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A complete guide to Vancouver's beaches and outdoor pools

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DH Vancouver Staff May 16, 2018 2:40 pm 4,220

Vancouver’s burst of warm and sunny weather has made its long-awaited return. The long days and above 20° temperatures are giving Vancouverites a reason to find ways to cool off.

If a cool, refreshing swim sounds like just what you need, here’s a complete guide to Vancouver’s beaches and outdoor pools.

Vancouver Beaches

Lifeguards will patrol the 9 supervised beaches from Victoria Day to Labour Day, from approximately 11:30 am to 8:30 pm daily.

If a red light is on, it means there is no lifeguard on duty.

English Bay Beach

 

vancouver English bay

English Bay/Shutterstock

English Bay Beach – also called First Beach – is located along Beach Avenue between Gilford Street and Bidwell Street and is the most popular beach in Vancouver’s downtown area. The Stanley Park Seawall, a scenic running and biking route, also runs along the east side of the beach.

Features:

  • Concession
  • Cactus Club Cafe
  • Public washrooms
  • Kayak rentals and storage
  • Lifeguards from Victoria Day until Labour Day
  • Swimming raft with large slide
  • Two sand volleyball courts
  • Beach wheelchairs for those with physical disabilities

Kitsilano Beach

Kitsilano Beach, known as “Kits” Beach, is located on Cornwall Avenue at the north end of Yew Street. The Seawall runs alongside the beach and Kitsilano Pool is at the west side.

Features:

  • Concession
  • Public washrooms
  • Tennis courts
  • Basketball courts
  • Playground
  • Swimming raft
  • Lifeguards from Victoria Day to Labour Day
  • Pay parking
  • Boathouse Waterfront Restaurant

Locarno Beach

A designated “quiet” beach, Locarno Beach is located at the west side of Jericho Park on Northwest Marine Drive between Discovery Street and Tolmie Street.

Features:

  • Designated quiet beach (amplified sound is not permitted)
  • Concession
  • Public washrooms
  • Six volleyball courts
  • Picnic tables
  • Swimming raft
  • Free parking
  • Lifeguards from Victoria Day to Labour Day

Second Beach

Second Beach in Stanley Park is located at the junction of Stanley Park Dr and North Lagoon Dr next to Second Beach Pool, an oceanside, heated, outdoor pool. Barbecues can be used at nearby Ceperley Meadow and a picnic shelter can be reserved for private gatherings.

Features:

  • Public washrooms
  • Playground
  • Stand-alone barbecues allowed at nearby Ceperley Meadow
  • Picnic shelter (reservation required)
  • Pay parking
  • Lifeguards from Victoria Day to Labour Day
  • Heated, outdoor pool

Spanish Banks Beach

Located along Northwest Marine Drive west of Tolmie Street, Spanish Banks Beach is composed of three distinct sections, east, west, and extension. At low tide, the water is 1 km offshore.

Features:

Spanish Banks East

  • Concession
  • Public washrooms
  • Barbecues permitted
  • Picnic tables
  • Eight volleyball courts
  • Free parking
  • Lifeguards from Victoria Day to Labour Day

Spanish Banks West

  • Designated quiet beach
  • Concession
  • Public washrooms
  • Barbecues permitted
  • Picnic tables
  • Eight volleyball courts
  • Dog off-leash area
  • Free parking
  • Lifeguards from Victoria Day to Labour Day

Spanish Banks Extension

  • Barbecues permitted
  • Free parking
  • Lifeguards from Victoria Day to Labour Day
  • Dog off-leash area
  • Kiteboarding launch zone

Sunset Beach

beaches and outdoor pools

Sunset Beach / ©Bruce McPherson

Located at the mouth of False Creek, on Beach Avenue between Bute Street and Thurlow Street, Sunset Beach is a less populated beach close to the west end and downtown Vancouver. It is close to the Vancouver Aquatic Centre and has access to the False Creek Ferry Pier.

Features:

  • Concession
  • Public washrooms
  • Designated quiet beach
  • Access to the False Creek Ferry pier
  • Pay parking
  • Lifeguards between Victoria Day and Labour Day

Third Beach

Located at Ferguson Point in Stanley Park, Third Beach is a naturally sandy beach surrounded by trees that shield dippers and tanners from urban noise. This is a great beach for quiet bathing, picnics, and watching sunsets.

Features:

  • Concession
  • Public washrooms
  • Barbecues allowed (with restrictions)
  • Lifeguards from Victoria Day to Labour Day
  • Pay parking

Jericho Beach

beaches and outdoor pools

Jericho Beach/Shutterstock

Jericho Beach on the north side of Jericho Park at the west end of Point Grey Road between Wallace Street and Discovery Street. The east side of the beach caters to swimmers and the west side to sailboats and windsurfers.

