Love lounging at the beach? This list of stunning sandy beaches is for you. Fortunately for BC residents, our province is home to some next-level spots that will make you feel like you’ve been transported to your very own slice of paradise. So whether you’re an ocean lover or more of a lake person, here are 14 sandy beaches to check out in BC this summer.
Of course, we had to start off this list with Wreck. It’s arguably the most well-known clothing-optional beach in BC and a popular destination regardless of whether or not you decide to shed some clothes. The legally nude shoreline stretches over 5 km, so there’s plenty of sandy beach to discover here – so long as you’re okay with the 490 steps leading from NW Marine Drive down to the beach.
Where: South West Marine Drive
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Known as one of the most ‘magical beaches’ in Canada, Long Beach is situated in the famed Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, boasting 22 km of golden, sandy beaches, sun-warmed waters, and 12 km of forested trails to explore. So if you’re looking for a beautiful sandy beach to do it all – from kayaking to beachcombing, to hiking – this is it!
Separated by the Strait of Georgia by the isthmus at Sechelt, Porpoise Bay Park is home to rolling grassy hills and long stretches of pristine beaches – perfect for the last-minute day trip or end-of-summer camping trip.
As well, the park makes an ideal basecamp for paddlers exploring the Sechelt Inlet – so consider this as a great rest spot if you’re journeying through the area.
If you’re keen on a trip to somewhere tropical without shelling out the dough, you can’t do much better in terms of sandy beaches than “Little Hawaii” in Tribune Bay. Located on the east side of Vancouver Island, this gem of a beach boasts shallower, warmer waters than what we’re used to on the mainland. In fact, BC Parks considers it to be one of the warmest saltwater swimming areas in the province!
Where: Hornby Island – accessible by two short ferry rides from Vancouver Island.
Before heading to the popular white-sand beaches of Tofino or the famed Juan-de-Fuca trail, a stop through the quaint town of Qualicum Beach is definitely warranted – as it has over 4 km of soft, sandy beaches to explore! A quick pit stop could very well turn into an impromptu weekend getaway if you’re not careful, though with so many picnic tables, shady trees, washrooms, and parking lots at your disposal, it wouldn’t be the worst thing!
Where: Qualicum Beach, BC
And now, for a couple of lake options! For starters, Cultus Lake Park offers one of the most accessible lake days near Vancouver, just an hour and a half’s drive from the city. With crystal-clear waters, sandy beaches, and almost 300 front-country campsites to choose from, there’s plenty of fun to be had here.
Water enthusiasts can spend all day swimming through warm waters, kayaking, or paddleboarding. What’s more, the park’s scenic and inviting beaches make for an idyllic spot for sunbathing, picnicking, and building sandcastles.
A popular choice for lake days in the summer, Sasamat Lake offers visitors wide shandy shores to explore and an extensive hiking trail network if you want to work up a sweat before taking a dip into its clear waters. All in all, it’s about an hour and a half trip each way if you bus, so this makes for a great spontaneous pick as well.
Where: Belcarra Regional Park
A former bustling cement plant, Bamberton Park holds historical significance as much as it holds BC’s natural wonders. There’s a 225-metre-long beach with warm, swim-friendly waters, a 1.5 km hiking trail from the campground to the beach day-use area, and prime paddling spots. Plus, remnants of the area’s industrial past can also be seen throughout the park!
Where: Cowichan Valley
Located along the Juan de Fuca trail on Vancouver Island, the stunning beach is about halfway between Sooke and Port Renfrew. In addition to beautiful sandy shorelines, there’s a waterfall cascading over a sheer rock cliff, making it one of the most picturesque contrasts we’ve ever seen. What’s more, the beach is only accessed by a 2km trail, so you won’t have to worry too much about overcrowding.
Where: Juan de Fuca Trail
Located just south of Summerland, this beach is a must-visit if you’re in the Okanagan Valley. The name? A shortened version of “Sunny Okanagan,” which pretty much tells you all you need to know. The park boasts stunning stretches of sand, clear water, and sweeping views down Okanagan Lake. Plus, there are more than enough picnic spots to go around.
Where: Okanagan Valley
Nestled in Central Okanagan west of Kelowna is Bear Creek Provincial Park – a picturesque spot for beachgoers, campers, and hikers alike. If you’re looking to do some solid sunbathing in between hikes, a rushing creek and over 400 metres of sandy beach await!
Where: West of Kelowna
Comox Valley’s Miracle Beach Park is situated between Courtenay and Campbell River, offering visitors 192 reservable front-country campsites and 202 car-accessible sites. As for the beach itself, visitors can lounge on a broad, safe sandy beach that permits dogs while on leashes.
Note that the best spot for swimming is at the south beach day-use area, where the sand is soft and the crystal blue water beckons you in. However, there are no lifeguards on duty, so exercise caution when out in the water.
Where: Comox Valley
With its expansive sandy shores, old-growth forests, and captivating tide pools, Rathtrevor Beach Park is the ultimate getaway from the city. At low tide, the ocean can recede up to 1 km, leaving stretches of sand, sea critters, and treasures to explore. Best of all? When the sand becomes hot and the tide rises again, the waters warm to the perfect swimming temperature!
Note that this beach is wheelchair accessible, complete with a Mobi-Mat and a recently paved day-use parking lot for greater access.
Where: Central Vancouver Island
A scenic mix of sandy and rocky beaches, Three Mile Beach is located on Okanagan Lake between Penticton and Naramata. A small peninsula juts out into the lake with two distinct beaches on either side – a beach with fine sand (and clothing-optional), and a rockier, non-clothing-optional beach on the other side, facing Penticton. So if you’re looking for somewhere comfy to lounge, pick the former!
Where: Three Mile Road, Penticton
So there you have it, Vancouver! Plenty of day trip options when it comes to settling on the best sandy beaches in the province.