The sun is shining, temperatures are rising, and that can only mean one thing: it's beach season. Even though we're lucky enough to have a ton of beaches here in Vancouver, they're too often filled with hordes of oiled-up sunbathers, volleyball players and yoga enthusiasts (looking at you, Kits). But sometimes you want less crowds and more peace. For when you don't feel like vying for a patch of sand in the sun, Vancouver's most idyllic, hidden beaches are what you're looking for. Browse this list and say hello to peace after a hectic work week, seclusion to get friendly down in the sand, or beautiful scenery for that insta-worthy shot. But, shhh, let’s just keep these between us.
Lions Bay is the perfect retreat if you’re looking to get out of the city. Located on the Sea to Sky highway about 30 minutes north of Vancouver, it truly feels worlds apart from busy urban life. The beach itself is small, sandy and super tucked away. If this isn't the perfect recipe for a hidden beach then we don't know what it is. There's also a cute platform to swim to, as well as a diving board off a cliff for adrenaline seekers. Unlike some of the other beaches on this list, Lions Bay has a restroom and changing facilities. But, most importantly, the beach has all the stunning views that BC is known for.
For those who are a little shy but still want to bare it all, Tower Beach is the lesser known but nude-encouraged sibling to Wreck . There is a bit of trek down the cliffs to reach this beach (a casual 25 storeys of stairs), but it's worth it. Its claim to fame is two graffiti covered bunkers built for WWII. So, while it might not have the best swimming or golden sands, it makes up for it with the unique factor. Plus it’s a great place for a beach fire! Whether you want to channel Kim K and break the internet with a naked photo-shoot or simply get rid of tan lines, Tower Beach is the place for suns out, buns out.
Like Tower Beach, Bikini Beach has a pretty interesting story behind its name. Historically, this is the hidden beach youth flocked to in their itsy bitsy teeny weeny, likely yellow polka dot bikinis after the style was first introduced, but considered too risqué for main beaches. Bikini Beach, not to be confused with Bikini Bottom, is situated between English Bay and Second Beach at the entrance to Stanley Park. This tiny beach is a great place to swim and chill as it has sand instead of pebbles, and is home to the city’s warmest water. Grab your tiniest bikini and get tanning!
Cross Lions Gate Bridge and you'll be in West Vancouver, home to million dollar houses with stunning waterfront views. You might not own anything quite like this (yet), but you can still enjoy the vistas provided. Stearman Beach is located right in front of the mansions, so you can enjoy their multi-million dollar views (and tidal pools!) without having to pay a dime. This well-hidden gem may be difficult to track down but is definitely worth the hunt. The pebbled beach barely get any shade so throw on your favourite Ray Bans and slather on the sunscreen. The luxurious lifestyle awaits.
Another hidden treasure in West Van is Sandy Cove. It's equally unmarked and challenging to get to, but you know what they say: the harder to find, the less crowded! Just take the steps found at Rose Crescent through the woods to find this sandy(ish) beach. It's situated between granite cliffs, has a lovely grassy space and is perfect for a dip. This beach has it all: striking views, great swimming, and sandy shores. If you’re lucky you’ll get to meet a local celebrity, the resident seal.
Jug Island Beach
Jug Island, located in Belcarra Park, is the perfect choice if you’re looking to work up a sweat before jumping in the water. Jug Island Trail is an easy 5.5 km through the woods with Belcarra and Bedwell Bay on either side. It ends at this small beach, which is a great place to enjoy nature away from the crowds. The views of Indian Arm, Quarry Rock, and Jug Island are pretty damn exceptional.