If you’re looking for a solid swimming hole to check out this summer, there are plenty of options beyond the standard Vancouver beach to check out. Better yet, all of these swimming spots are within two hours of the city, which means your next summer adventure could be just around the corner.

So with that in mind, here are 12 of the very best swimming spots you’ll find in BC.

Twin Falls

 

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Let’s face it, when it comes to scenic swimming spots and suspension bridges – the North Shore pretty much takes the cake. Luckily for Vancouverites, the gorgeous Twin Falls at Lynn Canyon is very accessible and a great spot to cool off during the hottest months of the year. As long as you follow the safety procedures and stay on the right side of the fencing, you’re golden.

In terms of the hike, Twin Falls is short and sweet (rated “easy” on Vancouver Trails) – with just enough of an incline to feel like you’re getting a workout in.

Where: North Vancouver

Cultus Lake Park 

cultus lake
Photo via BC Parks

With crystal-clear waters, sandy beaches, and almost 300 front-country campsites to choose from, it’s no surprise that Cultus Lake Park is one of the most popular lake destinations in the Lower Mainland. Water enthusiasts can spend all day swimming through warm waters, kayaking, or paddleboarding. The lake’s gentle waves also provide the perfect conditions for boating and water skiing – if that’s more your speed.

Where: Chilliwack

Montague Harbour Marine Park 

montague marine park bc
Photo via Tomas Nevesely / Shutterstock

Situated on the picturesque Galiano Island, Montague Harbour Marine Park is a hidden gem if there ever was one. Known for its scenic beaches, captivating peninsula, and a handful of hidden tidal lagoons, there’s plenty of natural splendour to discover here. And Galiano Island is known to be as peaceful as it is adventure-inducing, so whether you want to relax after taking on the Bluffs Loop Trail or simply plop down to watch the sunset, your options are pretty limitless here.

The park is accessible by ferry from Swartz Bay or Tsawwassen to Sturdies Bay, which is just 10 km away from the park’s entrance.

Where: Galiano Island, BC

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Alouette River

swimming spots
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Alouette River in Maple Ridge is a perfect swimming hole, paddle-board destination, and floating experience all wrapped into one. The River flows from Alouette Lake to its junction with the Fraser River at Pitt Meadows. No motorized vehicles are allowed in the water, making it the ideal place to kick back in a floatie and take in the sounds of nature.

Where: Unnamed Road, Maple Ridge

Porteau Cove Park

swimming spots bc
Photo via BC Parks

By far one of the most popular day trip and camping destinations near Vancouver, Porteau Cove is one of those quintessential places that should be on everyone’s bucket list, and for good reason. Situated along the Sea to Sky Highway just minutes away from Squamish, the popular BC park is renowned for its windsurfing, hiking, and fishing options. And if you want to stay overnight, the campground has just over 100 waterfront campsites to choose from.

During the day, visitors can check out the popular day-use area, which features a rocky, pebbly beach with crystal blue water in the summertime. Definitely worth donning your flip-flops or sandals for a dip in the ocean!

Where: Squamish-Lillooet

Pinecone Burke Park 

swimming spots
Photo via BC Parks

From towering mountains to crystal blue lakes, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a hidden paradise upon visiting Pinecone Burke Park, situated near Coquitlam. The park is also home to the largest freshwater tidal lake in North America – AKA Pitt Lake, which runs south to include Burke Mountain. Influenced by the tides from the Strait of Georgia, the lake boasts unique tidal waves for boating and fishing.

Visitors can also access the stunning Munro and Dennett lakes and Burke Ridge by using old logging roads and trails from the Port Coquitlam and the District Hunting and Fishing Club at the end of Harper Road.

Where: North of Coquitlam

Buntzen Lake

 

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Situated near Port Moody, Buntzen Lake is easily accessible via transit and offers a beautiful spot for swimming, picnicking, hiking, and paddling. A source of hydroelectric power for BC Hydro, the site offers visitors plenty of nature trails, developed viewpoints, picnic tables, and dog-friendly areas as well.

Visit here for bus info!

Where: North of Port Moody

Osoyoos Lake

swimming spots bc
Photo via Shutterstock

Known for its sunny lake days and delicious wine and craft cider, Osoyoos is truly a summer destination like no other. From visiting its plethora of family-owned farms and wineries to cycling or golfing in Canada’s only desert, there’s so much fun to be had, no matter what your preferred day trip activity is. And as far as the regional park goes, you’ll have a wide, sandy beach to lounge on at the end of the day.

Oh, and don’t forget to keep your eye out for the one-of-a-kind Spotted Lake (kłlilx’w), a sacred site containing multiple mineral-rich spotted lakes that shift in size and colour during the summer months.

Where: Osoyoos, BC
Distance from Vancouver: Four hours and 40 minutes by car

Cates Bay Beach, Bowen Island 

swimming spots
Photo via Jason Wilde / Shutterstock

This beautiful island is the perfect spot to explore on foot, and just a 20-minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay. Go on a hike through the Mount Gardner Loop trail, walk through the Ecological Reserve, or simply load up on ice cream from Earnest in Snug Cove. And once you’re ready to cool off with a dip, check out Cates Bay!

Where: Bowen Island

Monashee Park

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Located 111 km north of Vernon in the North Okanagan, Monashee Park features some of the oldest rock formations in western Canada – so you’re essentially experiencing a piece of history with every step you take. As far as swimming goes, visitors cans set up anywhere at Spectrum Lake, Little Peters Lake, Big Peters Lake, and Margie Lake.

Where: Near Cherryville in Northeast Okanagan, BC

Sasamat Lake

swimming spots
Photo via Chang Han Chris Kim / Shutterstock

Located inside Belcarra Regional Park, Sasamat Lake is by far one of the most popular lake day destinations during the warmer months. There are a variety of sandy shores to explore, and an extensive trail network if you want to work up a sweat before taking a dip.

Where: Belcarra Regional Park

Kelvin Grove Beach & Marine Park

Photo via James Chen / Shutterstock

Finally, we come to the closest pick to the city. Kelvin Grove Beach Park is the southernmost beach in the Village of Lions Bay – accessible via the Kelvin Grove exit from the Sea to Sky Highway. The beach park has an off-leash dog area with a trail that leads to natural beaches, a community garden, and a picnic area. Plus, there are washrooms, pet waste bags, and garbage/recycling – making it a great spontaneous pick.

Where: Tidewater Way, Lions Bay

And there you have it, Vancouver. If you’re looking to go for a dip sometime soon, you know where to look.