A complete guide to Vancouver's beaches and outdoor pools

May 26 2022, 6:55 pm

Warm and sunny weather looks like it could be creeping into Vancouver after a wet and cool spring, courtesy of La Niña. The longer days, sunnier skies, and warmer temperatures present the perfect chance to get outside and soak up what the city has to offer – namely, all of its fantastic local beaches and pools.

While we all wait for the mercury to finally rise to a summer-y level, dive into our guide of Vancouver’s beaches and outdoor pools and find your swimming spot this summer.

Vancouver Beaches

Lifeguards will patrol the nine 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

 

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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 on 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 on 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

 

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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 are allowed at nearby Ceperley Meadow
  • Picnic shelter (reservation required)
  • Pay parking
  • Lifeguards from Victoria Day to Labour Day
  • Heated, outdoor pool

Spanish Banks Beach

 

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Located along Northwest Marine Drive west of Tolmie Street, Spanish Banks Beach comprises 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

vancouver marry

The engagement rings at Sunset Beach. (Brigitte Mueller/Shutterstock)

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

 

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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

Jericho Beach is 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

ParkBoard/ Twitter

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 the lake)
  • Free parking

North Vancouver/West Vancouver

Ambleside Beach

 

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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

 

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The seaside park and beach has more than 6 km of waterfront. The excess space makes for a “main beach area” and many more secluded spots that can be found on 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

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

New Brighton Pool

 

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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:

  • CafĂ©
  • Slide
  • Wheelchair accessibility.

Second Beach Pool

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:

  • CafĂ©
  • Slide
  • Wheelchair ramp access
  • 50 m section for length swimming

Maple Grove Pool

 

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

Features:

  • CafĂ©
  • Mini island
  • Wheelchair accessible.

Temporarily closed: Kitsilano Pool

kits pool best swim

Kasey VancouverBC/Shutterstock

Kitsilano pool was damaged in a winter storm, and unfortunately, the Park Board says it may not be able to open this summer. Ocean waves flooded the pool and deck, and repairs are needed before swimmers can visit again.

“Kits” Pool is Vancouver’s only outdoor saltwater swimming pool. It’s located near the beach, cafĂ©s, and neighbourhood of Kitsilano and recently underwent an extensive $3.3 million renovation.

Features:

  • CafĂ©
  • Slide
  • Wheelchair accessibility
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