beaches in the West of Vancouver like Kitsilano, we still like going to English Bay Beach. We recommend checking it out for the beautiful view it offers on the coast. It is the perfect place to take a relaxing walk and take a break from walking the streets of Vancouver.
For a longer experience, we recommend walking the Stanley Park Seawall all the way to the left hand of the beach. There you will get the opportunity to look at the big English Bay Inukshuk.
- The beach is right by the city so parking can be tricky to find. We’ve always found a spot though. We recommend driving around including in the streets behind the beach to try and find a spot.
- There are public washrooms available.
17. Third Beach
Third beach is located on the West side of Stanley Park and is often visited by tourists but also very much appreciated by locals. In the summer and winter, it’s a great beach for a walk, chatting on the wood logs or simply admire the North Shore. From here, you can see Dundarave and Ambleside!
There is often Inukshuks on Third Beach so make sure not to destroy them. You can also build your own for fun! Nearby Third Beach, you’ll find Siwash Rock and of course the seawall walk.
- In 2021, a couple of coyote attacks were reported. Those attacks were reported as abnormal behaviours.while the issue seems to have been resolved, check out the news before heading to Third Beach and make sure any food you are carrying is well hidden as well.
- There is a parking lot right by Third beach making it easily accessible. Parking is sometimes free during low season.
- There is also a concession on the left hand of the beach.
18. Second Beach, a beach in the West of Stanley Park
Second beach is located on the West side of Stanley Park and faces the Pacific Ocean. There are lots of tings to do in Stanley Park, including visiting its beaches. Second Beach is a sandy beach right by the seawall and that is also home to driftwood and Inukshuks. In the area, you can find everything you need for a great time on the beach including a picnic area with available barbecues, a food concession, and public washrooms.
At the end of Second beach, you’ll find the Second Beach pool which is a large heated outdoor saltwater swimming pool and the only Stanley Park swimming pool.
Second beach is often overlooked by tourists who prefer to focus on the green oasis that is Stanley Park. Locals and families love it though!
- Outdoor showers are available next to the concession.
- You can rent bicycle in the park and drive to the different Stanley Park beaches.
19. Kitsilano Beach
Kitsilano beach is also called “Kits beach” and is located in English Bay right after the Burrard Bridge. It is one of the hip beaches in the West of Vancouver. This sandy beach offers a beautiful view on the North Shore which makes it one of the best beaches in the West of the city. Usually visited by people in their 20s and 30s, you can also expect to see families and athletes.
Kitsilano Beach is great if you and your partner like being active. It is home to both tennis and basketball courts, beach volleyball, and the Kitsilano outdoor swimming pool. The Kitsilano outdoor swimming pool is a 137-metre long heated saltwater pool. It has two slides and is accessible by wheelchairs. An adult ticket costs around $7.
Kitsilano beach is also the perfect place to relax on the sand or on one of the grass areas. The beach is also only a short stroll away from stores and restaurants on West Broadway Street. We highly recommend grabbing some take away during the summer and coming to Kitsilano to have lunch. It’s a beautiful scenery with lots of space for everybody.
- Public washrooms are available on site.
- There are a couple of restaurants and coffee places right on the beach.
- Parking spaces are available right by the beach which makes it easily accessible although the parking fills up quickly in the summer months.
20. Spanish Banks, one of the beaches in the West of Downtown Vancouver
Spanish Banks beach is located a few minutes away from the University of British Columbia, west of Downtown Vancouver and South of Stanley Park. This long sandy beach is great for a range of interests. Whether you’re craving some space in nature, need to walk your dog off-leash, want to play volley ball or want to have a barbecue with friends, this is the place to go. You can also grab a bite nearby and come have a picnic on the beach with views on the North Shore. We’ve done that a couple of times and it was super fun!
- There are two food concessions on Spanish Banks.
- Spanish Banks is located in more of a residential area which makes it a bit quieter than other beaches on this list.
- There are also multiple public washrooms available.
Beaches near West Vancouver
Our post wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t share with you some of our favourite beaches near West Vancouver. You’ll find these beaches in the north of West Vancouver, on your way to Squamish and Whistler. These beaches are located about 20 to 30 minutes by car from West Vancouver. You’ll need to hop on the Sea-to-Sky Highway to reach them.