Features:

Trout Lake Beach

Trout Lake Beach is a freshwater beach at the south end of Trout Lake in John Hendry Park at Victoria Drive and East 19th Avenue.

Features:

  • Swimming raft
  • Playfields
  • Concession
  • Public washrooms
  • Picnic area
  • Barbecues permitted
  • Lifeguards from Victoria Day to Labour Day
  • Dog off-leash area (north end of lake)
  • Free parking

North Vancouver/West Vancouver

Ambleside Beach

beaches and outdoor pools

Ambleside Beach/Shutterstock

Ambleside Beach is located in the heart of West Vancouver. The beach is in a prime location being minutes away from the Lions Gate Bridge and near a number of amenities. A lifeguard is typically on duty from June to September.

Features:

  • Basketball court
  • Street hockey cage
  • Skateboard park
  • Pitch and Putt golf course
  • Trails
  • Dog park
  • Concession
  • Public washrooms and change rooms
  • Picnic area
  • Barbecues permitted
  • Lifeguards from June to September
  • Free parking
  • Located next to Park Royal Mall and multiple food options

Cates Park

The seaside park and beach has more than 6 km of waterfront. The excess space makes for a “main beach area” as well as many more secluded spots that can be found by foot. An often more quiet alternative to Deep Cove.

Features: 

  • Waterfront trails
  • Playgrounds
  • Picnic shelters
  • Tennis courts
  • Year-round boat launch
  • Concession
  • Public Washrooms and change rooms
  • Dog-friendly (off-leash area as well)
  • Free parking

Deep Cove

beaches and outdoor pools

Deep Cove/Shutterstock

One of the most scenic spots in the lower mainland, Deep Cove plays home to a small saltwater beach enclosed by the Burrard Inlet and Indian Arm. The beach, although beautiful, is rockier than others so be sure to bring a beach towel and adequate footwear. Also an optimal spot for kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding.

Features:

  • Public washrooms
  • Playground
  • Quarry Rock
  • Free parking
  • Honey’s Doughnuts
  • Near a number of restaurants and amenities
  • Dog-friendly
  • Picnic shelter
  • Paddleboard, kayak, and canoe rental on site (reservations may be required)

Vancouver Outdoor Pools

Kitsilano Pool

beaches and outdoor pools

Kitsilano Outdoor Pool (Pete Spiro / Shutterstock)

“Kits” Pool is Vancouver’s only saltwater swimming pool. The outdoor summer pool is located near the beach, cafés, and neighbourhood of Kitsilano, and just underwent an extensive $3.3 million renovation.

Features:

  • Café
  • Slide
  • Wheelchair accessibility.

Opens: May 21 to September 11

Hours: Various hours. Click here for more.

New Brighton Pool

New Brighton Pool is a heated, outdoor pool in Vancouver’s Sunrise neighbourhood that offers regular length swimming and a sloped, beach-style entry for young children.

Features:

  • Café
  • Slide
  • Wheelchair accessibility.

Opens: May 21 to September 5

Hours: 10 am to 8:30 pm.

Second Beach Pool

beaches and outdoor pools

Second Beach Pool / piker_roo

Second Beach Pool is a heated, outdoor pool located near the beach, trails, and forest of Stanley Park. It features a sloped entry and gradual depths for families, and separated lanes for lap swimmers.

Features:

  • Café
  • Slide
  • Wheelchair ramp access
  • 50m section for length swimming

Opens: May 21 to September 5

Hours: Noon to 8:30 pm.

Maple Grove Pool

Maple Grove Pool is a heated, outdoor shallow pool in Vancouver’s Kerrisdale neighbourhood. The landscaped, summer water park has a maximum depth of 3.5m.

Features:

  • Café
  • Mini island
  • Wheelchair accessible.

Opens: June 18 until September 5

Hours: 10:15 am to 7:45 pm.

Hillcrest Aquatic Centre

beaches and outdoor pools

Netfalls Remy Musser/shutterstock

Hillcrest Aquatic Centre is part of Hillcrest Centre, a legacy of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver. The city’s largest aquatic facility includes an indoor pool, outdoor pool, and a fitness centre.

Features:

  • Diving board
  • Slide
  • Sauna
  • Steam room
  • Hot pool
  • Fitness centre
  • Wheelchair access (aquatic pool lift and ramp access).

Opens: May long weekend until late September

Hours: Noon to 6 pm in early summer and 11 am to 8 pm in late summer

For full operating hours, check the pool schedules.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2016 but has been updated to include current information.


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DH Vancouver Staff
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