By Julia Pepler

With COVID-19 restrictions slowly being lifted, Vancouverites are flocking to popular beaches in large numbers, posing a risk of a “second wave” of infections. If you’re planning on hitting the beach for some much needed time by the water, consider visiting one of these quieter spots.

After thousands of people crowded Vancouver’s popular beaches (like Kits Beach and English Bay) over the past few weekends, we’ve realized that many people aren’t familiar with some of Vancouver’s other incredible sandy spots. We used the free Swim Guide app to compile a list of beaches you can visit in and around Vancouver where you are more likely to have lots of space and keep a safe distance from others. 

Despite these spots being quieter than Vancouver's most popular beaches, they can still see overcrowding! If you can, we recommend you avoid peak hours and visit the beach in the morning or late afternoon.

1. Spanish Banks

One of the largest beaches in Vancouver, Spanish Banks boasts gorgeous views of the city, mountains, and ocean. Just a little west of Jericho and Kits Beach, Spanish Banks is often less popular than its neighbours. With a dog-friendly area on the west end and expansive tidal pools to explore throughout, we highly recommend this special spot.

Sunset at Spanish Banks. Image: Spencer Watson/Unsplash

2. Iona Beach Park

Just north of YVR airport, Iona Beach Park is spacious, with a long bike and walking path jutting out on a 4 km jetty over the ocean. With a beach, grassy trails and a dog-friendly area, this is a great escape from the city and crowds.

Low-tide at Iona Beach Park. Image: GoToVan/Wikipedia

3. CRAB Park

Though CRAB Park is located in the heart of Vancouver, it’s often overlooked as a great waterfront destination. It offers a spectacular view of the north shore mountains, a grassy area for picnics and a small pier for watching passing ships. If you’re looking for a quick and easy trip to the water, this is the spot for you.

CRAB Park's pebbly beach with Vancouver's downtown in the background. Image: Fraser Riverkeeper

4. Crescent Beach

Located in Surrey, Crescent Beach is a large sandy beach with a spectacular sunset view over the Georgia Strait. With a great swimming environment, logs for lounging, a pier and trail area, there’s no shortage of outdoor fun to be had here. Though it’s a bit out of the way, if you’re looking for a relaxing time by the water, this is where you’ll find it.

Migratory birds fly over Crescent Beach. Image: Kyle Pearce/Flickr

5. Oasis Beach (Trail 7)

Near UBC, Oasis Beach and trail is a great spot to get near the water, explore hidden sandy alcoves and escape the crowds. The beach trail connects to Wreck Beach's main area with grassy pathways, small waterfalls, and marine wildlife on the way. 

Calm waters at Oasis Beach. Image: Swim Guide

6. Barnet Marine Park

Located along the Burrard Inlet in Burnaby, Barnet Marine Park is a large park with trails, a beautiful sandy beach, and great swimming. Located north of SFU and you of the city, you’ll find quiet areas to isolate with your family or friends while connecting to nature and the wildlife in the area.

A beautiful day at Barnet Marine Park. Image: Kyle Pearce/Flickr

Spending time outdoors and near the water is proven to relieve stress and improve mental health. If you are able, we highly recommend you make time in your schedule to soak in the sounds, sights, and fresh air that these less popular beaches have to offer. If you’re looking to visit Vancouver’s hotspots like Kitsilano beach, it’s much less crowded early in the day, so you can help prevent overcrowding by visiting outside of peak hours. Ensure that you continue to follow COVID-19 restrictions and maintain social distancing measures.

Are you looking for some way to help us while you’re visiting a beach or marina? Submit your photos of people, litter/debris, and wildlife with Gassy! Gassy is our brand new citizen science tool that digests your photos and collects a database of water quality information. It’s easy to snap a pic, upload it right from your photos, social media, google storage, and more, and send it to our AI system. It’s a great tool to keep track of crowding at beaches, biodiversity, and threats to our water quality. Help us out and share your photos on Gassy today.

You can find water quality data, information about amenities, and the closest beaches to you on the Swim Guide app or website.


Banner image: Ruth Hartnup/Flickr

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