21. Lions Bay Beach Park
Lions Bay Beach is a mix of sand and pebbles and also offers a designated swimming area. The beach is popular for water actvities like kayaking, and boating. It is also kids friendly. The beach offers incredible views of the Howe Sound. It’s known as a good spot to watch the sunset. There is washroom on site and parking is available for $4 an hour.
22. Brunswick Beach
Brunswick Beach is a pebble beach with wooden logs. It’s home to a couple of cabins. the beach itself is quite small but it’s the perfect place if you’re looking for a quiet area away from the bustle of the city. The beach is surrounded by the North Shore Mountains that are sometimes covered in snow and give it a homy feel.
23. Porteau Cove
Porteau Cove is absolutely incredible and one of our favourite spots on the Sea-to-Sky Highway. There is a large parking lot when you arrive which is right next to the beach for easy access. The beach actually splits in two parts with the right side being much smaller. On the left, you’ll find a large and long beach made of a mix of pebbles and sand and home to many wooden logs.
The beach gives pure West Coast vibes with pine trees, mountains and views on the Howe Sound and Anvill Island. We’ve been there in the winter and we were literally the only ones there. It was incredible for photos and just taking in the scenery. If we had to describe this beach, we’d say it’s peaceful and grounding.
West coast beaches Vancouver Island offers
While we’re on the West Coast, we cannot not mention beaches on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.
24. Chesterman Beach, one of the best West coast beaches Vancouver Island offers
Chesterman beach is located 10min away from Tofino by car. There is also a bus that can take you to it and free shuttles that can take you around Tofino in the summer.
Chesterman Beach is one of those West Coast beaches that make you feel tiny in a big beautiful world. On one side of the beach you get views on the ocean and on the other side, you get views on beautiful houses hidden in the trees. Chesterman beach is one of the popular spots among surfers but don’t worry, if surfing isn’t your thing, there are lots of things you can do here. Between walking along the beach, kayaking, and paddle boarding, Chesterman beach is definitely not boring. There are a few places in Tofino (and sometimes on the beach itself) where you can rent paddle boards, surfboards and more. We also recommend heading to the North end of the beach to explore the rock formations.
Parking is available along the beach with outdoor showers available to rinse off if you’re brave enough to take a dip in the water. There are also washrooms on the parking lot.
25. Cox Bay Beach
Cox Bay Beach is located just south of Chesterman Beach the island. It’s about a ten minute drive from Tofino to reach Cox Bay Beach. The beach is just as popular as Chesterman Beach among surfers who come to ride the waves bright and early. It’s also a top spot for hikers, especially due to the Cox Bay Lookout which offers almost a 350 degree view on Vancouver Island, the beach, Lennard Island and the Pacific Ocean.
Visiting Cox Bay Beach is an absolute must win in the area! You can find our detailed guide on how to find the Cox Bay Lookout here as there is no signage on site.
- Parking is available along the beach near Surf Grove Campground.
- There are toilets by the entrance of the beach.
Beaches in West Vancouver Q&As
Does Vancouver have beaches?
Yes, the Vancouver area offers 15 main beaches in the west, east, north and south and around Stanley Park.
Are there sandy beaches in Vancouver?
Yes, there are many sandy beaches in Vancouver including Kitsilano Beach, Spanish Banks and Third Beach.
Is West Vancouver a good area?
Yes, West Vancouver is one of the best areas in Vancouver. It’s very safe and neighborhoods are more high end.
Is West Vancouver safe?
Yes, West Vancouver is very safe with a low percentage of break-ins, mugging accidents and homelessness.
Does Vancouver have nice beaches?
Yes, Vancouver has got many nice beaches such as Dundarave Beach or Kitslinao Beach. They are either made of pebbles or sand and are perfect for going on walks or laying in the sun in the summer.
Can you swim in the ocean in Vancouver BC?
Yes, you can swim in the ocean in Vancouver BC but mostly in the summer. Though temperatures rise in the summer, it is still the Pacific Ocean so the water is rather cold and people usually wear wetsuits. The warmest water around Vancouver can be found at Centennial Beach and Crescent Beach. Note also that there are many sea lions in the Vancouver waters…
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